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Report of the World Conference to Review and Appraise the Achievements of the
United Nations Decade for Women:
Equality, Development and Peace
Nairobi, 15-26 July 1985
IV. Areas of Special Concern
V. International and Regional
The Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women
Adopted by the World Conference to review and appraise the achievements of the United
Nations Decade for Women: Equality, Development and Peace, held in Nairobi, Kenya, 15-26
A. Historical Background
1. The founding of the United Nations after the victory in the Second World War and the
emergence of independent States following decolonization were some of the important events
in the political, economic and social liberation of women. The International Women's Year,
the World Conferences held at Mexico City in 1975 and Copenhagen in 1980, and the United
Nations Decade for Women: Equality, Development and Peace contributed greatly to the
process of eliminating obstacles to the improvement of the status of women at the
national, regional and international levels. In the early 1970s, efforts to end
discrimination against women and to ensure their equal participation in society provided
the impetus for most initiatives taken at all of those levels. Those efforts were also
inspired by the awareness that women's reproductive and productive roles were closely
linked to the political, economic, social, cultural, legal, educational and religious
conditions that constrained the advancement of women and that factors intensifying the
economic exploitation, marginalization and oppression of women stemmed from chronic
inequalities, injustices and exploitative conditions at the family, community, national,
subregional, regional and international levels.
2. In 1972, the General Assembly, in its resolution 3010 (XXVII), proclaimed 1975
International Women's Year, to be devoted to intensified action to promote equality
between men and women, to ensure the full integration of women in the total development
effort and to increase women's contribution to the strengthening of world peace. The World
Plan of Action for the Implementation of the Objectives of the International Women's Year,
1/ adopted by the World Conference of the International Women's Year at Mexico City in
1975, was endorsed by the General Assembly in its resolution 3520 (XXX). The General
Assembly, in that resolution, proclaimed 1976-1985 the United Nations Decade for Women:
Equality, Development and Peace. In its resolution 33/185, the General Assembly decided
upon the sub-theme "Employment, Health and Education" for the World Conference
of the United Nations Decade for Women: Equality, Development and Peace, to be held at
Copenhagen to review and evaluate the progress made in the first half of the Decade.
3. In 1980, at the mid-point of the Decade, the Copenhagen World Conference adopted the
Programme of Action for the Second Half of the United Nations Decade for Women: Equality,
Development and Peace, 2/ which further elaborated on the existing obstacles and on the
existing international consensus on measures to be taken for the advancement of women. The
Programme of Action was endorsed by the General Assembly that year in its resolution
4. Also in 1980, the General Assembly, in its resolution 35/56, adopted the
International Development Strategy for the Third United Nations Development Decade and
reaffirmed the recommendations of the Copenhagen World Conference (General Assembly
resolution 35/56, annex, para. 51). In the Strategy, the importance of the participation
of women in the development process, as both agents and beneficiaries, was stressed. Also,
the Strategy called for appropriate measures to be taken in order to bring about profound
social and economic changes and to eliminate the structural imbalances that compounded and
perpetuated women's disadvantages in society.
5. The strategies contained in the World Plan of Action and in the Programme of Action
were important contributions towards enlarging the perspective for the future of women. In
most areas, however, further action is required. In this connection the General Assembly
confirmed the goals and objectives of the Decade - equality, development and peace -
stressed their validity for the future and indicated the need for concrete measures to
overcome the obstacles to their achievement during the period 1986-2000.
6. The Forward-looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women during the Period from
1986 to the Year 2000 set forth in the present document present concrete measures to
overcome the obstacles to the Decade's goals and objectives for the advancement of women.
Building on principles of equality also espoused in the Charter of the United Nations, the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 3/ the International Covenant on Civil and
Political Rights, 4/ the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,
5/ the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, 6/ and
the Declaration on the Participation of Women in Promoting International Peace and
Co-operation, 7/ the Forward-looking Strategies reaffirm the international concern
regarding the status of women and provide a framework for renewed commitment by the
international community to the advancement of women and the elimination of gender-based
discrimination. The efforts for the integration of women in the development process should
be strengthened and should take into account the objectives of a new international
economic order and the International Development Strategy for the Third United Nations
7. The Nairobi World Conference is taking place at a critical moment for the developing
countries. Ten years ago, when the Decade was launched, there was hope that accelerated
economic growth, sustained by growing international trade, financial flow and
technological developments, would allow the increased participation of women in the
economic and social development of those countries. These hopes have been belied owing to
the persistence and, in some cases, the aggravation of an economic crisis in the
developing countries, which has been an important obstacle that endangers not only the
pursuance of new programmes in support of women but also the maintenance of those that
were already under way.
8. The critical international economic situation since the end of the 1970s has
particularly adversely affected developing countries and, most acutely, the women of those
countries. The overall picture for the developing countries, particularly the least
developed countries, the drought-stricken and famine-stricken areas of Africa, the
debt-ridden countries and the low-income countries, has reached a critical point as a
result of structural imbalances and the continuing critical international economic
situation. The situation calls for an increased commitment to improving and promoting
national policies and multilateral co-operation for development in support of national
programmes, bearing in mind that each country is responsible for its own development
policy. The gap between the developed and developing countries, particularly the least
developed among them, instead of narrowing, is widening further. In order to stem such
negative trends and mitigate the current difficulties of the developing countries, which
affect women the most, one of the primary tasks of the international community is to
pursue with all vigour the efforts directed towards the establishment of a New
International Economic Order founded on equity, sovereign equality, interdependence and
B. Substantive background of the Forward-looking Strategies [ Up ]
9. The three objectives of the Decade - equality, development and peace - are broad,
interrelated and mutually reinforcing, so that the achievement of one contributes to the
achievement of another.
10. The Copenhagen World Conference interpreted equality as meaning not only legal
equality, the elimination of de jure discrimination, but also equality of rights,
responsibilities and opportunities for the participation of women in development, both as
beneficiaries and as active agents.
11. Equality is both a goal and a means whereby individuals are accorded equal
treatment under the law and equal opportunities to enjoy their rights and to develop their
potential talents and skills so that they can participate in national political, economic,
social and cultural development and can benefit from its results. For women in particular,
equality means the realization of rights that have been denied as a result of cultural,
institutional, behaviourial and attitudinal discrimination. Equality is important for
development and peace because national and global inequities perpetuate themselves and
increase tensions of all types.
12. The role of women in development is directly related to the goal of comprehensive
social and economic development and is fundamental to the development of all societies.
Development means total development, including development in the political, economic,
social, cultural and other dimensions of human life, as well as the development of the
economic and other material resources and the physical, moral, intellectual and cultural
growth of human beings. It should be conducive to providing women, particularly those who
are poor or destitute, with the necessary means for increasingly claiming, achieving,
enjoying and utilizing equality of opportunity. More directly, the increasingly successful
participation of each woman in societal activities as a legally independent agent will
contribute to further recognition in practice of her right to equality. Development also
requires a moral dimension to ensure that it is just and responsive to the needs and
rights of the individual and that science and technology are applied within a social and
economic framework that ensures environmental safety for all life forms on our planet.
13. The full and effective promotion of women's rights can best occur in conditions of
international peace and security where relations among States are based on the respect for
the legitimate rights of all nations, great and small, and peoples to self-determination,
independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and the right to live in peace within
their national borders.
Peace depends on the prevention of the use or threat of the use of force, aggression,
military occupation, interference in the internal affairs of others, the elimination of
domination, discrimination, oppression and exploitation, as well as of gross and mass
violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms.
Peace includes not only the absence of war, violence and hostilities at the national and
international levels but also the enjoyment of economic and social justice, equality and
the entire range of human rights and fundamental freedoms within society. It depends upon
respect for the Charter of the United Nations and the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights, as well as international covenants and the other relevant international
instruments on human rights, upon mutual co-operation and understanding among all States
irrespective of their social political and economic systems and upon the effective
implementation by States of the fundamental human rights standards to which their citizens
are entitled. It also embraces the whole range of actions reflected in concerns for
security and implicit assumptions of trust between nations, social groups and individuals.
It represents goodwill toward others and promotes respect for life while protecting
freedom, human rights and the dignity of peoples and of individuals. Peace cannot be
realized under conditions of economic and sexual inequality, denial of basic human rights
and fundamental freedoms, deliberate exploitation of large sectors of the population,
unequal development of countries, and exploitative economic relations. Without peace and
stability there can be no development. Peace and development are interrelated and mutually
In this respect special attention is drawn to the final document of the tenth special
session of the General Assembly, the first special session devoted to disarmament
encompassing all measures thought to be advisable in order to ensure that the goal of
general and complete disarmament under effective international control is realized. This
document describes a comprehensive programme of disarmament, including nuclear
disarmament, which is important not only for peace but also for the promotion of the
economic and social development of all, particularly in the developing countries, through
the constructive use of the enormous amount of material and human resources otherwise
expended on the arms race.
Peace is promoted by equality of the sexes, economic equality and the universal enjoyment
of basic human rights and fundamental freedoms. Its enjoyment by all requires that women
be enabled to exercise their right to participate on an equal footing with men in all
spheres of the political, economic and social life of their respective countries,
particularly in the decision-making process, while exercising their right to freedom of
opinion, expression, information and association in the promotion of international peace
14. The effective participation of women in development and in the strengthening of
peace, as well as the promotion of the equality of women and men, require concerted
multi-dimensional strategies and measures that should be people-oriented. Such strategies
and measures will require continual upgrading and the productive utilization of human
resources with a view to promoting equality and producing sustained, endogenous
development of societies and groups of individuals.
15. The three goals of the Decade - equality, development and peace - are inextricably
linked to the three sub-themes - employment, health and education. They constitute the
concrete basis on which equality, development and peace rest. The enhancement of women's
equal participation in development and peace requires the development of human resources,
recognition by society of the need to improve women's status, and the participation of all
in the restructuring of society. It involves, in particular, building a participatory
human infrastructure to permit the mobilization of women at all levels, within different
spheres and sectors. To achieve optimum development of human and material resources,
women's strengths and capabilities, including their great contribution to the welfare of
families and to the development of society, must be fully acknowledged and valued. The
attainment of the goals and objectives of the Decade requires a sharing of this
responsibility by men and women and by society as a whole and requires that women play a
central role as intellectuals, policy-makers, decision-makers, planners, and contributors
and beneficiaries of development.
16. The need for women's perspective on human development is critical since it is in
the interest of human enrichment and progress to introduce and weave into the social
fabric women's concept of equality, their choices between alternative development
strategies and their approach to peace, in accordance with their aspirations, interests
and talents. These things are not only desirable in themselves but are also essential for
the attainment of the goals and objectives of the Decade.
17. The review and appraisal of progress achieved and obstacles encountered at the
national level in the realization of the goals and objectives of the United Nations Decade
for Women: Equality, Development and Peace (see A/CONF.116/5 and Add.1-14) identifies
various levels of experience. Despite the considerable progress achieved and the
increasing participation of women in society, the Decade has only partially attained its
goals and objectives. Although the earlier years of the Decade were characterized by
relatively favourable economic conditions in both the developed and developing countries,
deteriorating economic conditions have slowed efforts directed towards promoting the equal
participation of women in society and have given rise to new problems. With regard to
development, there are indications that in some cases, although the participation of women
is increasing, their benefits are not increasing proportionately.
18. Many of the obstacles discussed in the Forward-looking Strategies were identified
in the review and appraisal (see A/CONF.116/5 and Add.1-14). The overwhelming obstacles to
the advancement of women are in practice caused by varying combinations of political and
economic as well as social and cultural factors. Furthermore, the social and cultural
obstacles are sometimes aggravated by political and economic factors such as the critical
international economic situation and the consequent adjustment programmes, which in
general entail a high social cost. In this context, the economic constraints due in part
to the prevailing macro-economic factors have contributed to the aggravation of economic
conditions at the national level. Moreover, the devaluation of women's productive and
reproductive roles, as a result of which the status of women continued to be regarded as
secondary to that of men, and the low priority assigned to promoting the participation of
women in development are historical factors that limit women's access to employment,
health and education, as well as to other sectoral resources, and to the effective
integration of women in the decision-making process. Regardless of gains, the structural
constraints imposed by a socio-economic framework in which women are second-class persons
still limit progress. Despite changes in some countries to promote equity in all spheres
of life, the "double burden" for women of having the major responsibility for
domestic tasks and of participating in the labour force remains. For example, several
countries in both the developed and developing world identify as a major obstacle the lack
of adequate supportive services for working women.
19. According to responses from the developing countries, particularly the least
developed, to the United Nations questionnaire to Governments (see A/C0NF.116/5 and
Add.1-14), poverty is on the increase in some countries and constitutes another major
obstacle to the advancement of women. The exigencies created by problems of mass poverty,
compounded by scarce national resources, have compelled Governments to concentrate on
alleviating the poverty of both women and men rather than on equality issues for women. At
the same time, because women's secondary position increases their vulnerability to
marginalization, those belonging to the lowest socio-economic strata are likely to be the
poorest of the poor and should be given priority. Women are an essential productive force
in all economies; therefore it is particularly important in times of economic recession
that programmes and measures designed to raise the status of women should not be relaxed
but rather intensified.
20. To economic problems, with their attendant social and cultural implications, must
be added the threat to international peace and security resulting from violations of the
principles of the United Nations Charter. This situation, affecting inter alia the lives
of women, constitutes a most serious obstacle to development and thus hinders the
fulfilment of the Forward-looking Strategies.
21. What is now needed is the political will to promote development in such a way that
the strategy for the advancement of women seeks first and foremost to alter the current
unequal conditions and structures that continue to define women as secondary persons and
give women's issues a low priority. Development should now move to another plane in which
women's pivotal role in society is recognized and given its true value. That will allow
women to assume their legitimate and core positions in the strategies for effecting the
changes necessary to promote and sustain development.
C. Current trends and perspectives to the year 2000 [ Up ]
22. In the absence of major structural changes or technological breakthroughs, it can
be predicted that up to the year 2000 recent trends will, for the most part, be extended
and adjusted. The situation of women, as it evolves during the period 1986-2000, will also
cause other changes, establishing a process of cause and effect of great complexity.
Changes in women's material conditions, consciousness and aspirations, as well as societal
attitudes towards women, are themselves social and cultural processes having major
implications and a profound influence on institutions such as the family. Women's
advancement has achieved a certain momentum that will be affected by the social and
economic changes of the next 15 years, but it will also continue to exist as a force to be
reckoned with. Internal processes will exercise a major influence in the economic sphere,
but the state of the global economic system and of the political, social, cultural,
demographic and communication processes directly affected by it will invariably have a
more profound impact on the advancement of women.
23. At the beginning of the Decade there was an optimistic outlook for development, but
during the early 1980s the world economy experienced a widespread recession due, inter
alia, to sharp inflationary pressures that affected regions and some groups of countries,
irrespective of their level of development or economic structure. During the same period,
however, the countries with centrally planned economies as a group experienced stable
economic growth. The developed market economy countries also experienced growth after the
Despite the recovery in the developed market economy countries which is being felt in the
world economy, the immediate outlook for recovery in developing countries, especially in
the low-income and the least developed countries, remains bleak, particularly in view of
their enormous public and private external debts and the cost of servicing that debt,
which are an evident manifestation of this critical situation. This heavy burden has
serious political, economic and social consequences for them. No lasting recovery can be
achieved without rectifying the structural imbalances in the context of the critical
international economic situation and without continued efforts towards the establishment
of a new international economic order. The present situation clearly has serious
repercussions for the status of women, particularly underprivileged women, and for human
Women, subject to compound discrimination on the basis of race, colour, ethnicity and
national origin, in addition to sex, could be even more adversely affected by
deteriorating economic conditions.
24. If current trends continue, the prospects for the developing world, particularly
the low-income and least developed countries, will be sombre. The overall growth in the
developing countries as currently projected will be lower in the period 1980-2000 than
that experienced in the period 1960-1980. In order to redress this outlook and thereby
promote the advancement of women, policies should be reoriented and reinforced to promote
world trade, in particular so as to promote market access for the exports of developing
countries. Similarly, policies should be pursued in other areas which would also promote
growth and development in developing countries, for example, in respect of further
lowering interest rates and pursuit of non-inflationary growth policies.
25. It is feared that, if there is slow growth in the world economy, there will
inevitably be negative implications for women since, as a result of diminished resources,
action to combat women's low position, in particular, their high rates of illiteracy, low
levels of education, discrimination in employment, their unrecognized contribution to the
economy and their special health needs, may be postponed. A pattern of development
promoting just and equitable growth on the basis of justice and equality in international
economic relations could make possible the attainment of the goals and objectives of the
International Development Strategy, which could make a significant improvement in the
status of women while enhancing women's effective contribution to development and peace.
Such a pattern of development has its own internal dynamics that would facilitate an
equitable distribution of resources and is conducive to promoting sustained, endogenous
development, which will reduce dependence.
26. It is very important that the efforts to promote the economic and social status of
women should rely in particular on the development strategies that stem from the goals and
objectives of the International Development Strategy and the principles of a new
international economic order. These principles include, inter alia, self-reliance,
collective self-reliance, the activation of indigenous human and material resources. The
restructuring of the world economy, viewed on a long-term basis, is to the benefit of all
people - women and men of all countries.
27. According to estimates and projections of the International Labour Office, women
constitute 35 per cent of the world's labour force, and this figure is likely to increase
steadily to the year 2000. Unless profound and extensive changes are made, the type of
work available to the majority of women, as well as the rewards, will continue to be low.
Women's employment is likely to be concentrated in areas requiring lower skills and lower
wages and minimum job security. While women's total input of labour in the formal and
informal sector will surpass that of men by the year 2000, they will receive an unequal
share of the world's assets and income. According to recent estimates, it seems that women
have sole responsibility for the economic support of a large number of the world's
children, approximately one third and higher in sone countries, and the numbers seem to be
rising. Forward-looking strategies must be progressive, equitable and designed to support
effectively women's roles and responsibilities as they evolve up to the year 2000. It will
continue to be necessary to take specific measures to prevent discrimination and
exploitation of their economic contribution at national and international levels.
28. During the period from 1986 to the year 2000, changes in the natural environment
will be critical for women. One area of change is that of the role of women as
intermediaries between the natural environment and society with respect to
agro-ecosystems, as well as the provision of safe water and fuel supplies and the closely
associated question of sanitation. The problem will continue to be greatest where water
resources are limited - in arid and semi-arid areas - and in areas experiencing increasing
demographic pressure. In a general manner, an improvement in the situation of women could
bring about a reduction in mortality and morbidity as well as better regulation of
fertility and hence of population growth, which would be beneficial for the environment
and, ultimately, for women, children and men.
29. 7a/ The issues of fertility rates and population growth should be treated in
a context that permits women to exercise effectively their rights in matters pertaining to
population concerns, including the basic right to control their own fertility which forms
an important basis for the enjoyment of other rights, as stated in the report of the
International Population Conference held at Mexico City in 1984. 8/
30. It is expected that the ever-expanding communications network will be better
attuned than before to the concerns of women and that planners in this field will provide
increasing information on the objectives of the Decade - equality, development and peace -
on the Forward-looking Strategies, and on the issues included in the subtheme -
employment, health and education. All channels, including computers, formal and non-formal
education and the media, as well as traditional mechanisms of communication involving the
cultural media of ritual, drama, dialogue, oral literature and music, should be used.
31. Political and governmental factors that are likely to affect prospects for the
achievement of progress by women during the period 1986-2000 will depend in large measure
upon the existence or absence of peace. If widespread international tensions continue,
with threats not only of nuclear catastrophe but also of localized conventional warfare,
then the attention of policy-makers will be diverted from tasks directly and indirectly
relevant to the advancement of women and men, and vast resources will be further applied
to military and related activities. This should be avoided and these resources should be
directed to the improvement of humanity.
32. To promote their interests effectively, women must be able to enjoy their right to
take part in national and international decision-making processes, including the right to
dissent publicly and peacefully from their Government's policies, and to mobilize to
increase their participation in the promotion of peace within and between nations.
33. There is no doubt that, unless major measures are taken, numerous obstacles will
continue to exist which retard the participation of women in political life, in the
formulation of policies that affect them and in the formulation of national women's
policies. Success will depend in large measure upon whether or not women can unite to help
each other to change their poor material circumstances and secondary status and to obtain
the time, energy and experience required to participate in political life. At the same
time, improvements in health and educational status, legal and constitutional provisions
and networking will increase the effectiveness of the political action taken by women so
that they can obtain a much greater share in political decision-making than before.
34. In some countries and in some areas, women have made significant advances, but
overall progress has been modest during the Decade, as is evident from the review and
appraisal. During this period, women's consciousness and expectations have been raised,
and it is important that this momentum should not be lost, regardless of the poor
performance of the world economy. The changes occurring in the family, in women's roles
and in relationships between women and men may present new challenges requiring new
perspectives, strategies and measures. At the same time, it will be necessary to build
alliances and solidarity groups across sexual lines in an attempt to overcome structural
obstacles to the advancement of women.
