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The Economic Empowerment of Women

May 30th 2017

Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), 25-26 May 2017

Several equality bodies participated in this year’s Asia-Europe Meeting organized in Vilnius under the patronage of Dalia Grybauskaite, President of the Republic of Lithuania and Chair of the Council of Women World Leaders. The topic of the conference was women’s economic empowerment, a crucial field for the work of equality bodies in Europe where women still suffer significant economic inequalities.

Equinet was invited to share the experiences of the network in supporting women who are victims of unequal treatment, as well as providing guidance to duty bearers in ensuring that gender equality is duly considered in their policies and practices. Liisa Pakosta, Gender Equality and Equal Treatment Commissioner of Estonia, represented Equinet at the conference and spoke about the situation at European level from the perspective of equality bodies, as well as highlighting the importance of cooperation in this crucial field between equality bodies and all stakeholders. See Equinet Presentation.

Agneta Skardziuviene, Equal Opportunities Ombudsperson of Lithuania, chaired the first session of the conference, lending her expertise and experience to the discussion on enabling policies for women’s economic empowerment where speakers such as Lakshmi Puri, Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations and Deputy Executive Director of UN Women, highlighted that “women’s economic empowerment is the foremost public good” in the world.

The Maltese Presidency was represented by Renee Laiviera, Commissioner of the National Commission for the Promotion of Equality. She highlighted the national infrastructure and legislative framework supporting women’s economic empowerment in Malta, and reiterated that the Maltese Presidency is committed to supporting the European Commission’s newly released package on Work-Life Balance, as well as the proposed European Directive for Women on Boards.

Equality body representatives thus had the opportunity to connect with and contribute to a global debate of increasing importance. The World Bank, the OSCE and UN Women all highlighted the need to monitor and enforce gender equality to ensure that the law on paper becomes rights in practice. This is a crucial part of equality bodies’ mandates, and we look forward to the debate continuing at a next ASEM dedicated to the same topic, hosted by India.

Further information

ASEM webpage