“Social Inclusion for Women Being Independent” – by Teruni Walalyadde

What follows is a report on a session held at the CSW 63

Thursday, 14th March, 2019 – 11:30-12:45pm
“Social Inclusion for Women being Independent –  A Room of One’s Own in 2019”

Opening Remarks by H.E. Mr. Yasuhisa Kawamura
Social inclusion is the key word. Inclusion of different groups, especially women to establish sustainable peace and security.

Moderator – Dr. Yasue Nunoshiba
In January, a ten year old girl was killed by her father after long time of child abuse. No one helped this young child, even though she asked for help. Finally, the father was arrested for child abuse and murder. The little girl’s mother was also arrested for helping her husband abuse her own daughter. However while investigating, it was found that the mother was a victim of domestic violence. “Violence begets violence”. If the mother was economically independent and had supports, she could have escaped this situation and the child would be alive.

A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf, published in 1929, emphasizes how important it is for women to be economically independent, and this was in 1929. If it was deemed important 90 years ago, why are women still not economically independent? “What are the obstacles for women to break through this situation?”

Dr. Masako Kamiya – Social Inclusion and Women’s Independence
According to Virginia Woolf, a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction. “For us, it is money and space to make us independent”.
Although there are child protection centres and laws, this little girl could not be saved. In many countries, women can attend school, run for public office, vote, own property under their name, etc. Although women have fought hard to have these rights, we still need to do more. We need implementation and we need help from men and women. This cannot be just written on paper. “We need a  gender neutral system and they should be implemented in a gender neutral way”.
“The typical economy give women 3/4 rights of men! In many economies women are paid less, but we realize that we have less rights as well”. Do women have rights like moving freely, traveling around, applying for a passport, pensions, and when do we get our pensions? Is the period spent for childcare counted? Pension is calculated on a total lifetime income; the actual amount earned through the lifetime. Often this amount is far less than men. Why? Because the woman thought she had to look after the family and left her full-time work to bring up her children and run the house. Now, her total lifetime income decreases immensely. Therefore her pension is far less. Females have less access to better paying jobs than men. Single women are more disadvantaged since a single female household income is insufficient to run a house and bring up children as well. So it is not inclusive. Thus, it becomes difficult to leave your abusive partner and be economically independent.

“We need to tap our unconscious biases within ourselves”. Women working late at night were an easy target. They were thought of as foolish girls walking around at the wrong time of day.

“Yes, we have to look into our heart and think, are we assuming something in a very gendered way? Women have been working all our lives! We deserve guaranteed secured income.”

Dr. Catherine Bosshart – The European Case
In 2015 when we celebrated Beijing +20, we were asked to do a review. In the review, unpaid care-work was merely one point; “a little stone in the framework”.
We see a lot of progress have been made in tertiary education. “45% women hold a diploma/degree of graduation while only 35% of men do”. Yet, women with degrees are not continuing their jobs once they have children. “We see 67% women and 78% men in the labour market. Also, there is a 16% deviation in average gross household earnings between men and women”. Why is there a such large gap? We also need to consider that many women opt for part-time work while their children are growing up.

With regards to health, “the life expectancy of women at birth is 5.2 years longer than men on average in Europe”. The “average for is women 83.5 years and 73.3 years for men”. “Women seem to be healthier and taking care of themselves better. Women have a higher education and life expectancy but lower salaries and lower representation in the labour market, including lower employment rates”

“A mind set change where house work is considered work is required. Unpaid care-work has to be taken into account and to be considered in pension funds” and over the years to recognize the work that women have done and have remuneration. 

Ms. Ratikorn Norasethaporn – Reintegration Challenges Faced by Human Trafficking Survivors.
In Thailand, “women are expected to work and then do household work as well�work outside and inside the home. Women should have the decision to do so and not because society expects women to do so”. Some women are given less education. “Girls and women are expected to care for people, work, and feed the family”. Hence, there is labour migration seeking better paying jobs. “But migration often does not really help because they get caught in human trafficking”. Reintegrating back into their town/village is very difficult due to lack of resources and inadequate supports while their family continuing depending on them. These “women have accumulated lots of debt” as well. So, they need a “comprehensive social security system”. “Everyone deserves a second chance to start life. We need to assist them to find their human dignity back”. Finally, when they are reintegrated back to their village successfully, with proper supports and resources, “the vicious cycle of being vulnerable is broken”. Otherwise they are vulnerable to be trafficked again.

“Children at a young age should be taught to respect everyone equally disregarding gender”.

Q&A Session
Article 6 of CEDAW was referred to tackle the issue of trafficking and exploiting of women and girls.
“CEDAW helps to create awareness from governments to NGO levels”.
“Social services are linked to protection. The 4 P’s and social services are the base for protecting women”.                                                                                              
“Women are overly burdened with what they do for their family, elderly people, and job and add politics to that, it is too much”.
“Equal job opportunities and availability for everyone particularly for recent graduates”.
“Family chores and domestic chores should be shared by both parents” (Masako, 2019).
“Education gives the choice and allows people to see the wider world to see something outside of my own sphere, limited view” (Masako, 2019).
“Sharing of homework… I have two sons and they are perfect cooks. And my son’s wife doesn’t know to cook so he cooks and my granddaughter is learning to cook form my son.” (Bosshart, 2019).
“Education is key to gender equality. Not only education under the school system but to educating people regarding human rights and respect for people. If people respect each other then everyone will stop themselves from harming each other” (Ratikorn, 2019). 
“In Thailand due to the lack of language and information, people are unaware of the services that are available to them. The government is trying to translate documents and services in many languages of the neighbouring countries to reduce the risk of exploitation” (Ratikorn, 2019).
“The more we discuss, the more we find answers” (Nunoshiba, 2019).
“Please make your voices in these session heard in your organizations, governments, so that women can live with dignity, and autonomy (Nunoshiba, 2019).

Closing Remarks by H.E. Mr. Yasuhisa Kawamura
“I am a father of a daughter and familiar with some of the voices and comments that were said. Aside from personal experiences, it is very fruitful to hear the actual voices and demands of change. There are three key factors: leadership, continuous interface, optimism”

By Teruni Walaliyadde
CSW63 Lead for IIWR-MB