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Meeting in Mexico

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Title:
Meeting in Mexico the story of the World Conference of the International Women's Year (Mexico City, 19 June-2 July 1975)
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United Nations -- Centre for Economic and Social Information
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New York
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English
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129 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm

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Subjects / Keywords:
Women -- Social conditions -- Congresses ( lcsh )
Women -- Congresses
Women -- Social conditions ( fast )
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Conference papers and proceedings. ( fast )
non-fiction ( marcgt )
conference publication ( marcgt )
Conference papers and proceedings ( fast )

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"Issued for the International Women's Year Secretariat by the Centre for Economic and Social Information/OPI."

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|Auraria Library
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Resource Identifier:
16730805 ( OCLC )
ocm16730805
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HQ1106 .M447 ( lcc )
305.40601 ( ddc )

Full Text
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MRS. JOHN R. FIORP
3171 M 36TH A Vr
DENVER, COLp
MEETING IN MEXICO
WORLD CONFERENCE OF THE
INTERNATIONAL WOMENS YEAR, 1975


7-
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MEETING IN MEXICO
The Story of the World Conference of the
International Womens Year
(Mexico City, 19 June-2 July 1975)
United Nations
New York, 1975


I. THE IWY CONFERENCE 7
II. THE WHY AND THE HOW 17
III. THE DECLARATION, THE PLAN,
THE RESOLUTIONS 25
IV. EVENTS BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER 37
ANNEX
DECLARATION OF MEXICO ON THE EQUALITY
OF WOMEN AND THEIR CONTRIBUTION TO
DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE, 1975 51
PLANS OF ACTION 59
A. WORLD PLAN OF ACTION FOR THE
IMPLEMENTATION OF THE OBJECTIVES OF
THE INTERNATIONAL WOMENS YEAR 59
Introduction 59
I. National Action 65
II. Specific Areas for National Action 70
III. Research, Data Collection and Analysis 89
IV. Mass Communication Media 91
V. International and Regional Action 93
VI. Review and Appraisal 99
Appendix. Relevant International Instruments 101
B. REGIONAL PLANS OF ACTION 103
1. PLAN OF ACTION FOR THE INTEGRATION
OF WOMEN IN DEVELOPMENT ADOPTED
FOR THE REGION OF THE ECONOMIC AND
SOCIAL COMMISSION FOR ASIA AND
THE PACIFIC 103
2. PLAN OF ACTION FOR THE INTEGRATION
OF WOMEN IN DEVELOPMENT ADOPTED
FOR THE REGION OF THE ECONOMIC
COMMISSION FOR AFRICA 118


MEETING IN MEXICO is about an historic incident in
the evolution of women's struggle against oppression. It
is also the story of the United Nations at work in its
30th anniversary year.
Assessing the impact of an international conference is
a difficult task. The World Conference of the Inter-
national Womens Year was open to as many immediate
interpretations as there were points of view, for
people tended to judge it as an isolated incident rather
than as part of an ongoing process.
The success and the short-comings of the conference
must, however, be measured by the programmes that
follow rather than by the instant reactions of the
time. This booklet will aid in that larger assessment, for
it tells not only what happened in Mexico City but
puts it within the context of global complexity
and change."
li |a ^
Helvi Sipila
Secretary-General
International Womens Year
World Conference of the
International Women's Year


/
THE IWY CONFERENCE
"This conference must be seen in the context ot our
groping towards a better understanding of the
complexities of modern society," said United Nations
Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim.
"This meeting is an act of justice towards one half of
the human race," said President Luis Echeverria of
Mexico.
We have only two weeks before us to devise an appro-
priate strategy to overcome centuries of oppression
and discrimination," said Mrs. Helvi Sipila, Secretary-
General of the Conference of the International Women's
Year.
The IWY Conference began in the unlikely setting of a Mexico
City stadiumthe Gimnasio Juan de la Barrerachosen to ac-
commodate an international audience numbering over 5,000. Here,
before the massed flags of 133 nations, the opening speeches
struck the major themes that were heard with many variations for
the next fortnight in the formal halls of the Tlatelolco conference
centre.
Speaking first, U.N. Secretary-General Kurt Waldheim took
as his point of departure the need for A New International Eco-
nomic Order:1 Equality of opportunity between men and women
is essential if we are to create a more equitable international eco-
nomic and social system. This recognition, he said, came from
an understanding of two profound facts. One was that the great
problems which afflict us now, and which will confront us even
more severely in the future unless we resolve them, are not
capable of solution by individual nations or even groups of
nations. The second was that these problems also are closely
interlinked and cannot be solved individually. 1
1A New International Economic Ordera call to restructure the world economy issued
by the Sixth Special Session of the United Nations General Assembly irr 1974. The
new order would be to remove the unfair "rules of the game" which now govern
economic relations between rich and poor countries.
7


The problems of the role of women in society, food, popu-
lation, environment, human settlements, health and education are
not single problems, said the Secretary-General. Each is a
component part of the complex system that dominates the lives
of all of us, nations and individuals, irrespective of sex, creed,
ideology or race. There is no single answer to any of these mat-
ters individually; certainly, there is no single solution to them
collectively. The need then, said Mr. Waldheim, was for a con-
certed approach. And the IWY Conferenceone of a series of
major U.N. meetings on pressing global problemswas the first
step in joint planning and action.
President Echeverria spoke next and his theme was justice:
justice at the individual level, within society, and among nations.
Women, he said, have been oppressed to a greater or lesser
degree in every country and in every class of society. In the
privileged classes of the rich countries they are the dependent
subjects of a way of life, in the development of which they have
had no active part; among the oppressed classes of poor coun-
tries they are the proletarians of the proletariat.
The trend towards more rational and humane attitudes with
regard to women was part of the larger impetus now transform-
ing the world, Mr. Echeverria said. The oppressed man who
assumes attitudes of superiority towards women reproduces within
the family the conduct of his oppressors and, in doing so, com-
promises the possibilities of his own progress. Womens growing
awareness of their shared experience of pain made them natural
allies of the struggle against all oppression, he went on, and
this made women an enormous revolutionary reserve in the
world of today. But this-was not to say that women all over the
world had the same goals or the same strategies to achieve them.
The existing circumstances in developed and developing coun-
tries were different, he said, and so the immediate goals and
campaign strategies must, in principle, be different.
The women of industrialized countries, President Echeverria
said, should be careful that their acceptance of ostensibly free
modes of conduct did not serve actually to strengthen the struc-
tural causes of discrimination against them. For example, he
noted, the suffragist struggle for equal voting rights had suc-
ceeded in the large rich countries only when the dominant con-
servative classes thought it more likely to preserve the existing
order than to change it. The same thing was to happen later in
8


the labour market, Mr. Echeverria added. The equality of oppor-
tunities was fabricated piece by piece when the system of pro-
duction needed new hands, and woman as object was trans-
formed into woman as consumerthe woman as consumer who
thought she was attaining freedom when she was actually repeat-
ing the pattern of alienation and exploitation which besieged and
imprisoned men in a society based on injustice.
The essential problem of our times, the President of Mexico
said, was no longer the achievement of equal rights, imperative
and indispensable though this was. The hope of the modern age
was the liberation of all people from institutions and patterns of
conduct imposed in the interests of the great majority. In this
cause, he said, the women of developed countries should use
their potent moral force to support the poor nations of the world,
contributing thus to a more just world and the attainment of their
own objectives.
To suppose that women in developing countries have the
same concerns as women in developed countries would be a
failure to recognize "either the true origin of the problems or the
sphere in which their actions can be most productive, said Mr.
Echeverria. What good is it, he asked, "to recognize solemnly
that all women have an equal right to education and employment
if these requirements cannot be satisfied in most parts of the
world? In developing countries, "to speak of equality of rights
and opportunities for women is to speak of equality of responsi-
bilities in the task of overcoming hunger, ignorance and ill health,
and eliminating the ever present threat to the political, economic
and cultural independence of nations.
Despite the massive efforts made during the First and Second
United Nations Development Decades, the level of living for most
of the worlds people had not improved, said Mr. Echeverria. This
was so because the conditions of economic exchange among
nations continued to be governed by force. "If we really wish to
improve the conditions of life of women, he went on, it would
be necessary to link very closely the action taken within each
society to actions at the international level in accordance with
the Charter of Economic Rights and Duties of States.2 "It is futile
2 The Charter ot Economic Rights and Duties of Statesa statement of basic
principles which should guide economic relations between states, issued by the 29th
session of the General Assembly in 1974. The Charter sets out the foundations on
which a New International Economic Order can be built.
9


to ignore the fundamental aspects of the question, Mr. Eche-
verria said. It is not possible to postulate in realistic terms the
universal triumph of human beings as long as we do not give
form to a new international economic order.
Also at the inaugural session, Mrs. Helvi Sipila, Secretary
General of the Conference, reminded the largely female audience
that joint planning meant full participation by women in making
and implementing decisions. For the first time, women were part
of virtually every delegation attending the conference, Mrs. Sipila
said. Hopefully, this would be a precedent for future international
meetings, be they on political or economic affairs, on disarm-
ament, development, trade or human settlements.
To increase the participation of women in the exercise of
power over their own destinies and the destinies of their societies
and countries, Mrs. Sipila went on, it was necessary to meet a
catalogue of priority needs: Education and training are key
issues which deserve priority consideration. Equally important is
the question of womens legal capacity, particularly the legal
provisions referring to marriage, inheritance and property rights.
Economic independence, which enables women to freely deter-
mine their own destiny, is also a prerequisite to their participation
in the life of society. There is also an urgent need for a radical
change in attitudes of both men and women. Customs, traditions,
and the unquestioned myths ingrained through centuries of preju-
dice still operate to prevent women from exercising their rights
and benefiting from whatever opportunities are afforded them.
This catalogue, said Mrs. Sipila, is certainly not exhaustive,
but [is] simply meant to sketch a broad picture of the diversity
and variety of the social components of the problems involved.
It would therefore be futile to take action aimed at raising the low
status of women independently from the socio-economic prob-
lems confronting the community. And the reverse is true.
Mrs. Sipila also addressed herself to the diversity of circum-
stances in which women found themselves: Admittedly, the
status of women differs significantly from country to country, due
to cultural, political, economic and social factors. There are also
wide divergencies in the condition of women within countries
themselves, particularly between rich and poor, rural and urban,
privileged and underprivileged. But I do not see a conflict be-
tween the prevailing conditions in developing and industrialized
countries as regards the real aspirations of women for social
10


justice and a better life. In fact, women throughout the world
share so many problems that they can and must support and
reinforce each other in a joint effort to create a better world.
Elections, Debates, and Other Goings-on
The first international conference on Women elected as its
president a manthe Attorney General of Mexico, Pedro Ojeda
Paullada. When asked to comment on this apparent anomaly at
a press conference a few days after his election, Mr. Paullada
recalled the resolutions of the General Assembly,which called
for equitable representation of both men and women at the con-
ference. Delegates representing governments were not sexed
he said; the meeting was not a gathering of women but an inter-
national conference in which the full participation of both men
and women was essential for success. And anyway, Mr. Paullada
added, the President of a conference was no more than a person
who helped in handling its affairs. To help him handle the affairs
of the conference, 46 Vice-Presidents and a Rapporteur-General
were elected too.
With its numerous officers elected, the conference set about
organizing the work before it. There were five main items to be
considered:
The objectives and goals of the International Womens
Year: present policies and programmes.
The involvement of women in strengthening international
peace and eliminating racism, apartheid, racial discrimi-
nation, colonialism, alien domination and acquisition of
territory by force.
Current trends and changes in the status and roles of
women and men, and major obstacles to be overcome
in the achievement of equal rights, opportunities and
responsibilities.
The integration of women in the development process as
equal partners with men.
World Plan of Action.
It was decided that the first two of these items would be
considered in the context of the general debate in plenary, while
the other three received special attention in two committees. The
First Committee got the World Plan of Action; the Second Com-
mittee got Current trends and Integration of women in develop-
11


merit. (Each committee had representatives from every dele-
gation.)
For the rest of its two-week session, the conference was a
combination of brilliant kaleidoscope and Catherine-wheel. In
the wood and glass panelled plenary hall, people, accents and
ideas arranged and rearranged themselves in endless series of
fascinating patterns. Meanwhile, the committees sprayed forth
whirling streams of amendments,-proposals and counter-proposals,
well over a thousand in all. Outside the conference centre, in
the Plaza de las Tres Culturas (the Plaza of the three cultures),
the scene was colourful with saris and sarongs, kimonos, dashikis,
feathers and jewelsa dramatic contrast to the usual grey of
predominantly male U.N. conferences. Some 70 per cent of the
participants in Mexico City were women. But if the conference on
women was visually different from other major meetings, in its
serious content and tone it was not. The participants, women and
men, were deeply involved in the matters before them. In fact,
their intensity, in many cases almost undiplomatically passionate,
demonstrated more than anything else the uniqueness and sig-
nificance of the event.
In the general debate that occupied the plenary for most of
the two-week session, the representatives of 125 nations took
part. So did spokeswomen (and spokesmen) for 36 inter-govern-
mental and non-governmental organizations, U.N. specialized
agencies and national liberation movements. It was, as the repre-
sentative of New Zealand said, a display of global diversity with
one remarkable factor. I have been amazed, she said, by the
fact that, despite their divergently different backgrounds, each
speaker has made the same fundamental observation. Each has
acknowledged the existence of the inferior status ascribed to
women. And there was broad agreement with the Nigerian rep-
resentative who said with great poignance that discrimination
against women was worse than other kinds of discrimination
because it was universal and because this is the only occasion
when a son discriminates against his mother, a father against his
daughter, a brother against his sister.
Perhaps as remarkable as the recognition of injustice gener-
ally done to women was the universal effort to rectify it. In every
country there was awareness of the need for remedial measures,
though differences abounded on the hows, the whys and the
whens of policy. The Australian representative, for instance,
12


focussed on the need to combat sexismthe artificial ascrip-
tion of roles, behaviour and even personalities to people on the
basis of their sex alone". This was the result of societies ruled
by men who subjected women to a process of colonization by
mute consent, she said. And to come to terms with the reality
of this problem, it required as much a revolution in the heads
of people as it does the modification of the structures which
reinforce these destructive values. The reordering of the world
economy should lead to new and culturally appropriate concepts
of development, she went on, but. . we believe that improve-
ments in the lives of women cannot and must not await the out-
come of deliberations on the new economic order.
Also reflecting this view, was the representative of France
who asked that the conference not be detoured toward political
matters, thus relegating womens causes to a secondary level.
Are we gathered here to describe the new economic order
which can be established among peoples?, she asked, and then
answered herself obviously not. Excellent reasons have always
abounded to turn women away from their own struggle in their
own society, she went on, for even men who were sincerely in
favour of change in the status of women rarely considered it a
priority goal. The revolutionary force which women now repre-
sented should not be used once again by men for their own ends,
she said, for if this happened women might find themselves in
a new world but it would still be a world run by men.
In opposition to this viewpoint, the great majority of delega-
tions set forth their belief in the need for a basic economic and
social change at the national and international levels before
women could be fully emancipated. The Prime Minister of Sweden
summed up a broadly supported view when he said: It is the
injustices and inequalities between nations and within them which
also basically determine the course of womens lives. . Those
economic forces which the poor countries have had to struggle
against for so long now threaten to demolish the foundations of
the gains achieved. Air, water, land are menaced by poisoning
and pollution. Finite natural resources are being exhausted. The
number of inhabitants on our earth is growing with considerable
speed. The supply of food is insufficient for the majority of man-
kind . This is the reality which the overwhelming mass of the
womenas well as menof the world encounter. If women are
to be liberated, these conditions have to be changed.
13


r
Pointing out the need for internal social changes within coun-
tries, the representative of the German Democratic Republic cited
the experience of her own people. "In our experince, she said,
"the complete and everlasting liberation of women . can only
be achieved when all social circumstances allow for it. But, she
added, "The socio-economic reshaping in our country, the elimi-
nation of imperialism, and the construction of socialism have only
been possible because of the active participation of women.
The full participation of women, however, requires more than
sound policies. And in pointing this out, Dr. Fatima Abdel Mah-
moud referred to a matter of concern to many countries. "My
government has good intentions, she said, "but I must hasten
to add that the government has no means to translate its policies
into actions. Scores of traditional attitudes, customs and cultural
patterns that have accumulated through the years cannot be
changed overnight. My government is unable to bring what is
proclaimed to the attention of the majority of our women. How
can an illiterate woman living in the rural areas be aware of her
proclaimed rights if she cannot read or buy a radio to listen to
what the government wants to inform her about?
There were no clear lines of division in the general debate.
People who agreed on one matter of policy disagreed on another;
opinions shaded into or away from each other. The Prime Minister
of Sri Lanka, for instance, firmly supported the need for eco-
nomic and social change but added: "I do believe that women
can and do play a useful, successful, and even a very vital role
in society outside the labour market and outside what we com-
monly refer to as positions of responsibility and decision-making.
The international community cannot clamour on the one hand
that there is dignity in labour of any kind, and on the other hand
contend that women who bring up children, administer a home
and serve as the foundation of a harmonious family and com-
munity live insignificant or unfulfilled lives. Solidarity in the cause
of women did not mean, said the Prime Minister, that she ap-
proved some forms of advocacy: "I cannot believe that some of
the methods chosen to express this struggle are either necessary
or even desirable; for instance, that attempts to deny femininity,
or the cry for freedom from maternity would achieve our common
objectives. The means should not defeat the end.
The Prime Minister of India elaborated on the same point in
the message she sent to the conference: "People talk and write
14


as if every woman were all women and every man all men. But
we know that each individual is a combination of male and female
genes in varying degrees. How can we consider womans evolv-
ing role without noting the changing role of man? In the affluent
countries and amongst our own urban upper classes, man is no
longer the hunter, the protector, the sole provider. Altering social
and economic conditions have been affecting sex roles. Because
of the complexities of urban living and the need for population
control, large families are being discouraged. Motherhood no
longer has its old halo, nor is it so time-consuming. Hence,
whether we like it or not, the more sophisticated a society, the
greater the blurring of the hitherto clearly defined characteristics
of the two sexes."
Mrs. Imelda Marcos of the Philippines touched on another
aspect of the same question when she said: Women are not
adversaries, the enemies of men, but their equal partners. We are
not surrogates of men, their substitutes; for we have our own
role to play; a different role, but an equally important one." The
demand for equality, Mrs. Marcos added, has too often had
overtones of revenge; the venting of grievances, the acquisition
of advantage, the aggression of concealed hatred and envy. But
the feminist movement should not and need not be anti-mas-
culine."
The three themes of the International Womens YearEqual-
ity, Development, and Peacewere also seen as not clearly
separable. Without peace, said the representative of Cyprus, any
attempt at equality or development was futile. This was the pain-
ful experience of her countrywomen, she said, for lack of peace
had reduced Cypriote womanhood to a figure of tragedy, de-
prived of life, children, home, property and work".
The need for disarmament was another common theme, and
Mrs. Valentina Nikolaeva-Tereshkova of the Soviet Union, the
worlds first woman cosmonaut, stressed it in her speech: Dis-
armament is a necessary condition for ensuring peace, she said.
The liberation of future generations from the horror of war is the
main task of the United Nations". The theme of peace was
stressed too by the spokeswomen of two nations caught in a
bitter conflict in West Asia. "We are the natural enemies of war,"
said Mrs. Jihan Sadat of Egypt. "We are the mothers, the wives,
and daughters of those who fight and die". Echoing the same
15


sentiment, Mrs. Leah Rabin of Israel said: Wars are fought by
men but there can be no weeping and agony like that of the
mother bereaved, the widow and the orphan.
The role of women in the creation and maintenance of peace
was a theme that also ran through most speeches. The involve-
ment of women in decision-making at the international level was
a need frequently stressed. Even the workings of the conference
underlined this need, for when political, issues required negotia-
tion, the job was done mainly by the men on the delegations.
This, said Mrs. Sipila, brought home to us how little women in-
fluence the foreign policy of their nations. It also demonstrated
how little knowledge women have of international politics.
The conference did not resolve all the many conflicts of its
participants. It did not produce unanimity on philosophy, on
strategy or on tactics. What then was the purpose of the meeting?
What, if anything, did it mean? Were there any common solutions
to the many problems of women? And if so, what were the
courses of action? The questions seem sharper and more numer-
ous than ever. But this was the desired end of those who planned
and worked for the conference that womens affairs should
inspire serious attention, their problems be posed to enquiring
minds all over the world.
And the conference served other purposes as well. It spread
the awareness that developed countries bore a special respon-
sibility in helping the development of poorer countries and thus
improving the' status of women. It heard warnings that develop-
ment along existing models might actually be detrimental to the
status of women in comparatively liberal cultures and societies,
especially agricultural societies in which women have a valued
role and status. One of the principal themes that emerged was
that legislative action by itself did not guarantee equality for
women. Also generally recognized was that there was a serious
lack of knowledge about the status and potential of women. The
need for research to remedy this was stressed. A special institute
was suggested, and action recommended at the national, regional
and international levels. All these various proposals were, by the
end of the two-week session, spun into a World Plan of Action
set forth in 34 resolutions and issued in a Declaration of Mexico.
16


