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Some women taking own path to equality.

Globalization and technology have not necessarily benefited workers in developing countries. Poor women, who make up 50% to 80% of those employed in temporary, part time, home-based or casual work, continue to face extreme poverty, hunger, illness and social exclusion. These jobs are not only low-paying, but at times unregulated and dangerous.

A new report issued by the United Nations Development Fund for Women (Unifem), titled "Progress of the World's Women 2005: Women, Work and Poverty," recognizes the cumulative physical and mental toll on primary caregivers working at a job that is insufficient to provide for a family.

"The totality of women's work remains poorly understood and measured,' says Noeleen Heyzer, executive director of Unifem. "In virtually all countries and traditions of the world, women still bear the primary responsibility for providing care, which impacts their ability to participate in the labour market. Unpaid care work in the household and community puts demands on women's time, posing constraints of the kind of employment they can take up, especially in the context of HIV/Aids."

Gender equality is an important goal in itself, but providing women with access to stable jobs with benefits provides much more than money. Decent work is a way to begin a chain of positive events that progress toward the goal of eliminating poverty.

This effort only is effective if it combines the resources of the United Nations, NGOs, national governments and socially responsible corporations who should seek to not only sell products, but also support the women workers who make them.

ANASUYA SANYAL, Bangkok Post 24th October 2005, Summarized by FFW
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Author:Sanyal, Anasuya
Publication:Voices of Thai Women
Date:May 1, 2006
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