#ILO; #Covid19Pandemic; #WomenRights;
ILO/Canadian-Media: A workable balance is what parents are desperately trying to find in these uncertain times. Even in “normal” times, the balance between work and family has not been an easy one to achieve. The challenge is not new, especially for women. But the pandemic is shining a stadium size light to the problem, can it also shine light on the solution?
Image credit: ILO
At the peak of pandemic-related lockdowns, 1.7 billion students were affected by school closures. Many have since returned, but often through remote/hybrid models that require at-home supervision. Globally, some 224 million students (over 1 in 10 learners) remain out of school due to ongoing closures. Besieged with these new demands, families are making tough decisions about who keeps their paid job and who quits to provide the unpaid care needed at home. In households around the world, it is predominantly women – often paid less and with less job security then men – who are sacrificing their careers.
The pandemic has hit women’s labor market opportunities hardest. According to data from 55 high- and middle-income countries, 29.4 million women aged 25+ lost their jobs between Q4 2019 and Q2 2020. Slightly fewer men lost theirs (29.2 million), but since far fewer women were in the workforce, women’s proportional loss is higher. At the end of Q2 2020, there were 1.7 times as many women as men outside the labor force in these same 55 countries. The same ratio was at 2.1 times in Latin America, a region hard-hit by the economic fallout of COVID-19. The number of women outside the labor force in this region has climbed to 83 million (up from 66 before COVID-19), compared to 40 million (up from 26 before COVID-19) for men.
Why are women exiting the workforce?
Women’s labor force participation is shaped by domestic and caregiving responsibilities in ways that men’s is not. Women’s participation also varies sharply by marital status and the presence of children. European Union data show absences from work were higher among women than men during the first wave, when schools and childcare centres closed or moved to remote/online formats.
In the United States, where four times as many women as men dropped out of the labour force in September, one in four women who lost their job during the pandemic said it was because of a lack of childcare – twice the rate among men. In the United Kingdom, women were also more likely than men to say their work-life balance was deteriorating (22%, compared to 16% of men).
Emerging evidence from Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica and Mexico shows that partnered women with children have experienced sharper pandemic-related drops in labor force participation than men – and these are most pronounced for women living with children under 6.
In response, many governments have sought to reduce additional unpaid care work burdens through special care-related allowances, by extending the duration of parental leave, or by improving access to childcare facilities for health workers. Furthermore, in many countries, employers are providing flexible work arrangements as they have learned that productivity has been maintained (or even improved), and working from home arrangements, in some cases, can support work-life balance. A number of countries have also adopted measures to contain losses in jobs and income, and many have, for the first time, expanded coverage to the self-employed, temporary workers and domestic workers, among whom women are overrepresented.
Women also make up the bulk of essential care-sector workers, including 70% of health-care workers. Yet despite their importance, countries have poorly prioritized investments in care sectors, leading to shortages of health workers and poor working conditions. The COVID-19 health emergency has exacerbated a global care crisis that risks undoing much of the progress achieved in reducing gender inequalities at work.
Long-term commitments to avert current trends should consider scaling up efforts to ensure:
#UN; #genderBasedViolence; #HumanTracking; #UNODC
UN/Canadian-Media: With the COVID-19 pandemic heightening the dangers of gender-based violence and human trafficking, action on these two fronts is needed now more than ever, the head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) said on Monday.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created conditions making it easier for vulnerable people to become victims of sexual exploitation and trafficking. Image credit: UNICEF/Michele Sibiloni
UNODC Executive Director Ghada Waly was speaking during a virtual event to strengthen global commitment at a time when women and girls are locked down and locked in, render
ing them further exposed to violence and harassment, or at greater risk of being trafficked.
“In every part of the world, we are seeing that COVID has worsened the plight of at-risk women and girls, while also hindering criminal justice responses and reducing support to victims,” she said.
A ‘shadow pandemic’ surfaces Women and girls were already being exposed to different forms of violence before the pandemic.
Most female homicide victims are killed by their intimate partners or other family members, according to UNODC, while women and girls make up more than 60 per cent of all victims of human trafficking.
However, lockdowns, stay-at-home orders and other measures implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic have led to what the UN has called a “shadow pandemic” of rising gender-based violence.
Women’s economic inequality also increases their vulnerability to trafficking and sexual violence, according to UN Women, which supports countries in their efforts to achieve gender equality.
‘Business is booming’
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the UN Women Executive Director, reported that most female survivors, or nearly 80 per cent, are trafficked for sexual exploitation.
“There are socioeconomic consequences when these crimes happen, but in times of pandemic, the socioeconomic impact is even deeper,” she said.
“Forty-seven million more women and girls will be pushed to extreme poverty because of COVID-19, but business is booming for traffickers.”