II THE WHY AND THE HOW
The idea for an International Womens Year took root at a
meeting of the Commission on the Status of Women at United
Nations headquarters in Geneva on Leap Years Day, 1972.
A group of womens organizations had come up with the original
proposal, but since private organizations (known as non-govern-
mental organizations or NGOs in U.N. terminology) cannot tech-
nically introduce resolutions, it was proposed to the commission
by a government delegate, Mrs. Florica Andrei of Romania.
The 32-nation Commission was generally sympathetic to the
idea but its enthusiasm was not overwhelming. Some members
felt the title was not specific enough. The Canadian delegate
wondered whether it might not be too reminiscent of Mothers
Day. Alternative titles, including International Womens Year as
an Instrument for Promoting Development, International Year
for Action to Eliminate Discrimination against Women, and Inter-
national Year for Equal Rights and Responsibilities for Women
were suggested. Others sought to connect Womens Year with
human rights in general. Yet others pointed out the need for a
compact title in the interests of publicity.
As Mrs. Helvi Sipila of Finland later explained, delegates
were worried. What would the real purpose of the Year be? If the
title was inadequate, the themes would have to clarify its inten-
tions. We didnt want to divide the world between men and
women. But eventually the doubts were overcome and the origi-
nal title accepted. It was agreed unanimously that the Year would
be 1975. Equality and Development were suggested as two
general themes for the Year; Peace was added at the twenty-
seventh General Assembly in 1972.
Though the decision to observe an International Womens
Year received little notice in 1972, womens issues were already
of major global concern. In the industrialized countries of the
West, technological change had liberated women from'many tra-
ditional roles and their search for new identities was a vocal
process. In socialist countries, the reordering of economic rela-
tionships had liberated women as never before and they had
been drawn in unprecedented numbers intothe mainstreams of
national life. In the developing countries of Africa, Asia and Latin
17


America, there was growing awareness that economic and social
development involved a complex of interacting factors, and that
the status of women was a key factor. Any improvement in the
status of women had instant and profound effects on other social
and economic factors.
This recognition of the interdependence of major problems
was basic to the decision to hold an international conference on
women. The IWY Conference was, indeed, part of a series of
major world conferences, each of which focussed on a large
issue but considered it in the context of all the others. A Human
Rights Conference met in Teheran in 1968. The United Nations
Conference on the Human Environment was held in Stockholm
in 1972. A World Food Conference in Rome and the World Popu-
lation Conference in Bucharest took place in 1974. Law of the
Sea was the subject of major meetings in 1974 and 1975. Con-
ferences on Human Settlements (1976), Water, Desertification,
and Science and Technology are planned for the remainder of
the 1970s. By choosing to hold a conference on womens issues,
the General Assembly had, in effect, put the subject on the inter-
national agenda of the 1970s and beyond.
The support for an International Year and Conference on
Women was, however, not unanimous. The dissident voice was
that of veteran diplomat Mr. Jamil Baroody of Saudi Arabia who
voiced what he said were opinions widely held but not publicly
expressed within the United Nations. In a series of statements in
the General Assemblys Third Committee (which deals with social,
humanitarian and cultural matters), Mr. Baroody expounded the
view that a Year and Conference were unnecessary. Women
have more equality.than men . . he said. Women are the
mothers, wives, sisters and daughters of men. A man works to
support a woman until he dies and she inherits his wealth.
Women from all over the world enjoy unwritten privileges ... an
international conference such as the one planned will be dis-
ruptive and upset many time-honoured institutions. He congratu-
lated the committee on the large numbers of ladies attending
its deliberations, thereby touching on a sore point: the Third Com-
mittee is unofficially known as the Ladies Committee because
of the large number of women diplomats assigned to it. The in-
scription of Womens Year as an item on the agenda of the Third
Committee led many people to consider it as not a serious matter.
But preparations went ahead all the same and soon there
18


was little doubt that those in charge would make the conference
a serious and political affair. Princess Ashraf Pahlavi of Iran, who
was later to become chairwoman of the 23-member Consultative
Committee on the World Plan of Action, made no bones about
this. Male imperialism, she said, has paralyzed an important
part of society in both developed and developing countries. She
called on women to give up their inherited attitudes of resigna-
tion and stop being a colony of man. And, as the United
Nations system geared itself up to take stock of the global situa-
tion, the disquieting picture which emerged ever more clearly
led to steady growth in support for the Year and the Conference.
The first background study, which the United Nations pre-
pared for the conference, looked inwardwhat had the U.N. itself
done in its 30 years to eliminate discrimination against women?
In general, the study said, measures taken by the Organization
fell into five categories: 1) elaboration of International Instru-
ments3 and means to implement them; 2) preparation of studies
on a variety of subjects, especially in the human rights field;
3) study of how women could be integrated into the effort at
economic and social development; 4) the development of opera-
tional programmes to do so; and 5) the spreading of information
on improving the status of women.
The study found two main periods into which United Nations
activity could be divided. The first, lasting into the late sixties,
during which the emphasis was on fact-finding and the elabora-
tion of legal standards; and the second, during which a growing
realization of the need for a multidisciplinary approach led to
increasing co-operation within the various bodies of the U.N.
system.
The study noted how more and more U.N. bodies have
become aware that the neglect of women in development plans
and programmes constitutes the wastage of a valuable human
resource, with serious implications for the development effort
itself. It noted also that a number of changes had resulted from
this awareness. The U.N. Development Programme (UNDP), for
example, now specifically urged its representatives in countries
around the world to help governments plan special measures to
aid women. And where none of the U.N.s regional commissions
had planned programmes for women or even adopted specific
resolutions on the matter in 1970, by 1975 four commissions had
3 See Annex, page 101.
19


done both. Further evidence is found in resolutions of the major
U.N. Conferences in 1974 on Population and Food. Both confer-
ences recognized the vital importance of the role of women and
advocated specific measures to broaden and improve it. The
multidisciplinary approach was stressed at three intergovern-
mental seminars in Asia (Bangkok), Africa (Addis Ababa) and
Latin America (Caracas), held in preparation for the main Inter-
national Womens Year Conference: They laid the foundations
for the World Plan of Action which was adopted at Mexico City.
Other preparations for the conference included the remedy-
ing of a major short-comingthe absence of detailed, specific
and comparable data from all parts of the world. Not much could
be done in the time available, especially as governments were
less than generous in funding the conference. But with a number
of the specialized agencies and regional commissions contrib-
uting studies, in addition to a few done by individual experts, an
effort was made to paint the broad outlines of the global scene.
Not unexpectedly, the scene was anything but heartening.
The position of women has worsened despite development
activities in many parts of the world, said one expert study.
Production for profit rather than for the welfare of the popula-
tion has narrowed the scope of many development programmes.
The author of the study, anthropologist June Nash of the City
University of New York, ascribed this to the basic assumption
that linked womens biological reproductive role to her social role
as mother and wife. When this assumption is tied to a develop-
ment process that places greater emphasis on growth in produc-
tion than on the development of society, the implication is that
employment of women in the advanced sectors of the economy
is uneconomic, since it requires a heavier investment in social
services of child-care, improved working conditions and more
flexible hours than in the case of male workers.
Another expert, sociologist Alexander Szalai of the Karl Marx
University of Economic Sciences in Budapest, also commented
on the general assumption that because women bore children
they were automatically better qualified to look after them. By
nature, women are not better qualified than men to carry out the
great variety of tasks allotted to the housewife," his study said.
There is a widespread tendency to explain a great part of the
sexual division of labour by referring to differences in the natural
endowments, that is, in the mental make-up, physical strength,
20


etc. of men and women. With very few exceptions, however, such
allegedly natural explanations given for any specific trait of the
sexual division of labour in contemporary cultures is based on
an ignorance of cultural variations or, more often, on simple
prejudices.
As regards physical strength, for example, women should
be less able than men to perform tasks involving great physical
exertion. Nevertheless, according to social-anthropological data
registered in the files of the Yale University Cross-Cultural Survey,
some of the most demanding types of heavy work are allocated
to women in a great number of cultures. Water-carrying, for in-
stance, is regarded as an exclusively feminine task in 119 cul-
tures out of 138 observed, and burden-bearing is regarded as an
exclusively feminine tasks in 59 cultures out of 128 observed.
There are 36 known cultures in which the building of dwellings,
six in which lumbering, and at least one in which mining and
quarrying are left entirely to women. Laundering, which before
the advent of washing machines was one of the most strenuous
tasks, remained until very recently a typically feminine job, allo-
cated to the washerwomen or the housewives practically every-
where in Western civilization.
Some of the results of this, Mr. Szalai observed, were evident
in the findings of a UNESCO research project which compared
sample surveys in 12 countries (Belgium, Bulgaria, Czechoslo-
vakia, France, Federal Republic of Germany, German Democratic
Republic, Hungary, Peru, Poland, Union of Soviet Socialist Re-
publics, United States of America and Yugoslavia). The study
showed that employed women spend on the average less time
on paid work than employed men; they are more often part-time
workers than men, they try to avoid overtime because of their
duties at home, also some legal regulations intervene, etc. How-
ever, if paid work is added to unpaid work done for the house-
hold and the family, then it appears that the average total working
time of employed women surpasses that of employed men by a
full hour on workdays (11.6 hours against 10.6 hours) and by
more than two and a half hours on days off (6.1 hours against
3.5 hours). The plight of employed women is strikingly exposed
by the fact that they work 5.7 hours for their household and
family on their 'days of rest. This means in practice that they
have to sacrifice a good part of their well-deserved rest over the
week-end in order to catch up on household tasks left unfinished
21


during the work week when they are put under an enormous time
pressure by one shift of paid work and another shift in the house-
hold."
Another expert study, prepared by the African Economic
Commission (ECA), summed up vividly the extent to which minor
technical developments could improve the lives of women. "An
example of the reduction of womens work by a simple input with
modest investment can be found, said the study, "in the various
places in East Africa where hand-pounding of cereals has been
replaced by small-capacity power-driven mills. An average village
family consumes about 2 to 5 kilograms of maize daily and to
pound this takes about an hour when a mill is not available. It
has been observed that East African village women will take
advantage of a commercial mill even though they have to carry
a 24-kilogram load for four miles and take a bus for a further
five miles to have their maize ground. They do this in spite of
the costs of grinding and transportation, which reach the equiva-
lent of about two-thirds of the value of the maize. There is no
doubt of the need for and acceptability of small community mills.
"Collecting and carrying fire-wood is one of the heavy chores
of African women," the study pointed out. And this "has become
increasingly tiring and time-consuming as deforestation has forced
women to walk longer and longer distances to find the quantity
they need. This work could be much reduced by the planting of
fast-growing trees near villages and by the introduction of a small
village portable mechanical saw or even by an ox-cart to transport
the wood, perhaps for groups of families.
On the same track; a study prepared by the Economic Com-
mission for Latin America (ECLA) asked a question that increas-
ingly worries planners today: "How are we to understand
development? In the past few years, said the study, "criticisms
of the economic growth processes, previously supposed to be
central to development, for their failure to contribute incontro-
vertibly to human welfare and social justice, for their degradation
of the human environment, and for their squandering of non-
renewable natural resources, have become commonplaces of
international discourse. These processes are not likely to fare any
better when assessed in terms of their contribution to the libera-
tion of women. And as attempts to convert newer concepts of
development into operation realities have been halting, the study
said, any social group aspiring to participate in development
22


must participate in what is really happening, however far from the
ideal this may be, try to strengthen its bargaining power, and exert
organized pressure to change those features of what is happening
that conflict most with its perceived immediate interests.
A paper prepared by UNESCO looked at one of these imme-
diate interests, the need for "Genuine Education for Equality.
There are, it said, good grounds for "feminism in education.
"What happens with regard to the education of girls and women
is a sufficient argument to justify it as an attitude and a policy.
From earliest infancy, in most countries of the world, boys are
encouraged in their studies, even if they are mediocre, but girls
receive no help and may even, at times, be prevented from
studying. While they are at school, girls may be called home at
any time to look after or to nurse sick brothers and sisters, to do
the shopping, to help with the cooking, particularly among those
sections of the population which are worst off. Girls attend clubs,
join sports associations and take part in excursions or travel much
less frequently than their brothers. If a girl goes to school and
'does well there, it is very probably that neither her teachers nor
her family will encourage her to be ambitious. Everything she
accomplishes will be considered already well enough for a girl:
she may become a teacher, but only in primary or secondary
school. She will very seldom become a research worker, particu-
larly in the scientific field, even supposing that anyone is willing
to offer her a post or a fellowship. A large number of callings will
be virtually barred to her, either because the training required
takes too long and is too expensive (as in medicine, for example),
or because they are not thought to be suited to feminine capaci-
ties, or, again, because the idea of marriage will curtail profes-
sional prospects, even without the girls being herself aware of it,
and even without societies realizing that they are, in their heed-
lessness, losing the value of the investments they have made over
the years on behalf of the women and girls whom they have at
least decided to educatebut without really believing in educa-
tion for women and without gaining anything from it.
The paper also looked at another important aspect of educa-
tion and social values: physical education and dress. For girls,
said the study, physical education is not always regarded sympa-
thetically by parents or by certain communities, and yet it is one
of the foundations for giving women real equality. It goes hand in
hand with simplification of womens dress. Is it even necessary to
23


mention in this context the cumbersome garments, the heavy
ornaments, the corsets, and the strict conventions with regard to
clothing to which girls have been subjected, even in the most
developed countries? Anyone who has not worn certain high-
heeled shoes, in European countries since the Second World War,
cannot appreciate the absurd lengths to which fashion can go or
the underlying intention behind these crazes, the aim of which is
not, in fact, to make Women prettier but to immobilize them and
make them an object of fresh interest to men. Any sort of freedom
needs to be given practical expression if it is not to remain merely
an abstract conception, and freedom is, first and foremost,
freedom of bodily movement. To come and go, to jump, to run,
to dance, to put muscles to work, are all fundamental needs of
the human body.
When compared to other major international conferences, the
background documentation provided for the International Womens
Year Conference was skimpy. Its 18 background papers provided
spotty statistics and many omissions or gaps in basic information.
But this was inescapable. It was indeed yet another reflection of
the problem the Conference had been called to consider and
solve.
24


