From sexual harassment allegations made against renowned film producer Harvey Weinstein, to announcements that Iceland has formally legalised equal pay, gender rights in the workplace has become a topic that has received the spotlight in recent times.
In countries that are more economically developed, both men and women in the workplace are continuously afflicted by key issues including the gender pay gap, paid parental leave, and workplace safety concerns. Whilst women working full-time in high and middle-income countries which make up the OECD are made to accept a median wage that is 85% that of men’s, research has also revealed that men who have reduced their working hours for family reasons stand to lose even more earnings than women who have reduced their working hours for similar reasons. However, the predicament in countries that are less economically developed is arguably more severe. Amongst other issues, the restriction of access to work opportunities and advancements continues to be a reality for many women due to invenerated cultural beliefs in nations such as Congo, Namibia, and Zimbabwe, which precludes them from earn incomes that are equivalent to those of males.
Thus, aside from identifying ways to ensure that a balance between profitability for corporations and the need protect workers’ wellbeing is brokered, delegates must consider how the differing needs of men and women living in nations of varying economic standing can be reconciled to create an international framework that addresses the spectrum of issues pertaining to gender rights in the workplace.
Despite progress that the world has made to improve the lives of women and girls, child marriages continue to persist as a global phenomenon, and shows no signs of being eliminated any time soon. Each year, over 15 million girls in regions including the Middle East, Latin America, South Asia and Europe are married off before they turn 18 years old, with most girls being forced into early marriage against their own will due to strong cultural and religious beliefs, such as the perception that marriage will provide ‘protection’ and family honour, and deep-rooted gender inequality in their respective communities.
While investments have been made by government agencies, civil society groups, and international organisations to reduce the number of child brides, these efforts have been largely ineffective, chiefly because of the immense challenge of altering mindsets and beliefs. As such, many young girls have been subjected to condemnable circumstances including domestic violence and mistreatment that pose threats to their health and wellbeing. Thus, delegates of the Human Rights Council must consider the best approach to take in procuring partnerships with civil society and communities where early marriages are most prevalent, whilst coordinating an international response to the issue of child marriages that would ensure transparency, accountability and effectiveness, such that young girls who have been stripped of fundamental human rights are vindicated.
To be updated soon!