The International Federation of Business and Professional Women (IFBPW)
In its wholehearted commitment to the women’s empowerment and its link to sustainable development, the International Federation of Business and Professional Women (IFBPW) supports unconditionally the full implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals as defined under the Post 2015 process, Transforming Our World – the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
We recognize all targets defined under Principle 5 by the United Nations High-Level Political Forum on sustainable development (HLPF) – the central UN platform for the follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, as adopted at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit on 25 September 2015.
To accelerate efforts in reaching Sustainable Development, IFBPW advocates the following strategies and actions, in accordance with the IFBPW Jeju Declaration as agreed at the Twenty Eighth BPW International Congress, in Jeju, Republic of Korea, 23-27 May 2014 to achieve women’s empowerment around the world and at all levels:
- We advocate for the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) without “reservations” and invite other countries to be implemented as the pillars supporting and sustaining our efforts to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation
- We recommend that all curricula should be re-considered in order to eliminate all gender stereotypes. Furthermore, a module on gender equality should be added to all curricula used in formal, informal, vocational training, adult education and in-service – training programs.
- We advocate for the measures to promote lifelong education and training for girls and women.
- We advocate for the measures to improve women’s access to vocational training, science and technology and continuing education, developing non-discriminatory education and training allocating sufficient resources for and monitoring the implementation of educational reforms.
- We advocate for the measures to consider women as a key partner in the inclusive and sustainable industrial development in line with SDG goal 9 (UNIDO).
- We advocate for the measures to eradicate illiteracy among women.
- We advocate for the measures to ensure equal access to education
- We support the Programs for Recognition of Non-formal and Informal Learning (RENFIL) and coordinate with the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) on this.
- We support or/and are in full accordance with UNESCO’ actions and partnerships in matters of education through its Joint programme (with UN Women, UNFPA, the World Bank) « Empowering adolescent girls and women through education » (2015) and its Promise to deliver on Gender Equality through its Gender Equality Action Plans GEAPI 2008-2013 and GEAPII 2014-2021.
- Encourage Governments to provide quality education and equal access and participation in science and technology for women of all ages are not only imperative for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women – they are also an economic necessity, providing women with the knowledge and understanding necessary for lifelong learning, employment, better physical and mental health, and sustainable development as well as full participation in social, economic and political development.
- Encourage Governments to create conditions and to provide equal employment in the formal economy, equal gender pay, pension, poverty alleviation strategies, accessible and affordable care, social and health services, generous maternity leave benefits, and child care;
- We express our deep concerns that pay equity could so far not be achieved, as to date there is no country in the world where women receive equal pay for work of equal value. In 2008, the first Equal Pay Day has been organized in Germany inspired by the Red Purse Campaign in the United States of America to raise awareness on the matter, and in 2009, IFBPW launched a global Equal Pay Day campaign. We continue to highlight both the fact of unequal pay and related root causes.
- We promote the UN Women and UN Global Compact Initiative Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) by companies and the government itself as employer. And this to include preventing violence and sexual harassment of women in the work place or signaling possible domestic abuse.
- We advocate for the implementation of the ILO Decent Work Agenda and initiatives derived from that, with gender equality as a cross-cutting objective and adoption of the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs/Equality Means Business) by the companies involved to create a safe garment industry with living wages and equal treatment for all.
- Encourage Governments to accede or approve the UN Convention on Consent to Marriage, Minimum Age for Marriage and Registration of Marriages which was open for signature pursuant to resolution 1763 (XVII), as adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on November, 1962.
- We advocate that the legal age for marriage for girls and boys be 18 years, the only exception being cases where the age of sexual consent is 16 years (a girl over 16 years who is pregnant or has given birth may marry with parental consent or the approval of a competent authority).
- We advocate for the legal measures to prohibit underage and forced marriages.
- We promote the measures to protect women harmed by polygamy and dowry-related violence.
- We recognize labor market segregation, missing care infrastructures as well as unpaid care and domestic work as major root causes for unequal pay and call upon Governments for appropriate actions at national level.
- We advocate for the legal and affirmative measures and governmental subsidies to improve child and elderly care systems and provide parental leave benefits.