Ill THE DECLARATION, THE PLAN,
THE RESOLUTIONS
The Declaration of Mexico4
If there were any doubts that the International Womens Year
Conference was a political event, they were removed by the
Declaration of Mexico. Co-sponsored by 74 developing countries
and adopted by a vote of 89 in favour, 3 against and 18 absten-
tions, the Declaration deals with "The Equality of Women and
Their Contribution to Development and Peace. Its first paragraph
expresses awareness "that the problems of women, who constitute
half of the worlds population, are the problems of society as a
whole, and that changes in the present economic, political and
social situations of women must become an integral part of efforts
to transform the structures and attitudes that hinder the genuine
satisfaction of their needs".
In the following 49 paragraphs of its text, the Declaration
draws a broad picture of the political and economic content of the
women's struggle, breaking new ground in this respect by lining
up "Zionism" with apartheid and racial discrimination as a malign
force. It looks at the various international agreements from which
the struggle draws support, including the U.N. Charter, the Uni-
versal Declaration of Human Rights, the Declaration on Decoloni-
zation, the International Development Strategy and the Programme
of Action to Establish a New International Economic Order. It sets
forth some 30 guiding principles on the rights and responsibilities
of individuals, states and international organizations. In this it has
been seen as an important influence on a U.N. convention which
the Commission on the Status of Women is to consider next year.
(A declaration is not binding on governments; a convention is
ratified by governments and involves binding domestic legislation.
A human rights convention comes into force when 35 nations
ratify it.)
Two drafts were amalgamated into the final Declaration the
Conference adopted. The main body of work was produced by the
Group of 77 (developing countries). Their draft contained portions
* See Annex, page 51.
25


prepared at smaller conferences in Somalia, in Zaire and in
Venezuela. A counter-declaration proposed by the United States,
the United Kingdom and the Federal Republic of Germany was
not put to the vote, and this caused some disturbance among
delegates from the West.
Dr. Lucille Mair of Jamaica explained the Group of 77s point
of view:
In so far as there have been fundamental differences be-
tween the condition of women in developed countries and the
undeveloped world, we find the continuation of a situation that has
never been interrupted. We would like to see the position of
women in developed and developing countries on a level of
equality with men, but equally important, if not more important, we
would like to see the conditions of these women brought closer
together so that the appalling level of living of women in develop-
ing countries could be brought closer to that in developed coun-
tries. One of the things Mexico did was to identify more clearly
the differences in conditions. I was on the drafting Committee
which worked on the Declaration. We shared thoughts and we felt
some of the phrases which were presented in the Declaration of
the western countries were better than ours. We incorporated
those. And they expressed their strong approval, particularly the
way we dealt with equality. They felt we dealt with this issue in
more detail than they did, and there was agreement here. We also
identified some things which we, the 77, felt were strong matters
of principle, not matters of negotiation. I dont think this caused a
new rift. I think the gulf between the condition of women in the
Third World and the developed world was there, is still there, and
will be there until we come to grips with the situation. Mexico in
no way aggravated that. The usual debate over the insertion of
Zionism was not new, and Im not aware that this aggravated any
tensions among women as women. It did make clear that a large
section of the world sees certain political problems in a particular
way. They see them as having great potential for international
conflict, and weve been saying this in many ways at U.N. meet-
ings and conferences for years. No doubt well continue to say
them as long as these areas of attention need to be identified.
Apartheid is one, Zionism is one, etc. There was nothing new
about that area of political difference.
Another source of difference was the sovereign right of
countries to nationalize their resources. You might ask what this
26


has to do with women, but, as we have indicated, the whole future
of a new international economic order vitally affects the future of
women. Certainly one of the claims of developing countries is
acknowledgement of their right to say this is my sand and sea,
its my bauxite, its my copper, and therefore I claim the right to
nationalize it. This point of view has not yet proved acceptable to
the countries who have been developing our resources.
From our point of view the basic problem with the Declara-
tion was that the Group of 77 never negotiated on it, Ambassador
Barbara White of the United States explained. "We sought nego-
tiations many times and they basically refused to negotiate. Before
and during the conference we knew they were drafting a declara-
tion, and negotiations could have taken place before the con-
ference here in New York, or at any time during the conference.
We kept indicating that we would like to talk about it, but we
never had the opportunity. We felt one of the best ways was to
put down what we thought on paper. In the Declaration submitted
by the United States, the United Kingdom and West Germany, you
can see very basic similarities between ours and theirs. There
were two problems with the other one that was eventually adopted
as the Declaration of Mexico. One was the condemnation of
Zionism which we felt had no place in such a document and
which we felt could be interpreted as saying that Israel should
not exist. The other was some reference to the Charter of Eco-
nomic Rights and Duties of States and the new international
economic order in terms that they knew we had voted against in
other forums. Obviously, the U.S. wasnt going to change its
position at this conference on those issues. If they had wanted
to, they could easily have referred to them in more acceptable
terms. They chose not to, so we had to vote against it. I have no
doubt that Israeli women and Arab women feel just as strongly
about the issues of Palestine as the men of those two countries.
One of the primary reasons why the U.S. did not want the Con-
ference to concentrate on these political and economic issues
was because there are plenty of other U.N. conferences to discuss
these in. We wanted to concentrate this time on the particular
problems of women, and I think by and large the conference did.
On womens subjects, we were talking the same language, and
there was an international network.
Ms. Zohreh Tabatabai of'lran said there was no time to
negotiate the Declaration with the Western group. "The trouble
27


was timing. I dont think any representative of the developing
world wanted to make a fait accompli. The Declaration was only
finished two or three days before the end of the conference, and
by the time you started talking with the different groups and
getting their ideas on it, suddenly there was a deadline. You had
to pass it or not. There were ten different declarations, one of
which was submitted to the working group I was a member of.
The working group met in Mexico, and this was the trouble. We
had to do everything in Mexico. Most of us had committees to
attend. We worked lunchtimes and evenings, and sometimes until
four oclock in the morning. There were basic documents that
we looked at. But we didnt take things out of each document and
put it into the final declaration. We wanted it to represent some
kind of spirit or declaration of the Group of 77. There were very
few women there, and those who were tried, by hook or by crook,
to make sure that whatever was in it reflected women. Theyve
been talking about the Mexican conference being too politicized,
but I think we live in a political society. Women have to be
political.
The World Plan of Action5
The 219 paragraphs of the World Plan of Action adopted at
Mexico City represent a very broad consensus on what should
be done to deal with the many problems of women. It indicates
what the priorities are for the worlds governments, and it mirrors
their major concerns with regard to the status and role of women.
Because of the complexity of the questions and the strong views
of delegations of many of them, the negotiation of a common
world plan was one of the major tasks and achievements of the
conference.
Plans of Action have in recent years been one of the most
important results of world conferences. The plans that emerged
from the conferences on the global environment and population,
for example, played a central role in shaping government policies
and public opinion on large issues. The preparation of the Mexico
City Plan followed a pattern set by its predecessors on other
issues. The original draft was prepared by the U.N. Secretariat
(the Branch for the Promotion of Equality of Men and Women).
It was discussed at intergovernmental seminars in Asia, Africa
s See Annex, page 59.
28


and Latin America and two Regional Plans (for Asia and Africa)0
were spun off in the process. (These regional plans focus the
major concerns of the countries in the area and it was made clear
at Mexico City that the World Plan should be viewed in conjunc-
tion with them). Before presentation to the Mexico Conference,
the draft world plan was further elaborated by a 23-member
Consultative Committee which met in New York under the Chair-
womanship of Princess Ashraf Pahlavi of Iran.
Despite this elaborate process of preparation, it was obvious
soon after the First Committee began consideration of the plan
in Mexico City that two weeks would not be enough to incorporate
all the variety of amendments proposed by governments. In short
order some 894 amendments were proposed. The Committee got
as far as the end of the first chapter on National Action, adding in
the process nine new paragraphs to the Introduction. It then
decided, as time was running short, to adopt the remaining five
chapters intact, while taking note of the views of governments on
aspects they wanted to comment upon. As the chairwoman of
the First Committee, Madame Jeanne Martin Cisse of Guinea said
later: We did want a consensus on this Plan of Action and in
order to obtain it we had to make concessions. Perhaps it was not
such a bad thing that these amendments were presented. They
were a very clear indication of the various problems of women
and showed the great interest that women give to them.
Amendments to Chapter 1 of the Plan reflected the need to
transform fundamentally the relations within a society. Govern-
ments are urged to establish their own short-, medium- and long-
term targets to achieve, by 1980, the following:
A marked increase in literacy and civic education of
women;
Extension of co-educational vocational training in basic
skills in industrial and agricultural sectors;
Equal access at every level of education and compulsory
primary education;
Increased employment opportunities for women;
Establishment and increase of infrastructural services re-
quired in rural areas and others;
Enactment of legislation on equal political participation
with men, equal employment opportunities and remunera-
See Annex, page 103.
29


tions, and on equality in legal capacity and the exercise
thereof;
Encouragement of increased participation of women in the
formulation of action policies at all levels;
Increased provision for comprehensive measures for health
education and services, sanitation, nutrition, family educa-
tion, family planning and other welfare services;
Provision for parity in the exercise of civil, social and
political rights such as those pertaining to marriage, citi-
zenship and commerce;
Recognition of the economic value of womens work in the
home, in domestic food production and marketing, and in
voluntary activities not traditionally remunerated;
To direct formal, non-formal and lifelong education towards
the re-evaluation of men and women, in order to ensure
their full realization as individuals in the family and in
society;
The promotion of womens organizations as an interim
measure within workers organizations and educational,
economic and professional institutions;
The development of modern rural technology, cottage
industry, pre-school day centres, time and energy saving
devices to help reduce the heavy workload of women,
particularly those living in rural sectors and the urban
poor, and thus facilitate the full participation of women in
community, national and international affairs;
The establishment of an interdisciplinary multisectoral
machinery within each government for accelerating the
achievement of equal opportunities for women and their
full integration into national life.
The World Plan of Action was adopted by consensus (that
is, without a vote) but there were many qualifying statements,
including one from China dissociating itself from the agreement.
The Chinese representative declared that this was "because of
reservations of principle concerning such important questions as
how to achieve womens emancipation, the theme of the Interna-
tional Womens Year, and mention of disarmament in the World
Plan of Action. The representative of Albania said that many
parts of the Plan did not "adequately reflect the concerns of the
women of the world . The struggle for womens emancipation
has to be waged first and foremost against colonialism, racism
30


and apartheid. Australia believed that "sexism should be added
after racism, colonialism, neo-colonialism, wherever these terms
appeared. Egypt objected to the reference in the Plan to "con-
sensual unions (paragraph 114) because "it negated the tradi-
tions and concepts of the country. India said the principle stated
in paragraph 128 with respect to international standards relating
to marriage and co-education "was acceptable at the elementary
level but, because of cultural conditions, was unacceptable at
all levels.
The Plan is a complex document, reflecting as it does a
jigsaw of diverse cultural, political and economic interests. But,
if understood and used properly, it can be a useful tool in pro-
moting womens interests. "One of the keys to understanding the
Plan, Dr. Lucille Mair of Jamaica told an interviewer, "is to look
specifically at what happens when we are considering technical
subjects. For example, she pointed to the call for a New Inter-
national Economic Order. "Whereas the principles and goals of
the new international economic order are generally accepted, it
doesnt mean very much till we can translate these objectives
into nitty-gritty action. The Plan, she said, offered means to
do this.
Mrs. Helvi Sipila, Secretary-General of the Conference, also
suggested ways the Plan could be used by individuals and Non-
Governmental Organizations. "Women could really do something
if they could just see their possibilities, she said. "Women should
study these documents and resolutions and ask for more informa-
tion. We have to be much more visible. We have to be much
more active in a completely different way from what has been
done so far. This is one of the main lessons of the Mexico Con-
ferencewe have the recommendations, but we have to try and
strengthen and clarify them ... We have to come together and
act as pressure groups to influence national planners and deci-
sion makers. Unless we become decision makers ourselves, we
cannot progress.
The Resolutions7
Supplementing the World Plan of Action and the Declaration
of Mexico were 34 resolutions which the committees condensed
from about three times as many original proposals. In addition
7 See ECOSOC document E/5725, United Nations, July 1975.
31


to these 34 there was a formal expression of thanks to the Mexi-
can host government, and a recommendation that another inter-
national womens conference be held in 1980.
The 34 resolutions adopted by the conference range widely
in subject matter, and several are complex in construction and
intent. The thumb-nail descriptions below are intended only as
a ready reference and not as a summary.
Resolution 1expresses support for the establishment of a
training centre for the advancement of women in
Africa.
Resolution 2urges international co-operation to achieve the
objectives of the World Plan of Action, taking
into account the needs and priorities of countries.
Resolution 3calls upon South Africa to end its illegal occupa-
tion of Namibia. Also urges support for peoples
of Southern Africa by measures which include
support to national liberation movements and
victims of apartheid and racial discrimination.
Resolution 4on the role of the United Nations system in im-
plementing the World Plan of Action, recom-
mends formulation of internationally acceptable
principles regarding the status of women.
Resolution 5on women and health, recommends that govern-
ments establish priorities in medical research
and in the training of health personnel to deal
with womens health problems.
Resolution 6urges participation of women in meetings of the
General Assembly and other United Nations
bodies. Recommends that the General Assembly
include an item relating to the status of women
on its agenda.
Resolution 7on the prevention of the exploitation of women
and girls, expresses concern with the injustice
and suffering imposed on women forced into
prostitution and urges governments to combat
forced prostitution and other forms of sexual ex-
ploitation.
32


Resolution 8recommends that the United Nations recognize
its responsibilities to set an example to Member
States by bridging the gap in recruiting women
in accordance with the principles of equitable
geographic distribution contained in the U.N.
Charter.
Resolution 9urges governments to provide family education
and training plans, to offer family planning pro-
grammes within the broader context of complex
maternal and child health care. It calls for re-
search for the improvement of maternal and
child health, including nutrition.
Resolution 10recognizes the difficulties in getting financial aid
encountered by women in many countries and
recommends that governments facilitate their ac-
cess to financial institutions. It also calls for new
facilities to extend credit to women in rural and
urban low-income groups.
Resolution 11recommends research in all fields of demog-
raphy, including integration of women in develop-
ment.
Resolution 12recommends the General Assembly declare
1975-85 Decade for Women and Development.
The U.N. is urged to provide additional resources
needed to assist in implementing national plans
of action.
Resolution 13recommends social security and family security
for women, including the elderly and handi-
capped.
Resolution 14urges research for the formulation of policies
concerning integration of women in the develop-
ment process.
Resolution 15calls on governments to provide adequate facili-
ties for formal and non-formal education for
women and girls, especially in rural areas to
take full advantage of family health services.
33


Resolution 16recommends that governments sponsor volun-
tary programmes to increase popular partici-
pation in social activities. Self-help groups,
co-operatives, womens groups and other orga-
nizations at all socio-economic levels are rec-
ommended.
Resolution 17recommends that the family be encouraged to
play an active role by granting to it the right of
direct participation in the work of bodies con-
cerned with education and social services.
Resolution 18requests that governments pay special attention
to political rights of women. Recommends that
governments establish national commissions at
the highest political level and ensure active par-
ticipation of women in structural reforms for
economic and social development and interna-
tional peace.
Resolution 19condemns the degrading exploitation of women
as sex symbols and as vehicles for publicity.
Asks governments and responsible organizations
to encourage a dignified and positive image of
women. Also asks increased participation by
women in communications media.
Resolution 20recommends means for the integration of women
in the process of political, economic, social and
cultural development as equal partners with men.
Encourages such social and economic develop-
ment as would secure the participation of women
as equal partners with men in all fields of work,
equal access to all working posts, equal pay for
work of equal value and equal possibilities for
education and vocational training.
Resolution 21on the condition of women in rural areas, en-
dorses proposals for rural development as a
total integrated process involving in many cases
fundamental structural changes in socio-eco-
nomic institutions.
34


Resolution 22on women and development, urges women to be
co-workers with the most underprivileged in their
societies, and recommends that women assume
a special role in urging governments and non-
governmental organizations in working to over-
come the causes of poverty that threaten the
dignity of women, men and children.
Resolution 23recommends measures to remedy inadequate
factual information about the role of women and
their economic and social contribution.
Resolution 24recommends genuine reform in ail educational
systems so that girls and boys will consider each
other equals. Urges that all forms of mass com-
munication and technology be used to expand
educational opportunities for women as well as
men, that all teaching media and materials be
free of sex bias and directed towards changing
discriminatory attitudes.
Resolution 25on equality between men and women and elimi-
nation of discrimination against women, asks for
the speeding up of the elaboration and finaliza-
tion of the Convention on the Elimination of Dis-
crimination against Women.
Resolution 26recommends the setting up under U.N. auspices
of an international research and training institute
for the promotion of women.
Resolution 27urges measures for the integration of women in
development and decision-making. It recom-
mends that all organs of the United Nations de-
velopment system help in the design of social
and economic indices of the role of women in
development.
Resolution 28on womens role in promoting world peace and
international co-operation, it urges governments
to allow and encourage more women to partici-
pate in foreign policy decision-making agencies
of the national governments.
35


Resolution 29urges womens participation in the strengthening
of international peace and security and in the
struggle against colonialism, racism, racial dis-
crimination and foreign domination.
Resolution 30on the question of the Panamanian territory called
the Canal Zone, expresses the conviction that
current negotiations must eliminate all causes of
conflict and must envisage Panamas effective
jurisdiction in the Canal Zone.
Resolution 31-asks increased participation by women in inter-
national United Nations conferences.
Resolution 32appeals to all States and international organiza-
tions to extend moral and material assistance to
the Palestinian and Arab women.
Resolution 33asks for support to the Vietnamese people and
appeals to the women and peoples of the world
to do everything possible to prevent the occur-
rence of another war like that in Viet-Nam.
Resolution 34expresses deep concern at the situation of
women in Chile, about reports of degrading and
humiliating conditions of women prisoners, and
the growing tendency to extend the repression
to families of those being persecuted. It demands
the immediate release of all political prisoners,
especially women and children held as hostages.
36