35. 8a/ The World Plan of Action for the Implementation of the objectives of the
International Women's Year, 1/ the Declaration of Mexico on the Equality of Women and
their Contribution to Development and Peace, 1975, 9/ regional plans of action, the
Programme of Action for the Second half of the United Nations Decade for Women: Equality,
Development and Peace, 2/ and the sub-theme - employment, health and education - the
Declaration on the Participation of Women in Promoting International Peace and
Co-operation 7/ and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination
against Women 6/ remain valid and therefore constitute the basis for the strategies and
concrete measures to be pursued up to the year 2000. The continuing relevance of the goals
of the United Nations Decade for Women: Equality, Development and Peace - and of its
sub-theme - health, education and employment - should be stressed, as should the
implementation of the relevant recommendations of the 1975 Plan of Action and the 1980
Programme of Action, so as to ensure the complete integration of women in the development
process and the effective realization of the objectives of the Decade. The challenge now
is for the international community to ensure that the achievements of the Decade become
strong building blocks for development and to promote equality and peace, especially for
the sake of future generations of women. The obstacles of the next 15 years must be met
through concerted global, regional and national efforts. By the year 2000 illiteracy
should have been eliminated, life expectancy for all women increased to at least 65 years
of good quality life and opportunities for self-supporting employment made available.
Above all, laws guaranteeing equality for women in all spheres of life must by then be
fully and comprehensively implemented to ensure a truly equitable socio-economic framework
within which real development can take place. Forward-looking Strategies for the
advancement of women at the regional level should be based on a clear assessment of
demographic trends and development forecasts that provide a realistic context for their
36. The Forward-looking Strategies and multidimensional measures must be pursued within
the framework of a just international society in which equitable economic relations will
allow the closing of the gap that separates the industrialized countries from the
developing countries. In this regard, all countries are called upon to show their
commitment as was decided in General Assembly resolution 34/138 and, therefore, to
continue informal consultations on the launching of global negotiations, as decided by the
General Assembly in decision 39/454.
D. Basic approach to the formulation of the Forward-looking Strategies
[ Up ]
37. It is necessary to reiterate the unity, inseparability and interdependence of the
objectives of the Decade - equality, development and peace - as regards the advancement of
women and their full integration in economic, political, social and cultural development,
for which purpose the objectives should remain in effect in the operational strategies for
the advancement of women to the year 2000.
38. The Forward-looking Strategies are intended to provide a practical and effective
guide for global action on a long-term basis and within the context of the broader goals
and objectives of a new international economic order. Measures are designed for immediate
action, with monitoring and evaluation occurring every five years, depending on the
decision of the General Assembly. Since countries are at various stages of development,
they should have the option to set their own priorities based on their own development
policies and resource capabilities. What may be possible for immediate action in one
country may require more long-range planning in another, and even more so in respect of
countries which are still under colonialism, domination and foreign occupation. The exact
methods and procedures of implementing measures will depend upon the nature of the
political process and the administrative capabilities of each country.
39. Some measures are intended to affect women and others directly and are designed to
make the societal context less obstructive and more supportive of their progress. These
measures would include the elimination of sex-based stereotyping, which is at the root of
continuing discrimination. Measures to improve the situation of women are bound to have a
ripple effect in society, since the advancement of women is without doubt a pre-condition
for the establishment of a humane and Progressive society.
40. The feasibility of policies, programs and projects concerning women will be
affected not only by their numbers and socio-economic heterogeneity but also by the
different life-styles of women and by the constant changes in their life cycle.
41. The Forward-looking Strategies not only suggest measures for overcoming obstacles
that are fundamental and operational, but also identify those that are emerging. Thus, the
strategies and measures presented are intended to serve as guidelines for a process of
continuous adaptation to diverse and changing national situations at speeds and nodes
determined by overall national priorities, within which the integration of women in
development should rank high. The Forward-looking Strategies, acknowledging existing and
potential obstacles, include separate basic strategies for the achievement of equality,
development and peace. In line with the recommendations of the commission on the Status of
Women, acting as the Preparatory Body for the Conference at its second session, particular
attention is given to "especially vulnerable and underprivileged groups of women,
such as rural and urban poor women; women in areas affected by armed conflicts, foreign
intervention and international threats to peace; elderly women; young women; abused women;
destitute women; women victims of trafficking and women in involuntary prostitution; women
deprived of their traditional means of livelihood; women who are sole supporters of
families; physically and mentally disabled women; women in detention; refugee and
displaced women; migrant women; minority women; and indigenous women". 10/
42. Although addressed primarily to Governments, international and regional
organizations, and non-governmental organizations, an appeal is made to all women and men
in a spirit of solidarity. In particular, it is addressed to those women and men who now
enjoy certain improvements in their material circumstances and who have achieved positions
where they may influence policy-making, development priorities and public opinion to
change the current inferior and exploited condition of the majority of women ln order to
serve the goals of equality for all women, their full participation in development, and
the achievement and strengthening of peace.
43. One of the objectives of the Decade entails the full observance of the equal rights
of women and the elimination of de jure and de facto discrimination. This is a critical
first step towards human resource development. In developing countries inequality is, to a
great extent, the result of underdevelopment and its various manifestations, which in turn
are aggravated by the unjust distribution of the benefits of the international economy.
The United Nations systems, particularly the Commission on the Status of Women, has worked
for four decades to establish international standards and to identify and propose measures
to prevent discrimination on the basis of sex. Although much progress has been made in
legislation, measures are necessary for effective implementation and enforcement.
Legislative enactment is only one element in the struggle for equality, but an essential
one as it provides the legitimate basis for action and acts as a catalyst for societal
44. 10a/ The inequality of women in most countries stems to a very large extent
from mass poverty and the general backwardness of the majority of the world's population
caused by underdevelopment, which is a product of imperialism, colonialism,
neo-colonialism, apartheid, racism, racial discrimination and of unjust international
economic relations. The unfavourable status of women is aggravated in many countries,
developed and underdeveloped, by de facto discrimination on the grounds of sex.
45. One of the fundamental obstacles to women's equality is that de facto
discrimination and inequality in the status of women and men derive from larger social,
economic, political and cultural factors that have been justified on the basis of
physiological differences. Although there is no physiological basis for regarding the
household and family as essentially the domain of women, for the devaluation of domestic
work and for regarding the capacities of women as inferior to those of men, the belief
that such a basis exists perpetuates inequality and inhibits the structural and
attitudinal changes necessary to eliminate such inequality.
46. Women, by virtue of their gender, experience discrimination in terms of denial of
equal access to the power structure that controls society and determines development
issues and peace initiatives. Additional differences, such as race, colour and ethnicity,
may have even more serious implications in some countries, since such factors can be used
as justification for compound discrimination.
47. Fundamental resistance creates obstacles, which have wide-ranging implications for
the objectives of the Decade. Discrimination promotes an uneconomic use of women's talents
and wastes the valuable human resources necessary for development and for the
strengthening of peace. Ultimately, society is the loser if the talents of women are
under-utilized as a result of discrimination.
48. The sharp contrasts between legislative changes and effective implementation of
these changes are a major obstacle to the full participation of women in society. De facto
and indirect discrimination, particularly by reference to marital or family status, often
persists despite legislative action. The law as a recourse does not automatically benefit
all women equally, owing to the socio-economic inequalities determining women's knowledge
of and access to the law, as well as their ability to exercise their full legal rights
without fear of recrimination or intimidation. The lack or inadequacy of the dissemination
of information on women's rights and the available recourse to justice has hampered, in
many instances, the achievement of expected results.
49. Some legislative changes are made without a thorough understanding of the
relationship between existing legal systems. In practice, however, certain aspects of the
law - for instance, customary provisions - may be in operation in societies with multiple
and conflicting legal systems. Emerging and potential obstacles resulting from possible
contradictions should be anticipated so that preventive measures can be taken. When
passing new legislation, whatever its subject-matter, all possible care should be taken to
ensure that it implies no direct or indirect discrimination so that women's right to
equality is fully respected in law.
50. In some countries, discriminatory legislative provisions in the social, economic
and political spheres still exist, including civil, penal and commercial codes and certain
administrative rules and regulations. Civil codes in some instances have not yet been
adequately studied to determine action for repealing those laws that still discriminate
against women and for determining, on the basis of equality, the legal capacity and status
of women, married women in particular, in terms of nationality, inheritance, ownership and
control of property, freedom of movement and the custody and nationality of children.
Above all, there is still a deeply rooted resistance on the part of conservative elements
in society to the change in attitude necessary for a total ban on discriminatory practices
against women at the family, local, national and international levels.
B. Basic strategies [ Up ]
51. The political commitment to establish, modify, expand or enforce a comprehensive
legal base for the equality of women and men and on the basis of human dignity must be
strengthened. Legislative changes are most effective when made within a supportive
framework promoting simultaneous changes in the economic, social, political and cultural
spheres, which can help bring about a social transformation. For true equality to become a
reality for women, the sharing of power on equal terms with men must be a major strategy.
52. Governments should take the relevant steps to ensure that both men and women enjoy
equal rights, opportunities and responsibilities so as to guarantee the development of
their individual aptitudes and capacities and enable women to participate as beneficiaries
and active agents in development.
53. Changes in social and economic structures should be promoted which would make
possible the full equality of women and their free access to all types of development as
active agents and beneficiaries, without discrimination of any kind, and to all types of
education, training and employment. Special attention should be paid to implementing this
right to the maximum extent possible for young women.
54. In order to promote equality of women and men, Governments should ensure, for both
women and men, equality before the law, the provision of facilities for equality of
educational opportunities and training, health services, equality in conditions and
opportunities of employment, including remuneration, and adequate social security.
Governments should recognize and undertake measures to implement the right of men and
women to employment on equal conditions, regardless of marital status, and their equal
access to the whole range of economic activities.
55. Effective institutions and procedures must be established or strengthened to
monitor the situation of women comprehensively and identify the causes, both traditional
and new, of discrimination and to help formulate new policies and effectively carry out
strategies and measures to end discrimination. These arrangements and procedures must be
integrated within a coherent policy for development but cannot wait indefinitely for such
a policy to be formulated and implemented.
56. The obstacles to the equality of women created by stereotypes, perceptions of and
attitudes towards women should be totally removed. Elimination of these obstacles will
require, in addition to legislation, education of the population at large through formal
and informal channels, including the media, non-governmental organizations, political
party platforms and executive action.
57. Appropriate governmental machinery for monitoring and improving the status of women
should be established where it is lacking. To be effective, this machinery should be
established at a high level of government and should be ensured adequate resources,
commitment and authority to advise on the impact on women of all government policies. Such
machinery can play a vital role in enhancing the status of women, inter alia, through the
dissemination of information to women on their rights and entitlements, through
collaborative action with various ministries and other government agencies and with
non-governmental organizations and indigenous women's societies and groups.
58. Timely and reliable statistics on the situation of women have an important role to
play in the elimination of stereotypes and the movement towards full equality. Governments
should help collect statistics and make periodic assessment in identifying stereotypes and
inequalities, in providing concrete evidence concerning many of the harmful consequences
of unequal laws and practices and in measuring progress in the elimination of inequities.
59. The sharing of domestic responsibilities by all members of the family and equal
recognition of women's informal and invisible economic contributions in the mainstream of
society should be developed as complementary strategies for the elimination of women's
secondary status, which has fostered discrimination.
C. Measures for the implementation of the basic strategies at the national
level [ Up ]
1. Constitutional and legal
60. Governments that have not yet done so are urged to sign the Convention on the
Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women 6/ and to take all the necessary
steps to ensure its ratification, or their accession to it. They should consider the
possibility of establishing appropriate bodies charged with reviewing the national
legislation concerned and with drawing up recommendations thereon to ensure that the
provisions of the Convention and of the other international instruments to which they are
parties that are relevant to the role, status and material circumstances of women are
61. Governments that have not yet done so should establish appropriate institutional
procedures whereby the application of a revised set of laws and administrative measures
may be effectively enforced from the village level up and may be adequately monitored so
that individual women may, without obstruction or cost to themselves, seek to have
discriminatory treatment redressed. Legislation that concerns women as a group should also
be effectively enforced and monitored so that areas of systemic or de facto discrimination
against women can be redressed. To this end, positive action policy should be developed.
62. Agrarian reform measures have not always ensured women's rights even in countries
where women predominate in the agricultural labour force. Such reforms should guarantee
women's constitutional and legal rights in terms of access to land and other means of
production and should ensure that women will control the products of their labour and
their income, as well as benefits from agricultural inputs, research, training, credits
and other infrastructural facilities.
63. National research institutions, both governmental and private, are urged to
undertake investigations of the problems associated with the relationship between the law
and the role, status and material circumstances of women. These should be integrated into
the curricula of relevant educational institutions in an attempt to promote general
knowledge and awareness of the law.
64. In the past decade there have been significant advances in the development of
statistical concepts and methods for measuring inequality between women and men. The
capabilities of national institutions concerned with statistics and women's issues should
be improved to implement these concepts and methods in the regular statistical programmes
of countries and to make effective use of these statistics in the policy-planning process.
Training for producers and users of statistics on women should play a key role in this
65. In-depth research should be undertaken to determine instances when customary law
may be discriminatory or protective of women's rights and the extent to which the
interfaces between customary and statutory law may retard progress in the implementation
of new legislative measures. Particular attention should be paid to double standards in
every aspect of life, with a view to abolishing them.
66. Law-reform committees with equal representation of women and men from Governments
and from non-governmental organizations should be set up to review all laws, not only as a
monitoring device but also with a view to determining research-related activities,
amendments and new legislative measures.
67. Employment legislation should ensure equity and provide benefits for women not only
in the conventional and formal labour force but also in the informal sector, particularly
with regard to migrant and service workers, by providing minimum wage standards, insurance
benefits, safe working conditions and the right to organize. Opportunities for similar
guarantees and benefits should also be extended to women making vital economic
contributions in activities involving food production and processing, fisheries and food
distribution through trade. These benefits should also pertain to women working in family
enterprises and, if possible, to other self-employed women in an effort to give due
recognition to the vital contribution of all these informal and invisible economic
activities to the development of human resources.
68. Civil codes, particularly those pertaining to family law, should be revised to
eliminate discriminatory practices where these exist and wherever women are considered
minors. The legal capacity of married women should be reviewed in order to grant them
equal rights and duties.
69. 10b/ Such social and economic development should be encouraged as would secure the
participation of women as equal partners with men in all fields of work, equal access to
all positions of employment, equal pay for work of equal value and equal opportunities for
education and vocational training, and would co-ordinate the legislation on the protection
of women at work with the need for women to work and be highly productive producers and
managers of all political, economic and social affairs and would develop branches of the
social services to make domestic duties easier for women and men.
70. Measures for the implementation of legislation relating to working conditions for
women must be taken.
71. Legislative and/or other measures should be adopted and implemented to secure for
men and women the same right to work and to unemployment benefits, as well as to prohibit,
through, inter alia, the imposition of sanctions, dismissal on the grounds of pregnancy or
of maternity leave and discrimination in dismissals on the grounds of marital status.
Legislative and other measures should be adopted and implemented to facilitate the return
to the labour market of women who have left it for family reasons and to guarantee the
right of women to return to work after maternity leave.
72. Governments should continue to take special action to institute programmes that
would inform women workers of their rights under legislation and other remedial measures.
The importance of freedom of association and the protection of the right to organize
should be emphasized, this being particularly relevant to the position of women in
employment. Special measures should be taken to ratify and implement in national
legislation the relevant conventions and recommendations of the International Labour
Organisation concerning the rights of women as regards access to equal employment
opportunities, equal pay for work of equal value, equal working conditions, job security
and maternity protection.
73. Marriage agreements should be based on mutual understanding, respect and freedom of
choice. Careful attention should be paid to the equal participation and valuation of both
partners so that the value of housework is considered equivalent of financial
74. The right of all women, in particular married women, to own, administer, sell or
buy property independently should be guaranteed as an aspect of their equality and freedom
under the law. The right to divorce should be granted equally to both partners under the
same conditions, and custody of children decided in a non-discriminatory manner with full
awareness of the importance of the input from both parents in the maintenance, rearing and
socialization of children. Women should not forfeit their right to custody of their
children or to any other benefits and freedoms simply because they have initiated a
divorce. Without prejudice to the religious and cultural traditions of countries, and
taking into account the de facto situations, legal or other appropriate provisions should
be made to eliminate discrimination against single mothers and their children.
75. Appropriate action is necessary to ensure that the judiciary and all paralegal
personnel are fully aware of the importance of the achievement by women of rights set out
in internationally agreed instruments, constitutions and the law. Appropriate forms of
in-service training and retraining should be designed and carried out for this purpose,
with special attention given to the recruitment and training of women.
76. Special attention should be given in criminology training to the particular
situation of women as victims of violent crimes, including crimes that violate women's
bodies and result in serious physical and psychological damage. Legislation should be
passed and laws enforced in every country to end the degradation of women through
sex-related crimes. Guidance should be given to law enforcement and other authorities on
the need to deal sensibly and sensitively with the victims of such crimes.
2. Equality in social participation [ Up ]
77. A comprehensive and sustained public campaign should be launched by all
Governments, in close collaboration with non-governmental organizations, women's pressure
groups, where they exist, and research institutions, as well as the media, educational
institutions and traditional institutions of communication, to challenge and abolish all
discriminatory perceptions, attitudes and practices by the year 2000. Target groups should
include policy-makers and decision makers, legal technical advisers, bureaucrats, labour
and business leaders, business persons, professionals and the general public.
78. By the year 2000, all Governments should have adequate comprehensive and coherent
national women's policies to abolish all obstacles to the full and equal participation of
women in all spheres of society.
79. Governments should take all appropriate measures to ensure to women, on equal terms
with men and without discrimination, the opportunity to represent their Government at all
levels on delegations to subregional, regional and international meetings. More women
should be appointed as diplomats and to decision-making posts within the United Nations
system, including posts in fields relating to peace and development activities. Support
services, such as educational facilities and day care, for families of diplomats and other
civil servants stationed abroad, of United Nations officials, as well as employment of
spouses at the duty station, wherever possible, should be strongly encouraged.
80. As future parents, young people and children should be educated and mobilized to
act as stipulators for and monitors of changes in attitudes towards women at all levels of
society, particularly with regard to the need for greater flexibility in the assignment of
roles between women and men.
81. Research activities should be promoted to identify discriminatory practices in
education and training and to ensure quality at those two levels. One priority area for
research should be the impact of sexual discrimination on the development of human
82. Governments and private institutions are urged to include in the curricula of all
schools, colleges and universities courses and seminars on women's history and roles in
society and to incorporate women's issues in the general curriculum and to strengthen
research institutions in the area of women's studies by promoting indigenous research
activities and collaboration.
83. New teaching methods should be encouraged, especially audio-visual techniques, to
demonstrate clearly the equality of the sexes. Programmes, curricula and standards of
education and training should be the same for females and males. Textbooks and other
teaching materials should be continuously evaluated, updated and, where necessary,
redesigned, rewritten to ensure that they reflect positive, dynamic and participatory
images of women and to present men actively involved in all aspects of family
84. Governments are urged to encourage the full participation of women in the whole
range of occupations, especially in fields previously regarded as male preserves, in order
to break down occupational barriers and taboos. Employment equity programmes should be
developed to integrate women into all economic activities on an equal basis with men.
Special measures designed to redress the imbalance imposed by centuries of discrimination
against women should be promoted to accelerate de facto equality between men and women.
Those measures should not be considered discriminatory or entail the maintenance of
unequal or separate standards. They are to be discontinued when the objectives of equality
of opportunity and treatment have been achieved. Governments should ensure that their
public service is an exemplary equal opportunity employer.
85. High priority should be given to substantial and continuing improvement in the
portrayal of women in the mass media. Every effort should be made to develop attitudes and
to produce materials that portray positive aspects of women's roles and status in
intellectual and other activities as well as egalitarian relations of sexes. Steps also
should be taken to control pornography, other obscene portrayals of women and the
portrayal of women as sex objects. In this regard all measures should be taken to ensure
that women participate effectively in relevant councils and review bodies regarding mass
media, including advertisement, and in the implementation of decisions of these bodies.
3. Equality in political participation and decision-making [ Up ]
86. Governments and political parties should intensify efforts to stimulate and ensure
equality of participation by women in all national and local legislative bodies and to
achieve equity in the appointment, election and promotion of women to high posts in
executive, legislative and judiciary branches in these bodies. At the local level,
strategies to ensure equality of women in political participation should be pragmatic,
should bear a close relationship to issues of concern to women in the locality and should
take into account the suitability of the proposed measures to local needs and values.
87. Governments and other employers should devote special attention to the broader and
more equitable access and inclusion of women in management in various forms of popular
participation, which is a significant factor in the development and realization of all
88. Governments should effectively secure participation of women in the decision-making
processes at a national, state and local level through legislative and administrative
measures. It is desirable that governmental departments establish a special office in each
of them, headed preferably by a woman, to monitor periodically and accelerate the process
of equitable representation of women. Special activities should be undertaken to increase
the recruitment, nomination and promotion of women, especially to decision-making and
policy-making positions, by publicizing posts more widely, increasing upward mobility and
so on, until equitable representation of women is achieved. Reports should be compiled
periodically on the numbers of women in public service and on their levels of
responsibility in their areas of work.
89. With respect to the increase in the number of couples in which both partners are
employed in the public service, especially the foreign service, Governments are urged to
consider their special needs, in particular the couple's desire to be assigned to the same
duty station, with a view to reconciling family and professional duties.
