U.N. report says women need different treatment to achieve economic equality

Minh Uong/The New York Times

If we want real gender equality, only equal opportunity won’t suffice. That’s the revelatory conclusion from a new U.N. Women report, which argues that different treatment might be necessary to achieve real equality. The report suggests that governments must commit to social policies that treat women differently in order to help them achieve economic parity with men. The new report is groundbreaking in that it’s one of the first major international reports to recognize that full legal equality doesn’t necessarily translate to equality in practice. The U.N. suggests we need real policy changes if we want women to have an equal role in life. Social policies that provide paid work opportunities for women, protect domestic workers, provide affordable child care and establish paid leave for working mothers are critical. Women don’t only need equal legal access to employment, but officials also need to “free up their time.” “Governments should take actionable steps to reduce the burden of unpaid care work — which is carried by women — and create an industry of jobs and employment for services,” U.N. Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka told Time. She argues that the larger burden women carry when it comes to child care and domestic work is hindering women’s economic advancement everywhere. And while those issues are often seen as only affecting “rich” women — this report is one of the first to link female-friendly workplace policies to gender equality in the developing world as well, showing that policies that benefit working mothers benefit all women in the end.

Read the full story at Time.


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