International Women’s Day: 50-50 by 2030
Today (8 March) is International Women’s Day (#IWD2017) and the UN’s chosen theme for this year focusses on ‘Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030’. This theme chimes well with the values of the TUC and our sister trade unions around the world who will be joining the global union call to ‘Step It Up for Gender Equality’.
2030 is the year that has been set for the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the successor arrangement to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) that were in place between 2000 -2015. The final MDG Report found that the 15-year effort produced the most successful anti-poverty movement in history.
The SDGs put gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The goals, include ending poverty, promoting inclusive and sustainable economic growth, reducing inequalities within and between countries, and decent work for all.
They rest upon unlocking the full potential of women in the world of work. According to the United Nations, only 50% of working age women are represented in the labour force globally, compared to 76% of men. What’s more, an overwhelming majority of women are in the informal economy, subsidising care and domestic work, and concentrated in lower-paid, lower-skill occupations with little or no social protection. Achieving gender equality in the world of work is imperative for sustainable development.
Global trade unions are at the heart of campaigning for women’s equality in and around the workplace, including securing high quality, decent work for women, an end to the gender wage gap, which according to the UN currently stands at 23 per cent globally, and an end to violence and discrimination. The ITUC is calling for the guarantee and respect of women’s rights at work, in the home and in our communities. ITUC General Secretary, Sharan Burrow, says:
“There can be no rolling back on women’s rights. We demand a pay rise. We demand investment in the care economy. We demand an ILO Convention to end violence and harassment”.
Along with the global trade union movement, the TUC continues to campaign for the rights of all women and to coincide with #IWD2017, today is also the first day of the annual TUC Women’s Conference and there will be motions put forward on equal pay legislation, the gender pay gap, a fair deal for women in the new world of work, working conditions, and violence against women.
International Women’s Day is an opportunity to focus the spotlight on women’s rights and to call on those responsible to make sure mechanisms are firmly in place to achieve the universal goal of achieving gender equality and empowerment for women by 2030.