90. Awareness of women's political rights should be promoted through many channels,
including formal and informal education, political education, non-governmental
organizations, trade unions, the media and business organizations. Women should be
encouraged and motivated and should help each other to exercise their right to vote and to
be elected and to participate in the political process at all levels on equal terms with
91. Political parties and other organizations such as trade unions should make a
deliberate effort to increase and improve women's participation within their ranks. They
should institute measures to activate women's constitutional and legal guarantees of the
right to be elected and appointed by selecting candidates. Equal access to the political
machinery of the organizations and to resources and tools for developing skills in the art
and tactics of practical politics, as well as effective leadership capabilities, should be
given to women. Women in leadership positions also have a special responsibility to assist
in this field.
92. Governments that have not already done so should establish institutional
arrangements and procedures whereby individual women, as well as representatives of all
types of women's interest groups, including those from the most vulnerable, least
privileged and most oppressed groups, may participate actively in all aspects of the
formulation, monitoring, review and appraisal of national and local policies, issues and
93. The United Nations Decade for Women has facilitated the identification and
overcoming of obstacles encountered by Member States in integrating women into society
effectively and in formulating and implementing solutions to current problems. The
continuation of women's stereotyped reproductive and productive roles, justified primarily
on physiological, social and cultural grounds, has subordinated them in the general as
well as sectoral spheres of development, even where some progress has been achieved.
94. 10c/ There are coercive measures of an economic, political and other nature that
are promoted and adopted by certain developed States and are directed towards exerting
pressure on developing countries, with the aim of preventing them from exercising their
sovereign rights and of obtaining from them advantages of all kinds, and furthermore
affect possibilities for dialogue and negotiation. Such measures, which include trade
restrictions, blockades, embargoes and other economic sanctions incompatible with the
principles of the United Nations Charter and in violation of multilateral or bilateral
commitments, have adverse effects on the economic, political and social development of
developing countries and therefore directly affect the integration of women in
development, since that is directly related to the objective of general social, economic
and political development.
95. 10d/ One of the main obstacles to the effective integration of women in the process
of development is the aggravation of the international situation, resulting in a
continuing arms race, which now may spread also to outer space. As a result, immense
material and human resources need for development are wasted. Other major obstacles to the
implementation of goals and objectives set by the United Nations in the field of the
advancement of women include imperialism, colonialism, neo-colonialism, expansionism,
apartheid and all other forms of racism and racial discrimination, exploitation, policies
of force and all forms of manifestations of foreign occupation, domination and hegemony,
and the growing gap between the levels of economic development of developed and developing
96. The efforts of many countries to implement the objectives of the United Nations
Decade for Women were undermined by a series of grave economic crises that have had severe
repercussions, especially for many developing countries because of their generally greater
vulnerability to external economic factors as well as because the main burden of
adjustment to the economic crises has been borne by the developing countries, pushing the
majority of them towards economic collapse.
97. The worsening of the social situation in many parts of the world, and particularly
in Africa, as a result of the disruptive consequences of the economic crisis had a great
negative impact on the process of effective and equal integration of women in development.
This adverse social situation reflects the lack of implementation of relevant United
Nations conventions, declarations and resolutions in the social and economic fields, and
of the objectives and overall development goals adopted and reaffirmed in the
International Development Strategy for the Third United Nations Development Decade.
98. 10e/ The lack of political will of certain developed countries to eliminate
obstacles to the practical realization of such fundamental documents adopted by the United
Nations as the Declaration on Social Progress and Development (General Assembly resolution
2542 (XXIV)), the Charter of Economic Rights and Duties of States (General Assembly
resolution 3281 (XXIX)), the Declaration and the Programme of Action on the Establishment
of a New International Economic Order (General Assembly resolutions 3201 (S-VI) and 3202
(S-VI), respectively), the International Development Strategy for the Third United Nations
Development Decade (General Assembly resolution 35/56, annex), aimed at the restructuring
of international economic relations on a just and democratic basis, should be counted
among the main reasons for the conservation of the unfavourable and unequal position of
women from the point of view of development, especially in the developing countries.
99. The last years of the Decade have witnessed a deterioration of the general economic
situation in the developing countries. The financial, economic and social crisis of the
developing world has worsened the situation of large sectors of the population, especially
women. In particular, the decline in economic activity is having a negative impact on an
already unbalanced distribution of income, as well as on the high levels of unemployment,
which affect women more than men.
100. 10f/ Protectionism against developing-countries' exports in all its forms, the
deterioration in the terms of trade, monetary instability,including high interest rates
and the inadequate flow of official development assistance have aggravated the development
problems of the developing countries, and consequently have complicated the difficulties
hampering the integration of women in the development process. One of the principal
obstacles now confronting the developing countries is their gigantic public and private
external debt, which constitutes a palpable expression of the economic crisis and has
serious political, economic and social consequences for these countries. The amount of the
external debt obliges the developing countries to devote enormous sums of their already
scarce export income to the servicing of the debt, which affects their peoples' lives and
possibilities of development, with particular effects on women. In many developing
countries there is a growing conviction that the conditions for the payment and servicing
of the external debt cause those countries enormous difficulties and that the adjustment
policies traditionally imposed are inadequate and lead to a disproportionate social cost.
The negative effects of the present international economic situation on the least
developed countries have been particularly grave and have caused serious difficulties in
the process of integrating women in development.
The growth prospects of the low-income countries have seriously deteriorated owing to the
reduction in international economic co-operation, particularly the inadequate flow of
official development assistance and the growing trade protectionism in the developed
countries, which restricts the capacity of the low-income countries to attain the
objectives of the United Nations Decade for Women.
This situation is even more grave in the developing countries that are afflicted by
drought, famine and desertification.
101. Despite significant efforts in many countries to transfer tasks traditionally
performed by women to men or to public services, traditional attitudes still continue to
persist and in fact have contributed to the increased burden of work placed on women. The
complexity and multidimensional aspects of changing sex roles and norms and the difficulty
of determining the specific structural and organizational requirements of such a change
have hindered the formulation of measures to alter sex roles and to develop appropriate
perspectives on the image of women in society. Thus, despite gains made by a few women,
for the majority subordination in the labour force and in society has continued, through
the exploitative conditions under which women often work have become more visible.
102. The effective participation of women in development has also been impeded by the
difficult international economic situation, the debt crisis, poverty, continued population
growth, rising divorce rates, increasing migration, and the growing incidence of
female-headed households. Yet, neither the actual expansion of employment for women nor
the recognition that women constitute a significant proportion of producers has been
accompanied by social adjustments to ease women's burden of child and household care. The
economic recession led to a reduction in investments, particularly in those services that
allow greater societal sharing of the social and economic costs of child care and
103. Insufficient awareness and understanding of the complex and multifaceted
relationships between development and the advancement of women have continued to make
policy, programme and project formulation difficult. While during the earlier, part of the
Decade the belief that economic growth would automatically benefit women was more widely
shared, an evaluation of the experience of the Decade has shed considerable doubt on this
over-simplified premise. Consequently, the need to understand better the relationship
between development and the advancement of women and to gather, analyze and disseminate
information for the more effective formulation of policies, programmes and projects has
104. Although throughout history and in many societies women have been sharing similar
experiences, in the developing countries the problems of women, particularly those
pertaining to their integration in the development process, are different from the
problems women face in the industrialized countries and are often a matter of survival.
Failure to recognize these differences leads, inter alia, to neglect the adverse effect of
the insufficient progress made towards improvement in national policies or programmes and
the present international economic situation as well as the interrelationships that exist
between the goals and objectives of the International Development Strategy for the Third
United Nations Development Decade and the objectives of equality, development and peace.
105. The lack of political will and commitment continued to retard action to promote
effective participation by women in development. Exclusion of women from policy-making and
decision-making made it difficult for women and women's organizations to include in their
preferences and interests the largely male-dominated choices of progress and development.
Furthermore, because the issue of women in development has often been perceived as a
welfare problem, it has received low priority, viewed simply as a cost to society rather
than as a contribution. Thus, the specific formulation of targets, programmes and projects
concerning women and development has often received little attention, awaiting the
attainment of development rather than being instrumental to it. This, in turn, caused a
parallel weakness in the institutional, technical and material resources devoted to the
promotion of activities for effective participation by women in development.
106. Appropriate national machinery for the effective integration of women in the
development process has been either insufficient or lacking. Where the machinery exists,
it often lacks the resources, focus, responsibility and authority to be effective.
B. Basic strategies [ Up ]
107. The commitment to remove obstacles to the effective participation of all women in
development as intellectuals, policy-makers and decision-makers, planners, contributors
and beneficiaries should be strengthened according to the specific problems of women in
different regions and countries and the needs of different categories of women in them.
That commitment should guide the formulation and implementation of policies, plans,
programmes and projects, with the awareness that development prospects will be improved
and society advanced through the full and effective participation of women.
108. Different socio-economic and cultural conditions are to be taken into account when
identifying the foremost obstacles to the advancement of women. The current economic
situation and the imbalances within the world monetary and financial system need
adjustment programmes to overcome the difficulties. These programmes should not adversely
affect the most vulnerable segments of society among whom women are disproportionately
109. Development, being conceived as a comprehensive process, must be characterized by
the search for economic and social objectives and goals that guarantee the effective
participation of the entire population, especially women, in the process of development.
It is also necessary to work in favour of the structural changes needed for the fulfilment
of these aspirations. In line with these concerns, one should endeavour to speed up social
and economic development in developing countries; accelerate the development of the
scientific and technological capabilities of those countries; promote an equitable
distribution of national incomes; and eradicate absolute poverty, experienced
disproportionately by women and children, with the shortest possible delay by applying an
overall strategy that, on the one hand, eliminates hunger and malnutrition and, on the
other, works towards the construction of more just societies, in which women may reach
their full development.
110. As the primary objective of development is to bring about sustained improvement in
the well-being of the individual and of society and to bestow benefits on all, development
should be seen not only as a desirable goal in itself but also as an important means of
furthering equality of the sexes and the maintenance of peace.
111. Women should be an integral part of the process of defining the objectives and
modes of development, as well as of developing strategies and measures for their
implementation. The need for women to participate fully in political processes and to have
an equal share of power in guiding development efforts and in benefiting from them should
be recognized. Organizational and other means of enabling women to bring their interests
and preferences into the evaluation and choice of alternative development objectives and
strategies should be identified and supported. This would include special measures
designed to enhance women's autonomy, bringing women into the mainstream of the
development process on an equal basis with men, or other measures designed to integrate
women fully in the total development effort.
112. The actual and potential impact on women of macro-economic processes operating at
the international and national levels, as well as of financial spatial and physical
development policies, should be assessed and appropriate modifications made to ensure that
women are not adversely affected. Initial emphasis should be placed on employment, health
and education. Priority should be given to the development of human resources, bearing in
mind the need to avoid further increases in the work-load of women, particularly when
alternative policies are formulated to deal with the economic and debt crisis.
113. With due recognition of the difficulties involved, Governments, international and
regional organizations, and non-governmental organizations should intensify their efforts
to enhance the self-reliance of women in a viable and sustained fashion. Because economic
independence is a necessary pre-condition for self-reliance, such efforts should above all
be focused on increasing women's access to gainful activities. Grass-roots participatory
processes and planning approaches using local talent, expertise and resources are vital
and should be supported and encouraged.
114. The incorporation of women's issues in all areas and sectors and at the local,
national, regional and international levels should be institutionalized. To this end,
appropriate machinery should be established or strengthened, and further legislative
action taken. Sectoral policies and plans should be developed, and the effective
participation of women in development should be integrated both in those plans and in the
formulation and implementation of mainstream programmes and projects and should not be
confined solely to statements of intent within plans or to small-scale, transitory
projects relating to women.
115. The gender bias evident in most development programmes should be eliminated and
the prejudices hindering the solution of women's problems removed. Particular attention
should be given to the restructuring of employment, health and education systems and to
ensuring equal access to land, capital and other productive resources. Emphasis should be
placed on strategies to assist women in generating and keeping income, including measures
designed to improve women's access to credit. Such strategies must focus on the removal of
legal, customary and other barriers and on strengthening women's capacity to use existing
116. Governments should seek means to increase substantially the number of women who
are decision-makers, policy-makers, managers, professionals and technicians in both
traditional and non-traditional areas and sectors. Women should be provided with equal
opportunities for access to resources, especially education and training, in order to
facilitate their equal representation at higher managerial and professional levels.
117. The role of women as a factor of development is in many ways linked to their
involvement in various forms and levels of decision-making and management in economic and
social structures, such as worker participation in management, industrial democracy,
worker self-management, trade unions and co-operatives. The development of these forms of
participation, which have an impact on the development and promotion of working and living
conditions, and the inclusion of women in these forms of participation on an equal footing
with men is of crucial importance.
118. The relationships between development and the advancement of women under specific
socio-cultural conditions should be studied locally to permit the effective formulation of
policies, programmes and projects designed for stable and equitable growth. The findings
should be used to develop social awareness of the need for effective participation of
women in development and to create realistic images of women in society.
119. It is vital that the link between the advancement of women and socio-economic and
political development be emphasized for the effective mobilization of resources for women.
120. The remunerated and, in particular, the unremunerated contributions of women to
all aspects and sectors of development should be recognized, and appropriate efforts
should be made to measure and reflect these contributions in national accounts and
economic statistics and in the gross national product. Concrete steps should be taken to
quantify the unremunerated contribution of women to agriculture, food production,
reproduction and household activities.
121. Concerted action should be directed towards the establishment of a system of
sharing parental responsibilities by women and men in the family and by society. To this
end, priority should be given to the provision of a social infrastructure that will enable
society to share these responsibilities with families and, simultaneously, to bring about
changes in social attitudes so that new or modified gender roles will be accepted,
promoted and become exercisable. Household tasks and parental responsibilities, including
decision-making regarding family size and child spacing, should be re-examined with a view
to a better sharing of responsibilities between men and women and therefore, be conducive
to the attainment of women's and men's self-reliance and to the development of future
122. Monitoring and evaluation efforts should be strengthened and directed specifically
towards women's issues and should be based on a thorough review and extensive development
of improved statistics and indicators on the situation of women as compared with men, over
time and in all fields.
123. Appropriate national machinery should be established and should be utilized to
integrate women effectively in the development process. To be effective, this machinery
should be provided with adequate resources, commitment and authority to encourage and
enhance development efforts.
124. Regional and international co-operation, within the framework of technical
co-operation among developing countries, should be strengthened and extended to promote
the effective participation of women in development.
C. Measures for the implementation of the basic strategies at the national
level [ Up ]
125. Appropriate machinery with sufficient resources and authority should be
established at the highest level of government as a focal point to ensure that the full
range of development policies and programmes in all sectors recognizes women's
contribution to development and incorporates strategies to include women and to ensure
that they receive an equitable share of the benefits of development.
126. To achieve the goal of development, which is inseparably linked to the goals of
equality and peace, Governments should institutionalize women's issues by establishing or
strengthening appropriate machinery in all areas and sectors of development. ln addition,
they should direct specific attention to effecting a positive change in the attitudes of
male decision-makers. Governments should ensure the establishment and implementation of
legislation and administrative policies and mobilize communications and information
systems to create social awareness of the legal rights of women to participate in all
aspects of development at all levels and at all stages - that is, planning, implementation
and evaluation. Governments should stimulate the formation and growth of women's
organizations and women's groups and give financial and organizational support to their
activities when appropriate.
127. National resources should be directed so as to promote the participation of women
at all levels and in all areas and sectors. Governments should establish national and
sectoral plans and specific targets for women in development; equip the machinery in
charge of women's issues with political, financial and technical resources; strengthen
intersectoral co-ordination in promoting women's participation; and establish
institutional mechanisms to address the needs of especially vulnerable groups of women.
128. Governments should recognize the importance of and the need for the full
utilization of women's potential for self-reliance and for the attainment of national
development goals and should enact legislation to ensure this. Programmes should be
formulated and implemented to provide women's organizations, co-operatives, trade unions
and professional associations with access to credit and other financial assistance and to
training and extension services. Consultative mechanisms through which the views of women
may be incorporated in governmental activities should be set up, and supportive ties with
women's grass-roots organizations, such as self-help community development and mutual aid
societies and non-governmental organizations committed to the cause of women should be
created and maintained to facilitate the integration of women in mainstream development.
129. There should be close co-ordination between Governments, agencies and other bodies
at the national and local level. The effectiveness of national machinery, including the
relationship between Governments and non-governmental organizations, should be evaluated
and strengthened with a view to improving co-operation. Positive experiences and good
models should be widely publicized.
130. Governments should compile gender-specific statistics and information and should
develop or reorganize an information system to take decisions and action on the
advancement of women. They should also support local research activities and local experts
to help identify mechanisms for the advancement of women, focusing on the self-reliant,
self-sustaining and self-generating social, economic and political development of women.
131. Governmental mechanisms should be established for monitoring and evaluating the
effectiveness of institutional and administrative arrangements and of delivery systems,
plans, programmes and projects to promote an equitable participation of women in
2. Areas for specific action [ Up ]
132. Special measures aimed at the advancement of women in all types of employment
should be consistent with the economic and social policies promoting full productive and
freely chosen employment.
133. Policies should provide the means to mobilize public awareness, political support,
and institutional and financial resources to enable women to obtain jobs involving more
skills and responsibility, including those at the managerial level, in all sectors of the
economy. These measures should include the promotion of women's occupational mobility,
especially in the middle and lower levels of the work-force, where the majority of women
134. Governments that have not yet done so should ratify and implement the Convention
on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and other international
instruments relating to the improvement of the condition of women workers.
135. Measures based on legislation and trade union action should be taken to ensure
equity in all jobs and avoid exploitative trends in part-time work, as well as the
tendency towards the feminization of part-time, temporary and seasonal work.
136. Flexible working hours for all are strongly recommended as a measure tor
encouraging the sharing of parental and domestic responsibilities by women and men,
provided that such measures are not used against the interests of employees. Re-entry
programmes, complete with training and stipends, should be provided for women who have
been out of the labour force for some time. Tax structures should be revised so that the
tax liability on the combined earnings of married couples does not constitute a
disincentive to women's employment.
137. Eliminating all forms of employment discrimination, inter alia through legislative
measures, especially wage differentials between women and men carrying out work of equal
value, is strongly recommended to all parties concerned. Additional programmes should help
to overcome still existing disparities in wages between women and men. Differences in the
legal conditions of work of women and men should also be eliminated, where there are
disadvantages to women, and privileges should be accorded to male and female parents.
Occupational desegregation of women and men should be promoted.
138. The public and private sectors should make concerted efforts to diversify and
create new employment opportunities for women in the traditional, non-traditional and high
productivity areas and sectors in both rural and urban areas through the design and
implementation of incentive schemes for both employers and women employees and through
widespread dissemination of information. Gender stereotyping in all areas should be
avoided and the occupational prospects of women should be enhanced.
139. The working conditions of women should be improved in all formal and informal
areas by the public and private sectors. Occupational health and safety and job security
should be enhanced and protective measures against work-related health hazards effectively
implemented for women and men. Appropriate measures should be taken to prevent sexual
harassment on the job or sexual exploitation in specific jobs, such as domestic service.
Appropriate measures for redress should be provided by Governments and legislative
measures guaranteeing these rights should be enforced. In addition, Governments and the
private sector should put in place mechanisms to identify and correct harmful working
140. National planning should give urgent consideration to the development and
strengthening of social security and health schemes and maternity protection schemes in
keeping with the principles laid down in the ILO maternity protection convention and
maternity protection recommendation and other relevant ILO conventions and recommendations
as a prerequisite to the hastening of women's effective participation in production, and
all business and trade unions should seek to promote the rights and compensations of
working women and to ensure that appropriate infrastructures are provided. Parental leave
following the birth of a child should be available to both women and men and preferably
shared between them. Provision should be made for accessible child-care facilities for
141. Governments and non-governmental organizations should recognize the contribution
of older women and the importance of their input in those areas that directly affect their
well-being. Urgent attention should be paid to the education and training of young women
in all fields. Special retraining programmes including technical training should also be
developed for young women in both urban and rural sectors, who lack qualifications and are
ill-equipped to enter productive employment. Steps should be taken to eliminate
exploitative treatment of young women at work, in line with ILO Convention No. 111
concerning discrimination in respect of employment and occupation, 1958 and ILO Convention
No. 122 concerning employment policy, 1964.
142. National planning, programmes and projects should launch a twofold attack on
poverty and unemployment. To enable women to gain access to equal economic opportunities,
Governments should seek to involve and integrate women in all phases of the planning,
delivery and evaluation of multisectoral programmes that eliminate discrimination against
women, provide required supportive services and emphasize income generation. An increased
number of women should be hired in national planning mechanisms. Particular attention
should be devoted to the informal sector since it will be the major employment outlet of a
considerable number of underprivileged urban and rural women. The co-operative movement
could play an indispensable role in this area.
