Asia-Pacific Portal for Gender Equality
The Asia-Pacific Portal for Gender Equality has been established to support governments and other stakeholders in the Asia-Pacific region in their efforts to realize gender equality and women’s empowerment, particularly with respect to the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, and the Asian and Pacific Ministerial Declaration on Advancing Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment.The Portal is an initiative of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP). It is, however, through cooperation with fellow United Nations entities, governments and civil society entities that this Portal is able to provide access to an extensive range of resources. Through this Portal, users can access a variety of information, resources and data related to addressing critical areas of concern for gender equality:
Country Profiles: The portal provides website links of national women’s machineries and national statistical offices of approximately 58 countries among 53 member states and 9 associate members. Unfortunately, some countries do not have such organizations and therefore, the portal is unable to provide website links of those countries.
- Institutional capacity: strengthening institutional capacity for the advancement of gender equality
- Financing: increasing sustainable and innovative sources of financing for the achievement of gender equality
- Accountability: promoting accountability of stakeholders to translate gender equality commitments into action
- Partnerships: fostering strong partnerships and cooperation, including between governments, the private sector and civil society, to achieve gender equality
- Gender data and statistics: strengthening production, analysis and dissemination of comprehensive gender data and statistics
- Women’s economic empowerment: enhancing women’s economic status, power and agency
Types of Resources
- Official documents: Global, regional and national normative frameworks, including those adopted by the United Nations, Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS) and South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC)
- Gender policies and legislation: key national policies and legislation on gender equality and women’s empowerment
- Tools: toolkits, guidebooks and manuals designed to support governments in measures to advance gender equality
ESCAP's Work concerning Gender Equality
The gender-based inequalities in the labor market leads to severe negative impacts including lower productivity and income level, and thus, hinder economic development. Although the number of women entrepreneurs are increasing, they often face different challenges and barriers than their male counterparts. Improving the conditions for women’s entrepreneurship does not only enable women to empower themselves but it also contributes to inclusive and sustainable development through creating jobs, eradicating poverty and contributing to socioeconomic growth. The recent study, “Fostering Women’s Entrepreneurship: Transforming Prospects, Transforming Societies” by ESCAP Social Development Division examines the challenges faced by women entrepreneurs as well as the opportunities and key drivers for change in the ASEAN subregion. ESCAP assists member States in adapting this policy agenda for their specific needs as a part of its efforts to ensure the realization of the SDGs with the main focus of three areas: a) ensure the formulation and implementation of gender-responsive policies in SME development and promotion; b) engage financial institutions to increase women’s access to credit and financial services; and c) enhance women’s access to market information, networks and services, including through harnessing access to ICT.
Gender Responsive Budgeting
Budgeting appears to be a gender-neutral economic policy instrument; however, ignoring its gender-specific aspects leads to gender-blindness instead of gender-neutrality. Gender-responsive budgeting does not induce a separate budget for women or increased spending on women’s programs. It shows the governments’ engagement in promoting gender equality by the collection and distribution of public money. The government budget is analyzed from a gender perspective to assess how it addresses the different needs of women and men, girls and boys, and different groups of women and men, and of girls and boys. Various forms of Gender-responsive budgeting initiatives can be found in at least 29 countries in Asia and the Pacific. The “Asian and Pacific Ministerial Declaration on Advancing Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment” was adopted by the member States of ESCAP in November 2014, in which “strengthen accountability systems” and “increase financing” were among the four key areas for action. The project on “Progressing Gender-Responsive Budgeting in Asia-Pacific” that aims to develop the countries’ capacities for the implementation of gender-responsive budgeting has engaged government officials from national women’s machineries, ministries of finance, national planning bodies, as well as line ministries. One of ESCAP’s latest publication, "Gender-Responsive Budgeting in Asia and the Pacific: Key Concepts and Good Practices" outlines key concepts, useful tools and good practices from around Asia and the Pacific.
E-Government for Women’s Empowerment
A big proportion of e-government policies and implementations do not take into account the unequal access to technology for men and women. In order to address this issue and accelerate the process to the achievement of the SDGs, “e-Government for Women’s Empowerment” project was launched by ESCAP in partnership with United Nations Project Office on Governance (UNPOG) with the purpose of enhancing knowledge sharing and awareness raising of good practices in gender-responsive policies, programs and strategies in e-government. The report “E-Government for Women’s Empowerment in Asia and the Pacific” recommends action plans to help institutions implementing e-government to foster the required normative and institutional shifts towards gender equality and women’s empowerment. The EGov4Women Toolkit, the first region-wide toolbox to support the gender-mainstreaming in E-Government, provides a guideline for policymakers on three key areas: gender-responsive design of e-service delivery, e-participation and connectivity initiatives. Furthermore, it introduces a capabilities-based approach to outcome evaluation of E-Government for women’s empowerment.ESCAP Social Development Division, Gender Equality and Social Inclusion Section: https://www.unescap.org/our-work/social-development/gender-equality