Political declaration a huge disappointment

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by Elizabeth Dandy, Canadian Union of Public Employees with the Canadian Labour Congress delegation


Unions marched with thousands of women and NGOs on International Women's Day 2015 in NYC, kicking off the 59th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW59), and celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action on women's equality and human rights.

In an interview by the CBC, Barb Byers, Secretary-Treasurer of the Canadian Labour Congress, called upon governments to ensure decent work for all women.

20 years after the adoption of the Beijing Declaration, there has been little progress on implementation. 

The Political Declaration adopted today by the Commission is a huge disappointment for women internationally, with vague commitments for action.

Globally, women earn on average 77 per cent of what men earn.  35 per cent of all women are victims of physical and/or sexual violence that affects their attendance at work. More than 800 million women workers globally, or 41 per cent of all women, still don’t have adequate maternity protection. Women are overrepresented in low-wage jobs across the world.  (See ILO, Women and the Future of Work)

The trade union delegation will lobby governments at UNCSW59 to commit to specific concrete action on these issues.