143. Recognition and application should be given to the fact that women and men have
equal rights to work and, on the same footing, to acquire a personal income on equal terms
and conditions, regardless of the economic situation. They should be given opportunities
in accordance with the protective legislation of each country and especially in the labour
market, in the context of measures to stimulate economic development and to promote
144. In view of the persistence of high unemployment levels in many countries,
Governments should endeavour to strengthen the efforts to cope with this issue and provide
more job opportunities for women. Given that in many cases women account for a
disproportionate share of total unemployment, that their unemployment rates are higher
than those of men and that, owing to lower qualifications, geographical mobility and other
barriers, women's prospects for alternative jobs are mostly limited, more attention should
be given to unemployment as it affects women. Measures should be taken to alleviate the
consequences of unemployment for women in declining sectors and occupations. In
particular, training measures must be instituted to facilitate the transition.
145. Although general policies designed to reduce unemployment or to create jobs may
benefit both men and women, by their nature they are often of greater assistance to men
than to women. For this reason, specific measures should be taken to permit women to
benefit equally with men from national policies to create jobs.
146. As high unemployment among youth, wherever it exists, is a matter of serious
concern, policies designed to deal with this problem should take into account that
unemployment rates for young women are often much higher than those for young men.
Moreover, measures aimed at mitigating unemployment among youth should not negatively
affect the employment of women in other age groups - for example, by lowering minimum
wages. Women should not face any impediment to employment opportunities and benefits in
cases where their husbands are employed.
147. Governments should also give special attention to women in the peripheral or
marginal labour market, such as those in unstable temporary work or unregulated part-time
work, as well as to the increasing number of women working in the informal economy.
148. The vital role of women as providers of health care both inside and outside the
home should be recognized, taking into account the followings the creation and
strengthening of basic services for the delivery of health care, with due regard to levels
of fertility and infant and maternal mortality and the needs of the most vulnerable groups
and the need to control locally prevalent endemic and epidemic diseases. Governments that
have not already done so should undertake, in co-operation with the World Health
Organization, the United Nations Children's Fund and the United Nations Fund for
Population Activities, plans of action relating to women in health and development in
order to identify and reduce risks to women's health and to promote the positive health of
women at all stages of life, bearing in mind the productive role of women in society and
their responsibilities for bearing and rearing children. Women's participation in the
achievement of Health for All by the Year 2000 should be recognized, since their health
knowledge is crucial in their multiple roles as health providers and health brokers for
the family and community, and as informed consumers of adequate and appropriate health
149. The participation of women in higher professional and managerial positions in
health institutions should be increased through appropriate legislations training and
supportive action should be taken to increase women's enrolment at higher levels of
medical training and training in health-related fields. For effective community
involvement to ensure the attainment of the World Health Organization's goal of Health for
All by the Year 2000 and responsiveness to women's health needs, women should be
represented in national and local health councils and committees. The employment and
working conditions of women health personnel and health workers should be expanded and
improved at all levels. Female traditional healers and birth attendants should be more
fully and constructively integrated in national health planning.
150. Health education should be geared towards changing those attitudes and values and
actions that are discriminatory and detrimental to women's and girls' health. Steps should
be taken to change the attitudes and health knowledge and composition of health personnel
so that there can be an appropriate understanding of women's health needs. A greater
sharing by men and women of family and health-care responsibilities should be encouraged.
Women must be involved in the formulation and planning of their health education needs.
Health education should be available to the entire family not only through the health care
system, but also through all appropriate channels and in particular the educational
system. To this end, Governments should ensure that information meant to be received by
women is relevant to women's health priorities and is suitably presented.
151. Promotive, preventive and curative health measures should be strengthened through
combined measures and a supportive health infrastructure which, in accordance with the
International Code of Marketing of Breast Milk Substitutes, should be free of commercial
pressure. To provide immediate access to water and sanitary facilities for women,
Governments should ensure that women are consulted and involved in the planning and
implementation of water and sanitation projects, trained in the maintenance of
water-supply systems, and consulted with regard to technologies used in water and
sanitation projects. In this regard, recommendations arising from the activities generated
by the International Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation Decade and other public health
programmes should be taken into account.
152. Governments should take measures to vaccinate children and pregnant women against
certain endemic local diseases as well as other diseases as recommended by the vaccination
schedule of the World Health Organization and to eliminate any differences in coverage
between boys and girls (cf. WHO report EB 75/22). In regions where rubella is prevalent,
vaccinations should preferably be given to girls before puberty. Governments should ensure
that adequate arrangements are made to preserve the quality of vaccines. Governments
should ensure the quality of vaccines. Governments should also ensure the full and
informed participation of women in programmes to control chronic and communicable
153. The international community should intensify efforts to eradicate the trafficking,
marketing and distribution of unsafe and ineffective drugs and to disseminate information
on their ill effects. Those efforts should include educational programmes to promote the
proper prescription and informed use of drugs. Efforts should also be strengthened to
eliminate all practices detrimental to the health of women and children. Efforts should be
made to ensure that all women have access to essential drugs appropriate to their specific
needs and as recommended in the WHO List of Essential Drugs as applied in 1978. It is
imperative that information on the appropriate use of such drugs is made widely available
to all women. When drugs are imported or exported Governments should use the WHO
Certification Scheme on the Quality of Pharmaceutical Products Moving in International
154. Women should have access to and control over income to provide adequate nutrition
for themselves and their children. Also, Governments should foster activities that will
increase awareness of the special nutritional needs of women; provide support to ensure
sufficient rest in the last trimester of pregnancy and while breast-feeding; and promote
interventions to reduce the prevalence of nutritional diseases such as anaemia in women of
all ages, particularly young women, and promote the development and use of locally
produced weaning food.
155. Appropriate health facilities should be planned, designed, constructed and
equipped to be readily accessible and acceptable. Services should be in harmony with the
timing and patterns of women's work, as well as with women's needs and perspectives.
Maternal and child-care facilities, including family planning services, should be within
easy reach of all women. Governments should also ensure that women have the same access as
men to affordable curative, preventive and rehabilitative treatment. Wherever possible,
measures should be taken to conduct general screening and treatment of women's common
diseases and cancer. In view of the unacceptably high levels of maternal mortality in many
developing countries, the reduction of maternal mortality from now to the year 2000 to a
minimum level should be a key target for Governments and non-governmental organizations,
including professional organizations.
156. 10g/ The ability of women to control their own fertility forms an important basis
for the enjoyment of other rights. As recognized in the World Population Plan of Action
11/ and reaffirmed at the International Conference on Population, 1984, all couples and
individuals have the basic human right to decide freely and informedly the number and
spacing of their children; maternal and child health and family-planning components of
primary health care should be strengthened; and family-planning information should be
produced and services created. Access to such services should be encouraged by Governments
irrespective of their population policies and should be carried out with the participation
of women's organizations to ensure their success.
157. 10g/ Governments should make available, as a matter of urgency, information,
education and the means to assist women and men to take decisions about their desired
number of children. To ensure a voluntary and free choice, family-planning information,
education and means should include all medically approved and appropriate methods of
family planning. Education for responsible parenthood and family-life education should be
widely available and should be directed towards both men and women. Non-governmental
organizations, particularly women's organizations, should be involved in such programmes
because they can be the most effective media for motivating people at that level.
158. 11a/ Recognizing that pregnancy occurring in adolescent girls, whether married or
unmarried, has adverse effects on the morbidity and mortality of both mother and child,
Governments are urged to develop policies to encourage delay in the commencement of
childbearing. Governments should make efforts to raise the age of entry into marriage in
countries in which this age is still quite low. Attention should also be given to ensuring
that adolescents, both girls and boys, receive adequate information and education.
159. 11a/ All Governments should ensure that fertility-control methods and drugs
conform to adequate standards of quality, efficiency and safety. This should also apply to
organizations responsible for distributing and administering these methods. Information on
contraceptives should be made available to women. Programmes of incentives and
disincentives should be neither coercive nor discriminatory and should be consistent with
internationally recognized human rights, as well as with changing individual and cultural
160. Governments should encourage local women's organizations to participate in primary
health-care activities including traditional medicine, and should devise ways to support
women, especially underprivileged women, in taking responsibility for self-care and in
promoting community care, particularly in rural areas. More emphasis should be placed on
preventive rather than curative measures.
161. The appropriate gender-specific indicators for monitoring women's health that have
been or are being developed by the World Health Organization should be widely applied and
utilized by Governments and other interested organizations in order to develop and sustain
measures for treating low-grade ill health and for reducing high morbidity rates among
women, particularly when illnesses are psychosomatic or social and cultural in nature.
Governments that have not yet done so should establish focal points to carry out such
162. Occupational health and safety should be enhanced by the public and private
sectors. Concern with the occupational health risks should cover female as well as male
workers and focus among other things on risks endangering their reproductive capabilities
and unborn children. Efforts should equally be directed at the health of pregnant and
lactating women, the health impact of new technologies and the harmonization of work and
163. Education is the basis for the full promotion and improvement of the status of
women. It is the basic tool that should be given to women in order to fulfil their role as
full members of society. Governments should strengthen the participation of women at all
levels of national educational policy and in formulating and implementing plans,
programmes and projects. Special measures should be adopted to revise and adapt women's
education to the realities of the developing world. Existing and new services should be
directed to women as intellectuals, policy-makers, decision-makers, planners, contributors
and beneficiaries, with particular attention to the UNESCO Convention against
Discrimination in Education (1960). Special measures should also be adopted to increase
equal access to scientific, technical and vocational education, particularly for young
women, and evaluate progress made by the poorest women in urban and rural areas.
164. Special measures should be taken by Governments and the international
organizations, especially UNESCO, to eliminate the high rate of illiteracy by the year
2000, with the support of the international community. Governments should establish
targets and adopt appropriate measures for this purpose. While the elimination of
illiteracy is important to all, priority programmes are still required to overcome the
special obstacles that have generally led to higher illiteracy rates among women than
among men. Efforts should be made to promote functional literacy, with special emphasis on
health, nutrition and viable economic skills and opportunities, in order to eradicate
illiteracy among women and to produce additional material for the eradication of
illiteracy. Programmes for legal literacy in low-income urban and rural areas should be
initiated and intensified. Raising the level of education among women is important for the
general welfare of society and because of its close link to child survival and child
165. The causes of high absenteeism and drop-out rates of girls in the educational
system must be addressed. Measures must be developed, strengthened and implemented that
will, inter alia, create the appropriate incentives to ensure that women have an equal
opportunity to acquire education at all levels, as well as to apply their education in a
work or career context. Such measures should include the strengthening of communication
and information systems, the implementation of appropriate legislation and the
reorientation of educational personnel. Moreover, Governments should encourage and finance
adult education programmes for those women who have never completed their studies or were
forced to interrupt their studies, owing to family responsibilities, lack of financial
resources or early pregnancies.
166. Efforts should be made to ensure that available scholarships and other forms of
support from governmental, non-governmental and private sources are expanded and equitably
distributed to girls and boys and that boarding and lodging facilities are equally
accessible to them.
167. The curricula of public and private schools should be examined, textbooks and
other educational materials reviewed and educational personnel retrained in order to
eliminate all discriminatory gender stereotyping in education. Educational institutions
should be encouraged to expand their curricula to include studies on women's contribution
to all aspects of development.
168. The Decade has witnessed the rise of centres and programmes of women' studies in
response to social forces and to the need for developing a new scholarship and a body of
knowledge on women's studies from the perspective of women. Women's studies should be
developed to reformulate the current models influencing the constitution of knowledge and
sustaining a value system that reinforces inequality. The promotion and application of
women's studies inside and outside and conventional institutions of learning will help to
create a just and equitable society in which men and women enjoy equal partnership.
169. Encouragement and incentives, as well as counselling services, should be provided
for girls to study scientific, technical and managerial subjects at all levels, in order
to develop and enhance the aptitudes of women for decision-making, management and
leadership in these fields.
170. All educational and occupational training should be flexible and accessible to
both women and men. It should aim to improve employment possibilities and promotion
prospects for women including those areas where technologies are improving rapidly, and
vocational training programmes, as well as workers' educational schemes dealing with
co-operatives, trade unions and work associations, should stress the importance of equal
opportunity for women at all levels of work and work-related activities.
171. Extensive measurers should be taken to diversify women's vocational education and
training in order to extend their opportunities for employment in occupations that are
non-traditional or are new to women and that are important to development. The present
educational system, which in many countries is sharply divided by sex, with girls
receiving instruction in home economics and boys in technical subjects, should be altered.
Existing vocational training centres should be opened to girls and women instead of
continuing a segregated training system.
172. A fully integrated system of training, having direct linkages with employment
needs, pertinent to future employment and development trends should be created and
implemented in order to avoid wastage of human resources.
173. Educational programmes to enable men to assume as much responsibility as women in
the upbringing of children and the maintenance of the household should be introduced at
all levels of the educational system.
Food, water and agriculture
174. Women, as key food producers in many regions of the world, play a central role in
the development and production of food and agriculture, participating actively in all
phases of the production cycle, including the conservation, storage, processing and
marketing of food and agricultural products. Women therefore make a vital contribution to
economic development, particularly in agriculturally based economies, which must be better
recognized and rewarded. Development strategies and programmes, as well as incentive
programmes and projects in the field of food and agriculture, need to be designed in a
manner that fully integrates women at all levels of planning, implementation, monitoring
evaluation in all stages of the development process of a project cycle, so as to
facilitate and enhance this key role of women and to ensure that women receive proper
benefits and remuneration commensurate with their important contribution in this field.
Moreover, women should be fully integrated and involved in the technological research and
energy aspects of food and agricultural development.
175. During the Decade, the significant contribution of women to agricultural
development has been more widely recognized, particularly their contribution in working
hours to agricultural, fishery and forestry production and conservation, and to various
parts of the food system. There are indications, however, that poverty and landlessness
among rural women will increase significantly by the year 2000. In order to stem this
trend, governments should implement, as a matter of priority, equitable and stable
investment and growth policies for rural development to ensure that there is a
reallocation of the country's resources which, in many cases, are largely derived from the
rural areas but allocated to urban development.
176. Governments should establish multisectoral programmes to promote the productive
capacity of rural poor women in food and animal production, create off-farm employment
opportunities, reduce their work-load, inter alia, by supporting the establishment of
adequate child-care facilities and that of their children, reverse their pauperization,
improve their access to all sources of energy, and provide them with adequate water,
health, education, effective extension services and transportation within their region. In
this connection it should be noted that the World Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural
Development, held at Rome in 1979, 12/ recognized women's vital role in the socio-economic
life in both agricultural and non-agricultural activities as a prerequisite for successful
rural development policies, planning and programmes, and proposed specific measures for
improving their condition, which are still valid. The Programme of Action for the Second
Half of the United Nations Decade for Women also included specific measures to improve the
situation of women in food and agriculture, which remain a valid guide for action.
177. The General Assembly, in resolution 39/165 on the critical situation of food
production and agriculture in Africa, confirmed the growing concern of the international
community at the dramatic deterioration in African food and agricultural production and
the resulting alarming increase in the number of people, especially women and children,
exposed to hunger, malnutrition and even starvation. Concrete measures and adequate
resources for the benefit of African women should be a priority. The international
community, particularly donor countries, should be urged to assist African women by
continuing and, where possible, by increasing financial assistance to enhance the role of
women as food producers, with an emphasis on providing training in food technologies,
thereby alleviating the problems of the continent resulting from extended drought and a
severe shortage of food. Donor countries should also contribute to the special funds that
have been launched by various organizations - for example, the United Nations Development
Fund for Women. Emergency assistance should be increased and accelerated to alleviate the
suffering of starving and dying women and children under famine conditions in Africa.
Furthermore, given the critical food situation in Africa, aggravated inter alia by
demographic pressures, the international community is urged to give priority to and
provide support for the efforts of the African countries to overcome this serious
situation. These efforts include the Lagos Plan of Action and the Nairobi Programme of
Action, as well as the consultation by African Governments on the role of women in food
production and food security.
178. Governments should give priority to supporting effective participation by women in
food production and in food security programmes and should develop specific plans of
action for this purpose. This would ensure that resources are directed towards women's
programmes, that women are integrated in all mainstream rural development projects and
that projects are located within technical ministries as well as ministries of social
affairs. Governments should promote integrated solutions, such as national food policies,
which are diversified according to specific natural regions for the improvement of
self-reliance in food production, instead of resorting to palliative or fragmented
179. Mechanisms should also include monitoring and evaluation and, where necessary,
should modify the allocation of resources between women and men in mixed projects; should
restructure rural development schemes to respond to women's needs; should assess women's
projects in terms of technical and economic viability, as well as on social grounds; and
should develop gender-specific statistics and information that reflect accurately women's
contribution to food staples. Women's participation in programmes and projects to promote
food security should be enhanced by providing them with opportunities to hold official
positions, to receive training in leadership, administration and financial management and
to organize on a co-operative basis. Research and experimentation should be conducted on
food production and storage techniques to improve traditional knowledge and introduce
180. Animal husbandry, fishery and forestry programmes should give greater attention to
the effective participation of women as contributors and beneficiaries. Similarly, all
other off-farm rural production programmes, as well as rural settlement, health,
educational and social service programmes, should secure the participation of women as
planners, contributors and beneficiaries.
181. Also important are the dissemination of information to rural women through
national information campaigns, using all available media and establish women's groups;
the exposure of local populations to innovation and creativity through open-air films,
talks, visits to areas where needs are similar, and demonstrations of scientific and
technological innovations; the participation of women farmers in research and information
campaigns; and the involvement of women in technical co-operation among developing
countries and the exchange of information.
182. Rural women's access to land, capital, technology, know-how and other productive
resources should be secured. Women should be given full and effective rights to land
ownership, registration of land titles and allocation of tenancies on irrigation or
settlement schemes and should also benefit from land reform. Women's customary land and
inheritance rights under conditions of land shortage, land improvement or shifts into
cash-cropping should be protected. Implementation of inheritance laws should be modified
so that women can inherit a fair share of livestock, agricultural machinery and other
property. Women's access to investment finance to increase their productivity and income
should be supported by removing legal and institutional restrictions and by promoting
women's savings groups and co-operatives and intermediary institutions, as well as
training in and assistance with financial management, savings and investments and
reallocation of land resources, with priority placed on production, especially of staple
183. Women should be integrated into modern technology programmes that introduce new
crops and improved varieties, rotation of crops, mixed farming, mixed and intercropping
systems, low-cost soil fertility techniques, soil and water conservation methods and other
modern improvements. In this connection, women's involvement in the construction,
management and maintenance of irrigation schemes should be promoted.
184. Appropriate food-processing technologies can free women from time- and
energy-consuming tasks and thus effect improvements in their health. Appropriate
technologies can also increase the productivity and income of women, either directly or by
freeing them to engage in other activities. Such technologies should be designed and
introduced, however, in a manner that ensures women's access to the new technology and to
its benefits and does not displace women from means of livelihood when alternative
opportunities are not available. Appropriate labour-saving technologies should utilize
local human and material resources and inexpensive sources of energy. The design, testing
and dissemination of the technology should be appropriate also to the women who will be
the users. Non-governmental organizations can play a valuable role in this process.
Appropriate and affordable food-processing technologies should be made widely available to
rural women, along with appropriate and affordable storage, marketing and transportation
facilities to reduce post-harvest and income losses. Information on improved methods which
have been ecologically confirmed of reducing post-harvest food loss and of preserving and
conserving food products should be widely disseminated.
185. Financial, technical, advisory and institutional support should be provided to
women's organisations and groups to enhance the self-reliance of rural women. Women's
co-operatives should be promoted to operate on a larger scale by improving farm input
provisions, primary processing and the wholesale marketing of women's production.
Comprehensive support should be given to women's organizations to facilitate the
acquisition of farm inputs and information and to facilitate the marketing of produce.
186. Governments should set targets for increased extension contracts with rural women,
reorient the training of male extension workers and train adequate numbers of female
extension workers. Women should be given access to training programmes at different levels
that develop various types of skills to widen the range of methods and technologies used
for agricultural production.
187. Governments should involve women in the mobilization and distribution of food aid
in countries affected by the drought, as well as in the fight against desertification,
through large-scale afforestation campaigns (planting of woodlot, collective farms and
188. Governments should pay greater attention to the preservation and the maintenance
free from pollution of any kind of sources of water supply for irrigation and domestic
consumption, applying special remedial measures to relieve the burden placed on women by
the task of fetching water. To this end, they should construct wells, bore-holes, dams and
locally made water-catchment devices sufficient for all irrigation and domestic needs,
including those of livestock. Women should be included by Governments and agencies in all
policy planning, implementation and administration of water supply projects and trained to
take responsibility for the management of hydraulic infrastructures and equipment and for
189. The problems related to the industrial development of the developing countries
reflect the dependent nature of their economies and the need to promote transformation
industries based on domestic agricultural production as a fundamental issue of
development. Women are an important part of the agricultural work-forces therefore, there
should be special interest in the promotion of the technical training of women in this
particular field. In this respect, Governments should take into account the following
(a) There should be a link between agriculture and industry;
(b) Steps should be taken to eliminate the particular obstacles to industrialization
and to the participation of women in industry, such as energy, the limited markets of some
developing countries, the rural exodus, poor infrastructure, a lack of technical know-how,
the dependence of the industries of some countries and a lack of financial resources;
(c) Steps should also be taken to promote women's equitable and increased participation
in industry by enabling them to have equal access to and to participate in adult education
and in-service progresses that teach not only literacy but also saleable income-generating
skills, and by encouraging women to participate in collective organizations, including
(d) Industrial co-operation among developing countries should be promoted by creating
(e) International organizations and developed countries should assist developing
countries in their industrialization effort and the integration of women in that process.