IV EVENTS BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER
Half an hour away from the main Conference at Tlatelolco,
more than 6,000 women and men from 70 countries attended
dozens of panels, briefings, mixed-media presentations and semi-
nars, all under the auspices of what was called the Tribune.
The main difference between the Tribune and the Conference was
that the people at the Tribune did not represent governments
they represented non-governmental organizations (NGOs), or
were there merely as interested individuals. The Tribune was
designed for maximum communication with as many people as
possible and it proved to be the largest international group of
women and men ever assembled to discuss womens issues.
In addition to the 35 formally convened Tribune meetings,
there were also 192 informal meetings scheduled by interested
groups on political, economic and social subjects. Eminent panel-
ists at the formal meetings drew an international audience that
included judges, politicians, media consultants, administrators,
nutrition specialists, doctors, mothers and professional women
of all categories. The whole show was put together by a small
committee selected by the Conference of Non-Governmental
Organizations in Consultative Status with the Economic and
Social Council. Where the official Conference proceeded rigor-
ously by precedence and rule, the Tribune worked always on
the creative edge of chaos. Open to the 1,200 delegates to
the main conference from 133 countries, as well as to 1,600
media people and more than 6,000 other registered participants,
the Tribune was an exciting and educative place to be.
Meetings were called on every conceivable subject: Women
and Imperialism, San Diego Women, Puerto Rican Women,
Women of the Fourth World, Feminist Cause, Japanese
Feminists, Coalition Task Force on Women and Religion,
Global Speak-out, Women-to-Women Building the Earth for
Childrens Sake, Self-Help Clinics, Replacing Male-Dominant
Language Elements, International Association of Volunteer Edu-
cation and Coalition of Unrepresented Women were a few.
Often there were more people waiting to ask questions than could
possibly be accommodated.
When youre talking about Mexico, said one euphoric par-
37


ticipant, "you have to understand the Tribune was its soul be-
cause people were much more frank with each other. Another
participant was more analytical, but equally enthusiastic: "You
had people of all social classes, all kinds of work, and different
kinds of hang-ups coming together to try to look at the move-
ment as a whole, to see whether it is international or national
or just a group of crazy women getting together trying to change
the world. This whole experience crossed national, cultural, lan-
guage and class barriers. It was fabulous.
The Tribune allowed people to get together who would other-
wise not have done so; for instance, Moslem women from a num-
ber of African and Asian countries. Commenting on this meeting
a participant said: "In the Moslem group there were women from
many different countriesEgyptians, Moroccans, Pakistanis, Indo-
nesians, and the Arab League people. Lots of them have com-
pletely different interpretations of the Koran. Some are quite
progressive, others very conservative. At one session of the
Tribune arranged by the Arab Students of America, I got a very
good view of how religion works as a conditioning force. They
started lecturing us on the Koran and how the Western interpre-
tation said that Arab women were backward, and that the Koran
never supports women for education and those things. A pro-
gressive Moslem journalist from Pakistan said, Thats one inter-
pretation. Were Moslems too and we get education. The Koran
didn't say what youre telling us.
The Tribune meetings also brought home forcefully to women
from the developed nations an awareness of basic survival issues
that preoccupied women from developing countries. The Interna-
tional Movement for a Just and Honest World spoke about women
who are too poor to take even a marginal part in the develop-
ment of society. At least 15 per cent of the worlds population
finds itself in these conditions, in all cultures, societies and sys-
tems, said one of the speakers, who asked what place they had
in the World Plan of Action. Victoria Majekwu, Chief Nursing
Officer of the Nigerian Ministry of Health, described how tradition
and repressive customs kept women from using even elementary
health facilities. And Martha Bolengo of Tanzanias Community
Development Foundation complained that "neither women nor
womens organizations have been working together in unity.
Such speakers stimulated women from developed countries to
begin a world-wide women-to-women development co-operation
38


programme to fund new services in the poorer areas of the world.
Other speakers touched on more familiar subjects: the mis-
conception that competence and femininity are incompatible un-
fortunately still exists, said Carmen Barrosco of Brazils Fundagao
Carolos Chagas. "Throughout history, she said, "many outstand-
ing women have been ignored by sexist historians. Contemporary
feminists have been engaged in an attempt to redress the injustice
done to these neglected but very noteworthy women. By and
large, however, women have not reached extraordinary levels of
achievement. Of course, we all agree that this lack of achieve-
ment is due to the inferior position given to women by society.
Yet not enough attention is paid to the fact that if you are con-
ditioned to accept second place thats what you get.
Mary Anne Krupsak, the Lieutenant Governor of the State of
New York in the United States, spoke about "the tremendous
power and potential of women "across the oceans, working
together as women. She called for a unified womens stance
against military expenditure. "No more! No more money, no more
programmes until women have a voice in setting national and
international priorities. Priorities that spell out: not guns but books;
not missiles but health care; not men on the moon but cures for
cancer. Let us begin to see our strength as women together.
That strength can come from sitting together, communicating,
openly and honestly. Not competing, not matching achievements,
not being choked by the dishonesty of unfulfilled egos. Let us
bring the politics of humanism to foreign policy. We, as women,
curse the impersonal decisions of our political bureaucracies.
Many women at the Tribune, especially Latin Americans,
stressed that political and economic reality could not be sepa-
rated from womens issues and this led to some widely publicized
confrontations. Complaints that the Tribune and the Conference
were not related in approach or interest brought the Conference
Secretary-General to the Tribune and led to an exchange of
views. "Even if the Plan of Action is adopted, Mrs. Sipila told
the initially hostile Tribune audience, the U.N. is ultimately
powerless to see that it is applied. We cannot change your laws,
your education, your economic plans. You have to do that. She
asked for co-operation. Lets decide to unite, to create a com-
munity to implement whatever comes out from the Conference.
When the Tribune ended on Wednesday, 2 July, women
agreed that a major part of the work was still to be done. "Women
39


in the developing world saw that women with affluence didnt
necessarily have equality, said a participant. And women from
developed countries became aware that the Third World agenda
is mostly concerned with survival, and therefore development.
In a press statement by the Caucus of Roman Catholic-Women,
one nun said, "The Tribune experience has been like a universal
baptism, effecting such a change that well never be the same
again.
All these various goings-on were reflected in the pages of
the daily Tribune newspaper Xilonen, named after a Mexican
goddess. The newspaper, appearing in English and Spanish,
served to focus attention on upcoming events, special meetings,
things to do and places to visit in Mexico.
It also served as a link to the members of the international
communications media drawn to the city by the Conference.
The Press
The presence of 1,600 newspeople made the IWY Confer-
ence the most widely covered U.N. meeting ever held. Unfor-
tunately, many members of the press influenced attitudes in a
negative way. For many readers and listeners in the world audi-
ence, the Conference and Tribune were only a jumbled mass of
women trying to make themselves heard above the noise and
general confrontation.
Headlines give some idea: When the Girls Fall Out (London
Daily Express, 23 June 1975); Militant Feminists in a Fury
(Canberra Times, 25 June 1975 from AP-Reuters); "Screaming
Women Fight to Be Heard at Conference (London Times, 30
June 1975); "Women Row in Mexico (Peggy Simpson, AP);
"Wave of Discontent Hits International Womens Conference
(The Japan Times, 27 June 1975, UPI). The headlines refer to the
Conference although these events actually took place at the
Tribune.
What went wrong? One problem was a lack of understanding
about U.N. procedure and how a conference operates, which
explains why reports dealt with what was easy to handle and
quick to write.
Anne Tuckerman of Agence France-Press, who has been a
U.N. correspondent for many years, sympathized with her col-
leagues problems. "Its understandable that most of the other
reporters didnt cover the substantive parts of the Conference
40


because these things made no sense at all to outsiders". Judy
Klemesrud of the New York Times agreed. "Much of the reason
a certain kind of coverage got printed was because not many
reporters could understand what was going on, so they chose to
cover the stories that were easiest to understand; these were
the fights between the women, the walk-out on Leah Rabins
speech, things that anybody could understand.
Another difficulty was in the working facilities. Anne Tucker-
man explained that in the Conference centre, "there were two
large corridors, one with typewriters and one with TV sets and
earphones showing the three simultaneous meetings. There was
no room for the press in the Conference hall so the only way to
follow what was going on was to watch three TV sets. If you
saw something interesting you had to put earphones on. And
only one out of every 25 texts of speeches was available. Not
being able to hear and write at the same time because the TVs
and typewriters were in different halls, and not having texts
how could you possibly work?
Another short-coming of press coverage was that not many
of the correspondents in Mexico City were from developing coun-
tries. Of those present, almost everyone had been brought on
special fellowships administered by the U.N.s Centre for Eco-
nomic and Social Information (CESI).
A four-day Encounter for Journalists organized by CESI was
held in Mexico City before the Conference opened, and it pro-
vided orientation in background issues for interested newspeople.
Some 50 journalists from the Third World received fellowships
funded by the United Nations Fund for Population Activities
(UNFPA), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the
Development agencies of Scandinavian countries. Their report-
ing was, hopefully, better informed as a result.
On the fourth day of the Encounter, Ms. Elizabeth Reid, a
Conference delegate from Australia, argued that press coverage
of the events in Mexico was being distorted in a trivializing man-
ner. Newspapers in her own country, for instance, were printing
"jokes, sneers, degradation and cheese-cake, Ms. Reid said.
She charged that the Mexico City Conference was not being
given the same serious treatment as other U.N. meetings. She
pointed to the use of provocative, sexy headlines which capi-
talized on the sensational, or the use of derogatory anti-feminist
labels such as "womens libber.
41


Another aspect of media coverage was the kind of journal-
ists it attracted. While some women were committed feminists
as well as journalists, the media tended to want to hear already
known celebrities rather than ordinary people who went to Mexico
to work. Some journalists are also stars, said one observer.
This combination provides in a lot of journalists a kind of half-
jealous, half-suspicious attitude. They dont believe you can be
a journalist and committed to a cause. It produces a kind of
strange, unfair coverage which is sometimes even catty. An-
other observer disagreed: I dont think the coverage of Mexico
could in any way be called sexist because most of the reporters
there were feminists who wanted to write positive things.
The role of communications media also received attention
within the context of the main conference. Not only is the matter
referred to several times in the Plan of Action, but several reso-
lutions also deal with it. Resolution 19 is wholly devoted to
"Women and Mass Media. This was also the theme of a
UNESCO-sponsored Media Workshop for Journalists and Broad-
casters held in Mexico City, 3 to 4 July 1975. The Workshops
purpose was to discuss and recommend action in the framework
of the World Plan of Action. Twenty-two journalists and broad-
casters from 19 countries met to consider action that the media
could take to improve womens role and participation in pro-
gramming. They also suggested how printed and broadcast
material could be exchanged, and emphasized the need for
creative approaches to changing stereotypes projected in news
and entertainment programmes.
They agreed that programmes which would be of positive
interest to women should be encouraged, especially in the devel-
oping countries where desperate conditions of poverty and illiter-
acy exist. Wherever accessible to women, the media should
encourage education and independence. The UNESCO workshop
proposed special radio and television programmes aimed at the
particular condition of women in development. It was pointed out
that newspapers could publish material about women who have
broken out of the stereotypes and who are trying modern ap-
proaches to traditional fields like agriculture. New, inexpensive
newspapers should be distributed to women who are newly literate,
giving them ideas about how they can participate more actively
in the political and economic life of their countries.
42




The Tribune and the Conference met
in the person of Mrs. Helvi Sipila, the
Conference Secretary-General. Here
she receives a plan of action pre-
pared by non-governmental organi-
zations. The governments adopted
their own World Plan of Action as
well as a Declaration and 34 resolu-
Page 43 tions.
The headline quotes President Eche-
verrias inaugural speech: "Women
form a great revolutionary reserve in
the world.
44
i


1
1
At the inaugural session of the Con-
ference, some 5,000 people heard
keynote speeches from U.N. Secre-
tary-General Kurt Waldheim, Mexican
President Luis Echeverria and the
Conference Secretary-General Helvi
Si pi I a.
Women came to Mexico City in many
roles. Here a hardworking camera-
woman takes a difficult shot.
45


Discussions such as this one took
place outside the context of both
the Conference and the Tribune. The
informality and passionate candour
contributed not a little to what par-
ticipants called "the spirit of Mexico".
46
i


One of the many unofficial gather-
ingsthis one was the Feminist
Caucus which met in a hotel. ...
Mexican women demonstrate outside
the conference centre. The signs say
No Machismo and Equal Rights
for Women and Men.
47



CONFERENCE MUNDIAL zE
DEL ANO INTERNACIONAL ZI
H Mu.jpd K
A fleet of sleek buses eased the job
of getting from Conference to Tribune
to the many hotels of Mexico City.
The message underfoot ivas the
message everywhere.
48


Five miles across Mexico City from
the main governmental conference,
the non-governmental Tribune met
in a state of continual excitement.
Unhindered by the formal procedures
of the main meeting, the Tribune
offered a forum for a wide range of
views.
49


Every kind of political opinion and
concern found expression in the con-
text of womens problems. The usu-
ally dominant other halfmales
found expression too.
50


ANNEX
DECLARATION OF MEXICO ON THE EQUALITY OF
WOMEN AND THEIR CONTRIBUTION TO
DEVELOPMENT AND PEACE, 1975
The World Conference of the International Womens Year,
Aware that the problems of women, who constitute half of the
worlds population, are the problems of society as a whole, and that
changes in the present economic, political and social situation of
women must become an integral part of efforts to transform the struc-
tures and attitudes that hinder the genuine satisfaction of their needs,
Recognizing that international co-operation based on the princi-
ples of the Charter of the United Nations should be developed and
strengthened in order to find solutions to world problems and to build
an international community based on equity and justice,
Recalling that in subscribing to the Charter, the peoples of the
United Nations undertook specific commitments: "to save succeeding
generations from the scourge of war ... to reaffirm faith in fundamen-
tal human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the
equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and
to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger
freedom,
Taking note of the fact that since the creation of the United
Nations very important instruments have been adopted, among which
the following constitute landmarks: the Universal Declaration of Hu-
man Rights, the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to
Colonial Countries and Peoples, the International Development
Strategy for the Second United Nations Development Decade, and the
Declaration and Programme of Action for the Establishment of a New
International Economic Order based on the Charter of Economic
Rights and Duties of States,
Taking into account that the United Nations Declaration on the
Elimination of Discrimination against Women considers that: "discrimi-
nation against women is incompatible with human dignity and with
the welfare of the family and of society, prevents their participation,
on equal terms with men, in the political, social, economic and
cultural life of their countries and is an obstacle to the full develop-
ment of the potentialities of women in the service of their countries
and of humanity",
51


Recalling that the General Assembly, in its resolution 3010
(XXVII) of 18 December 1972, proclaimed 1975 as International
Womens Year and that the Year was to be devoted to intensified
action with a view to: promoting equality between men and women,
ensuring the integration of women in the total development effort, and
increasing the contribution of women to the strengthening of world
peace,
Recalling further that the Economic and Social Council in its
resolution 1849 (LVI) adopted the Programme for International
Womens Year, and that the General Assembly in its resolution 3275
(XXIX) called for full implementation of the Programme,
Taking into account the role played by women in the history of
humanity, especially in the struggle for national liberation, the strength-
ening of international peace, and the elimination of imperialism,
colonialism, neo-colonialism, foreign occupation, Zionism, alien domi-
nation, racism and apartheid,
Stressing that greater and equal participation of women at all levels
of decision-making shall decisively contribute to accelerating the pace of
development and the maintenance of peace,
Stressing also that women and men of all countries should have
equal rights and duties and that it is the task of all States to create the
necessary conditions for the attainment and the exercise thereof,
Recognizing that women of the entire world, whatever differ-
ences exist between them, share the painful experience of receiving
or having received unequal treatment, and that as their awareness of
this phenomenon increases they will become natural allies in the
struggle against any form of oppression, such as is practised under
colonialism, neo-colonialism, Zionism, racial discrimination and apar-
theid, thereby constituting an enormous revolutionary potential for
economic and social change in the world today,
Recognizing that changes in the social and economic structure of
societies, even though they are among the prerequisites, cannot of them-
selves ensure an immediate improvement in the status of a group which
has long been disadvantaged, and that urgent consideration must there-
fore be given to the full, immediate and early integration of women into
national and international life,
Emphasizing that under-development imposes upon women a
double burden of exploitation, which must be rapidly eliminated, and
52
(


that full implementation of national development policies designed to
fulfil this objective is seriously hindered by the existing inequitable
system of international economic relations,
Aware that the role of women in child-bearing should not be the
cause of inequality and discrimination, and that child-rearing de-
mands shared responsibilities among women, men and society as a
whole,
Recognizing also the urgency of improving the status of women
and finding more effective methods and strategies which will enable
them to have the same opportunities as men to participate actively in
the development of their countries and to contribute to the attainment
of world peace,
Convinced that women must play an important role in the promo-
tion, achievement and maintenance of international peace, and that it
is necessary to encourage their efforts towards peace, through their
full participation in the national and international organizations that
exist for this purpose,
Considering that it is necessary to promote national, regional
and international action in which the implementation of the World
Plan of Action adopted by the World Conference of the International
Women's Year should make a significant contribution for the attain-
ment of equality, development and peace,
Decides to promulgate the following principles:
1. Equality between women and men means equality in their
dignity and worth as human beings as well as equality in their rights,
opportunities and responsibilities.
2. All obstacles that stand in the way of enjoyment by women of
equal status with men must be eliminated in order to ensure their full
integration into national development and their participation in secur-
ing and in maintaining international peace.
3. It is the responsibility of the State to create the necessary
facilities so that women may be integrated into society while their
children receive adequate care.
4. National non-governmental organizations should contribute
to the advancement of women by assisting women to take advantage
53


of their opportunities, by promoting education and information about
womens rights, and by co-operating with their respective Govern-
ments.
5. Women and men have equal rights and responsibilities in the
family and in society. Equality between women and men should be
guaranteed in the family, which is the basic unit of society and where
human relations are nurtured. Men should participate more actively,
creatively and responsibly in family life for its sound development in
order to enable women to be more intensively involved in the activi-
ties of their communities and with a view to combining effectively
home and work possibilities of both partners.
6. Women, like men, require opportunities for developing their
intellectual potential to the maximum. National policies and pro-
grammes should therefore provide them with full and equal access to
education and training at all levels, while ensuring that such pro-
grammes and policies consciously shall orient them towards new
occupations and new roles consistent with their need for self-fulfil-
ment and the needs of national development.
7. The right of women to work, to receive equal pay for work of
equal value, to be provided with equal conditions and opportunities
for advancement in work, and all other womens rights to full and
satisfying economic activity are strongly reaffirmed. Review of these
principles for their effective implementation is now urgently needed,
considering the necessity of restructuring world economic relation-
ships. This restructuring offers greater possibilities for women to be
integrated into the stream of national economic, social, political and
cultural life.
8. All means of communication and information as well as all
cultural media should regard as a high priority their responsibility for
helping to remove the attitudinal and cultural factors that still inhibit
the development of women and for projecting in positive terms the
value to society of the assumption by women of changing and expand-
ing roles.
9. Necessary resources should be made available in order that
women may be able to participate in the political life of their countries
and of the international community since their active participation in
national and world affairs at decision-making and other levels in the
political field is a prerequisite of womens full exercise of equal rights
as well as of their further development, and of the national well-being.
54