- Encourage Governments to eliminate occupational segregation and provide harmonization among business and private lives for women and men.
- We advocate for and enforce gender balance on boards of governments, and private and public corporations.
- We advocate for the legal and affirmative measures and governmental subsidies to provide gender balance in all decision-making positions.
- Encourage Governments to advocate for and enforce gender balance on boards of governments and private and public corporations alike in order to implement at country or regional level appropriate and binding measures to increase the number of women on boards in decision-making positions by 2020.
- We advocate for the measures for providing all sexual and reproductive healthcare services, including emergency obstetric services and skilled attendance at delivery, safe and effective contraception, services for the complications of unsafe abortion, and safe abortion where such services are permitted by national law, prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted infections and HIV/AIDS.
- Encourage Governments to take all legal measures for reducing maternal mortality and achieving universal access to reproductive health within and across countries.
- We advocate the measures to start gender-responsive procedures in their disaster preparedness and post-disaster management.
- We advocate for the measures to enhance gender equality in the decision-making process surrounding disasters.
- We advocate for the measures to achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all.
- We advocate for the measures to expand infrastructure and upgrade technology for supplying modern and sustainable energy services.
- We advocate for the measures to enhance international cooperation to facilitate access to clean energy research and technology, including renewable energy, energy efficiency and advanced and cleaner fossil-fuel technology, and promote investment in energy infrastructure and clean energy technology.
- We advocate for the measures to increase substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix.
- We advocate for the measures to ensure universal access to affordable, reliable and modern energy services for all.
- Reaffirm the need for Governments’ commitment to take appropriate action guaranteeing women the right to ownership for all forms of property as an important step to achieve gender equality and economic empowerment.
- Encourage Governments to adopt the necessary legislations, executive, administrative and other regulatory instruments, policies and practices for gender sensitive allocation and /or reallocation of resources.
- Encourage Goverments to design and implement gender sensitive laws, policies and programs because indirect discrimination against women may occur when laws, policies and programs are based on seemingly gender neutral criteria which in their actual effect have a detrimental impact on women. Gender-neutral laws, policies and programs unintentionally may perpetuate the consequences of past discrimination. They may be inadvertently modeled on male lifestyles and thus fail to take into account aspects of women’s life experiences which may differ from those of men based on stereotypical expectations.
- We note that different countries adopt different terminology, including affirmative action, positive action, positive measures and positive discrimination as a strategy to accelerate the achievement of a concrete goal of gender equality. CEDAW has specific provisions justifying affirmative Action (In Article 4 paragraph 1 and General Recommendation 23, paras 7 and 15, 1997);
- We support affirmative action (temporary special) measures which are adopted by legislations, executive, administrative and other regulatory instruments, policies and practices, such as outreach or support programs; allocation and /or reallocation of resources; preferential treatment; targeted recruitment, hiring and promotion; numerical goals connected with time frames; and quota systems, that provide more female role models and improve awareness of the issues. They provide a guarantee of more gender balanced policy-making at all levels;
- We support gender/ sex-disaggregated data and gender sensitive information collection;
- We support the application of gender budgeting in the budgetary process at all levels and the balancing of revenues and expenditures in order to promote gender equality.
- Encourage Governments to take measures to increase the amount of corporate, government and institutional procurement secured by women vendors for the ultimate purpose of bringing economic benefit to women and their communities.
- We promote Principle: 5 of Women’s Empowerment Principles which focuses on implementing enterprise development, supply chain and marketing practices that empower women (http://weprinciples.org/Site);
- We support the Global Platform for Action on Sourcing from Women Vendors which was initiated by the International Trade Center in September 2010 to increase the amount of corporate, government and institutional procurement secured by women vendors for the ultimate purpose of bringing economic benefit to women and their communities (http://www.intracen.org/itc/projects/women-and-trade/the-global-platform-for-action-on-sourcing-from-women-vendors/).
The International Federation of Business and Professional Women trusts that a program such as that outlined above, undertaken with the concerted efforts of all stakeholders, including public/private partnerships, will help the world achieve and extend into contemporary times the full implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals as defined under the topic of
Dr. Arzu Ozyol
IFBPW Vice-President, United Nations
Chair UN Committee on the Status of Women