190. Governments should ensure that, at all levels of the planning process, women
participate both directly in decision-making and indirectly through effective consultation
with the potential beneficiaries of programmes and projects. To this end, resources should
be allocated to prepare women, through training, vocational guidance and career
counselling and through increased incentives and other support measures, for increased
participation in policy-making and decision-making roles and to integrate them by means of
special measures at all levels.
191. Women should be viewed as users and agents of change in science and technology,
and their technological and managerial skills should be enhanced in order to increase
national self-reliance in industrial production and to promote innovations in productive
design, product adaptation and production techniques. At the same time, industrial
technologies should be applied appropriately to the needs and situations of women so as to
free them from time- and energy-consuming tasks.
192. The introduction of advanced technologies in industry in particular, must allow
women to enter into sectors from which they have been so far excluded.
193. Governments should direct their efforts to expanding women's employment
opportunities in the modern, traditional and self-employed sectors of both the rural and
urban economy and to avoiding the exploitation of female labour. Efforts to improve the
absolute and relative levels of women's earnings and working conditions should be directed
simultaneously to all three sectors.
194. In accordance with accepted international labour standards, particularly, though
not exclusively, in the field of female employment, appropriate legislation should be
adopted and fully implemented at the national level. Specific consideration should be
given to the removal of discriminatory practices concerning employment conditions, health
and safety, and to guaranteeing provisions for pregnant women and maternity benefits and
child care. Social security benefits, including unemployment benefits, should be
guaranteed to women on an equal footing with men. Recruitment of female workers in
existing or new capital-intensive, high-productivity sectors should be encouraged.
195. Governments should recognize the importance of improving the conditions and
structure of the informal sector for national industrial development and the role of women
within it. Traditional craft and cottage industries, as well as the small industrial
efforts of women, should be supported with credits, training facilities, marketing
opportunities and technological guidance. To this end, producers' co-operatives should be
supported and women should be encouraged to establish, manage and own small enterprises.
196. Governments should design and promote as well as encourage the design and
promotion of programmes and should allocate resources to prepare women to take up
traditional and non-traditional industrial activities in organized and small enterprises,
as well as in the informal sector, through innovative approaches to training, and should
prepare and disseminate training materials and provide training to the trainers. They
should support self-employment initiatives and offer guidance and career counselling.
Trade and commercial services
197. Governments should recognize the potential impact of short-term economic
adjustment policies on women in the areas of trade and commerce. Government policies
should promote the full participation and integration of women in these areas. Alternative
sources of finance and new markets should be sought to maintain and increase women's
participation in these activities. Not only should appropriate measures be taken to ensure
that legal and administrative impediments that prevent women from enjoying effective and
equal access to finance and credit are removed but in addition positive measures such as
loan guarantees, technical advice and marketing development services should be introduced.
198. Governments should also recognize the positive contribution of women traders to
local and national economies and should adopt policies to assist and organize these women.
The infrastructure and management of markets, transportation and social services should be
improved to increase the efficiency, security and income of women traders and to reduce
their work-load and the hazards to their health, as well as to avoid wastage of marketable
produce. Training opportunities in bookkeeping, finance, packaging, standardization and
processing technology should be provided to women traders. Such training should also aim
at opening up employment opportunities to these women in other marketing and credit
institutions. Governments should design innovative mechanisms to provide women traders
with access to credit and to encourage the establishment and reinforcement of women's
199. Efforts should be made to encourage enterprises to train women in economic sectors
that traditionally have been closed to them, to promote diversification of women's
employment and to eliminate gender bias from labour markets.
Science and technology
200. The full and effective participation of women in the decision-making and
implementation process related to science and technology, including planning and setting
priorities for research and development, and the choice, acquisition, adaptation,
innovation and application of science and technology for development should be enhanced.
Governments should reassess their technological capabilities and monitor current processes
of change so as to anticipate and ameliorate any adverse impact on women, particularly
adverse effects upon the quality of job.
201. The involvement of women in all of the peaceful uses of outer space should be
enhanced, and effective measures should be undertaken to integrate women into all levels
of decision-making and the implementation of such activities. In all countries special
efforts should be made by Governments and non-governmental organizations to provide women
and women's organizations with information on the peaceful uses of outer space. Special
incentives should be provided to enable women to obtain advanced education and training in
areas related to outer space in order to expand their participation in the application of
outer space technology for peaceful uses, especially in the high-priority development
areas of water, health, energy, food production and nutrition. To achieve these goals,
increased opportunities and encouragement should be given to women to study science,
mathematics and engineering at the university level and to girls to study mathematics and
science at the pre-university level.
202. Women with appropriate skills should be employed at managerial and professional
levels and not restricted to service-level jobs. Special measures should be taken to
improve working conditions for women in the science and technology fields, to eliminate
discriminatory classification of jobs and to protect the right of women to promotion.
Efforts should be made to ensure that women obtain their fair share of jobs at all levels
in new technology industries.
203. Major efforts should be undertaken and effective incentives created to increase
the access of women to both scientific and technological education and training. To
achieve these goals, efforts should be made by Governments and women themselves to
enhance, where necessary, the change of attitudes towards women's performance in
204. The potential and actual impact of science and technology on the developments that
affect women's integration into the various sectors of the economy, as well as on their
health, income and status, should be assessed. Relevant findings should be integrated in
policy formulation to ensure that women benefit fully from available technologies and that
any adverse effects are minimized.
205. Efforts in the design and delivery of appropriate technology to women should be
intensified, and attention should be given to the achievement of the best possible
standard in such technologies. In particular, the implications of advances in medical
technology for women should be carefully examined.
206. In view of the critical role of this sector in eliminating stereotyped images of
women and providing women with easier access to information, the participation of women at
all levels of communications policy and decision-making and in programme design,
implementation and monitoring should be given high priority. The media's portrayal of
stereotyped images of women and also that of the advertising industry can have a
profoundly adverse effect on attitudes towards and among women. Women should be made an
integral part of the decision-making concerning the choice and development of alternative
forms of communication and should have an equal say in the determination of the content of
all public information efforts. The cultural media, involving ritual, drama, dialogue,
oral literature and music, should be integrated in all development efforts to enhance
communication. Women's own cultural projects aimed at changing the traditional images of
women and men should be promoted and woman should have equal access to financial support.
In the field of communication, there is ample scope for international co-operation
regarding information related to the sharing of experience by women and to projecting
activities concerning the role of women in development and peace in order to enhance the
awareness of both accomplishments and the tasks that remain to be fulfilled.
207. The enrolment of women in publicly operated mass communication networks and in
education and training should be increased. The employment of women within the sector
should be promoted and directed towards professional, advisory and decision-making
208. Organizations aimed at promoting the role of women in development as contributors
and beneficiaries should be assisted in their efforts to establish effective
communications and information networks.
Housing, settlement, community development and transport
209. Governments should integrate women in the formulation of policies, programmes and
projects for the provision of basic shelter and infrastructure. To this end, enrolment of
women in architectural, engineering and related fields should be encouraged, and qualified
women graduates in these fields should be assigned to professional and policy-making and
decision-making positions. The shelter and infrastructural needs of women should be
assessed and specifically incorporated in housing, community development, and slum and
210. Women and women's groups should be participants in and equal beneficiaries of
housing and infrastructure construction projects. They should be consulted in the choice
of design and technology of construction and should be involved in the management and
maintenance of the facilities. To this end, women should be provided with construction,
maintenance and management skills and should be participants in related training and
educational programmes. Special attention must be given to the provision of adequate water
to all communities, in consultation with women.
211. Housing credit schemes should be reviewed and women's direct access to housing
construction and improvement credits secured. In this connection, programmes aimed at
increasing the possibilities of sources of income for women should be promoted and
existing legislation or administrative practices endangering women's ownership and tenancy
rights should be revoked.
212. Government efforts for the International Year of Shelter for the homeless should
incorporate assessments of the shelter needs of women and encourage the design and
implementation of innovative projects that will increase women's access to services and
finance. In these efforts special attention should be paid to women who are the sole
supporters of their families. Low-cost housing and facilities should be designed for such
213. All measures to increase the efficiency of land, water and air transportation
should be formulated with due regard to women as producers and consumers. All national and
local decisions concerning transportation policies, including subsidies, pricing, choice
of technology for construction and maintenance, and means of transport, should consider
women's needs and should be based on consideration of the possible impact on the
employment, income and health of women.
214. Women's roles as operators and owners of means of transport should be promoted
through greater access to credit for women and other appropriate means and equal
consideration with regard to the allocation of contracts. This is particularly important
for women's groups and collectives, especially in rural areas, that are usually well
organized but are cut off from serviceable means of transport and communication.
215. Rural transportation planning in developing countries should aim at reducing the
heavy burden on women who carry agricultural produce, water and fuelwood as head-loads. In
exploring modes of transportation, efforts should be made to avoid loss of income and
employment for women by introducing costs that may be too high for them.
216. In the choice of modes of transportation and the design of transport routes, the
increasing ratio of women whose income is essential for family survival should be taken
217. In the design and choice of both commercial and appropriate vehicular technology,
the needs of women, especially those with young children, should be taken into
consideration. Institutional support to give women access to appropriate vehicles should
218. Measures developed to rationalize energy consumption and to improve energy
systems, especially of hydrocarbons, and to increase technical training should be
formulated with a view to women as producers, users and managers of energy sources.
219. In conventional and non-conventional national energy programmes, women should be
integrated as contributors and beneficiaries with a view to their needs, as determined by
specific socio-cultural factors at local and national levels and in both rural and urban
contexts. Assessment of new energy sources, energy technologies and energy-delivery
systems should specifically consider the reduction of the drudgery that constitutes a
large part of the work of poor urban and rural women.
220. The grass-roots participation of women in energy-needs assessment, technology and
energy conservation, management and maintenance efforts should be supported.
221. Priority should be given to substituting energy for muscle in the performance of
the industrial and domestic work of women without loss of their jobs and tasks to men. In
view of the high percentage of domestic use in total energy consumption in low-income
countries, the implications of increasing energy costs, and the current threats posed by
inflation, immediate attention should be directed towards action concerning adapted
technologies, fuel conservation and improved or new sources of energy, such as biomass,
solar and wind energy, geothermal and nuclear energy, as well as mini-hydroelectric power
plants. Improved stoves should be designed and disseminated to reduce the drudgery
involved in the collection of fuel by women.
222. In order to prevent depletion of the forest areas on which most rural women rely
for much of their energy needs and income, innovative programmes, such as farm woodlot
development, should be initiated with the involvement of both women and men. In the
commercialization of fuelwood energy, measures should be taken to avoid the loss of
women's income to middlemen and urban industries. Development of fuelwood plantations,
diffusion of fast-growing varieties of trees and technologies for more efficient
production of charcoal should be accelerated with a view to poor rural and urban women
being the major beneficiaries. The use of solar energy and biogas should be promoted with
due regard to affordability, as well as to use and management by women who are the
223. The involvement of women at all levels of decision-making and implementation of
energy-related decisions including peaceful use of nuclear energy should be enhanced.
Special efforts should be made by Governments and non-governmental organizations to
provide women and women's organizations with information on all sources and uses of
energy, including nuclear energy. Special incentives should be provided to enable women to
obtain advanced levels of education and training in all energy-related areas in order to
expand their participation in decision-making relating to the application of nuclear
technology for peaceful uses especially in high priority development areas of water,
health, energy, food production and nutrition. To achieve these goals, increased
opportunities and encouragement should be given to women to study science, mathematics and
engineering at the university level and for girls to study mathematics and science at the
224. Deprivation of traditional means of livelihood is most often a result of
environmental degradation resulting from such natural and man-made disasters as droughts,
floods, hurricanes, erosion, desertification, deforestation and inappropriate land use.
Such conditions have already pushed great numbers of poor women into marginal environments
where critically low levels of water supplies, shortages of fuel, over-utilization of
grazing and arable lands and population density have deprived them of their livelihood.
Most seriously affected are women in drought-afflicted arid and semi-arid areas and in
urban slums and squatter settlements. These women need options for alternative means of
livelihood. Women must have the same opportunity as men to participate in the wage-earning
labour force in such programmes as irrigation and tree planting and in other programmes
needed to upgrade urban and rural environments. Urgent steps need to be taken to
strengthen the machinery for international economic co-operation in the exploration of
water resources and the control of desertification and other environmental disasters.
225. Efforts to improve sanitary conditions, including drinking water supplies, in all
communities should be strengthened, especially in urban slums and squatter settlements and
in rural areas, with due regard to relevant environmental factors. These efforts should be
extended to include improvements of the home and the work environment and should be
effected with the participation of women at all levels in the planning and implementation
226. Awareness by individual women and all types of women's organizations of
environmental issues and the capacity of women and men to manage their environment and
sustain productive resources should be enhanced. All sources of information dissemination
should be mobilized to increase the self-help potential of women in conserving and
improving their environment. National and international emphasis on ecosystem management
and the control of environmental degradation should be strengthened and women should be
recognized as active and equal participants in this process.
227. The environmental impact of policies, programmes and projects on women's health
and activities, including their source of employment and income, should be assessed and
the negative effects eliminated.
228. Governments are urged to give priority to the development of social
infrastructure, such as adequate care and education for the children of working parents,
whether such work is carried out at home, in the fields or in factories, to reduce the
"double burden" of working women in both urban and rural areas. Likewise they
are urged to offer incentives to employers to provide adequate child-care services which
meet the requirements of parents regarding opening hours. Employers should allow either
parent to work flexible hours in order to share the responsibilities of child care.
Simultaneously, Governments and non-governmental organizations should mobilize the mass
media and other means of communication to ensure public consensus on the need for men and
society as a whole to share with women the responsibilities of producing and rearing
children, who represent the human resource capabilities of the future.
229. Governments should further establish ways and means of assisting women consumers
through the provision of information and the creation of legislation that will increase
consumer consciousness and protect consumers from unsafe goods, dangerous drugs, unhealthy
foods and unethical and exploitative marketing practices. 12a/ Non-governmental
organizations should work towards establishing strong and active organizations for
230. Public expenditure directed towards health, education and training and towards
providing health-care and child-care services for women should be increased.
231. Governments should undertake effective measures, including mobilizing community
resources to identify, prevent and eliminate all violence, including family violence,
against women and children and to provide shelter, support and reorientation services for
abused women and children. These measures should notably be aimed at making women
conscious that maltreatment is not an incurable phenomenon, but a blow to their physical
and moral integrity, against which they have the right (and the duty) to fight, whether
they are themselves the victims or the witnesses. Beyond these urgent protective measures
for maltreated women and children, as well as repressive measures for the authors of this
maltreatment, it would be proper to set in motion long-term supportive machineries of aid
and guidance for maltreated women and children, as well as the people, often men, who
232. The threat to peace resulting from continuing international tension and violations
of the United Nations Charter, resulting in the unabated arms race, in particular in the
nuclear field, as well as wars, armed conflicts, external domination, foreign occupation,
acquisition of land by force, aggression, imperialism, colonialism, neo-colonialism,
racism, apartheid, gross violation of human rights, terrorism, repression, the
disappearance of persons and discrimination on the basis of sex are major obstacles to
human progress, specifically to the advancement of women.
233. Such obstacles, some of which occur with increasing frequency, continually
reinforce and are reinforced by historically established hostile attitudes, ignorance and
bigotry between countries, ethnic groups, races, sexes, socio-economic groups and by lack
of tolerance and respect for different cultures and traditions. Their negative effects are
increased by poverty, tensions in international economic and political relations which are
often aggravated, as well as by the arms race, both nuclear and conventional. The arms
race in particular diverts resources which could be used for developmental and
humanitarian purposes, hinders national and international development efforts and further
handicaps the well-being of the poorest nations and the most disadvantaged segments of the
234. Despite the achievements of the Decade, women's involvement in governmental and
non-governmental activities, decision-making processes related to peace, mobilization
efforts for peace, education for peace and peace research remains limited. Their
participation in the struggle to eradicate colonialism, neo-colonialism, imperialism,
totalitarianism including fascism and similar ideologies, alien occupation, foreign
domination, aggression, racism, racial discrimination, apartheid and other violations of
human rights has often gone unnoticed.
235. Universal and durable peace cannot be attained without the full and equal
participation of women in international relations, particularly in decision-making
concerning peace, including the processes envisaged for the peaceful settlement of
disputes under the Charter of the United Nations nor without overcoming the obstacles
mentioned in 232.
236. Full equality between women and men is severely hampered by the threats to
international peace and security, lack of satisfying progress in the field of disarmament,
including the spread of the arms race to outer space, violation of the principle of the
right of peoples under alien and colonial domination and foreign occupation to
self-determination and independence and respect for the national sovereignty and
territorial integrity of States as well as justice, equality and mutual benefit in
237. It is evident that women all over the world have manifested their love for peace
and their wish to play a greater role in international co-operation, amity and peace among
different nations. All obstacles at national and international levels in the way of
women's participation in promoting international peace and co-operation should be removed
as soon as possible.
238. It is equally important to increase women's understanding and awareness of
constructive negotiations aimed at reaching positive results for international peace and
security. Governments should take measures to encourage the full and effective
participation of women in negotiations on international peace and security. The rejection
of the use of force or of the threat of the use of force and foreign interference and
intervention should become widespread.
B. Basic strategies [ Up ]
239. The main principles and directions for women's activities aimed at strengthening
peace and formulated in the Declaration on the Participation of Women in Promoting
International Peace and Co-operation 7/ should be put into practice. The Declaration calls
for Governments, the United Nations system, non-governmental organizations, relevant
institutions and individuals to strengthen women's participation in this sphere and it
provides the overall framework for such activities.
240. Women and men have an equal right and the same vital interest in contributing to
international peace and co-operation. Women should participate fully in all efforts to
strengthen and maintain international peace and security and to promote international
co-operation, diplomacy, the process of dtente, disarmament in the nuclear field in
particular, and respect for the principle of the Charter of the United Nations, including
respect for the sovereign rights of States, guarantees of fundamental freedoms and human
rights, such as recognition of the dignity of the individual and self-determination, and
freedom of thought, conscience, expression, association, assembly, communication and
movement without distinction as to race, sex, political and religious beliefs, language or
ethnic origin. The commitment to remove the obstacles to women's participation in the
promotion of peace should be strengthened.
241. In view of the fact that women are still very inadequately represented in national
and international political processes dealing with peace and conflict settlement, it is
essential that women support and encourage each other in their initiatives and action
relating either to universal issues, such as disarmament and the development of
confidence-building measures between nations and people, or to specific conflict
situations between or within States.
242. There exist situations in several regions of the world where the violation of
principles of non-use of force, non-intervention, non-interference, non-aggression and the
right to self-determination endangers international peace and security and creates massive
humanitarian problems which constitute an impediment to the advancement of women and hence
to the full implementation of the Forward-looking Strategies. In regard to these
situations strict adherence to and respect for the cardinal principles enshrined in the
Charter of the United Nations and implementation of relevant resolutions consistent with
the principles of the Charter are an imperative requirement with a view to seeking
solutions to such problems, thereby ensuring a secure and better future for the people
affected, most of whom are invariably women and children.
243. Since women are one of the most vulnerable groups in the regions affected by armed
conflicts, special attention has to be drawn to the need to eliminate obstacles to the
fulfilment of the objectives of equality, development and peace and the principles of the
Charter of the United Nations.
244. One of the important obstacles to achieving international peace is the persistent
violation of the principles and objectives of the Charter of the United Nations and the
lack of political will of Governments of such countries to promote constructive
negotiations aimed at decreasing international tension on the issues that seriously
threaten the maintenance of international peace and security. For this reason, the
strategies in this field should include the mobilization of women in favour of all acts
and actions that tend to promote peace, in particular, the elimination of wars and danger
of nuclear war.
245. Immediate and special priority should be given to the promotion and the effective
enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms for all without distinction as to sex,
the full application of the rights of peoples to self-determination and the elimination of
colonialism, neo-colonialism, apartheid, of all forms of racism and racial discrimination,
oppression and aggression, foreign occupation, as well as domestic violence and violence
246. In South-West Asia women and children have endured serious suffering owing to the
violation of the Charter of the United Nations, leading, among other things, to the vast
problem of refugees in neighbouring countries.
247. The situation of violence and destabilization that exists in Central America
constitutes the most serious obstacle to the achievement of peace in the region and thus
hinders the fulfilment of the Forward-looking Strategies vital to the advancement of
women. In this regard and to promote conditions favourable to the objectives of the
Strategies, it is important to reiterate the principles of non-intervention and
self-determination, as well as the non-use of force or rejection of the threat of use of
force in the solution of conflicts in the region. Therefore, the validity of the United
Nations resolutions that establish the right of all sovereign states in the area to live
in peace, free from all interference in their internal affairs, should be reaffirmed. It
is necessary to support the negotiated political solutions and the peace proposals that
the Central American States adopt under the auspices of the Contadora Group, as the most
viable alternative for the solution of the crisis in Central America for the benefit of
their people. In this sense it is important that the five Central American Governments
speed up their consultations with the Contadora Group with the aim of bringing to a
conclusion the negotiation process with the early signing of the Contadora Act on Peace
and Co-operation in Central America (see A/39/562-S/16775, annex).
