Women’s Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

Women’s economic, social and cultural rights are consistently challenged by patriarchal practices, structural inequalities and multiple forms of discrimination in laws and in practice. This is further influenced by private sector behaviours, and, for the Global South, impacted by the existence of infrastructural and technology-driven national development. Our aim at IWRAW AP is to strengthen the feminist response to current economic development by focusing on strategies that support women’s rights organisations to claim women’s economic rights, as well as contribute to a more gender-responsive policy environment.

We have been using substantive equality and non-discrimination framework as the basis of our analysis and advocacy for the progressive interpretations of women’s economic, social and cultural rights - and actively advocating to move away from instrumental approaches to women’s inclusion in the economic sector. The key priority areas and emerging issues that we have been working on include rights of women migrant workers, issues of women workers in global value chain, women’s rights in land and natural resources, and business and human rights corporate accountability. IWRAW AP is a Working Group member of women’s economic, social and cultural rights of ESCR Net.

We Work With

  • Women’s Rights Organisations
  • Women workers (migrant workers, domestic workers, factory workers including home-based workers)
  • Labour and trade unions
  • Feminist Economists
  • Regional and global Civil Society and Women’s Rights Organisations and Networks
  • United Nations Treaty Bodies, Special Procedures and Mandate-Holders

Programme in Action

Women are often excluded or poorly represented in ASEAN economic policymaking spaces so when implementing a project on women’s economic leadership in the ASEAN, IWRAW AP realised that it was crucial for women’s rights activists and organisations to jointly strategise to influence policy and decision makers with regard to women’s economic rights. Together with our partners, we recognized the importance of engaging in strategic spaces that could influence global and regional policies on economic rights. Operating beyond the national level is important for advocacy on women’s economic rights because of transboundary issues and wider impact of rights violations. By creating regional spaces for advocacy, women’s rights organisations could do things that would otherwise be challenging at a national level. We deliberately used these regional spaces to examine issues of women migrant workers, value chains and corporate accountability so that partners could discuss in a safe environment.

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