10. Equality of rights carries with it corresponding responsibili-
ties; it is therefore a duty of women to make full use of opportuni-
ties available to them and to perform their duties to the family, the
country and humanity.
11. It should be one of the principal aims of social education to
teach respect for physical integrity and its rightful place in human
life. The human body, whether that of woman or man, is inviolable and
respect for it is a fundamental element of human dignity and freedom.
12. Every couple and every individual has the right to decide
freely and responsibly whether or not to have children as well as to
determine their number and spacing, and to have information, educa-
tion and means to do so.
13. Respect for human dignity encompasses the right of every
woman to decide freely for herself whether or not to contract matrimony.
14. The issue of inequality, as it affects the vast majority of the
women of the world, is closely linked with the problem of under-develop-
ment, which exists as a result not only of unsuitable internal structures,
but also of a profoundly unjust world economic system.
15. The full and complete development of any country requires
the maximum participation of women as well as of men in all fields:
the under-utilization of the potential of approximately half of the
worlds population is a serious obstacle to social and economic
development.
16. The ultimate end of development is to achieve a better
quality of life for all, which means not only the development of
economic and other material resources but also the physical, moral,
intellectual and cultural growth of the human person.
17. In order to integrate women into development, States should
undertake the necessary changes in their economic and social poli-
cies because women have the right to participate and contribute to
the total development effort.
18. The present state of international economic relations poses
serious obstacles to a more efficient utilization of all human and
material potential for accelerated development and for the improve-
ment of living standards in developing countries aimed at the elimina-
tion of hunger, child mortality, unemployment, illiteracy, ignorance
and backwardness, which concern all of humanity and women in
55


particular. It is therefore essential to establish and implement with
urgency the New International Economic Order of which the Charter of
Economic Rights and Duties of States constitutes a basic element,
founded on equity, sovereign equality, interdependence, common
interest, co-operation among all States irrespective of their social and
economic systems, on the principles of peaceful co-existence and on
the promotion by the entire international community of economic and
social progress of all countries, especially developing countries, and
on the progress of States comprising the international community.
19. The principle of full and permanent sovereignty of every
State over its natural resources, wealth and all economic activities as
well as its inalienable right of nationalization as an expression of this
sovereignty, constitute fundamental prerequisites in the process of
economic and social development.
20. The attainment of economic and social goals, so basic to
the realization of the rights of women, does not, however, of itself
bring about the full integration of women in development on a basis
of equality with men unless specific measures are undertaken for the
elimination of all forms of discrimination against them. It is therefore
important to formulate and implement models of development that will
promote the participation and advancement of women in all fields of
work, provide them with equal educational opportunities, and such
services as would facilitate housework.
21. Modernization of the agricultural sector of vast areas of the
world is an indispensable element for progress, particularly as it
creates opportunities for millions of rural women to participate in
development. Governments, the United Nations, its specialized agen-
cies and other competent regional and international organizations
should support projects designed to utilize the maximum potential
and to develop the self-reliance of rural women.
22. It must be emphasized that, given the required economic,
social and legal conditions as well as the appropriate attitudes condu-
cive to the full and equal participation of women in society, efforts
and measures aimed at a more intensified integration of women in
development can be successfully implemented only if made an inte-
gral part of over-all social and economic growth. Full participation of
women in the various economic, social, political and cultural sectors
is an important indication of the dynamic progress of peoples and
their development. Individual human rights can only be realized
within the framework of total development.
56
(


23. The objectives considered in this Declaration can be
achieved only in a world in which the relations between States are
governed, inter alia, by the following principles: the sovereign equal-
ity of States, the free self-determination of peoples, the unacceptabil-
ity of acquisition or attempted acquisition of territories by force and
the prohibition of recognition of such acquisition, territorial integrity,
and the right to defend it, and non-interference in the domestic affairs
of States, in the same manner as relations between human beings
should be governed by the supreme principle of the equality of rights
of women and men.
24. International co-operation and peace require the achieve-
ment of national liberation and independence, the elimination of
colonialism and neo-colonialism, foreign occupation, Zionism, apart-
heid, and racial discrimination in all its forms as well as the recogni-
tion of the dignity of peoples and their right to self-determination.
25. Women have a vital role to play in the promotion of peace
in all spheres of life: in the family, the community, the nation and the
world. As such, women must participate equally with men in the
decision-making processes which help to promote peace at all
levels.
26. Women as well as men together should eliminate colonial-
ism, neo-colonialism, imperialism, foreign domination and occupa-
tion, Zionism, apartheid, racial discrimination, the acquisition of land
by force and the recognition of such acquisition, since such practices
inflict incalculable suffering on women, men and children.
27. The solidarity of women in all countries of the world should
be supported in their protest against violations of human rights con-
demned by the United Nations. All forms of repression and inhuman
treatment of women, men and children, including imprisonment, tor-
ture, massacres, collective punishment, destruction of homes, forced
eviction and arbitrary restriction of movement shall be considered
crimes against humanity and in violation of the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights and other international instruments.
28. Women all over the world should unite to eliminate viola-
tions of human rights committed against women and girls such as:
rape, prostitution, physical assault, mental cruelty, child marriage,
forced marriage and marriage as a commercial transaction.
29. Peace requires that women as well as men should reject
any type of intervention in the domestic affairs of States, whether it be
57


openly or covertly carried on by other States or by transnational
corporations. Peace also requires that women as well as men should
also promote respect for the sovereign right of a State to establish its
own economic, social and political system without undergoing polit-
ical and economic pressures or coercion of any type.
30. Women as well as men should promote real, general and
! complete disarmament under effective international control, starting
with nuclear disarmament. Until genuine disarmament is achieved,
i women and men throughout the world must maintain their vigilance
j and do their utmost to achieve and maintain international peace.
Wherefore,
The World Conference of the International Womens Year,
1. Affirms its faith in the objectives of the International Womens
Year, which are equality, development and peace;
2. Proclaims its commitment to the achievement of such objec-
tives;
3. Strongly urges Governments, the entire United Nations sys-
tem, regional and international intergovernmental organizations and
the international community as a whole to dedicate themselves to the
creation of a just society where women, men and children can live in
dignity, freedom, justice and prosperity.
!
58


PLANS OF ACTION
A. WORLD PLAN OF ACTION FOR THE IMPLEMENTATION OF
THE OBJECTIVES OF THE INTERNATIONAL WOMENS YEAR
INTRODUCTION
1. In subscribing to the Charter, the peoples of the United Nations
undertook specific commitments: to save succeeding generations
from the scourge of war ... to reaffirm faith in fundamental human
rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal
rights of men and women and of nations large and small, and ... to
promote social progress and better standards of life in larger free-
dom
2. The greatest and most significant achievement during recent
decades has been the liberation of a large number of peoples and
nations from alien colonial domination, which has permitted them to
become members of the community of free peoples. Technological
progress has also been achieved in all spheres of economic activity
during the past three decades, thus offering substantial possibilities
for improving the well-being of all peoples. However, the last vestiges
of alien and colonial domination, foreign occupation, racial discrimi-
nation, apartheid and neo-colonialism in all its forms are still among
the greatest obstacles to the full emancipation and progress of devel-
oping countries and of all the peoples concerned. The benefits of
technological progress are not shared equitably by all members of
the international community. The developing countries, which ac-
count for 70 per cent of the population of the world, receive only 30
per cent of world income. It has proved impossible to achieve uniform
and balanced development of the international community under the
present economic order, and, for this reason, it is urgent to implement
a new international economic order in accordance with General As-
sembly resolution 3201 (S-VI).
3. Conventions, declarations, formal recommendations and other
instruments have been adopted since the Charter came into force1
with a view to reinforcing, elaborating and implementing these funda-
mental principles and objectives. Some of them seek to safeguard
and promote the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all per-
sons without discrimination of any kind. Others deal with promotion of
economic and social progress and development and the need to
1 See the Appendix to the Plan.
59


eliminate all forms of alien domination, dependence, neo-colonialism,
and include international strategies, programmes and plans of action.
Some have the more specific purpose of eliminating discrimination
on the ground of sex and promoting the equal rights of men and
women. These documents reflect the ever-increasing awareness in
the international community of the uneven development of peoples, and
of the tragedy of all forms of discrimination be it on the ground of race,
sex or any other ground, and the evident will to promote progress and
development in conditions of peace, equity and justice.
4. In these various instruments the international community has pro-
claimed that the full and complete development of a country, the
welfare of the world and the cause of peace require the maximum
participation of women as well as men in all fields. It has declared
that all human beings without distinction have the right to enjoy the
fruits of social and economic progress and should, on their part,
contribute to it. It has condemned sex discrimination as fundamen-
tally unjust, an offence against human dignity and an infringement of
human rights. It has included the full integration of women in the total
development effort as a stated objective of the International Develop-
ment Strategy for the decade of the 1970s.
5. Despite these solemn pronouncements and notwithstanding the
work accomplished in particular by the United Nations Commission
on the Status of Women and the specialized agencies concerned,
progress in translating these principles into practical reality is prov-
ing slow and uneven. The difficulties encountered in the preparation
and implementation of these many instruments are attributable to the
complexities created by the considerable differences between coun-
tries, regions, etc.
6. History has attested the active role which women played, together
with men, in accelerating the material and spiritual progress of peo-
ples and in the process of the progressive renewal of society; in our
times, womens role will increasingly emerge as a powerful revolution-
ary social force.
7. There are significant differences in the status of women in differ-
ent countries and regions of the world which are rooted in the polit-
ical, economic and social structure, the cultural framework and the
level of development of each country, and in the social category of
women within a given country. However, basic similarities unite
women to fight differences wherever they exist in the legal, economic,
social, political and cultural status of women and men.
60
{


!
8. As a result of the uneven development which prevails in the
international economic relations, three quarters of humanity is faced
with urgent and pressing social and economic problems. The women
among them are even more affected by such problems and the new
measures taken to improve their situation as well as their role in the
process of development must be an integral part of the global project
for the establishment of a new economic order.
9. In many countries women form a large part of the agricultural
work force. Because of this and because of their important role in
agricultural production and in the preparation, processing and market-
ing of food, they constitute a substantial economic resource. Neverthe-
less, if the rural workers lack of technical equipment, education and
training is taken into account, it will be seen that in many countries
the status of women in this sector is doubly disadvantaged.
10. While industrialization provides jobs for women and constitutes
one of the main means for the integration of women in the process of
development, women workers are disadvantaged in many respects
because of the fact that the technological structure of production in
general has been oriented towards man and his requirements. There-
fore special attention must be paid to the situation of the woman
worker in industry and in services. Women workers feel painfully the
effects of the present economic crisis, the growth of unemployment,
inflation, mass poverty, lack of resources for education and medical
care, unexpected and unwanted side-effects of urbanization and
other migration, etc.
11. Scientific and technological developments have had both posi-
tive and negative repercussions on the situation of women in many
countries. Political, economic and social factors are important in
overcoming any adverse effects or such developments.
12. During the last decades womens movements and millions of
women together with other progressive forces acting in many coun-
tries have focused public opinion at the national and international
levels on all these problems.
13. However, that public opinion often overlooks the many women of
regions under alien domination, particularly those subjected to apart-
heid who experience daily the terror of repression and who struggle
tirelessly for the recovery of the most elementary rights of the human
person.
14. The reality of the problems which women still meet in their daily
life in many countries of the world in their efforts to participate in the
61


economic and social activities in the decision-making process and
the political administration of their countries, and the loss repre-
sented by the under-utilization of the potentialities of approximately
50 per cent of the worlds adult population, have prompted the United
Nations to proclaim 1975 as International Womens Year, and tQ call
for intensified action to ensure the full integration of women in the
total development effort, and to involve women widely in international
co-operation and strengthening of world peace on the basis of equal
rights, opportunities, and responsibilities of women and men. The
objective of International Womens Year is to define a society in which
women participate in a real and full sense in economic, social and
political life and to devise strategies whereby such societies could
develop.
15. This Plan of Action is intended to strengthen the implementation
of the instruments and programmes which have been adopted con-
cerning the status of women, and to broaden and place them in a
more timely context. Its purpose is mainly to stimulate national and
international action to solve the problems of underdevelopment and
of the socio-economic structure which place women in an inferior
position, in order to achieve the goals of International Womens Year.
16. The achievement of equality between men and women implies
that they should have equal rights, opportunities and responsibilities
to enable them to develop their talents and capabilities for their own
personal fulfilment and the benefit of society. To that end, a reassess-
ment of the functions and roles traditionally allotted to each sex within
the family and the community at large is essential. The necessity of a
change in the traditional role of men as well as of women must be
recognized. In order to allow for womens equal (fuller) participation
in all societal activities, socially organized services should be estab-
lished and maintained to lighten household chores, and especially
services for children should be provided. All efforts should be made
to change social attitudesbased mainly on educationin order to
bring about the acceptance of shared responsibilities for home and
children by both men and women.
17. In order to promote equality between women and men, Govern-
ments should ensure for both women and men equality before the
law, the provision of facilities for equality of educational opportunities
and training, equality in conditions of employment, including remuner-
ation and adequate social security. Governments should recognize
and undertake measures to implement mens and womens right to
employment on equal conditions, regardless of marital status, and
their access to the whole range of economic activities. The State has
62


also the responsibility to create conditions that promote the implemen-
tation of legal norms providing for equality of men and women and in
particular the opportunity for all individuals to receive free general
and primary education, and eventually compulsory general sec-
ondary education, equality in conditions of employment, and mater-
nity protection.
18. Governments should strive to ameliorate the hard working condi-
tions and unreasonably heavy work load, especially those which fall
upon large groups of women in many countries and particularly among
underprivileged social groups. Governments should ensure improved
access to health services, better nutrition and other social services
that are essential to the improvement of the condition of women and
their full participation in development on an equal basis with men.
19. Individuals and couples have the right freely and responsibly to
determine the number and spacing of their children and to have the
information and the means to do so. The exercise of this right is basic
to the attainment of any real equality between the sexes and without
its achievement women are disadvantaged in their attempt to benefit
from other reforms.
20. Child-care centres and other child-minding facilities are means
to supplement the training and care that the children get at home. At
the same time they are of vital importance in promoting equality
between men and women. Governments have therefore a responsi-
bility to see to it that such centres and facilities are available in the
first place for those children whose parents or parent are employed,
in self-employment and particularly in agriculture for rural women, in
training or in education, or wish to take up employment, training or
education.
21. The primary objective of development being to bring about
sustained improvement in the well-being of the individual and of
society and to bestow benefits on all, development should be seen
not only as a desirable goal in itself but also as the most important
means for furthering equality of the sexes and the maintenance of
peace.
22. The integration of women in development will necessitate widen-
ing their activities to embrace all aspects of social, economic, polit-
ical and cultural life. They must be provided with the necessary
technical training to make their contribution more effective in terms of
production, and to ensure their greater participation in decision-
making, planning and implementation of all programmes and proj-
63


ects. Full integration also implies that women receive their fair share
of the benefits of development, thereby helping to ensure a more
equitable distribution of income among all sectors of the population.
23. The promotion and protection of human rights for all is one of the
fundamental principles of the United Nations Charter whose achieve-
ment is the goal of all people. An essential element for securing the
protection of human rights and full equality between men and women
throughout the world is sustained international co-operation based on
peace, justice and equity for all and the elimination of all sources of
conflict. True international co-operation must be based, in accor-
dance with the Charter of the United Nations, on fully equal rights, the
observance of national independence and sovereignty, including sov-
ereignty over natural resources and the right of their exploitation, non-
interference in internal affairs, the right of peoples to defend their
territorial integrity, and the inadmissibility of acquisition or attempts
to acquire territory by force, mutual advantage, the avoidance of the
use or the threat of force, and the promotion and maintenance of a
new, just world economic order, which is the basis purpose of the
Charter of Economic Rights and Duties of States.2 International co-
operation and peace require national liberation and political and
economic independence, the elimination of colonialism and neo-
colonialism, fascism and other similar ideologies, foreign occupation
and apartheid, racism and discrimination in all its forms as well as
recognition of the dignity of the individual and appreciation of the
human person and his or her self-determination. To this end, the Plan
calls for the full participation of women in all efforts to promote and
maintain peace. True peace cannot be achieved unless women share
with men the responsibility for establishing a new international eco-
nomic order.
24. It is the aim of the Plan to ensure that the original and multidi-
mensional contributionboth actual and potentialof women is not
overlooked in existing concepts for development action programmes
and an improved world economic equilibrium. Recommendations for
national and international action are proposed with the aim of acceler-
ating the necessary changes in all areas, and particularly in those
where women have been especially disadvantaged.
25. Since the integral development of the personality of the woman
as a human being is directly connected with her participation in the
2 During the World Conference of the International Women's Year, some representatives
stated that reference to the Charter of Economic Rights and Duties of States should not be
interpreted as indicating a change in the positions of delegations on the Charter as stated at
the twenty-ninth session of the General Assembly.
64


development process as mother, worker and citizen, policies should
be developed to promote the co-ordination of these different roles of
the woman so as to give the most favourable conditions for the
harmonious development of her personalityan aim which is equally
relevant to the development of man.
I. NATIONAL ACTION
26. This Plan provides guidelines for national action over the 10-year
period from 1975 to 1985 as part of a sustained, long-term effort to
achieve the objectives of the International Womens Year. The recommen-
dations are not exhaustive, and should be considered in addition to the
other existing international instruments and resolutions of the United
Nations bodies which deal with the condition of women and the quality of
life. They constitute rather the main areas for priority action within the
decade.
27. The recommendations for national action in this Plan are addressed
primarily to Governments, and to all public and private institutions,
womens and youth organizations, employers, trade unions, mass commu-
nication media, non-governmental organizations, political parties and
other groups.
28. Since there are wide divergencies in the situation of women in
various societies, cultures and regions, reflected in differing needs and
problems, each country should decide upon its own national strategy,
and identify its own targets and priorities within the present World Plan.
Given the changing conditions of society today, operative mechanism for
assessment should be established and targets should be linked to those
set out, in particular, in the International Development Strategy for the
Second United Nations Development Decade,3 and in the World Popula-
tion Plan of Action.4
29. Changes in social and economic structures should be promoted
which would make possible the full equality of women and their free
access to all types of development, without discrimination of any kind,
and to all types of education and employment.
3 General Assembly resolution 2626 (XXV) of 24 October 1970.
4 See Report of the United Nations World Population Conference, 1974. (United Nations
publication, Sales No. E.75.XIII.3).
65