248. Women have played and continue to play an important role in the self-determination
of peoples, including through national liberation, in accordance with the United Nations
Charter. Their efforts should be recognized and commended and used as one basis for their
full participation in the construction of their countries, and in the creation of humane
and just social and political systems. Women's contribution in this area should be ensured
by their equal access to political power and their full participation in the
249. Strategies at the national, regional and the global levels should be based on a
clear recognition that peace and security, self-determination and national independence
are fundamental for the attainment of the three objectives of the Decade: equality,
development and peace.
250. Safeguarding world peace and averting a nuclear catastrophe is one of the most
important tasks today in which women have an essential role to play, especially by
supporting actively the halting of the arms race followed by arms reduction and the
attainment of a general and complete disarmament under effective international control,
and thus contributing to the improvement of their economic position. Irrespective of their
socio-economic system, the States should strive to avoid confrontation and to build
friendly relations instead, which should be also supported by women.
251. Peace requires the participation of all members of society, women and men alike,
in rejecting any type of intervention in the domestic affairs of States, whether it is
openly or covertly carried out by other States or by transnational corporations. Peace
also requires that women and men alike should promote respect for the sovereign right of a
State to establish its own economic, social and political system without undergoing
political and economic pressures or coercion of any type.
252. There exists a relationship between the world economic situation, development and
the strengthening of international peace and security, disarmament and the relaxation of
international tension. All efforts should be made to reduce global expenditures on
armaments and to reach an agreement on the internationally agreed disarmament goals in
order to prevent the waste of immense material and human resources, some part of which
might otherwise be used for development, especially of the developing countries, as well
as for the improvement of standards of living and well-being of people in each country. In
this context, particular attention should be given to the advancement of women, including
to the participation of women in the promotion of international peace and co-operation and
the protection of mothers and children who represent a disproportionate share of the most
vulnerable group, the poorest of the poor.
253. Women's equal role in decision-making with respect to peace and related issues
should be seen as one of their basic human rights and as such should be enhanced and
encouraged at the national, regional and international levels. In accordance with the
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, all existing
impediments to the achievement by women of equality with men should be removed. To this
end, efforts should be intensified at all levels to overcome prejudices, stereotyped
thinking, denial to women of career prospects and appropriate educational possibilities,
and resistance by decision-makers to the changes that are necessary to enable equal
participation of women with men in the international and diplomatic service.
254. Mankind is confronted with a choice: to halt the arms race and proceed to
disarmament or face annihilation. The growing opposition of women to the danger of war,
especially a nuclear war, which will lead to a nuclear holocaust, and their support for
disarmament must be respected. States should be encouraged to ensure unhindered flow and
access to information, including to women, with regard to various aspects of disarmament
to avoid dissemination of false and tendentious information concerning armaments and to
concentrate on the danger of the escalation of the arms race and on the need for general
and complete disarmament under effective international control. The resources released as
a result of disarmament measures should be used to help promote the well-being of all
peoples and improve the economic and social conditions of the developing countries. Under
such conditions, States should pay increased attention to the urgent need to improve the
situation of women.
255. Peace education should be established for all members of society, particularly
children and young people. Values, such as tolerance, racial and sexual equality, respect
for and understanding of others, and good-neighbourliness should be developed, promoted
256. Women of the world, together with men, should, as informal educators and
socialization agents, play a special role in the process of bringing up younger
generations in an atmosphere of compassion, tolerance, mutual concern and trust, with an
awareness that all people belong to the same world community. Such education should be
part of all formal and informal educational processes as well as of communications,
information and mass-media systems.
257. Further action should be taken at family and neighbourhood levels, as well as at
national and international levels, to achieve a peaceful social environment compatible
with human dignity. The questions of women and peace and the meaning of peace for women
cannot be separated from the broader question of relationships between women and men in
all spheres of life and in the family. Discriminatory practices and negative attitudes
towards women should be eliminated and traditional gender norms changed to enhance women's
participation in peace.
258. Violence against women exists in various forms in everyday life in all societies.
Women are beaten, mutilated, burned, sexually abused and raped. Such violence is a major
obstacle to the achievement of peace and the other objectives of the Decade and should be
given special attention. Women victims of violence should be given particular attention
and comprehensive assistance. To this end, legal measures should be formulated to prevent
violence and to assist women victims. National machinery should be established in order to
deal with the question of violence against women within the family and society. Preventive
policies should be elaborated, and institutionalized forms of assistance to women victims
C. Women and children under apartheid [ Up ]
259. 12b/ Women and children under apartheid and other racist minority rgimes
suffer from direct inhumane practices such as massacres and detention, mass population
removal, separation from families and immobilization in reservations. They are subjected
to the detrimental implications of the labour migrant system pass laws and of relegation
to the homelands where they suffer disproportionately from poverty, poor health and
illiteracy. The Programme of Action of the World Conference to Combat Racism and Racial
Discrimination (1978) 14/ provides an overall framework for action. Its objective is to
eradicate apartheid and to enable black African people in South Africa to enjoy their full
sovereign rights in their country. Governments that have not already done so are urged to
sign and ratify the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the
Crime of Apartheid of 30 November 1973. 15/
Full international assistance should be given to the most oppressed group under apartheid
- women and children. The United Nations system, Governments and non-governmental
organizations should identify the basic needs of women and children under apartheid and
other racist minority rgimes, including women in refugee camps in southern Africa,
and provide them with adequate legal, humanitarian, medical and material assistance as
well as education, training and employment.
Assistance should be given to women's sections in national liberation movements in order
to strengthen their work for women's equal opportunities, education and training so as to
prepare them to play an important political role in the present struggle and in
nation-building after liberation.
The Forward-looking Strategies should take into account the destabilizing effects of
apartheid on the economic infrastructure of neighbouring independent African States, which
impede the development of the subregion.
Institutionalized apartheid in South Africa and Namibia as realized in the day-to-day
political, legal, social and cultural life remains an enormous obstacle and hindrance to
advancement, equality and peace in the African region.
The Forward-looking Strategies should aim at the speedy and effective implementation of
Security Council resolution 435 (1978) concerning the independence of Namibia. The total
and unconditional liberation of Namibia should be a major objective of the Forward-looking
Strategies, which should also aim at the improvement of the condition of women and
The United Nations and the international community must strengthen their resolve to see
the abhorrent apartheid system eradicated and Namibia freed from the forces of occupation.
Owing to South Africa's position in the international political and economic structure,
the international community has the greatest responsibility to ensure that peace and human
dignity are restored to southern Africa.
In addition to measures already taken, further effective measures, including sanctions,
should be taken to terminate all collaboration with the racist rgime of South Africa
in the political, military, diplomatic and economic fields with a view to eliminating
untold misery and loss of life of the oppressed people, the majority of whom are black
women and children.
The international community must insist upon the effective implementation of Security
Council resolution 435 (1978) concerning the independence of Namibia and all the United
Nations resolutions calling for sanctions against South Africa, its isolation and
abandonment of its racist policies. All efforts should be made for the immediate and
unconditional withdrawal of South African forces from Angola.
The international community must condemn the direct aggression committed by the armed
forces of the racist rgime of South Africa against the front-line countries as well
as the recruitment, training and financing of mercenaries and of armed bandits who
massacre women and children and who are used to overthrow the legitimate Governments of
these countries by reason of their support for the people of South Africa and Namibia.
The international community should provide greater moral and material assistance to all
the bodies struggling to remove apartheid, especially the national liberation movements -
the African National Congress of South Africa, the Pan Africanist Congress of Azania and
the South West Africa People's Organization the African front-line States, the
Organization of African Unity, the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries and non-governmental
Women, together with their Governments, should strengthen their commitment to the
eradication of apartheid and support to their struggling sisters in all possible ways. To
this end, women and women's organizations should keep themselves constantly informed about
the situation of women and children under apartheid, disseminate information widely and
build up awareness in their countries about the situation by organizing national
solidarity and support committees where these do not yet exist as a means to educate the
public about the evils of apartheid and its brutal oppression of women and children in
South Africa and Namibia.
D. Palestinian women and children [ Up ]
260. 15a/ For more than three decades, Palestinian women have faced difficult living
conditions in camps and outside, struggling for the survival of their families and the
survival of the Palestinian people who were deprived of their ancestral lands and denied
the inalienable rights to return to their homes and their property, their right to
self-determination, national independence and sovereignty (see A/CONF.116/6). Palestinian
women are vulnerable to imprisonment, torture, reprisals and other oppressive practices by
Israel in the occupied Arab territories. The confiscation of land and the creation of
further settlements has affected the lives of Palestinian women and children. Such Israeli
measures and practices are a violation of the Geneva Convention. 16/ The Palestinian woman
as part of her nation suffers from discrimination in employment, health care and
The situation of violence and destabilization which exists in southern Lebanon and the
Golan Heights put Arab women and children who are living under Israeli occupation in
severe situations. Lebanese women are also suffering from discrimination and detention.
Therefore, all relevant United Nations resolutions, in particular Security Council
resolutions 497 (1981), 508 (1982) and 509 (1982), should be implemented.
The implementation of the Programme of Action for the Achievement of Palestinian Rights
17/ should be kept under review and co-ordinated between the United Nations units and
agencies concerned, with emphasis on the role of Palestinian women in preserving their
national identity, traditions and heritage and in the struggle for sovereignty.
Palestinian people must recover their rights to self-determination and the right to
establish an independent State in accordance with all relevant United Nations resolutions.
The special and immediate needs of Palestinian women and children should be identified and
appropriate provision made. United Nations projects should be initiated to help
Palestinian women in the fields of health, education, and vocational training. Their
living conditions inside and outside the occupied territories should be studied by the
appropriate United Nations units and agencies assisted, as appropriate, by specialized
research institutes from various regions. The results of these studies should be given
broad publicity to promote actions at all levels. The international community should exert
all efforts to stop the establishment of new Israeli settlements in the West Bank and the
Gaza Strip. Palestinian women should be allowed to enjoy security in a liberated homeland
also in accordance with United Nations resolutions.
E. Women in areas affected by armed conflicts, foreign intervention and threats
to peace [ Up ]
261. Armed conflicts and emergency situations impose a serious threat to the lives of
women and children, causing constant fear, danger of displacement, destruction,
devastation, physical abuse, social and family disruption, and abandonment. Sometimes
these result in complete denial of access to adequate health and educational services,
loss of job opportunities and overall worsening of material conditions.
262. International instruments, ongoing negotiations and international discussions
aimed at the limitation of armed conflicts, such as the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949
and the First Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions of 1949, adopted in 1977,
provide a general framework for the protection of civilians in times of hostilities and
the basis of provisions of humanitarian assistance and protection to women and children.
Measures proposed in the 1974 Declaration on the Protection of Women and Children in
Emergency and Armed Conflict (General Assembly resolution 3318 (XXIX) should be taken into
account by Governments.
F. Measures for the implementation of the basic strategies at the national
level [ Up ]
1. Women's participation in efforts for peace
263. Governments should follow the overall framework of action for disarmament as
provided by the Final Document of the tenth special session of the General Assembly, which
was devoted to disarmament (resolution S-10/2). Women's participation in the World
Disarmament Campaign and their contribution to education for disarmament should be
264. Publicity should be given by Governments and non-governmental organizations to the
main treaties concluded in the field of arms control and disarmament, and to other
relevant documents. More should be done to mobilize women to overcome social apathy and
helplessness in relation to disarmament and to generate wide support for the
implementation of these agreements. Publicity should also be given to the declaration by
the General Assembly of 1986 as the International Year of Peace, 18/ and the participation
of women in the programme for the Year should be encouraged.
265. Non-governmental organizations should be encouraged to play an active role in
promoting the restoration of peace in areas of conflict, in accordance with United Nations
266. omen should be able to participate actively in the decision-making process related
to the promotion of international peace and co-operation. Governments should take the
necessary measures to facilitate this participation by institutional, educational and
organizational means. Emphasis should be given to the grass-roots participation and
co-operation of women's organizations with other non-governmental organizations in this
267. overnments which have not done so should undertake all appropriate measures to
eliminate existing discriminatory practices towards women and to provide them with equal
opportunities to join, at all levels, the civil service, to enter the diplomatic service
and to represent their countries as members of delegations to national, regional and
international meetings, including conferences on peace, conflict resolution, disarmament,
and meetings of the Security Council and other United Nations bodies.
268. Women should be encouraged and given financial support to take university courses
in government, international relations and diplomacy in order to obtain the necessary
professional qualifications for careers in fields relating to peace and international
269. overnments should encourage women's participation in the promotion of peace at
decision-making levels by providing information on opportunities for such participation in
public service and by promoting equitable representation of women in governmental and
non-governmental bodies and activities.
270. Non-governmental organizations should provide opportunities for women to learn how
to develop self-reliance and leadership capabilities in order to promote peace,
disarmament, human rights and international co-operation more effectively. They should
emphasize the participation of women from trade unions and organizations in rural areas
that have not as yet received sufficient attention and should make periodic assessments of
strategies for women's participation in the promotion of peace at all levels, including
the highest decision-making levels.
271. National machinery should be established to deal with the question of domestic
violence. Preventive policies should be elaborated and institutionalized economic and
other forms of assistance and protection for women and child victims should be provided.
Legislative measures should be strengthened and legal aid provided.
2. Education for peace
272. Governments, non-governmental organizations, women's groups and the mass media
should encourage women to engage in efforts to promote education for peace in the family,
neighbourhood and community. Special attention should be given to the contribution of
women's grass-roots organizations. The multiple skills and talents of women artists,
journalists, writers, educators and civic leaders can contribute to promoting ideas of
peace if encouraged, facilitated and supported.
273. Special attention should be given to the education of children for life in peace
within an atmosphere of understanding, dialogue and respect for others. In this respect,
suitable concrete action should be taken to discourage the provision of children and young
persons with games and publications and other media promoting the notion of favouring war,
aggression, cruelty, excessive desire for power and other forms of violence, within the
broad processes of the reparation of society for life in peace.
274. Governments, educational institutions, professional associations and
non-governmental organizations should co-operate to develop a high-quality content for and
to achieve widespread dissemination of books and programmes on education for peace. Women
should take an active part in the preparation of those materials, which should include
case studies of peaceful settlements of disputes, non-violent movements and passive
resistance and the recognition of peace-seeking individuals.
275. Governments should create the conditions that would enable women to increase their
knowledge of the main problems in contemporary international relations. Information should
be widely and freely disseminated among women, thereby contributing to their full
understanding of those problems. All existing obstacles and discriminatory practices
regarding women's civil and political education should be removed. Opportunities should be
provided for women to organize and choose studies, training programmes and seminars
related to peace, disarmament, education for peace and the peaceful settlement of
276. The participation of women in peace research, including research on women and
peace, should be encouraged. Existing barriers to women researchers should be removed and
appropriate resources provided for peace researchers. Co-operation amongst peace
researchers, government officials, non-governmental organizations and activists should be
encouraged and fostered.
277. There is an increasing number of categories of women who, because of their special
characteristics, are experiencing not only the common problems indicated under the
separate themes but also specific difficulties due to their socio-economic and health
condition, age, minority status or a combination of these factors. Moreover, in many
countries increasing demographic pressure, deteriorating rural conditions, curtailment of
subsistence agriculture and difficult political conditions have been exacerbated by the
current economic recession, leading to the dislocation of large sections of populations.
In this process women experience particular difficulties and are often the more vulnerable
because of their traditional lack of access to development opportunities.
278. The special groups of women identified below are extremely diverse, and their
problems vary tremendously from one country to another. No single strategy or set of
measures can apply adequately to all cases, and the present document is therefore limited
to highlighting their special circumstances and the need for each country, as well as the
international community, to give these issues the necessary attention. The basic strategy
must remain one of fundamentally changing the economic conditions that produce such
deprivation and of upgrading women's low status in society, which accounts for their
extreme vulnerability to such conditions, especially to poverty. This is aggravated by the
increase in drug-dependence, which adversely affects all sectors of society, including
women. Building an organizational base for such change is a crucial strategy that can
provide a rallying point for solidarity among women. Measures needed to provide immediate
emergency assistance should be supplemented by longer-term efforts to enable women to
break out of these situations. In many cases, permanent solutions to these issues can only
be found through the broader efforts directed towards the reallocation of resources and
decision-making power and towards the elimination of inequality and injustice.
279. There is a need to recognize the survival mechanisms already developed by these
women as basic strategies in their own right and to build on them. A first priority would
be to strengthen their organization capabilities by providing physical, financial and
human resources, as well as education and training. Also of extreme importance is the need
to revitalize these women's aspirations in order to eliminate the chronic despair that
characterizes their daily lives.
280. The economic, social, cultural and political conditions of those groups of women
should be improved basically by the implementation of the measures proposed for the
attainment of equality, development and peace for women in general. Additional efforts
should be directed towards ensuring the gainful and productive inclusion of these women in
mainstream development and in political activities. Priority emphasis should be placed
upon income-generating opportunities and for the independent and sustained improvement of
their condition and by the full integration and active participation of women as agents
and beneficiaries of development.
281. Policies, programmes and projects aimed at or incorporating especially vulnerable
and underprivileged groups of women should recognize the particular difficulties of
removing the multiple obstacles facing such groups and should place equal emphasis on
addressing the social, economic and human dimensions of their vulnerability and their
underprivileged positions. Measures needed to provide them with immediate assistance
should be supplemented by comprehensive long-term plans to achieve lasting solutions to
their problems. These will usually necessitate global efforts in resolving the special
problems of vulnerable groups, of which women are a significant part.
282. Basic to all efforts to improve the condition of these women should be the
identification of their needs and hence the gathering of gender-specific data and economic
indicators sensitive to conditions of extreme poverty and oppression. Such data should
contain spatial, socio-economic and longitudinal characteristics and should be designed
specifically for use in policy, programme and project formulation and implementation.
Monitoring efforts at national, subregional, regional and international levels should be
A. Women in areas affected by drought
283. During the Decade, the phenomenon of drought and desertification grew and
developed incessantly, no longer affecting merely some localities in a single country but
several entire countries. The scale and persistence of drought constitutes a grave threat,
particularly for the countries of the Sahel, in which famine and a far-reaching
deterioration of the environment set in as a result of the desertification process. Hence,
despite the considerable efforts of the international community, the living conditions of
the peoples, particularly those of women and children, which were already precarious, have
become particularly miserable.
In view o that situation steps should be taken to promote concerted programmes
between the countries concerned for combating drought and desertification. Efforts should
be intensified for the formulation and implementation of programmes aimed at food security
and self-sufficiency, in particular by the optimum control and exploitation of
A distinction should be made between emergency aid and productive activities. Emergency
aid should be intensified when necessary and as far as ever possible directed towards
Measures should be adopted to take into account women's contribution to production,
involve them more closely in the design, implementation and evaluation of the programmes
envisaged and ensure ample access for them to the means of production and processing and
B. Urban poor women
284. Urbanization has been one of the major socio-economic trends over the past few
decades and is expected to continue at an accelerating rate. Although the situation varies
considerably from one region to another, it can generally be expected that by the year
2000 close to half the number of women in the world will be living in urban areas. In
developing countries, the number of urban women could nearly double by the year 2000, and
it is envisaged that there could be a considerable increase in the number of poor women
285. To deal effectively with the issue, Governments should organize multi-sectoral
programmes with emphasis on economic activities, elimination of discrimination and the
provision of supportive services and, inter alia, adequate child-care facilities and,
where necessary, workplace canteens to enable women to gain access to economic, social and
educational opportunities on an equal basis with men. Particular attention should be
devoted to the informal sector, which constitutes a major outlet for employment of a
considerable number of urban poor women.
C. Elderly women
286. The International Plan of Action on Aging adopted by the World Assembly on Aging
in 1982 19/ emphasized both the humanitarian and developmental aspects of aging. The
recommendations of the Plan of Action are applicable to women and men with a view to
providing them with protection and care, and ensuring their involvement and participation
in social life and development. However, the Plan of Action recognizes a number of
specific areas of concern for elderly women since their longer life expectancy frequently
means an old age aggravated by economic need and isolation for both unmarried women and
widows, possibly with little or no prospect of paid employment. This applies particularly
to those women whose lifetimes were spent in unpaid and unrecognized work in the home with
little or no access to a pension. If women have an income, it is generally lower than
men's, partly because their former employment status has in the majority of cases been
broken by maternity and family responsibilities. For this reason, the Plan of Action also
noted the need for long-term policies directed towards providing social insurance for
women in their own right. Governments and non-governmental organizations should, in
addition to the measures recommended, explore the possibilities of employing elderly women
in productive and creative ways and encouraging their participation in social and
It is also recommended that the care of elderly persons, including women, should go beyond
disease orientation and should include their total well-being. Further efforts, in
particular primary health care, health services and suitable accommodation and housing as
strategies should be directed at enabling elderly women to lead a meaningful life as long
as possible, in their own home and family and in the community.
Women should be prepared early in life, both psychologically and socially, to face the
consequences of longer life expectancy. Although, while getting older, professional and
family roles of women are undergoing fundamental changes, aging, at a stage of
development, is a challenge for women. In this period of life, women should be enabled to
cope in a creative way with new opportunities. The social consequences arising from the
stereotyping of elderly women should be recognized and eliminated. The media should assist
by presenting positive images of women, particularly emphasizing the need for respect
because of their past and continuing contributions to society.
