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WORKING GROUP II

Working Group II elected Sweden and Nigeria as Vice-Chairs and Bolivia as rapporteur.

IV. GENDER EQUALITY AND EMPOWERMENT OF WOMEN:

A. Empowerment and status of women: In the paragraph on objectives, Australia suggested making explicit reference to women's decision making. In paragraph 4.4 (gender gap), New Zealand, the US and Australia called for a stronger statement on closing the gender gap. Indonesia suggested that literacy and development of skills are imperative for both men and women. Norway asked to make the issue of child care more central. The Holy See objected because of problems in the French and Spanish translations. Peru agreed with the text itself, but asked that translation problems be dealt with separately. Benin disagreed. Peru and US asked to strengthen the sub-paragraph on women's property rights.

In 4.5 (discrimination and sexual harassment), Australia suggested a more encompassing definition of sexual harassment. Switzerland called for an exclusive section on disaggragated gender data. Senegal asked for reference to the enforcement of anti-discrimination laws. Sweden proposed deleting the unrealistic deadline of 2015. Bolivia and Peru asked for a statement against discrimination based on proof of pregnancy. In 4.7 (violence against women), the US, Australia, Peru, New Zealand and Malaysia asked for stronger wording, including domestic violence against women, girls and boys. Croatia, Pakistan and Norway called for a phrase on war violence against women. In 4.8 (burden of women's work), Mexico and Australia wanted a statement on men's responsibility in domestic labor. In 4.9 (grassroots support for women), Nigeria and Mexico asked for clarity on the role of government.

B. The girl child: Venezuela objected to the title and asked that it include women. In paragraph 4.13 (objectives), the US called for more emphasis on the role of poverty in gender discrimination. Norway said that poverty does not always lead to gender preference. In 4.14 (gender discrimination), Switzerland, the US and Egypt added "inheritance" to the list of gender inequalities. In 4.15 (education for girls), Switzerland and Sweden asked to delete the target date for education for all. Bangladesh asked to include vocational training for women. In 4.16 (school stereotypes), Switzerland and Norway asked to include sex selection as a form of discrimination. The US asked for a statement on change in teachers' attitudes and curricula. In 4.18 (minimum age of consent), the US, Madagascar and Switzerland asked for an increase in the minimum age of marriage. Norway and Cuba asked for reference to child pornography. In 4.19 (female genital mutilation), Indonesia and India objected to forcing any policy on a country. Bolivia called for a statement on the active prevention of genital mutilation. In 4.20 (education for girls), Sweden, Norway, Bangladesh and Bolivia called for reference opposing expulsion of pregnant girls from school. Burkina Faso and Morocco asked for international financial contribution to building schools.

C. Male Responsibilities and participation: In the objectives (4.22), Australia and Holy See asked to include women in the section on fertility and parental responsibility. In 4.23 (family responsibility), Bangladesh and India asked for a more emphatic statement on men's participation. In 4.25 (child support), numerous countries asked for mechanisms to enforce child support payments.

V -- THE FAMILY, ITS ROLES, COMPOSITION AND STRUCTURE:

A. Diversity of family structures and composition: In the basis for action, Sweden, the US, Bangladesh, Australia and Canada supported the current wording, which refers to the considerable change in the composition and structure of families in many societies. In 5.2 (supporting the plurality of family forms), Indonesia wanted reference to the need to support the cohesiveness of the family. The divergence of views regarding the concept of the plurality of family forms was reiterated here as well. In 5.3 (responsibility of employers to facilitate parental responsibilities), the US and Turkey suggested that paid parental leave should be included. In 5.4 (increasing the earning power of women), the US suggested reference to increasing the earning power of all family members. China called for specific reference to assistance for all individuals, couples and people with disabilities. In 5.5 (elimination of all forms of coercion and discrimination in policies related to marriage, unions and child-rearing), Vanuatu requested reference to discrimination based on sexual orientation. The Holy See requested that "unions" be changed to "the family." Burkina Faso and Norway suggested reference to sexual mutilation.

B. Socio-economic support to the family: There was a considerable divergence of views regarding 5.6 (the "family in all its forms" as a basic unit of society). Nicaragua, the Holy See, Malta, Venezuela, Honduras and Argentina called for deletion of reference of the family "in all its forms" and insisted that it be replaced with "the family." Peru, Mexico, Bangladesh, Canada, the US and others urged that the plurality of family forms should be reflected. In 5.7 (ensuring family-sensitive socio-economic policies), Botswana and Morocco suggested reference to the growing number of female-headed households. The EU and Kenya requested reference to the plurality of family forms.

In 5.8 (family-sensitive government policies), Switzerland requested stronger language requiring governments to create an environment supportive of the family. In 5.9 (assistance to families with specific problems), Turkey added reference to the problem of blood marriages. Many countries requested reference to AIDS. In 5.10 (care of elderly and disabled family members), Sweden called for stronger language requiring governments to develop the means for multi-generational families. In 5.11 (victimized families) Pakistan added reference to "armed conflict." The Philippines suggested the addition of "environmental disasters." Norway said a wider range of disasters should be mentioned.

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