30. There should be a clear commitment at all levels of government to
take appropriate action to implement these targets and priorities. Commit-
ment on the part of Governments to the ideals of equality and integration
of women in society cannot be fully effective outside the larger context of
commitment to transform fundamental relationships within a society in
order to ensure a system that excludes the possibility of exploitation.
31. In elaborating national strategies and development plans in which
women should participate, measures should be adopted to ensure that
the set targets and priorities should take fully into account womens
interests and needs, and make adequate provision to improve their situa-
tion and increase their contribution to the development process. There
should be equitable representation of women at all levels of policy- and
decision-making. Appropriate national machinery and procedures should
be established if they do not already exist.
32. National plans and strategies for the implementation of this Plan
should be sensitive to the needs and problems of different categories of
women and of women of different age groups. However, Governments
should pay special attention to improving the situation of women in areas
where they have been most disadvantaged and especially of women in
rural and urban areas.
33. While integrated programmes for the benefit of all members of
society should be the basis for action in implementing this Plan, special
measures on behalf of women whose status is the result of particularly
discriminatory attitudes will be necessary.
34. The establishment of interdisciplinary and multisectoral machinery
within government, such as national commissions, womens bureaux and
other bodies, with adequate staff and budget, can be an effective transi-
tional measure for accelerating the achievement of equal opportunity for
women and their full integration in national life. The membership of such
bodies should include both women and men, representative of all groups
of society responsible for making and implementing policy decisions in
the public sector. Government ministries and departments (especially
those responsible for education, health, labour, justice, communications
and information, culture, industry, trade, agriculture, rural development,
social welfare, finance and planning), as well as appropriate private and
public agencies should be represented on them.
35. Such bodies should investigate the situation of women in all fields
and at all levels and make recommendations for needed legislation,
policies and programmes establishing priorities. Follow-up programmes
66


should be maintained to monitor and evaluate the progress achieved
within the country to assess the implementation of the present Plan in
national plans.
36. These national bodies should also co-operate in the co-ordination of
similar regional and international activities, as well as those undertaken
by non-governmental organizations, and self-help programmes devised
by women themselves.
37. Constitutional and legislative guarantees of the principle of non-
discrimination on the grounds of sex and of equal rights and responsibili-
ties of women and men are essential. Therefore, general acceptance of
the principles embodied in such legislation and a change of attitude with
regard to them should be encouraged. It is also essential to ensure that
the adoption and enforcement of such legislation can in itself be a
significant means of influencing and changing public and private atti-
tudes and values.
38. Governments should review their legislation affecting the status of
women in the light of human rights principles and internationally ac-
cepted standards. Wherever necessary, legislation should be enacted or
updated to bring national laws into conformity with the relevant interna-
tional instruments. Adequate provision should also be made for the en-
forcement of such legislation, especially in each of the areas dealt with
in chapter II of the Plan. Where they have not already done so, Govern-
ments should take steps to ratify the relevant international conventions
and fully implement their provisions. It should be noted that there are
States whose national legislation guarantees women certain rights which
go beyond those embodied in the relevant international instruments.
39. Appropriate bodies should be specifically entrusted with the respon-
sibility of modernizing, changing or repealing outdated national laws and
regulations, keeping them under constant review, and ensuring that their
provisions are applied without discrimination. These bodies could in-
clude, for example, law commissions, human rights commissions, civil
liberties unions, appeals boards, legal advisory boards and the office of
ombudsman. Such bodies should have full governmental support to en-
able them to carry out their functions effectively. Non-governmental orga-
nizations could also play an important role in ensuring that relevant
legislation is adequate, up to date and applied without discrimination.
40. Appropriate measures should be taken to inform and advise women
of their rights and to provide them with every other type of assistance.
Accordingly, the awareness of the mass communication media should be
67


heightened so that they may offer their broad co-operation through public
education programmes. Non-governmental organizations can and/or
should be encouraged to play similar roles with regard to women. In this
context, special attention should be paid to the women of rural areas,
whose problem is most acute.
41. Efforts to widen opportunities for women to participate in develop-
ment and to eliminate discrimination against them will require a variety of
measures and action by society at large through its governmental machin-
ery and other institutions.
42. While some of the measures suggested could be carried out at a
minimum cost, implementation of this Plan will require a redefinition of
certain priorities and a change in the pattern of government expenditure.
In order to ensure adequate allocation of funds, Governments should
explore all available sources of support, which are acceptable to Govern-
ments and in accordance with Governments goals.
43. Special measures should also be envisaged to assist Governments
whose resources are limited in carrying out specific projects or pro-
grammes. The Fund for International Womens Year established under
Economic and Social Council resolution 1851 (LVI), in addition to multila-
teral and bilateral assistance which is vital for the purpose, should be
extended provisionally pending further consideration as to its ultimate
disposition in order to assist Governments whose resources are limited in
carrying out specific programmes or projects. Women in countries hold-
ing special financial responsibilities entrusted by the United Nations and
its specialized agencies with a view to assisting developing countries are
called upon to make their contribution to the implementation of the goals
set in connexion with the governmental assistance earmarked for improv-
ing the status of women especially of those in the under-developed
States.
44. It is recognized that some of the objectives of this Plan have already
been achieved in some countries, while in others they may only be
accomplished progressively. Moreover, some measures by their very
nature will take longer to implement than others. Governments are there-
fore urged to establish short-, medium- and long-term targets and
objectives to implement the Plan.
45. On the basis of this World Plan of Action, the United Nations Secretar-
iat should elaborate a two-year plan of its own, containing several most
important objectives, aiming at the implementation of the World Plan of
Action under the current control of the Commission on the Status of
Women, and the over-all control of the General Assembly.
68


46. By the end of the first five-year period (1975-1980) the achievement
of the following should be envisaged as a minimum:
(a) Marked increase in literacy and civic education of women, espe-
cially in rural areas;
(b) The extension of co-educational technical and vocational train-
ing in basic skills to women and men in the industrial and agricultural
sectors;
(c) Equal access at every level of education, compulsory primary
school education and the measures necessary to prevent school drop-
outs;
(d) Increased employment opportunities for women, reduction of
unemployment and increased efforts to eliminate discrimination in the
terms and conditions of employment;
(e) The establishment and increase of the infrastructural services
required in both rural and urban areas;
(f) The enactment of legislation on voting and eligibility for elec-
tion on equal terms with men and equal opportunity and conditions of
employment including remuneration, and on equality in legal capacity
and the exercise thereof;
(g) To encourage a greater participation of women in policy-making
positions at the local, national and international levels;
(h) Increased provision for comprehensive measures for health edu-
cation and services, sanitation, nutrition, family education, family plan-
ning and other welfare services;
(i) Provision for parity in the exercise of civil, social and political
rights such as those pertaining to marriage, citizenship and commerce;
(j) Recognition of the economic value of womens work in the home
in domestic food production and marketing and voluntary activities not
traditionally renumerated;
(k) To direct formal, non-formal and life-long education towards the
re-evaluation of the man and woman, in order to ensure their full realiza-
tion as individuals in the family and in society;
69


(l) The promotion of womens organizations as an interim measure
within workers organizations and educational, economic and profes-
sional institutions;
(m) The development of modern rural technology, cottage industry,
pre-school day centres, time and energy saving devices so as to help
reduce the heavy work load of women, particularly those living in rural
sectors and for the urban poor and thus facilitate the full participation of
women in community, national and international affairs;
(n) The establishment of an inter-disciplinary and multi-sectoral ma-
chinery within the government for accelerating the achievement of equal
opportunities for women and their full integration into national life.
47. These minimum objectives should be developed in more specific
terms in regional plans of action.
48. The active involvement of non-governmental womens organizations
in the achievement of the goals of the 10-year World Plan of Action at
every level and especially by the effective utilization of volunteer experts
and in setting up and in running of institutions and projects for the welfare
of women and the dissemination of information for their advancement.
II. SPECIFIC AREAS FOR NATIONAL ACTION
49. The specific areas included in this chapter of the Plan have been
selected because they are considered to be key areas for national action.
They should not be viewed in isolation, however, as they are all closely
interrelated and the guidelines proposed should be implemented within
the framework of integrated strategies and programmes.
A. International co-operation and the strengthening of international
peace
50. An essential condition for the maintenance and strengthening of
international co-operation and peace is the promotion and protection of
70


human rights for all in conditions of equity among and within nations. In
order to involve more women in the promotion of international co-opera-
tion, the development of friendly relations among nations, the strengthen-
ing of international peace and disarmament, and in the combating of
colonialism, neo-colonialism, foreign domination and alien subjugation,
apartheid and racial discrimination, the peace efforts of women as individ-
uals and in groups, and in national and international organizations should
be recognized and encouraged.
51. Women of all countries of the world should proclaim their solidarity
in support of the elimination of gross violations of human rights con-
demned by the United Nations and contrary to its principles involving
acts against the moral and physical integrity of individuals or groups of
individuals for political or ideological reasons.
52. The efforts of intergovernmental and non-governmental organiza-
tions, having as their aim the strengthening of international security and
peace and the development of friendly relations among nations and the
promotion of active co-operation among States, should be supported, and
women should be given every encouragement to participate actively in
the endeavours of those organizations.
53. The United Nations should proclaim a special day to be devoted to
international peace and celebrated every year, nationally and internation-
ally. Meetings and seminars should be organized for this purpose by
interested individuals and groups, with wide coverage in the press and
other communication media. Women should lend their full support to
these objectives and explore, as co-equals with men, ways to overcome
existing obstacles to international co-operation, the development of
friendly relations among nations, and the strengthening of international
peace. However, it must be emphasized that peace is a matter for
constant vigilance and not only for one-day observance.
54. The free flow of information and ideas among countries should be
facilitated, with due regard for national sovereignty and the principles of
international law; the exchange of visits between women of different
countries to study common problems should be promoted. Educational,
cultural, scientific and other exchange programmes should be expanded
and new forms developed in order to facilitate mutual understanding
among peoples, particularly the young, and develop friendly relations
and active co-operation among States. For these purposes the mass
communication media should be utilized fully.
55. Women and men should be encouraged to instill in their children
the values of mutual respect and understanding for all nations and all
71


peoples, racial equality, sexual equality, the right of every nation to self-
determination and the desire to maintain international co-operation,
peace and security in the world.
56. Women should have equal opportunity with men to represent their
countries in all international forums where the above questions are dis-
cussed, and in particular at meetings of the organizations of the United
Nations system, including the Security Council and all conferences on
disarmament and international peace, and other regional bodies.
B. Political participation
57. Despite the fact that, numerically, women constitute half the popula-
tion of the world, in the vast majority of countries only a small percentage
of them are in positions of leadership in the various branches of govern-
ment. Consequently, women are not involved in the decision-making and
their views and needs are often overlooked in planning for development.
As the majority of women do not participate in the formulation of develop-
ment plans and programmes they are frequently unaware of their implica-
tions and less inclined to support their implementation and the changes
the programmes seek to bring about. Many women also lack the educa-
tion, training, civic awareness and self-confidence to participate effec-
tively in political life.
58. A major objective of this Plan is to ensure that women shall have, in
law and in fact, equal rights and opportunities with men to vote and to
participate in public and political life at the national, local and com-
munity levels, and that they shall be made aware of their responsibilities
as citizens and of the problems affecting society and affecting them
directly as women.
59. Participation in political life implies participation as voters, lob-
byists, elected representatives, trade unionists and public officials in the
various branches of government, including the judiciary.
60. Where legislation does not exist guaranteeing women the right to
vote, to be eligible for election and to hold all public offices and exercise
public functions on equal terms with men, every effort should be made to
enact it by 1978.
61. Where special qualifications for holding public office are required,
they should apply to both sexes equally and should relate only to the
expertise necessary for performing the specific functions of the office.
72


62. Governments should establish goals, strategies and time-tables for
increasing within the decade 1975-1985 the number of women in elective
and appointive public offices and public functions at all levels.
63. Special efforts to achieve these objectives couid include:
(a) The reaffirmation of, and wide publicity for, the official policy
concerning the equal political participation of women;
(b) The issuance of special governmental instructions for achieving
an equitable representation of women in public office, and the compila-
tion of periodic reports on the number of women in the public service,
and levels of responsibility in the areas of their work;
(c) The organization of studies to establish the levels of economic,
social and political competence of the female compared to the male
population for recruitment, nomination and promotion;
(d) The undertaking of special activities for the recruitment, nomina-
tion and promotion of women especially to fill important positions, until
equitable representation of the sexes is achieved,
64. Special efforts and campaigns should be initiated to enlighten the
female electorate on political issues and on the need for their active
participation in public affairs, including political parties and other polit-
ical organizations such as pressure groups.
65. Educational and informational activities should also be undertaken
to enlighten the public at large on the indispensible role of women in the
political processes, and on the need to promote their greater political
participation and leadership.
66. Special drives should be undertaken to encourage the increased
participation of women and girls in rural, community and youth develop-
ment programmes, and in political activities, and to facilitate their access
to training for leadership in such programmes.
C. Education and training
67. Access to education and training is not only a basic human right
recognized in many international instruments, it is also a key factor for
social progress and in reducing the gaps between socio-economic
groups and between the sexes. In many countries girls and women are at
73


a marked disadvantage. This not only constitutes a serious initial handi-
cap for them as individuals and for their future position in society; it also
seriously impedes the effectiveness of their contribution to development
programmes and the development process itself.
68. Illiteracy and lack of education and training in basic skills are some
of the causes of the vicious circle of under-development, low productivity
and poor conditions of health and welfare. In a great many countries
illiteracy is much more widespread among women than men, and the
rates are generally higher in rural than in urban areas.
69. In most countries female enrolment at all levels of education is
considerably below that of men. Girls tend to drop out of school earlier
than boys. Boys are given precedence over girls when parents have to
make a choice if education is not free. There is often discrimination in the
nature and content of the education provided and in the options offered.
Girls choices of areas of study are dominated by conventional attitudes,
concepts and notions concerning the respective roles of men and women
in society.
70. As long as women remain illiterate and are subject to discrimination
in education and training, the motivation for change so badly needed to
improve the quality of life for all will fail, for in most societies it is the
mother who is responsible for the training of her children during the
formative years of their lives.
71. Governments should provide equal opportunities for both sexes at
all levels of education and training within the context of lifelong educa-
tion, and on a formal and non-formal basis, according to national needs.
72. The measures taken should conform to the existing international
standards and, in particular, to the Convention and Recommendations
against Discrimination in Education, 1960, and to the revised Recommen-
dation on Technical and Vocational Education, 1974, of the United Na-
tions Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
73. Educational, training and employment strategies should be co-ordi-
nated and based on population projections. The content and structure of
education should be such as to ensure its relevance to the present and
future needs of the communities concerned, taking into account their own
culture and the advances made through technical and scientific develop-
ments. It should also seek to prepare the individual adequately for an
active civic and family life and for responsible parenthood.
74


74. Target dates should be established for the eradication of illiteracy
and high priority given to programmes for women and girls between the
ages of 16 and 25 years.
75. The acquisition of literacy should be promoted as an integral part of
other kinds of learning activities of direct interest and value to the daily
lives of the people. Parallel with the efforts of Governments, all social
institutions, such as co-operatives, voluntary organizations and enter-
prises, should be fully utilized to overcome illiteracy.
76. Voluntary task forces, especially of young persons, could be estab-
lished to teach literacy, numbers, nutrition and methods of food preserva-
tion during vacations or periods of national service. Such task forces
should include both women and men with expertise in the skills needed.
The volunteers could also train local personnel to become trainers, thus
expanding the available task forces.
77. Integrated or special training programmes should be developed for
girls and women in rural areas to enable them to participate fully and
productively in economic and social development and to take advantage
of technological advances and thereby reduce the drudgery of their daily
lives. Such programmes should include training in modern methods of
agriculture and use of equipment, co-operatives, entrepreneurship, com-
merce, marketing, animal husbandry and fisheries, and in health, nutri-
tion, family planning and education.
78. Free and compulsory primary education for girls and boys without
discrimination should be provided and effectively enforced as quickly as
possible. Every effort should also be made to provide textbooks, school
lunches, transport and other essentials, wherever possible free of charge.
79. In order to assist in overcoming high drop-out rates among school-
age girls and to enable women to participate in literacy and basic skills
programmes, inexpensive child-care and other arrangements should be
organized to coincide with school or training hours to free women and
girls from confining domestic work.
80. Special programmes for continuing education on a part-time basis
should be arranged to ensure retention of what has been learned at
school and to assist women in their family, vocational and professional
activities.
81. Programmes, curricula and standards of education and training
should be the same for males and females. Courses for both sexes, in
75


addition to general subjects, should include industrial and agricultural
technology, politics, economics, current problems of society, responsible
parenthood, family life, nutrition and health.
82. Textbooks and other teaching materials should be re-evaluated and,
where necessary, rewritten to ensure that they reflect an image of women
in positive and participatory roles in society. Teaching methods should
be revised, wherever necessary, to ensure that they are adapted to
national needs and promote changes in discriminatory attitudes.
83. Research activities should be promoted to identify discriminatory
practices in education and training and to ensure educational equality.
New teaching techniques should be encouraged, especially audio-visual
techniques.
84. Co-education and mixed training groups should be actively encour-
aged and should provide special guidance to both sexes in orienting
them towards new occupations and changing roles.
85. Widely diversified existing and new vocational programmes of all
types should be equally accessible to both sexes, enabling girls and
boys to have a wide choice of employment opportunities, including those
which require higher skills, and to match national needs with job opportu-
nities. Both sexes should have equal opportunities to receive scholar-
ships and study grants. Special measures should be developed to assist
women who wish to return to work after a comparatively long absence,
owing in particular to family responsibilities. Multipurpose training centres
could be established in rural and urban areas to provide education and
training in various techniques and disciplines and to encourage a self-
reliant approach to life.
86. Girls and boys alike should be encouraged through vocational and
career guidance programmes to choose a career according to their real
aptitudes and abilities rather than on the basis of deeply ingrained sex
stereotypes. They should also be made aware of the education and
training required to take full advantage of the employment opportunities
available.
87. Informational and formal and non-formal educational programmes
should be launched to make the general public, parents, teachers, coun-
sellors and others aware of the need to provide girls with a solid initial
education and adequate training for occupational life and ample opportu-
nities for further education and training. Maximum use should be made of
the mass communication media both as a tool for education and as a
means for effecting changes in community attitudes.
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D. Employment and related economic roles
88. This Plan seeks to achieve equality of opportunity and treatment for
women workers and their integration in the labour force in accordance
with the accepted international standards recognizing the right to work, to
equal pay for equal work, to equal conditions of work and to advance-
ment.
89. Available data show that women constitute more than a third of the
worlds economically active population and approximately 46 per cent of
women of working age (15 to 64 years) are in the labour force. Of these,
an estimated 65 per cent are to be found in the developing countries and
35 per cent in the more developed regions. These data, together with the
many economic activities of women that are not now included in the
official statistics (see chap. Ill, below) demonstrate that womens contribu-
tion to the national economy and development is substantial and has not
been fully recognized. Further, the occupations in which most women
workers are concentrated are not the same as those in which most men
are employed. The vast majority of women are concentrated in a limited
number of occupations at lower levels of skill, responsibility and renumer-
ation. Women frequently experience discrimination in pay, promotion,
working conditions and hiring practices. Cultural constraints and family
responsibilities further restrict their employment opportunities. Where job
opportunities are severely limited and widespread unemployment exists,
womens chances of obtaining wage-earning employment are in practice
further reduce, even where policies of non-discrimination have been laid
down.
90. Governments should formulate policies and action programmes ex-
pressly directed towards equality of opportunity and treatment for women
workers and the guarantee of their right to equal pay for equal work. Such
policies and programmes should be in conformity with the standards
elaborated by the United Nations and the International Labour Organisa-
tion. They should include legislation stipulating the principle of non-
discrimination on the grounds of sex or marital status, guidelines for
implementing the principles, appeals procedures, and effective targets
and machinery for implementation.
91. Special efforts should be made to foster positive attitudes towards
the employment of women, irrespective of marital status, among em-
ployers and workers and among women and men in society at large, and
to eliminate obstacles based on sex-typed divisions of labour.
77


