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APRIL 2015: Women as Change Makers for a Vibrant Society
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4/28/2015 to 4/29/2015
When: 4/28/2015

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In many respects the features of women's day-to-day lives have been almost invisible and often taken for
granted. The women's movement and feminist research have been important in helping to highlight what
women do and the ways in which gender relations help to perpetuate the disadvantage women
experience. (Waring M, 1990). Women are certainly more likely to be working outside the home than ever before. To some extent the increase in women’s labour force participation rates is a statistical artifact—it reflects better ways of recording seasonal, unpaid, and casual wage labour, although it should be acknowledged that much of women’s work still goes un-recorded (Charmes 1998). In today’s economic context, more women must now work to ensure family survival—in the face of declining real wages and the increased monetary cost of subsistence resulting from cutbacks in public services and subsidies (Pearson 1999). Besides the economic reason, the further cause of the increase in women’s labour force is that the participation has been the greater demand for women workers in particular  sectors of the economy, particularly in export sectors that have in some countries experienced considerable growth. Much of this has been in low-skilled manufacturing—notably in garments, footwear and electronic products.

As women’s contributions toward a strong and vibrant society are increasingly well documented, there is also growing understanding of why women’s meaningful participation is essential to building and sustaining democracy. Women’s political participation results in tangible gains for democracy, including greater responsiveness to citizen needs, increased cooperation across party and ethnic lines, and more sustainable peace. Women lawmakers tend to see “women’s” issues more broadly as social issues, possibly as a result of the role that women have traditionally played as mothers and caregivers in their communities (O’Connor, K)  When women are empowered as political leaders, countries often experience higher standards of living with positive developments in education, infrastructure and health, and concrete steps being taken to help make democracy deliver.

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