When guaranteed through equal opportunity, choice and access to resources, women’s full participation in society and the economy multiplies the capacity of all for sustainable economic growth and social development.
Yet, despite regional advances to ensure gender equality and promote women’s empowerment, women in Asia and the Pacific continue to face discriminatory policies, social and cultural barriers, and threats to their security that violate their rights and limit their potential.
ESCAP provides an inclusive intergovernmental platform for governments and other stakeholders in the region to accelerate the implementation of global gender equality commitments, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the outcomes of the Fourth World Conference on Women and the Beijing Platform for Action, as well as the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.
The gender dimensions of regional priorities for economic and social development are integrated into programme planning and implementation across ESCAP’s work. ESCAP also dedicates focused analysis, targeted programming and technical support at the request of Member States to promote and protect the rights of women and girls. Particular emphasis is placed on enabling empowered economic participation and enhancing women’s share in safe, formal and fully-remunerated employment across Asia and the Pacific.
Co-chairing, with UN Women, the Regional Coordination Mechanism Thematic Working Group on Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women, ESCAP plays a key inter-agency coordinating role for the UN system in the Asia-Pacific region, contributing analysis and supporting joint action on regional priorities to advance the global agenda for gender equality and women’s empowerment.
ESCAP supports regional cooperation among policy makers and practitioners with regard to implementing international commitments in the field of gender equality and advancement of women.
Progressing Gender-Responsive Budgeting in Asia –Pacific
ESCAP is promoting gender-responsive budgeting as a tool for realizing gender equality, as well as being a key requirement for good governance. The factors contributing to decisions about the allocation of resources are made explicit, thereby promoting accountability. It can also foster women’s participation in economic decision-making, recognize unpaid work, address income gaps, allocate resources that promote women’s salaried and entrepreneurial work and in support women’s access to and control of resources. It has a strong focus on social justice and can contribute to the achievement of the SDGs.
With the support of the Government of China, the project on “Progressing Gender-Responsive Budgeting in Asia-Pacific” will engage government officials from national women’s machineries, ministries of finance, national planning bodies, as well as line ministries, in developing their capacity to advocate for and implement gender-responsive budgeting in their countries. Through training workshops, access to a gender-responsive budgeting guide and provision of tailored technical assistance, this project seeks to advance the adoption and implementation of gender-responsive budgeting in the Asia-Pacific region.
E-Government for Women’s Empowerment (Phase II)
ESCAP, in partnership with the United Nations Project Office on Governance (UNPOG) of the Division for Public Administration and Development Management, United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, has implemented a project on “e-Government for Women’s Empowerment” (Phase I, 22 August 2014-31 December 2015) to enhance knowledge sharing and raise awareness of good practices in this area. By reviewing three dimensions of the e-Government ecosystem, i.e. online service delivery, citizen update/participation and connectivity, the project resulted in a study which examined how the potential of e-Government was being utilised to address the needs of women in their service delivery systems.
With gender gap in e-Government strategies prevalent across the Asia-Pacific region, “e-Government efforts can lead to substantive impacts for women’s empowerment by: “(a) enhancing women’s access to government services and programmes; (b) promoting political participation of women; (c) supporting women’s livelihoods and employment opportunities, and (d) improving the ICT capacities of national gender ministries.”