92. In attempting to achieve gainful employment for women and to deal
with problems of unemployment and underemployment, special efforts
should be made to create a variety of economic roles and to encourage
and support self-employment and self-help activities, especially in rural
areas. Existing self-help activities should be encouraged and strength-
ened through the participation of women.
93. Governments should seek new sources of self-help activities, such
as training programmes in community development and entrepreneurial
skills, which should be open on an equal basis to both sexes.
94. In order to extend womens range of economic roles, co-operatives
and small-scale industries could be developed and encouraged with the
necessary help and support of government. Where co-operatives already
exist, women should be encouraged to take an active part in them. New
co-operatives, and, where appropriate, womens co-operatives, should be
organized, especially in areas where women play a major role, such as
food production, marketing, housing, nutrition and health. Co-operatives
may also be the most appropriate and feasible arrangement for child-
care and could also provide employment opportunities.
95. Essential to the effective implementation of such programmes is the
provision of adequate training in co-operatives and entrepreneurial skills,
access to credit and necessary seed capital for improved tools, assis-
tance with marketing, the provision of adequate rural social services and
amenities, decentralized development of towns in rural areas and basic
infrastructural arrangements, such as child-care arrangements, transporta-
tion and conveniently situated water supplies.
96. Special efforts should be made to increase the participation of rural
women in the formulation of national plans for integrated rural develop-
ment. Policies and programmes for rural development should take into
account the creation of employment opportunities along with other essen-
tial related components, such as projects for diversification, import substi-
tution and expansion of rural activities for farming, forestry, fisheries,
animal husbandry and agro-industries.
97. Specific target dates should be established for achieving a substan-
tial increase in a number of qualified women employed in skilled and
technical work.
98. Special efforts should also be made to increase the number of
women in management and policy-making in commerce, industry and
trade.
78


99. Access to skills and the provision of institutional and on-the-job
training should be open to women in the same way and on the same
condition as to men so as to make them equally eligible for promotion.
100. Governments, employers and trade unions should ensure to all
women workers the right to maternity protection including maternity leave
with a guarantee of returning to their former employment and to nursing
breaks, in keeping with the principles laid down in the International
Labour Organisations Maternity Publication Convention (Revised) and
Recommendation, 1952. Provisions relating to maternity protection
should not be regarded as unequal treatment of the sexes.
101. Special attention should be given to the need for multilateral ap-
proaches to facilitate the combination of family and work responsibilities.
These could include: a general reduction and/or staggering of working
hours; flexible working hours; part-time work for women and men; child-
care facilities and child-care leave systems to assist parents to take care
of their children; communal kitchens; and various kinds of facilities to
help them discharge household tasks more easily. Governments and
trade unions should ensure that the economic and social rights of part-
time workers are fully protected.
102. Protective legislation applying to women only should be reviewed
in the light of scientific and technological knowledge, and should be
revised, repealed or extended to all workers as necessary.
103. Minimum wages, which play an important role in the improvement
of working conditions of women, should be enforced and made appli-
cable to cottage industries and domestic work.
104. Special measures should also be taken to eliminate the exploita-
tion of female labour, in particular that of young girls, wherever it exists.
105. Discriminatory treatment of women in national social security
schemes should be eliminated to the maximum possible extent. Women
workers should be covered equally with men by all aspects of such
schemes.
106. Governments should encourage and stimulate concerted efforts, in
particular on the part of employers and workers organizations, to bring
about a marked improvement in the position of women in employment
and should co-operate with all voluntary organizations concerned with
the status of women workers in economic life and in society as a whole.
79


107. Trade unions should adopt policies to increase the participation of
women in their work at every level, including the higher echelons. They
should have special programmes to promote equality of opportunity for
jobs and training for women workers and leadership training for women.
They should play a leading role in developing new and constructive
approaches to problems faced by workers, paying special attention to the
problems of women workers.
E. Health and nutrition
108. While everyone has an undeniable right to health, conditions in
many countries, and especially in rural areas, have often precluded the
actual enjoyment by women of this right equally with men. The situation
becomes more accentuated in societies with considerable shortages of
health personnel and facilities and constitutes a high cost to the family,
society and development by impairing the productivity of women. Women
also need special care during pregnancy, delivery and lactation.
109. Adequate nutrition is of fundamental importance for the full physi-
cal and mental development of the individual, and women have a vital
role to play in this area in the production, preparation, processing and
consumption of food. When food is scarce women often experience more
malnutrition than men, either because they deprive themselves for the
sake of their families or because society places a lesser value on women.
110. Improved access to health, nutrition and other social services is
essential to the full participation of women in development activities, to
the strengthening of family life and to a general improvement in the
quality of life. To be fully effective these services should be integrated
into over-all development programmes with priority being given to rural
areas.
111. Governments should ensure adequate investments in public health
programmes, especially in rural areas.
112. Comprehensive simple community health services could be devel-
oped in which.the community identifies its own health needs, takes part
in decisions on delivery of health care in different socio-economic con-
texts, and develops primary health care services that are easily acces-
sible to every member of the community. Women themselves, especially
in rural areas, should be encouraged through adequate training pro-
grammes, to provide such health care services to their communities.
80
i


Provision should be made to ensure that women shall have the same
access to that care as men. Travelling clinics and medical teams should
make periodic visits to all communities.
113. Within the context of general health services, Governments should
pay particular attention to womens special health needs by provision of:
pre-natal and post-natal and delivery services; gynaecological and family
planning services during the reproductive years; comprehensive and
continuous health services directed to all infants, pre-school children and
school children, without prejudice on grounds of sex; specific care for
pre-adolescent and adolescent girls and for the post-reproductive years
and old age; and research into the special health problems of women.
Basic health services should be reinforced by the use of qualified med-
ical and paramedical personnel.
114. Programmes should be formulated for the reduction of infant, child
and maternal mortality by means of improved nutrition, sanitation, mater-
nal and child health care and maternal education.
115. Education programmes should be developed to overcome preju-
dices, taboos and superstitions that prevent women from using existing
health facilities. Special efforts should be made to inform the urban poor
and rural women about existing medical facilities.
116. Within the context of a massive programme of health education
and services, courses in health education, maternal and child care could
be organized in rural and urban neighbourhoods, and women should be
actively encouraged to participate. These classes should be advertised
by the communication media and by all existing social networks. They
should include information about what medical facilities are available,
and how to reach them. Physicians should periodically conduct physical
examinations of the participants in as many of these classes as possible.
117. In view of the importance of women not only as users but as
providers of health care, steps should be taken to incorporate them as
fully informed and active participants in the health planning and deci-
sion-making process at all levels and in all phases. Efforts should be
made to encourage women to participate actively in community efforts to
provide primary health care and improve coverage. Women should also
be trained as paramedics and encouraged to organize health co-opera-
tives and self-help programmes. Recruitment and training should be
undertaken at the village level to prepare villagers as health workers to
provide basic health services for their community.
81


118. Women should have the same right of access as men to any
training establishment or course for any health profession and to continue
to the highest levels. Practices which exclude women from certain health
professions on traditional, religious or cultural grounds should be abol-
ished.
119. Improved, easily accessible, safe water supplies (including wells,
dams, catchments, piping, etc.) sewage disposal and other sanitation
measures should be provided both to improve health conditions of fami-
lies and to reduce the burden of carrying water which falls mainly on
women and children.
120. In national food and nutrition policies, Governments should give
priority to the consumption by the most vulnerable groups in the popula-
tion (adolescent girls, pregnant and lactating women, and young chil-
dren) of certain types of food produce, such as milk and milk products,
and especially nutritious foods. The practice of breast feeding and good
feeding practices for the weaning period should be encouraged. Supple-
mentary food programmes for mothers and children at imminent risk of
malnutrition should be introduced. Nutritional deficiencies should be
prevented through fortification of staples or other widely consumed foods
or by direct distribution of the deficient nutrients.
121. Techniques and equipment for food processing, preservation and
conservation of the local village level should be improved and made
available to rural women. Co-operatives for the production, quality im-
provement and distribution of food should be organized to give impetus
to this effort and, where appropriate, campaigns to educate the consumer
should be organized.
122. Opportunities should be created for women to contribute more
efficiently to the production of proper types of food through vegetable
gardens in rural and urban areas and through the provision of better
tools, seeds and fertilizer. Girls and boys should also be encouraged to
grow food in school gardens to supplement daily school meal pro-
grammes.
123. Campaigns on nutrition education should be launched through the
communication media to explore the most effective techniques for intro-
ducing previously unacceptable nutritious foods into the daily diets of
people. These campaigns should also inform women how to use the
family income most economically towards the purchase of more nutritious
foods and to eliminate wastage of food. The exchange of experience on
effective nutrition programmes through seminars, informal visits and publi-
cations should be arranged.
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F. The family in modern society
124. The institution of the family, which is changing in its economic,
social and cultural functions, should ensure the dignity, equality and
security of each of its members, and provide conditions conducive to the
balanced development of the child as an individual and as a social
being.
125. In the total development process, the role of women, along with
men, needs to be considered in terms of their contribution to the family as
well as to society and the national economy. Higher status for this role in
the homeas a parent, spouse and homemakercan only enhance the
personal dignity of a man and a woman. Household activities that are
necessary for family life have generally been perceived as having a low
economic and social prestige. All societies should, however, place a
higher value on these activities, if they wish the family group to be
maintained and to fulfil its basic functions of the procreation and educa-
tion of children.
126. The family is also an important agent of social, political and cul-
tural change. If women are to enjoy equal rights, opportunities and
responsibilities, and contribute on equal terms with men to the develop-
ment process, the functions and roles traditionally allotted to each sex
within the family will require continual re-examination and reassessment
in the light of changing conditions.
127. The rights of women, all the various forms of the family, including
the nuclear family, the extended family, consensual union and the single-
parent family should be protected by appropriate legislation and policy.
128. Legislation relating to marriage should be in conformity with inter-
national standards. In particular, it should ensure that women and men
shall have the same right to free choice of a spouse and to enter into
marriage only with their free and full consent. A minimum age for mar-
riage should be fixed by law and be such as to provide a sufficient period
of education for girls and boys, but particularly girls, to enable them to
complete their education and develop their potentialities prior to mar-
riage. Official registration of marriages should be made compulsory.
129. All institutions and practices which infringe upon these rights
should be abolished, in particular, child marriage and the inheritance of
widows.
130. Legislative and other measures should be taken to ensure that men
and women shall enjoy full legal capacity and the exercise thereof relat-
83


ing to their personal and property rights, including the right to acquire,
administer, enjoy, dispose of and inherit property (including property
acquired during marriage). Limitations, where such exist, should apply to
both partners alike. During marriage, the principle of equal rights and
responsibilities would mean that both partners should perform an active
role in the home, taking into account the importance of combining home
and work responsibilities, and share jointly decision-making on matters
affecting the family and children. At the dissolution of marriage, this
principle would imply that procedures and grounds of dissolution of
marriage should be liberalized and apply equally to both spouses; assets
acquired during marriage should be shared on an equitable basis; appro-
priate provisions should be made for the social security and pension
coverage of the work contributed by the homemaker; and decisions relat-
ing to the custody of children should be taken into consideration of
their best interests.
131. In order to assist in the solution of conflicts arising among mem-
bers of the family, adequate family counselling services should be set up
wherever possible and the establishment of family courts staffed with
personnel, including women, trained in law as well as in various other
relevant disciplines should be considered.
132. Programmes of education for personal relationships, marriage and
family life, health, including psycho-sexual development, should be inte-
grated into all school curricula at appropriate levels and into pro-
grammes for out-of-school education, to prepare young people of both
sexes for responsible marriage and parenthood. These programmes
should be based on the ideals of mutual respect and shared rights and
responsibilities in the family and in society. Child-rearing practices within
each society should be examined with a view to eliminating customs that
encourage and perpetuate ideas about superiority or inferiority on the
basis of sex.
133. In recognition of the growing number of single-parent families,
additional assistance and benefits, wherever possible, should be pro-
vided for them. The unmarried mother should be granted full-fledged
status as a parent, and children born out of wedlock should have the
same rights and obligations as children born in wedlock. Special nursing
homes and hostels should be established for married and unmarried
mothers, before and after delivery.
134. Social security programmes should, to the maximum extent, in-
clude children and family allowances in order to strengthen the economic
stability of family members. Cross-cultural studies might be undertaken of
the influence upon the condition of women in the family and in society of
84


family and children's allowances and benefits, motherhood awards and
similar measures.
G. Population
135. Social, economic and demographic factors are closely interre-
lated, and change in one or more invariably involves changes in others.
The status of women is both a determinant and a consequence of these
various factors. It is inextricably linked with both the development pro-
cess and the various components of demographic change: fertility, mor-
tality, and migration (international and internal and the latters concomi-
tant, urbanization).
136. The status of women and, in particular, their educational level,
whether or not they are gainfully employed, the nature of their employ-
ment, and their position within the family are all factors that have been
found to influence family size. Conversely, the right of women to decide
freely and responsibly on the number and spacing of their children and
to have access to the information and means to enable them to exercise
that right has a decisive impact on their ability to take advantage of
educational and employment opportunities and to participate fully in
community life as responsible citizens.
137. The exercise of this right and the full participation of women in all
aspects of national life are closely interrelated with such crucial demogra-
phic variables as age at marriage, age at birth of first child, the length of
interval between births, age at termination of child-bearing, and total
number of children born.
138. The hazards of child-bearing, characterized by too many pregnan-
cies, pregnancies at too early or too late an age and at too close
intervals, inadequate pre-natal, delivery and post-natal care and resort to
illegally induced abortions, result in high rates of maternal mortality and
maternal-related morbidity. Where levels of infant and early childhood
mortality as well as of foetal mortality are high, their reductiona desir-
able end in itselfmay also be a prerequisite of the limitation of the
number of pregnancies that the average woman will experience, and of
the societys adoption of a smaller ideal family size where this is a
desired goal. Fewer pregnancies may be more easily achieved when
there is a reasonable expectation that children born will survive to adult-
hood.
139. In some parts of the world, urbanization involves mainly a migra-
tion of young men; in other parts, young women constitute the major
component in the rural-to-urban migratory stream. Such situations partly
85


reflect differences in womens opportunities to work in either urban or
rural occupations, and these are related to cultural variations in the
acceptance of women in diverse roles. While differences in womens
social status are among the causes of diverse sex selections in the
migration to cities and towns, the consequences of such selective migra-
tion are to be found in resulting sex imbalances, in both the urban and
rural population. These population imbalances can be detrimental to
individual and family welfare and to the stability of either urban or rural
residence. Just over half of the total female population of the world
currently resides in rural areas of developing countries. In the light of the
particular demographic, economic and social problems of rural communi-
ties in these regions, special development efforts are required.
140. This Plan endorses the recommendations of the World Population
Plan of Action, especially those relating to the status of women.
141. In the elaboration and execution of population policies and pro-
grammes, within the framework of over-all development, Governments are
urged to pay particular attention to measures designed to improve the
situation of women, especially with regard to their educational and em-
ployment opportunities, conditions of work, and the establishment and
enforcement of an appropriately high minimum age at marriage.
142. While States have a sovereign right to determine their own popula-
tion policies, individuals and couples should have access, through an
institutionalized system, to the information and means that will enable
them to determine freely and responsibly the number and spacing of their
children and to overcome sterility. All legal, social or financial obstacles
to the dissemination of family planning knowledge, means and services
should be removed. Every effort should be made to improve knowledge
and identification of the causes of involuntary sterility, subfecundity and
congenital birth defects and to secure their reduction.
143. Family planning programmes should direct communication and
recruitment efforts towards women and men equally, since successful
fertility regulation requires their mutual understanding and co-operation.
This policy would enable women to exercise equally with men their right
to decide how many children they will bear and the timing of the births.
Attainment of these goals requires the development of means of contra-
ception and birth control that will be both efficient and compatible with
cultural values prevailing in different societies. Family planning pro-
grammes should be integrated and co-ordinated with health, nutrition and
other services designed to raise the quality of family life.
144. Governments should make concerted efforts systematically to ame-
liorate conditions of mortality and morbidity as part of the development
86


process, and pay particular attention to the reduction of those risks that
especially affect the health of women.
145. Policies and programmes to improve the status of women and to
enable them to contribute fully to social and economic development must
take into account migration and the ways in which it affects the family and
working lives of women.
146. Both the causes and the consequences of varied modes of urbani-
zation should be examined carefully, so as to yield the information
needed to devise appropriate social policies, especially those designed
to meet the varying needs of women.
147. Rural development programmes, including the creation of suitable
industrial and employment opportunities, should be initiated or expanded
to reduce the migration to urban areas and its attendant problems. Decen-
tralization of education and health facilities to rural areas should also be
promoted, as an aid to lowering rural rates of illiteracy, mortality and
fertility, which have traditionally been higher than those in urban commu-
nities. These measures would bring rural women into greater contact with
the mainstream of national life and release opportunities for their contribu-
tion to the progress and prosperity of their country.
H. Housing and related facilities
148. The majority of women still spend more of their time in and around
the house than do men; thus, the improvement of the house, its related
facilities and its neighbourhood will bring about a direct improvement in
their daily lives. In addition to the considerations of health and comfort,
well-designed and suitably furnished houses and related facilities, as
well as neighbourhoods, offer comparative relief from monotony and
drudgery, making easier the pursuit of other interests and activities, and
bringing womens lives closer to the demands of human dignity.
149. Legislative and other measures should be taken to guarantee that
the views and needs of women are taken into account in the planning and
design of urban and housing development as well as human settlements.
150. The design of the house should take into account the needs of the
entire family, especially the women and children. Use of the following
should be encouraged: (a) building materials that require minimal or no
maintenance; (b) equipment and appliances that do not present safety
hazards; (c) labour-saving interior finishes and surfaces conducive to
comfort and hygiene; (d) furniture that is movable, storable and easily
87


replaceable; and (e), where feasible and appropriate, an area for women
to undertake activities such as reading, sewing and weaving (in some
societies this may be a communal space to increase social cohesion).
151. In the projection of the house into a neighbourhood, designs
should provide for services and utilities and neighbourhood facilities that
respond, inter alia, to the expressed needs of women, and reduce labour
as well as travel for vital needs such as water, food, fuel and other
necessities.
152. In the design of a network of neighbourhoods, consideration
should be given to accessibility of neighbourhood centres for the women
and children.
153. Training and orientation courses should be organized in the use of
new facilities made available to women, as well as in various aspects of
home ownership and maintenance.
I. Other social questions
154. Social services play a crucial role in anticipating social problems
deriving from rapid modernization and industrialization and in reducing
the need for remedial measures at a later stage. Women are usually
affected by these social problems to a greater extent than men, espe-
cially in the initial stages of the development process.
155. Governments should therefore encourage the development of so-
cial services as a useful tool in mobilizing human and technical re-
sources for the benefit of all marginal and social groups, bearing in mind
the contribution that non-governmental organizations can offer.
156. Special efforts should be made to provide for the needs of migrant
women, whether from rural areas or from abroad, and for women workers
and their families who live in urban slums and squatter settlements.
Training, job counselling, child-care facilities, financial aid and, where
necessary, language training and other forms of assistance should be
provided.
157. Special attention should also be given to the needs of elderly
women who frequently receive less protection and assistance than men.
They predominate numerically in the age group of 50 years and over, and
many are indigent and in need of special care.
158. in the area of the prevention of crime and treatment of offenders,
special attention should be paid to female criminality, which is increas-
88


ing in many parts of the world, and to the rehabilitation of female offend-
ers, including juvenile delinquents and recidivists. Research in this field
should include study of the relationship between female criminality and
other social problems brought about by rapid social change.
159. Specific legislative and other measures should be taken to combat
prostitution and the illicit traffic in women, especially young girls. Special
programmes, including pilot projects, should be developed in co-opera-
tion with international bodies and non-governmental organizations to
prevent such practices and rehabililitate the victims.
160. Governments which have not already done so should ratify or
accede to the United Nations Conventions for the Suppression of the
Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others
(1949).
II!. RESEARCH, DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS
161. This Plan gives high priority to national, regional and international
research activities, and to data collection and analysis on all aspects of
the situation of women, since adequate data and information are essential
in formulating policies and evaluating progress and in effecting attitu-
dinal and basic social and economic change.
162. A major difficulty in assessing the economic contribution of women
at the present time is lack of or incomplete data and indicators to
measure their situation as it affects the process of development and is in
turn affected by it.
163. Many women are automatically excluded from the economically
active population in national statistics because they are homemakers
only and homemaking is nowhere considered to be an economic activity.
Another large group of women are erroneously classified as homemakers
only because it is assumed that women have no economic activity and
their status is therefore not carefully investigated. This occurs particularly
in relation to women who, in addition to their homemaking activities, are
also self-employed handicraft and other home industry workers or unpaid
family workers in subsistence agriculture. Further, statistics on unemploy-
ment often present an inaccurate picture of the situation because they
omit women who are not recognized as part of the economically active
population (e.g., women classified as homemakers or housewives). They
may, in fact, be in need of and available for employment.
89