Attention should be given to studying and treating the health problems of aging,
particularly in women. Research should also be directed towards the investigation and
slowing down of the process of premature aging due to a lifetime of stress, excessive
work-load, malnutrition and repeated pregnancy.
D. Young women
287. Initiatives begun for the 1985 International Youth Year should be extended and
expanded so that young women are protected from abuse and exploitation and assisted to
develop their full potential. Girls and boys must be provided with equal access to health,
education and employment to equip them for adult life. Both girls and boys should be
educated to accept equal responsibilities for parenthood.
Urgent attention should be paid to the educational and vocational training of young women
in all fields of occupation, giving particular emphasis to those who are socially and
economically disadvantaged. Self-employed young women and girls should be assisted to
organize co-operatives and ongoing training programmes to improve their skills in
production, marketing and management techniques. Special retraining programmes should also
be developed for teenage mothers and girls who have dropped out of school and are ill
equipped to enter productive employment.
Steps should be taken to eliminate exploitative treatment of young women at work in line
with IL0 Convention No. 111 concerning discrimination in respect of employment and
occupation, 1958 and IL0 Convention No. 122 concerning employment policy, 1964.
Legislative measures guaranteeing young women their rights should be enforced.
Governments should recognize and enforce the rights of young women to be free from sexual
violence, sexual harassment and sexual exploitation. In particular, Governments should
recognize that many young women are victims of incest and sexual abuse in the family, and
should take steps to assist the victims and to prevent such abuse by education, by
improving the status of women and by appropriate action against offenders. Young women
should be educated to assert their rights. Particular attention should also be given to
sexual harassment and exploitation in employment, especially those areas of employment
such as domestic service, where sexual harassment and exploitation are most prevalent.
Governments must also recognize their obligation to provide housing for young women who
because of unemployment and low incomes suffer special problems in obtaining housing.
Homeless young women are particularly vulnerable to sexual exploitation.
In the year 2000 women aged 15-24 will constitute over 8 per cent of both rural and urban
populations in developing countries. The great majority of these women will be out of
school and in search of jobs. For those employed, frequent exploitation, long working
hours and stress have serious implications for their health. Low nutritional levels and
unplanned and repeated pregnancies are also aggravating factors.
E. Abused women
288. Gender-specific violence is increasing and Governments must affirm the dignity of
women, as a priority action. Governments should therefore intensify efforts to establish
or strengthen forms of assistance to victims of such violence through the provision of
shelter, support, legal and other services.
In addition to immediate assistance to victims of violence against women in the family and
in society, Governments should undertake to increase public awareness of violence against
women as a societal problem, establish policies and legislative measures to ascertain its
causes and prevent and eliminate such violence in particular by suppressing degrading
images and representations of women in society, and finally encourage the development of
educational and re-educational measures for offenders.
F. Destitute women
289. Destitution is an extreme form of poverty. It is estimated that its effects on
large segments of the population in developing and developed countries are on the
increase. Forward-looking Strategies to promote the objectives of the United Nations
Decade for Women: Equality, Development and Peace at the national and international levels
are the basis for dealing with this problem. In addition strategies already specified for
the implementation of the International Development Strategy for the Third United Nations
Development Decade and the new international economic order are suggested in these
recommendations. Governments should therefore ensure that the special needs and concerns
of destitute women are given priority in the above-mentioned strategies. Moreover, efforts
being undertaken for the International Year of Shelter for the Homeless (1987) should
focus attention on the particular situation of women commensurate with their relative
G. Women victims of trafficking and involuntary prostitution
290. Forced prostitution is a form of slavery imposed on women by procurers. It is,
inter alia, a result of economic degradation that alienates women's labour through
processes of rapid urbanization and migration resulting in underemployment and
unemployment. It also stems from women's dependence on men. Social and political pressures
produce refugees and missing persons. Often these include vulnerable groups of women who
are victimized by procurers. Sex tourism, forced prostitution and pornography reduce women
to mere sex objects and marketable commodities.
291. States Parties to the United Nations Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic
in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others should implement the
provisions dealing with the exploitation of women as prostitutes. Urgent consideration
should also be given to the improvement of international measures to combat trafficking in
women for the purposes of prostitution. Resources for the prevention of prostitution and
assistance in the professional, personal and social reintegration of prostitutes should be
directed towards providing economic opportunities, including training, employment,
self-employment and health facilities for women and children. Governments should also
endeavour to co-operate with non-governmental organizations to create wider employment
possibilities for women. Strict enforcement provisions must also be taken at all levels to
stem the rising tide of violence, drug abuse and crime related to prostitution. The
complex and serious problems of the exploitation of and violence against women associated
with prostitution call for increased and co-ordinated efforts by police agencies
H. Women deprived of their traditional means of livelihood
292. The excessive and inappropriate exploitation of land by any party for any purpose,
inter alia, by transnational corporations, as well as natural and man-made disasters are
among the predominant causes of deprivation of traditional means of livelihood. Droughts,
floods, hurricanes and other forms of environmental hazards, such as erosion,
desertification and deforestation, have already pushed poor women into marginal
environments. At present the pressures are greatest in drought-afflicted arid and
semi-arid areas. Urban slums and squatter settlements are also seriously affected.
Critically low levels of water supplies, shortage of fuel, over-utilization of grazing and
arable lands, and population density are all factors that deprive women of their
293. National and international emphasis on ecosystem management should be
strengthened, environmental degradation should be controlled and options provided for
alternative means of livelihood. Measures should be established to draw up national
conservation strategies aimed at incorporating women's development programmes, among which
are irrigation and tree planting and also orientation in the area of agriculture, with
women constituting a substantial part of the wage-earning labour force for those
I. Women who are the sole supporters of families
294. Recent studies have shown that the number of families in which women are the sole
supporters is on the increase. Owing to the particular difficulties (social, economic and
legal) which they face, many such women are among the poorest people concentrated in urban
informal labour markets and they constitute large numbers of the rural unemployed and
marginally employed. Those with very little economic, social and moral support face
serious difficulties in supporting themselves as well as in bringing up their children
alone. This has serious repercussions for society in terms of the quality, character,
productivity and human resource capabilities of its present and future citizenry.
295. The assumptions that underlie a large part of the relevant legislation,
regulations and household surveys that confine the role of supporter and head of household
to men hinder women's access to credit, loans and material and non-material resources.
Changes are needed in these areas to secure for women equal access to resources. There is
a need to eliminate terms such as "head of household" and introduce others that
are comprehensive enough to reflect women's role appropriately in legal documents and
household surveys to guarantee the rights of these women. In the provision of social
services, special attention has to be given to the needs of these women. Governments are
urged to ensure that women with sole responsibility for their families receive a level of
income and social support sufficient to enable them to attain or maintain economic
independence and to participate effectively in society. To this end, the assumptions that
underlie policies, including research used in policy development, and legislation that
confines the role of supporter or head of household to men should be identified and
eliminated. Special attention, such as accessible, quality child care, should be given to
assisting those women in discharging their domestic responsibilities and to enabling them
to participate in and benefit from education, training programmes and employment. The
putative father should be made to assist in the maintenance and education of those
children born out of wedlock.
J. Women with physical and mental disabilities
296. It is generally accepted that women constitute a significant number of the
estimated 500 million people who are disabled as a consequence of mental, physical or
sensory impairment. Many factors contribute to the rising numbers of disabled persons,
including war and other forms of violence, poverty, hunger, nutritional deficiencies,
epidemics and work-related accidents. The recognition of their human dignity and human
rights and the full participation by disabled persons in society is still limited, and
this presents additional problems for women who may have domestic and other
responsibilities. It is recommended that Governments should adopt the Declaration on the
Rights of Disabled Persons (1975) and the World Programme of Action concerning Disabled
Persons (1982) which provide an overall framework for action and also refer to problems
specific to women that have not been fully appreciated by society because they are still
not well known or understood. Community-based occupational and social rehabilitation
measures, support services to help them with their domestic responsibilities, as well as
opportunities for the participation of such women in all aspects of life should be
provided. The rights of intellectually disabled women to obtain health information and
advice and to consent to or refuse medical treatment should be respected similarly, the
rights of intellectually disabled minors should be respected.
K. Women in detention and subject to penal law
297. One of the major areas of current concern in the field of crime prevention and
criminal justice is the need for equal treatment of women by the criminal justice system.
In the context of changing socio-economic and cultural conditions some improvements have
taken place but more need to be made. The number of women in detention has increased over
the Decade and this trend is expected to continue. Women deprived of freedom are exposed
to various forms of physical violence, sexual and moral harassment. The conditions of
their detention are often below acceptable hygienic standards and their children are
deprived of maternal care. The recommendations of the Sixth United Nations Congress on the
Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders, held at Caracas, in 1980, 20/ and the
principles of the Caracas Declaration with special reference to the "fair and equal
treatment of women", should be taken into account in designing and implementing
concrete measures at the national and international levels. The proportions of indigenous
women imprisoned in some countries is a matter of concern.
L. Refugee and displaced women and children
298. The international community recognizes a humanitarian responsibility to protect
and assist refugees and displaced persons. In many cases refugee and displaced women are
exposed to a variety of difficult situations affecting their physical and legal protection
as well as their psychological and material well-being. Problems of physical debility,
physical safety, emotional stress and socio-psychological effects of separation or death
in the family, as well as changes in women's roles, together with limitations often found
in the new environment including lack of adequate food, shelter, health care and social
services call for specialized and enlarged assistance. Special attention has to be offered
to women with special needs. Furthermore, the potential and capacities of refugee and
displaced women should be recognized and enhanced.
299. It is recognized that a lasting solution to the problems of refugees and displaced
women and children should be sought in the elimination of the root causes of the flow of
refugees and durable solutions should be found leading to their voluntary return to their
homes in conditions of safety and honour and their full integration in the economic,
social and cultural life of their country of origin in the immediate future. Until such
solutions are achieved, the international community, in an expression of international
solidarity and burden-sharing, should continue providing relief assistance and also
launching special relief programmes taking into account the specific needs of refugee
women and children in countries of first asylum. Similarly, relief assistance and special
relief programmes should also continue to be provided to returnees and displaced women and
children. Legal, educational, social, humanitarian and moral assistance should be offered
as well as opportunities for their voluntary repatriation, return or resettlement. Steps
should also be taken to promote accession by Governments to the 1951 Convention relating
to the Status of Refugees and to implement, on a basis of equity for all refugees,
provisions contained in this Convention and its 1967 Protocol.
M. Migrant women
300. The Decade has witnessed the increasing involvement of women in all forms of
migration, including rural-rural, rural-urban and international movements of a temporary,
seasonal or permanent nature. In addition to their lack of adequate education, skills and
resources, migrant women may also face severe adjustment problems due to differences in
religion, language, nationality, and socialization as well as separation from their
original families. Such problems are often accentuated for international migrants as a
result of the openly-expressed prejudices and hostilities, including violation of human
rights in host countries. Thus recommendations of the World Population Plan of Action and
the Programme of Action for the Second Half of the United Nations Decade for Women
pertaining to migrant women should be implemented and expanded in view of the anticipated
increase in the scope of the problem. It is also urgent to conclude the elaboration of the
draft International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and
their Families, as agreed by the General Assembly in the relevant resolutions.
301. The situation of migrant women, who are subject to double discrimination as women
and as migrants, should be given special attention by the Governments of host countries,
particularly with respect to protection and maintenance of family unity, employment
opportunities and equal pay, equal conditions of work, health care, benefits to be
provided in accordance with the existing social security rights in the host country, and
racial and other forms of discrimination. Particular attention should also be given to the
second generation of migrant women, especially with regard to education and professional
training, to allow them to integrate themselves in their countries of adoption and to work
according to their education and skills. In this process, loss of cultural values of their
countries of origin should be avoided.
N. Minority and "indigenous" women
302. Some women are oppressed as a result of belonging to minority groups or
populations which have historically been subjected to domination and suffered
dispossession and dispersal. These women suffer the full burden of discrimination based on
race, colour, descent, ethnic and national origin and the majority experienced serious
economic deprivation. As women, they are therefore doubly disadvantaged. Measures should
be taken by Governments in countries in which there are minority and indigenous
populations to respect, preserve and promote all of their human rights, their dignity,
ethnic, religious, cultural and linguistic identity and their full participation in
303. Governments should ensure that the fundamental human rights and freedoms as
enshrined in relevant international instruments are fully guaranteed also to women
belonging to minority groups and indigenous populations. Governments in countries in which
there are indigenous and minority populations should ensure respect for the economic,
social and cultural rights of these women and assist them in the fulfilment of their
family and parental responsibilities. Specific measures should address dietary
deficiencies, high levels of infant and maternal mortality and other health problems, lack
of education, housing and child care. Vocational, technical, professional and other
training should be provided to enable these women to secure employment or to participate
in income-generating activities and projects, and to secure adequate wages, occupational
health and safety and their other rights as workers. As far as possible, Governments
should ensure that these women have access to all services in their own languages.
304. Women belonging to minority groups or indigenous populations should be fully
consulted and should participate in the development and implementation of programmes
affecting them. The Governments of countries where minorities and indigenous populations
exist should take proper account of the work of bodies such as the Committee on the
Elimination of Racial Discrimination and the Sub-Commission on Prevention of
Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, in particular its Working Group which is
developing a set of international standards to protect the rights of indigenous
populations. The General Assembly should consider the advisability of designating an
international year of indigenous and traditional cultures in order to promote
international understanding and to emphasize the distinctive role of women in sustaining
the identity of their people.
305. Insufficient attention has been devoted during the Decade at the international
level and in some regions to the need to advance the status of women in relation to the
goals and objectives of the Decade - equality, development and peace. International
tensions, arms race, threat of nuclear war, failure to respect human rights and
fundamental freedoms and failure to observe the principles of the United Nations Charter
as well as global economic recession and other critical situations combined with
dissatisfaction due to inadequate progress in multilateral and international co-operation
since the Copenhagen World Conference has substantially affected the scope and ability for
international and regional co-operation including the role of the United Nations. The
progress in the developing world has slackened or in some cases turned negative under
conditions of serious indebtedness, economic and monetary instability, resource
constraints and unemployment. This has also affected prospects for economic and technical
co-operation among developing countries, particularly with regard to women. Nevertheless
some progress has been made in terms of achieving equality between women and men, and a
greater appreciation of the role of women in development and peace which should also
contribute toward effective international co-operation.
306. International and regional organizations have been called upon during the Decade
to advance the position of their women staff and to extend hiring practices to include
qualified women. The results have been highly uneven and in some cases the situation has
actually worsened during the Decade in the face of resource constraints and other limiting
criteria, such as geographical distribution and attitudinal barriers. In particular, women
are absent from the senior management levels, which seriously limits their influence on
307. In order to institutionalize interorganizational exchanges of information and
co-operation in relation to women's advancement, several United Nations agencies,
non-governmental organizations and regional bodies have designated, in response to
pressures applied during the Decade, focal points for women's activities. However, in many
cases, insufficient tenure and resources accompanied those actions, thus limiting their
long-term effectiveness. Moreover, activities that promote the integration of women in
development have often been confined to these focal points and have not been integrated
into all organizational planning and programme activities. Progress has also been limited
in this area by the inadequate training of many of the staff members of international
agencies and organizations with respect to the centrality of women's role in development.
308. International and regional co-operation strategies must be formulated on the
premise that effective development requires the full integration of women in the
development process as both agents and beneficiaries. Development agencies should take
full cognizance of women as a development resource. This requires that all international
and regional development institutions adopt explicit policies in this regard and put in
place the management systems necessary to ensure the effective implementation and
evaluation of these policies in the full range of their programmes and activities. Such
policies should incorporate the principles endorsed in the Forward-looking Strategies of
Implementation for the Advancement of Women. Strong and visible commitment to and interest
in integrating women in the development process should be demonstrated by the senior-level
management of development agencies.
B. Basic strategies [ Up ]
309. Effective consultative and reporting arrangements are required to collect
information on action taken to implement the Forward-looking Strategies and on successful
ways and means used to overcome obstacles. Monitoring and evaluation should, therefore, be
carried out at international, regional and subregional levels based on national-level
monitoring, including input from non-governmental organizations.
310. Technical co-operation, training and advisory services should promote endogenous
development and self-reliance with greater emphasis on economic and technical co-operation
among developing countries. The special needs of women should be periodically assessed and
methods developed to integrate women's concerns into the planning and evaluation of
development activities. The participation of women in the formulation of technical
co-operation policies and programmes should be ensured.
311. International, regional and subregional institutional co-ordination should be
strengthened, particularly in relation to the exchange of information on the advancement
of women and the establishment of collaborative arrangements to undertake activities with
312. Research and policy analysis should focus greater attention on the economic role
of women in society, including access to economic resources such as land and capital.
Research and policy analysis related to women should be action-oriented without losing
sight of key analytical considerations. Further investment in evolving adequate
gender-specific data is also required.
313. Steps should be taken to increase the participation of women in international,
regional and subregional level activities and decision making, including those directly or
indirectly concerned with the maintenance of peace and security, the role of women in
development and the achievement of equality between women and men.
314. Information on progress in achieving the goals of the Decade and on implementing
the Forward-looking Strategies should be widely disseminated in the period from 1985 to
the year 2000 at international, regional, subregional and national levels, based on
experience gained during the Decade. Greater reliance is needed on audio-visual
communications and expansion of networks for disseminating information on programmes and
activities for women. Discriminatory, stereotyped and degrading images of women must be
eliminated in the media.
315. On the basis of the results of the review and appraisal in the United Nations
system that indicated the need for continued efforts to ensure the recruitment, promotion
and retention of women, all United Nations bodies, the regional commissions and the
specialized agencies should take all measures necessary to achieve an equitable balance
between women and men staff members at managerial and professional levels in all
substantive areas, as well as in field posts, with particular attention to promoting
equitable regional representation of women. Women should be appointed to decision-making
and management posts within the United Nations system in order to increase their
participation in activities at the international and regional levels, including such areas
as equality, development and peace.
316. In view of the difficulties of spouses of United Nations officials in securing
employment at the various duty stations, the United Nations is urged to make every
possible effort to provide the establishment of educational facilities and day care
centres for families of officials in order to facilitate the employment of spouses at
these duty stations.
C. Measures for the implementation of the basic strategies [ Up ]
317. The implementation of the goals and objectives of the Decade - equality,
development and peace - and of the Forward-looking Strategies should be monitored during
the period 1986 to the year 2000. Monitoring at the international level should be based on
reviews, at the regional, subregional and national levels, of action taken, resources
allocated and progress achieved. The national reviews should take the form of a response
to a regular statistical reporting request from the United Nations Secretariat, which
should include indicators of the situation of women. The statistical reporting basis
should be developed by the Statistical Commission, in consultation with the Commission on
the Status of Women. The United Nations Secretariat should compile the results of such
monitoring in consultation with the appropriate bodies of Governments, including national
machinery established to monitor and improve the status of women. The action taken and
progress achieved at the national level should reflect consultation with non-governmental
organizations and integration of their concerns at all levels of government planning,
implementation and evaluation, as appropriate.
318. The specialized agencies and other United Nations organizations, including the
regional commissions, should establish monitoring capabilities and procedures to analyze
the situation of women in their sectoral or geographical areas, and submit their reports
regularly to their respective governing bodies and to the Commission on the Status of
Women, which is the main intergovernmental body within the United Nations system concerned
319. The Commission on the Status of Women should consider on a regular basis reports
on the progress made and concrete measures implemented at national, regional and
international levels to advance the status of women in relation to the goals of the Decade
- equality, development and peace - and the sub-theme employment health and education -
and the strategies and measures to the year 2000. The United Nations system should
continue to carry out a comprehensive and critical review of progress achieved in
implementing the provisions of the World Plan of Action and of the Programme for the
Second Half of the Decade. The central role in carrying out this review and appraisal
should be played by the Commission on the Status of Women. The Commission should also
monitor progress in the implementation of international standards, codes of conduct,
strategies, conventions and covenants as they pertain to women. In view of this important
function, high-level expertise and representation on the Commission should be given
priority, including officials with substantive policy responsibilities for the advancement
320. The preparation of new instruments and strategies such as the overall strategies
for international development, should pay specific, appropriate attention to the
advancement of women. Intergovernmental bodies of the United Nations system particularly
those concerned with the monitoring, review and appraisal of the existing instruments,
strategies, plans and programmes that may be of direct or indirect relevance to women, are
urged as a matter of priority to develop explicit policies and reviewable plans of action
for the integration of women in their regular work programmes.
321. The methods and procedures employed for collecting information from Governments,
regional commissions, non-governmental organizations and other international organizations
and bodies should be streamlined and based on guidelines to be discussed by the Commission
on the Status of Women.
2. Technical co-operation, training and advisory strategies
322. Measures of technical co-operation, training and advisory services directed
towards improving women's status at the international, interregional and regional levels,
including co-operation among developing countries, need some impetus. This would require
the re-ordering of principles for the allocation of resources as well as targeted
financial, material and human resource assistance. Notwithstanding resource constraints,
the United Nations should continue the important role of reinforcing these increased
benefits for women.
323. Technical co-operation should be approached with a new concept that will break the
cycle of dependency, emphasize local needs, and use local materials and resources as well
as local creativity and expertise and be based on the full integration of women as agents
and beneficiaries in all technical co-operation activities. Local associations and
mechanisms should be oriented to play a more active role in planning and policy-making.
