7th Annual General Meeting of SAARC Business Association of Home Based Workers

Date: Thursday, January 14, 2016

Remarks by Gitanjali Singh, UN Women Deputy Representative for 7th Annual General Meeting of SAARC Business Association of Home Based Workers, Kathmandu, Nepal.

Honorable Minister of Labour and Employment, Mr. Deepak Bohara,
Chandniji, Sristiji, Mr. Baskota, Taraji
Home-Based Workers of Nepal, Distinguished Guests

Good morning and Namaste. I am very pleased to join you here today at the 7th Annual General Meeting of Sabah. The past year has been a challenging one for Nepal in light of the earthquakes in April and May and the ongoing challenges related to the political developments in the country. Let me begin by acknowledging our deep appreciation for the work that the home based workers carried out in response to the earthquake. Home based workers supported the assembly of dignity kits at UN Women, that were distributed to women in seven districts that were most affected by the earthquake.

UN Women has been working together with the home based workers in the South Asia region for more than a decade. As Sabah continues its exemplary work on women’s economic empowerment, UN Women, this year will continue to expand partnerships with networks of excluded women’s groups. Our women’s economic empowerment programme is focused explicitly on working with networks of excluded women on livelihood and entrepreneurship development and leadership skills in close collaboration with the Government. The capacity and opportunities of networks of excluded women to influence national decision making processes will be supported together with research and advocacy efforts to engender macro-economic policies to promote women’s economic empowerment in line with CEDAW.

We at UN Women believe that investing in women’s economic empowerment sets a direct path towards gender equality, poverty eradication and inclusive economic growth. It is calculated that women could increase their income globally by up to 76 per cent if the employment participation gap and the wage gap between women and men were closed. This is calculated to have a global value of USD 17 trillion - so investing in women’s economic empowerment as many of us keep re-iterating is common sense and also smart economics.

Furthermore, economically independent women are more able to move away from abusive relationships and situations of violence. Complementing its efforts through the economic empowerment programme, UN Women will also work with the Male Network of Leaders and Men Engage Alliance to promote women’s empowerment and gender equality.

UN Women looks forward to continuing collaborations with networks of excluded women, including home-based workers, Sabah, and the Government of Nepal to advance women’s economic empowerment. In the long term as we all know, societies and economies can only thrive if they make full use of women’s skills and capacities.