Meanwhile, as already scant resources allocated for prevention, rescue and rehabilitation wear thin, women’s health is being put on the line, said Nobel laureate Nadia Murad, UNODC Goodwill Ambassador and a survivor of ISIL terrors in Iraq.
“It is now difficult for many women to access psychological support, healthcare and safe shelter. They live in a constant state of vulnerability. For communities affected by conflict and displacement, these effects are often compounded,” she told the gathering.
Answering the call In April, UN Secretary-General António Guterres appealed for a worldwide domestic violence “ceasefire”, urging governments to put women’s safety first as they respond to the crisis.
So far, nearly 150 countries have answered the Secretary-General’s call, pledging to make prevention and redress of gender-based violence a key part of their pandemic response.
UNODC, alongside UN Women and other partners, are also backing the appeal.
They are working together to promote action in four key areas: funding essential services, prevention, improving police and justice action, and collecting data.
Recommendations for recovery Ms. Wady, the UNODC chief, emphasized the need to recover better after the pandemic. “Girls need to be able to go back to school and have equal opportunities. Women need decent jobs and social protection,” she said.
Her colleague, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka at UN Women, pointed to the Secretary-General’s report on trafficking, which outlines additional recommendations.
They include providing women with universal access to social protection as well as income protection, and designating programs for trafficking survivors as essential services.
The report further calls for long-term investment, including to address “toxic masculinity”, and to engage men and boys in programs aimed at shifting norms and attitudes surrounding violence against women.
#WomenEntrepreneurshipDay; #ILO; #WED
Geneva/ILO/Canadian-Media: On the observance of Women’s Entrepreneurship Day on 19th November, we want to make sure to recognize the achievements of the hundreds of thousands of women business owners in the world and how they can cross the business gender divide, ILO reports said.
Image credit: Twitter handle
ILO has developed a five step model to help women cross the business gender divide.
ILO’s Women’s Entrepreneurship Development (WED) aims to help women ‘add value’ to businesses they may already own in essential and female dominated sectors, and to encourage them enter more lucrative sectors, often growth-oriented and male-dominated. We have developed a five-point business upgrading model to help make this happen:
New York, Nov 1 (Canadian-Media): “An inspiration to all of us” is how top Police Adviser Luis Carrilho, described this year’s winner of the UN Female Police Officer of the Year Award, which was announced on Friday.
Women gather at a women's centre in Kuma Garadayat, constructed by UNAMID peacekeepers from Senegal, in 2012. This centre is one of six development projects, known as Quick Impact Projects, carried out by the Mission in the areas of education, sanitation. Credit: UN Photo/Albert González Farran
“An inspiration to all of us” is how top Police Adviser Luis Carrilho, described this year’s winner of the UN Female Police Officer of the Year Award, which was announced on Friday.
Major Seynabou Diouf, of the Senegal National Police, leads a task force that helps to prevent and end sexual exploitation and abuse with the UN Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) in Goma, North Kivu.
She also manages the UN Police Women’s Network, which connects female officers for mentoring, training, professional development and mutual support.
In choosing Major Diouf, out of 30 nominees from eight missions, the selection committee commended her exemplary service as having a direct and positive impact.
Through her work to support survivors of sexual violence through the UN Police Women’s Network in MONUSCO, along with her initiatives to strengthen community-oriented policing with the Congolese National Police, Major Diouf embodies the spirit of the award and the core values of the Organization”, Police Adviser Carrilho asserted.
Major Diouf said it was “a deep honour” to receive the award, stressing that “it means a lot to me”.
“Preventing sexual exploitation and abuse is a priority for me and my team and for my mission”, she underscored. “And I believe that our efforts are paying off”.
While the award-winner noted that “not a single allegation” had been recorded against MONUSCO police this year, she said there was no room for complacency.
“But we can always do more”, Major Diouf said. “We need to continue doing everything we can to ensure that this number remains at zero and victims of abuse receive the support they deserve”.
The UN Female Police Officer of the Year award was established in 2011 to recognize the exceptional contributions of female police officers to UN peacekeeping and to promote the empowerment of women.
Major Diouf’s previous UN experience includes deployments with the UN-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) and the UN Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), where she addressed misconduct and welfare issues.
She also served with the Senegal National Police for 33 years.
Senegal is the largest contributor of police to UN peace operations, whose nearly 10,000 officers help to enhance international peace and security by supporting Member States in conflict, post-conflict and other crisis situations.
It is also among the top five contributors of female police officers.
While more than 1,400 female police officers currently serve in UN peace operations, by 2028, the Organization is aiming to bring the level among individual officers who are women up to 30 per cent, and 20 per cent more among formed police units.
The award will be presented at a ceremony on 5 November at UN Headquarters in New York during the 14th UN Police Week, when heads of UN police components and police experts from 14 peacekeeping operations, special political missions and regional offices, will discuss topics related to performance, conduct and discipline strengthening and sustaining peace through human rights.