Emphasis should be given to broader access by women to capital for self-help projects,
income-generating activities, enterprise development and projects designed to reduce the
drudgery in work performed by women. Innovative demonstration projects, particularly with
respect to the integration of women in non-traditional sector activities, should be an
essential element in technical co-operation activities.
324. Agencies which do not have specific guidelines or project procedures relating to
women in development interlinked with the other aims of the period up to the year 2000
should ensure that they are developed. Such guidelines and procedures should apply to all
aspects of the project cycle. Existing guidelines and procedures have to be applied more
vigorously and consistently in particular, each project document should contain a strategy
to ensure that the project has a positive impact on the situation of women.
325. Substantive staff training is needed to enhance the ability of staff to recognize
and deal with the centrality of women's role in development, and adequate resources must
be made available for this purpose. Implementation of policies concerning women is the
responsibility of the particular organization as a whole. Responsibility is not merely a
matter of personal persuasion. Systems should be developed which allocate responsibility
326. Governments should strengthen and improve their institutional arrangements for
technical co-operation so that policy is effectively linked to local-level implementing
mechanisms, and should promote sustained, endogenous development. In these efforts
Governments may wish to make use of the accumulated experience, activities and resources
of the whole United Nations system.
327. While technical co-operation should be focused equally on women and men, the
incorporation of women's needs and aspirations in the formulation and review of technical
co-operation policies and programmes should be ensured and the potential negative effects
on women of technical assistance should be minimized. Technical co-operation and women
must be linked to overall national development objectives and priorities and technical
assistance plans and programmes should be managed so as to ensure the full integration of
activities specific to women. As a standard component of technical co-operation policies,
women should be full and equal participants in technical co-operation projects and
activities. The needs of especially vulnerable and underprivileged groups of women should
be addressed in the technical co-operation programmes.
328. Participation of non-governmental organizations as a means to enhance the
relevance and impact of technical co-operation activities of benefit to women should be
329. In allocating multilateral and bilateral assistance, agencies, in consultation
with recipient Governments, should establish measurable and reviewable plans of action,
with goals and time frames. They should also give adequate impetus to sustained and real
increases in the flow of resources for technical co-operation activities of benefit to
women, including greater mobilization of resources from non-governmental sources and the
private sector. Bilateral and multilateral aid agencies should give special consideration
to assisting the least developed countries in their efforts to integrate women in
development. In this regard, particular attention should be given to projects in the
fields of health, education and training, and the creation of employment opportunities for
women, especially in rural areas.
330. Bilateral and multilateral aid agencies should take a corporate-wide response to
the integration of women in development. Bilateral aid agencies' policies for Women in
development should involve all parts of donors' organizations and programmes, including
participation of multilateral and bilateral programmes, training technical assistance and
financial aid. Policies for women in development should be incorporated into all
applicable aid and agency procedures relating to sectoral and project levels.
331. In order to enable women to define and defend their own interests and needs, the
United Nations system and aid agencies should provide assistance for programmes and
projects which strengthen women's autonomy, in particular in the integration process.
332. International non-governmental organizations, including such organisations as
trade unions, should be encouraged to involve women in their day-to-day work and to
increase their attention to women's issues. The capacity of non-governmental organizations
at all levels to reach women and women's groups should receive greater recognition and
support. The potential role of those non-governmental organizations could be fully
utilized by international and governmental agencies involved in development co-operation.
333. Technical and advisory assistance should be provided by the United Nations system
at the national level to improve systematically statistical and other forms of
gender-specific indicators and information that can help redirect policy and programmes
for the more effective integration of women in development as contributors and
334. Technical co-operation among developing countries should be strengthened in the
service of women at all levels and in all sectors of activity, focusing particularly on
promoting the exchange of experience, expertise, technology and know-how, as well as on
diffusing innovative organizational models suitable for strengthening the self-reliance of
women. The urgent need for information flows to facilitate the process of integrating
women in development, and the need for relevant, transferable and appropriate information
should be a priority of regional co-operation within the framework of technical
co-operation among developing countries. Regional co-operation to assist disadvantaged
groups of women should also be promoted in this context.
335. Technical assistance should be given by the United Nations system and other
international and non-governmental organizations to women involved in the promotion of
international peace and co-operation.
336. The United Nations system should continue to strengthen training programmes for
women, in particular in the least developed countries, through fellowships and other means
of assistance, particularly in the fields of economic planning, public affairs and public
administration, business management and accounting, and farming and labour relations, and
in scientific, engineering and technical fields. It is necessary to support and expand
technical and economic activities for women by means of collaboration with international
development assistance agencies. In this respect, the United Nations Development Fund for
Women is particularly recognized for its innovative contribution in the area of
development and technical assistance for disadvantaged women, and its continuation and
expansion beyond the Decade is considered of vital importance to the development needs of
337. The participation of women in technical assistance monitoring, planning,
programming evaluation and follow-up missions should be promoted, and guidelines should be
developed and applied to assess the relevance and impact of development assistance
projects on women. The United Nations funding agencies, such as the United Nations
Development Programme, the United Nations Fund for Population Activities, the United
Nations Children's Fund and the World Food Programme, as well as the World Bank, should
ensure that women benefit from and participate in all projects and programmes funded by
3. Institutional co-ordination
338. System-wide co-ordination of work on issues relating to women needs to be
strengthened. The economic and Social Council should be encouraged to play a more forceful
and dynamic role in reviewing and co-ordinating all relevant United Nations activities in
the field of women's issues. Regular consultations between United Nations agencies and
organizations should be institutionalized in conjunction with meetings of the Commission
on the Status of Women in order to exchange information on programme activities and
co-ordinate future planning and programming with a view to ensuring adequate
resource-allocation that would facilitate action and limit the unnecessary duplication of
339. Future medium-term plans of the United Nations and the specialized agencies should
contain intersectoral presentations of the various programmes dealing with issues of
concern to women. In order to achieve greater coherence and efficiency of the policies and
programmes of the United Nations system related to women and development, the
Secretary-General, in his capacity as Chairman of the Administrative Committee on
Co-ordination and in conformity with Economic and Social Council resolution 1985/46 of 31
May 1985, should take the initiative in formulating a system-wide medium-term plan for
women and development.
340. The Centre for Social Development and Humanitarian Affairs of the Department of
International Economic and Social Affairs, in particular the Branch for the Advancement of
Women, should continue to serve as the focal point for co-ordination of, consultation on,
promotion of and advice on matters relevant to women in the United Nations system and to
co-ordinate information on system-wide activities related to the future implementation of
the goals and objectives of the Decade and the Forward-looking Strategies. In this
context, the United Nations system should explore ways and means of developing further
collaboration between its organizations including the regional commissions, the
International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women and the United
Nations Development Fund for women, in particular in connection with the holding of United
Nations world conferences on women on a regular basis, if necessary, for example every
five years. It is recommended that at least one world conference be held during the period
between 1985 and the year 2000, taking into account that the General Assembly will take
the decision on the holding of the conference in each case within existing financial
341. Existing sectoral inter-agency task forces in the United Nations system should
always include issues related to the advancement of women in their agenda.
342. Inter-agency co-ordination should be complemented where possible by networking,
particularly in the fields of information, research, training and programme development,
in order to facilitate the availability of data and information in these fields and the
exchange of experience with national machinery.
343. Resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly, of governing bodies of the
specialized agencies and of other organizations which promote the improvement of the
status of women should be implemented. All institutions within the United Nations system
that have not yet established special internal arrangements and procedures with respect to
women's policies are urged to take the necessary measures to do so.
344. International machineries that promote and support education for peace should
co-ordinate their efforts and include the role of women in promoting peace in their
curricula. Particular attention should be paid to the Declaration on the Participation of
Women in Promoting International Peace and Co-operation adopted by the General Assembly in
1982. The University for Peace should play a leading role in this regard.
4. Research and policy analysis
345. Institutes of women's affairs at the regional level should be strengthened or,
where they do not exist, their establishment should be considered for the promotion of
regional collaboration in undertaking research and analyses on emerging women's issues in
order to facilitate and promote regional and international co-operation and understanding
in this field.
346. Measures should be taken by the United Nations system to strengthen the
capabilities of the United Nations Secretariat to provide assistance to Governments and
other international organizations and bodies concerned with integrating women in policy
formulation and in assessing the impact of development policies on women. The Branch for
the Advancement of Women should act as the focal point for co-ordinating the exchange of
information, providing advice on matters related to the advancement of women and
monitoring and evaluating the progress of other bodies in that connection. The United
Nations should develop guidelines for this purpose based on comparative analyses of
experience world wide.
347. Guidelines should also be developed by the United Nations for action to remove
gender-specific discriminatory perceptions, attitudes and behaviour based on models of
348. The United Nations system should undertake research and prepare guidelines, case
studies and practical approaches on integrating women on an equal basis with men into
political life. Training programmes for and consultations between women already engaged in
political life should be organized.
349. Research should be carried out and a report prepared by the United Nations, in
consultation with other organizations and specialized agencies and in co-operation with
Governments, on establishing effective institutional arrangements at the national level
for the formulation of policies on women, including guidelines and summaries of national
350. United Nations agencies and, in particular, the Centre for Social Development and
Humanitarian Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat, as part of its regular programme
of work, should undertake in-depth research on the positive and negative effects of
legislative change, the persistence of de facto discrimination and conflicts between
customary and statutory laws. In carrying out this research, full use should be made of
the work of the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
351. In the context of the Third United Nations Development Decade and any subsequent
decade, the implications for women of international decisions especially pertaining to
international trade and finance, agriculture and technology transfer should be assessed by
the United Nations system in consultation with the appropriate international
organizations, bodies and research institutes, including the United Nations Research
Institute for Social Development, the International Research and Training Institute for
the Advancement of Women and any others established by the United Nations University. The
lack of reliable data prevents the assessment of relative improvements in women's status
in the various sectors. It is therefore essential that the Statistical Commission, the
Commission on the Status of Women and the International Research and Training Institute
for the advancement of Women should co-operate at the institutional level in the
collection, analysis, utilization and dissemination of statistical data on the question of
women. The data base on women's role in national, regional and international economic
activities should be further developed by the United Nations in co-operation with
Governments, specialized agencies and the regional commissions of the United Nations
352. The United Nations regional commissions, with a view to integrating women's
concerns at all levels in each commission's overall programme of work, should undertake
further research on the status of women in their regions to the year 2000 by developing
the necessary data base and indicators and by drawing upon inputs from the national and
local levels, including perspectives on and by women at the grass-roots level. To this
end, the regional commissions should include in their annual reports an analysis of
chances in the situation of women in their regions.
353. It is also necessary to strengthen the activities of the International Research
and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women which performs an important role in
the field of research, training, information and communication, and to request States and
appropriate organizations, in particular, the organizations of the United Nations system,
to continue to collaborate with the Institute in its work for the improvement of the
status of women. The Institute should continue its work in appraising and evaluating what
has been done by Governments and the United Nations system in promoting the status of
women and it should be given increased voluntary financial support.
354. The United Nations should incorporate within its activities related to the World
Disarmament Campaign the preparation of a study on the specific consequences of the army
race and modern warfare for women in general, especially aged or pregnant women and young
children. Such a study should be given wide publicity in order to mobilize researchers,
politicians and non-governmental organizations, as well as women themselves, for the
promotion of disarmament.
355. The United Nations system and other intergovernmental, governmental and
non-governmental organizations should encourage women, women's organizations and all the
appropriate governmental bodies from different countries to discuss and study various
aspects of promoting peace and other related issues in order to increase knowledge,
facilitate understanding and develop friendly relations between countries and peoples.
Exchange visits among women from different countries, and meetings and seminars in which
women participate fully should be organized at regional and international levels.
5. Participation of women in activities at the international and regional levels and in
356. The United Nations system should take all necessary measures to achieve an
equitable balance between women and men staff members at managerial and professional
levels in all substantive areas, as well as in field posts. Regular reporting to the
General Assembly, the governing bodies of the specialized agencies, the regional
commissions and the Commission on the Status of Women on the establishment and
implementation of targets for the equal representation of women in professional posts
should be continued.
357. Women and women's organizations from different countries should be encouraged to
discuss and study various aspects of Promoting Peace and development issues in order to
increase knowledge, facilitate understanding and develop friendly relations between
countries and peoples. Exchange visits of women from different countries and meetings with
full participation by women should be encouraged.
358. In order to ensure that programmes and activities of concern to women are given
the necessary attention and priority, it is essential that women should participate
actively in the planning and formulation of policies and programmes and in decision-making
and appraisal Processes in the United Nations. To this end, international, regional and
national organizations have been called upon during the Decade to advance the status of
their female staff and to increase the number of women recruited. In the absence of
overall targets and effective mechanisms for their achievement, however, greater efforts
are needed to ensure the recruitment, promotion and career development of women. All
bodies and organizations of the United Nations system should therefore take all possible
measures to achieve the participation of women on equal terms with men at all levels by
the year 2000. To achieve this goal, the secretariats of the United Nations and all the
organizations and bodies within the system should take special measures, such as the
preparation of a comprehensive affirmative action plan including provisions for setting
intermediate targets and for establishing and supporting special mechanisms - for example,
co-ordinators - to improve the status of women staff. Progress made to implement those
measures should be reported to the General Assembly, the economic and Social Council and
the Commission on the Status of Women on a regular basis.
359. Women should be assured of the opportunity to participate in international,
regional and subregional meetings and seminars, including those organized by the United
Nations system, particularly those related to equality, development and peace, including
peace education, and those directed to promoting the role of women in development through
research activities, seminars and conferences to exchange experience and expertise.
Similarly, women Parliamentarians should always be included in delegations to
inter-parliamentary meetings organized by the Inter-Parliamentary Union and regional
360. The participation of women in promoting peace and in the struggle against the
obstacles to peace at the international level should be encouraged. Networking of women at
high decision-making levels related to peace and disarmament, including women leaders,
peace researchers and educators, should also be encouraged in connection with United
Nations system activities such as the International Year of Peace (1986). "Women and
peace" should be a separate item in the programme for that Year.
361. In order to provide a firm basis for the integration of issues of concern to women
in the overall development process, a greater effort is needed to define such issues and
to develop useful models for action in socio-cultural, economic and political contexts.
Work in this area can be undertaken in the national and regional research institutions, as
well as in the United Nations and other international agencies. In this context, attention
should also be given to increasing the planning capabilities of women.
362. Special efforts should be made at both the national and regional levels to ensure
that women have equal access to all aspects of modern science and technology, particularly
in educational systems. The use of science and technology can be a powerful instrument for
the advancement of women. Special research to evolve appropriate technology for rural
women should be carried out, and existing and new technology should be disseminated as
widely as possible. The co-ordination of such activities in the regions should be the
responsibility of the regional commissions, in co-operation with other intergovernmental
bodies and agencies that deal with the status of women and technology.
363. Governments and non-governmental organizations should organize regular training
programmes that are aimed at improving the status of women workers and widening women's
access to and improving their performance in managerial position in the sectors of
employment or self-employment. In this connection, the United Nations is urged to support
programmes on network and exchange of expertise in vocational training being carried out
by regional and subregional organizations.
364. Regional and subregional groups have an important role to play in strengthening
the roles of women in development. Existing regional and subregional information systems
on women should be reinforced. A stronger data and research base on women should be
developed in the developing countries and in the regional commissions, in collaboration
with the appropriate specialized agencies, and the sharing of information and research
data should be encouraged. Information systems at the national level should be
strengthened or, where they do not exist, should be established.
365. International, regional, subregional and national organizations should be
strengthened through the injection of additional human and financial resources and through
the placement of more women at policy- and decision-making levels.
6. Information dissemination
366. International programmes should be designed and resources allocated to support
national campaigns to improve public consciousness of the need for equality between women
and men and for eliminating discriminatory practices. Special attention should be given to
information about the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against
367. Studies must be carried out by the United Nations system on sex stereotyping in
advertising and in the mass media, especially degrading images of women in articles and
programmes disseminated world wide. Steps should be taken to promote the elimination or
reduction of sex stereotyping in the media.
368. In order to promote peace, social justice and the advancement of women, wide
publicity should be given by the United Nations to legal instruments and the United
Nations resolutions and reports relating to women and the objectives of the Decade, that
is, equality, development and peace. The mass media, including United Nations radio and
television, should disseminate information on the role of women in achieving these
objectives, particularly in promoting co-operation and understanding among peoples and the
maintenance of international peace and security. Cultural mechanisms of communication
should also be used to disseminate the importance of the concepts of peace and
international understanding for the advancement of women.
369. It is essential that women be trained in the use of audio-visual forms of
information dissemination, including visual display units and computers, and participate
more actively in developing programmes on the advancement of women and for women at the
international, regional, subregional and national levels.
370. The present United Nations weekly radio programme and co-production of films on
women should be continued with adequate provision for distributing them in different
371. The Joint United Nations Information Committee should continue to include women's
issues in its programmes of social and economic information. Adequate resources should be
made available for these activities.
372. Governments and the organizations of the United Nations system, including the
regional commissions and the specialized agencies, are urged to give the Forward-looking
Strategies the widest publicity possible and to ensure that their content is translated
and disseminated in order to make authorities and the public in general, especially
women's grass-root organizations, aware of the objectives of this document and of the
recommendations contained therein.
1/ Report of the World Conference of the International Women's Year, Mexico City,
19 June-2 July 1975 (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.76.IV.1), chap. I, sect. A.
2/ Report of the World Conference of the United Nations Decade for Women: Equality,
Development and Peace, Copenhagen, 24-30 July 1980 (United Nations publication, Sales No.
E.80.IV.3), chap. I, sect. A.
3/ General Assembly resolution 227 A (III).
4/ General Assembly resolution 2200 A (XXI), annex.
6/ General Assembly resolution 34/180, annex.
7/ General Assembly resolution 37/63, annex.
7a/ The Holy See delegation reserved its position with respect to 29 because it had
not joined in the consensus at the International Conference on Population (Mexico City,
1984) and did not agree with the substance of 29.
8/ Report of the International Conference on Population, 1984, Mexico City, 6-14
August 1984 (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.84.XIII.8), chap. I, sect. A, para.
8a/ Reservations to 35 were formulated by Australia, Belgium, Canada, Denmark,
Finland, Germany, Federal Republic of, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg,
Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and United States of America. The
United States reserved its position on the reference in 35 to the Declaration of Mexico on
the Equality of Women and their Contribution to Development and Peace, 1975.
9/ Report of the World Conference of the International Women's Year ..., chap. I.
10/ Report of the Commission on the Status of Women acting as the Preparatory Body
for the World Conference to Review and Appraise the Achievements of the United Nations
Decade for Women: Equality, Development and Peace on its second session
(A/CONF.116/PC/l9), chap. I, draft decision I, para. 2 (h).
10a/ The United States reserved its position on 44 because it did not agree that
the obstacles listed should be considered the main reasons for the inequality of women in
10b/ The United States reserved its position on paragraphs 69, 72 and 137
specifically because it did not agree with the concept of "equal pay for work of
equal value~ and maintained the principle of "equal pay for equal work".
10c/ The United States abstained in the vote on 94 because of unacceptable language
relating to economic measures by developed countries against developing States.
10d/ The United States reserved its position on 95 because it did not agree with
the listing of those obstacles categorized as being major impediments to the advancement
10e/ The United States requested a vote on 98 and voted against the paragraph.
10f/ The United States reserved its position on 100 because it did not accept the
underlying philosophy of the as it concerned the economic situation in debtor and
10g/ The Holy See delegation reserved its position with respect to paragraphs 156
to 159 because it did not agree with the substance of those paragraphs.
11/ Report of the United Nations World Population Conference, 1974, Bucharest,
19-30 August 1974 (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.75.XIII.3), chap. I.
11a/ The Holy See delegation reserved its position with respect to paragraphs 156
to 159 because it did not agree with the substance of those paragraphs.
12/ Report of the World Conference on Agrarian Reform and Rural Development, Rome,
12-20 July 1979 (WCARRD/REP) (Rose, FAO, 1979), Program of Action, sect. IV.
12a/ The General Assembly adopted guidelines for consumer protection in resolution
39/248 of 9 April 1985.
12b/ The United States voted against 259 because of its opposition to the
references in the eighth and ninth subparagraphs to the imposition of sanctions and aid to
13/ General Assembly resolution 36/71.
14/ Report of the World Conference to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination,
Geneva, 14-25 August 1978 (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.79.XIV.2), chap. II.
15/ General Assembly resolution 3086 (XXVIII).
15a/ The United States voted against this because of its strong objection to the
introduction of tendentious and unnecessary elements into the Forward-looking Strategies
document which have only a nominal connection with the unique concerns of women.
16/ Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of
War, of 12 August 1949 (United Nations, Treaty Series, vol. 75, No. 973, p. 287).
17/ Report of the International Conference on the Question of Palestine, Geneva, 29
August-7 September 1983 (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.83.I.21), chap. I, sect.
18/ General Assembly resolution 37/16.
19/ Report of the World Assembly on Aging, Vienna, 26 July-6 August 1982 (United
Nations publication, Sales No. E.82.I.16), chap. VI, sect. A.
20/ See United Nations publication, Sales No. E.81.IV.4.
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