Draft Platform for Action
F. [Inequality in women's access to and participation in the definition of economic structures and policies [and the productive process itself]] [Economic potential and independence of women] [Gender equality in economic structures, policies and all forms of productive activity]
Strategic objective F.4. Strengthen women's economic capacity and commercial networks

Actions to be taken

177. By Governments:

(a) Adopt policies that support business organizations, non-governmental organizations, cooperatives, revolving loan funds, credit unions, grass-roots organizations, women's self-help groups and other groups in order to provide services to women entrepreneurs in rural and urban areas;

(b) [Design special programmes for women that are affected by economic restructuring [and structural adjustment programmes] and the process of transition to market economies and for women who work in the informal sector;]

(c) [Adopt policies that strengthen women's self-help groups and workers' associations through non-conventional forms of support;]

(d) Support programmes that enhance the self-reliance of special groups of women, such as young women, women with disabilities, elderly women and women belonging to racial and ethnic minorities;

(e) [Use the research of economists, scientists and technologists to promote gender equality;]

(f) Support the economic activities of indigenous women, taking into account their traditional knowledge, so as to improve their situation and development;

(g) [Adopt policies to extend or maintain the protection of labour laws and social security provisions for those who do paid work in the home;]

(h) Recognize and encourage the contribution of research by women scientists and technologists;

(i) Ensure that policies and regulations do not discriminate against micro, small and medium-scale enterprises run by women.

178. By [encouraging] financial intermediaries, national training institutes, credit unions, non-governmental organizations, women's associations, professional organizations and the private sector, as appropriate:

(a) Provide, at national, regional and international levels, training in a variety of business-related and financial management and technical skills to enable women, especially young women, to participate in economic policy-making at those levels;

(b) Provide business services, including marketing and trade information, product design and innovation, technology transfer and quality control, to women's business enterprises, including those in export sectors of the economy;

(c) Promote technical and commercial links and establish joint ventures among women entrepreneurs at the national, regional and international levels to support community-based initiatives;

(d) Strengthen women's participation in production and marketing cooperatives by providing marketing and financial support, especially in rural and remote areas, including marginalized women;

(e) Promote and strengthen women's micro-enterprises, new small businesses, cooperative enterprises, expanded markets and other employment opportunities and, where appropriate, facilitate the transition from the informal to the formal sector, in rural and urban areas;

(f) Invest capital and develop investment portfolios to finance women's business enterprises;

(g) Give adequate attention to providing technical assistance, advisory services, training and retraining for women connected with the entry to the market economy;

(h) Support credit networks and innovative ventures, including traditional savings schemes;

(i) Provide networking arrangements for entrepreneurial women, including opportunities for the mentoring of inexperienced women by the more experienced;

(j) Encourage community organizations and public authorities to establish loan pools for women entrepreneurs, drawing on successful small-scale cooperative models.

179. By [encouraging] [transnational and national corporations] [the private sector]:

(a) Adopt policies and establish mechanisms to grant contracts on a non-discriminatory basis;

(b) Recruit women for leadership, decision-making and management, and provide training programmes, all on an equal basis with men;

(c) Observe national labour environment, consumer, health and safety laws, particularly those that affect women.


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