164. Among other data biased by preconceptions are those on heads of
households or families, when it is assumed that a woman can be the head
only in the absence of a man. Many households actually headed by
women are therefore erroneously classified as having male heads.
165. Differences in these and other national statistical practices also
make cross-country comparisons of data very difficult. In the non-market
sector, for example, the distinction between economic and non-economic
activities is seldom clear and the criteria used are often arbitrary and vary
from country to country.
166. A scientific and reliable data base should be established and
suitable economic and social indicators urgently developed which are
sensitive to the particular situation and needs of women as an integral
part of national and international programmes of statistics.
167. All census and survey data relating to characteristics of individuals
(e.g., urban/rural residence, age, marital status, including consensual
unions, literacy, education, income, level -of skills and participation in both
modern and traditional economic activities) and to household and family
composition should be reported and analysed by sex.
168. In the collection of such data special efforts should be made to
measure:
(a) The participation of women in local and national planning and
policy-making in all sectors of national life;
(b) The extent of women's activities in food production (cash crop
and subsistence agriculture), in water and fuel supply, in marketing, and
in transportation;
(c) The economic and social contribution of housework and
other domestic chores, handicrafts and other home-based economic activ-
ities;
(d) The effect on the national economy of womens activities as con-
sumers of goods and services;
(e) The relative time spent on economic and household activities
and on leisure by girls and women compared to boys and men;
(f) The quality of life, (e.g., job satisfaction, income situation, family
characteristics and use of leisure time).
90


169. The United Nations system should extend the scope of its stand-
ards for data collection, tabulation and analysis to take the above recom-
mendations into account. National statistical offices should adhere to the
standards established by the United Nations and its specialized agen-
cies.
170. The United Nations should prepare an inventory of social and eco-
nomic indicators relevant to the analysis of the status of women as soon
as possible and not later than 1980, in co-operation with the interested
specialized agencies, the United Nations Research Institute for Social
Development, the regional commissions and other relevant bodies.
171. This Plan gives high priority also to cross-cultural studies, espe-
cially of the causes of discriminatory customs, practices, attitudes and
beliefs, which impede women's contribution to the development process,
and to the mechanisms of change.
172. Research oriented towards specific country and regional problems
should be made by competent women and men acquainted with specific
national and regional conditions.
173. The wide exchange of information and research findings should be
promoted and maximum use made of existing national and regional
research institutes and universities, including the United Nations Univer-
sity, the United Nations Institute for Training and Research, the United
Nations Research Institute for Social Development and the United Nations
Social Defence Institute. A network of such institutes and universities
should be built up to facilitate the regular exchange of information and
knowledge in co-operation with the United Nations.
IV. MASS COMMUNICATION MEDIA
174. A major obstacle in improving the status of women lies in public
attitudes and values regarding women's roles in society. The mass com-
munication media have great potential as a vehicle for social change and
could exercise a significant influence in helping to remove prejudices
and stereotypes, accelerating the acceptance of womens new and ex-
panding roles in society, and promoting their integration into the develop-
ment process as equal partners.
91


175. At the present time, the media tend to reinforce traditional atti-
tudes, often portraying an image of women that is degrading and humiliat-
ing, and fail to reflect the changing roles of the sexes. They may also
have harmful effects in imposing alien cultures upon different societies.
176. Mass communication media should be understood as encompass-
ing not only radio, television, cinema, press (newspapers, periodicals,
comic strips and cartoons), advertising, and public meetings and similar
forums, but also traditional types of entertainment such as drama, story
telling, songs and puppet shows, which are essential for reaching the
rural areas of many countries.
177. Governmental and non-governmental organizations should en-
courage and support national, regional and international research to
determine the image of women and men portrayed by the media; and the
negative and positive influences exercised by them in their various roles
as conveyors of information, entertainers, educators and advertisers.
178. Governmental and non-governmental organizations should also
take steps to ensure that information shall be provided on the current
situation of women in various countries, with particular emphasis on the
changing roles of both sexes.
179. Those in control of the media should seek to raise public con-
sciousness with respect to these changing roles, and the serious concern
that both women and men have about important issues that affect their
families, communities and society at large. They should be urged to
project a more dynamic image of women (as well as of men) and to take
into account the diversity of womens roles and their actual and potential
contribution to society.
180. They should depict the roles and achievements of women from all
walks of life throughout history, including women in the rural areas and
women of minority groups. They should also seek to develop in women
confidence in themselves and in other women, and a sense of their own
value and importance as human beings.
181. Women should be appointed in greater numbers in media manage-
ment decision-making and other capacities, as editors, columnists, re-
porters, producers and the like, and should encourage the critical re-
view, within the media, of the image of women projected.
92


V. INTERNATIONAL AND REGIONAL ACTION
A. Global action
182. The United Nations should proclaim the decade 1975-1985 as the
United Nations Decade for Women and Development in order to ensure
that national and international action shall be sustained throughout the
period.
183. The decade and this Plan of Action call for a clear commitment on
the part of the international community to accord importance and priority
to measures to improve the situation of women, both as a means of
achieving the goals of social progress and development and as an end
in itself. The plan envisages that all organizations of the United Nations
system should take separate and joint action to implement its recommen-
dations, including the relevant United Nations organs and bodies, espe-
cially the regional commissions, the United Nations Childrens Fund, the
United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Fund for
Population Activities, the United Nations Industrial Development Organi-
zation, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the
United Nations Institute for Training and Research, and the specialized
agencies. Their activities should be properly co-ordinated through the
existing machinery, especially the Economic and Social Council and the
Administrative Committee on Co-ordination. Each organization should
evaluate what it has done to improve the status of women and enhance
their contribution to development and identify the measures needed to
implement this Plan.
184. International and regional intergovernmental organizations outside
the United Nations system are also urged to develop programmes to
implement this Plan and achieve the objectives of International Womens
Year during the proposed decade.
185. International non-governmental organizations and their national af-
filiates should also act jointly and separately, within their particular
spheres of interest, to give effect to the recommendations of the Plan
within the 10-year period.
186. The Plan endorses programmes and strategies setting forth similar
or related objectives; in particular, the International Development
Strategy for the Second United Nations Development Decade, the Pro-
gramme of Concerted International Action for the Advancement of
Women, the Programme for the Decade for Action to Combat Racism and
Racial Discrimination, the World Population Plan of Action, the recommen-
dations of the World Food Conference, and the regional plans of action
93


for the integration of women in development, adopted in 1974 for the
regions of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific
and the Economic Commission for Africa.5
187. Women should be fully involved in policy-making at the interna-
tional level as well as the national level. Governments should make sure
that they are equitably represented among the principal delegates to all
international bodies, conferences and committees, including those deal-
ing with political and legal questions, economic and social development,
disarmament, planning, administration and finance, science and tech-
nology, the environment and population. The secretariats of the interna-
tional organizations should set an example by eliminating any provisions
or practices in their employment policies that may be discriminatory
against women. They should also take all necessary measures to ensure
that an equitable balance between men and women staff members shall
be achieved before the end of the Second United Nations Development
Decade, and establish goals, strategies and time-tables to achieve this
end. The equitable balance should apply to all substantive areas, and to
field posts where operational programmes are initiated and carried out.
188. International organizations should review the implications of the
Plan in the context of their own existing and new programmes, and
should make appropriate recommendations to their governing bodies on
any revisions of their financial and administrative arrangements that may
be required to implement the Plan.
189. International action should support existing programmes and ex-
pand their scope in the following main areas: (a) research, data collec-
tion and analysis (see chap. Ill above); (b) technical co-operation, train-
ing and advisory services, including co-ordination with national and
regional activities of organizations within the United Nations system; (c)
elaboration and ongoing review of international standards; (d) dissemina-
tion and exchange of information and liaison with non-governmental
organizations and other groups; (e) review and appraisal including moni-
toring of progress made in achieving the aims and objectives of the Plan;
and (f) executive and management functions including over-all co-ordina-
tion with all the organizations of the United Nations system, and with the
national and regional machinery referred to in the Plan.
1. Operational activities for technical co-operation
190. The United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations
Fund for Population Activities, the United Nations Environment Pro-
gramme, the United Nations specialized agencies, including the Interna-
5 For the regional plans of action, see section C hereafter.
94


tional Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the International
Monetary Fund, the regional commissions, intergovernmental organiza-
tions, bilateral assistance agencies and foundations, and international
and regional development banks and other international financial institu-
tions, all carry out their work through projects that are highly specific in
terms of the objectives to be reached, the resources to be employed, and
the target areas and populations for which they are intended. Given the
scope and diversity of the world-wide system of assistance agencies,
action can be initiated in a large number of areas without delay once the
needs are understood and diffused throughout the United Nations system.
191. A deliberate and large-scale effort should therefore be made to
ensure that high priority and attention shall be given by Governments and
the international community to programmes, projects and activities that
give women the skills, training and opportunities necessary to improve
their situation and enable them to participate fully and effectively in the
total development effort.
192. Field surveys should be undertaken in each region to assist Gov-
ernments and the international community by establishing the necessary
data base to develop projects that will implement the objectives of the
Plan.
193. All existing plans and projects should be scrutinized with a view to
extending their sphere of activities to include women. New and innovative
projects should also be developed to include women.
194. The following areas are of special importance:
(a) Integrated rural development. Special attention should be given
to womens role as producers, processors and vendors of food, stressing
the need for training women and girls. Training is especially needed in
modern methods of farming, marketing, purchasing and sales tech-
niques; basic accounting and organizational methods; fundamentals of
hygiene and nutrition; training in crafts and co-operatives;
(b) Health, reproduction and growth and development, including
family health and child health, family planning, nutrition and health educa-
tion;
(c) Education and training at all levels and in all sectors related to
the creation of employment opportunities so that women can play an
economic role;
(d) Youth projects, which should be examined to make sure that they
include adequate emphasis on the participation of young women;
95


(e) Public administration, with the aim of preparing women to partici-
pate in development planning and policy-making, especially in middle-
and higher-level posts.
195. The resident representatives of the United Nations Development
Programme (UNDP) should play a key role in helping Governments to
formulate requests for such assistance within the framework of country
programming. Advisory services provided by the specialized agencies in
the form of special consultants or task forces could also render assis-
tance in the formulation of project requests. Periodic reviews should be
initiated to suggest crucial areas where special support might be
needed. Projects should be constantly reviewed and evaluated to deter-
mine their impact and success in improving the position of women.
196. Women should participate fully in planning and implementing
UNDP country programmes and regional, interregional and global proj-
ects under the auspices of the United Nations and other international
agencies. Governments should bear in mind the importance of including,
in national planning organizations and other bodies responsible for pub-
lic policy-making and management, persons with special competence in
the subject of womens integration in development.
2. Formulation and implementation of international standards
197. The preparation of international conventions, declarations and for-
mal recommendations, and the development of reporting systems and
other procedures for their implementation are important elements of inter-
national programmes and should be continued.
198. High priority should be given to the preparation and adoption of
the convention on the elimination of discrimination against women, with
effective procedures for its implementation.
199. Studies should be undertaken by the appropriate organizations of
the effectiveness of the implementation of existing instruments and peri-
odic reviews made to determine their adequacy in the light of changing
conditions in the modern world, and of experience gained since their
adoption.
200. The need for the development of new standards in new fields of
concern to women should be kept constantly under review in relation to
the implementation of the present Plan. Appropriate research and studies
should be undertaken to determine the need for such new standards.
96


3. Exchange of information and experience
201. The exchange of information and experience at the international
level is an effective means of stimulating progress and encouraging the
adoption of measures to eliminate discrimination against women and
encourage their wider participation in all sectors of national life. Coun-
tries with different political, economic and social systems and cultures
and at differing stages of development have benefited from the common
knowledge of problems, difficulties and achievements and from solutions
worked out jointly.
202. Effective international machinery should be established or existing
bodies, such as the Commission on the Status of Women, utilized to
afford women in all regions of the world the opportunity to support one
another in mutual understanding of their national and local problems and
fight for the elimination of all forms of discrimination and oppression.
203. Meetings and seminars, including those organized under the
United Nations technical co-operation programme, which have proved to
be most valuable in providing a regional and international exchange of
information and experience, should be continued.
204. Educational and informational programmes supported by the inter-
national community should be developed and extended to make all
sectors of the population aware of the international norms established by
the goals and objectives of this Plan of Action, and the findings of
research and data envisaged under the relevant chapter of the Plan.
205. Material documenting the situation of women in specific countries
of the world should also be prepared and widely distributed. It should be
issued in the form of a yearbook or almanac containing facts which
should be maintained and kept up to date. Material should also be
prepared and widely publicized on the methods and techniques that
have proved useful in promoting the status of women and integrating
them into the process of development.
206. International organizations, both governmental and non-governmen-
tal, should strengthen their efforts to distribute information on women and
related matters. This could be done through periodic publications on the
situation of women, their changing roles and their integration into the
development effort through the planning and implementation of policies,
as well as through the utilization of communication media and aids, and
the wide distribution of newsletters, pamphlets, visual charts and similar
material on women.
97


B. Regional action
207. The regional commissions for Africa, Asia and the Pacific, Europe,
Latin America and Western Asia should stimulate interest in the Plan and
provide national Governments and non-governmental organizations with
the technical and informational support they require to develop and
implement effective strategies to further the objectives of the Plan in the
regions. Where they have not already done so, the regional commissions
should establish appropriate machinery for the purpose. This might in-
clude a regional standing committee of experts from countries of the
region to advise the commission on its activities directed towards the
integration of women in development in relation to those of Governments
and other agencies in the region. The committees functions could in-
clude the following:
(a) To initiate country studies and assist national institutions to iden-
tify the types of information needed for a proper understanding of the
situation of women and the factors facilitating or limiting their advance-
ment;
(b) To assist with the design and implementation of surveys for the
collection of data and other information;
(c) To give leadership in the methods of reporting on the situation of
women and in the development of indicators for assessing the progress
made towards the goals of this Plan in conjunction with regional statisti-
cal bodies and international efforts to this end;
(d) To provide a clearing-house for the exchange of information
which would facilitate co-ordination and mutual support between pro-
grammes for the advancement of women at various levels, and for the
sharing of relevant experience among the countries of the region.
208. States members of the regional commissions, in requesting techni-
cal and financial assistance, should endeavour to raise the priority ac-
corded to projects to enhance opportunities for women and increase
recognition of the importance of these projects for over-all development
in consultation with regional offices of the United Nations Development
Programme.
209. The regional commissions should provide assistance to govern-
mental and non-governmental organizations to identify needed action,
develop policies, strategies and programmes for strengthening womens
role in national development, and formulate requests for technical and
financial assistance for such programmes. They should encourage train-
98


ing institutions in the region to expand their curricula to encompass
topics related to the integration of women in development, and assist in
the development of training programmes, particularly those whose initial
aim is to increase womens potential for leadership and develop the
cadres for formulating the programmes and implementing the activities
indicated by this Plan.
210. The regional commissions should also promote technical co-opera-
tion between the countries of the region, utilizing the existing talent
available. Trained women could, for example, offer short-term assistance
to women in countries other than their own on a voluntary basis, or as part
of a special task force. Special advisers should be attached to the
regional field offices in order to strengthen the regional field structure and
carry out more effectively the functions and aims described above. They
could also seek to stimulate increased contributions of funds for financ-
ing programmes for the advancement of women from existing sources of
multilateral and bilateral assistance, and to secure new sources of funds,
including the establishment of revolving funds at the national and local
levels.
211. In the implementation of the Plan, special efforts should be made
by the commissions and other United Nations bodies having regional
offices to co-ordinate their programmes with those of existing United
Nations and other regional centres whose fields of competence relate to
the aims of the Plan, such as centres for research and training in develop-
ment planning, literacy, social welfare, social defence, employment,
health and nutrition and community development.
212. Regional development banks such as the African Development
Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the Inter-American Development
Bank as well as subregional banks, such as the Central American Bank
for Economic Integration and the East African Development Bank, and
bilateral funding agencies should be urged to accord high priority in their
development assistance to projects that include the integration of women
into the development effort and the achievement of equality. Such assis-
tance would stimulate national support for innovative national and local
programmes, including self-help activities.
VI. REVIEW AND APPRAISAL
213. A comprehensive and thorough review and appraisal of progress
made in meeting the goals of this Plan should be undertaken at regular
99


intervals by the United Nations system. Such an exercise should be part
of the procedures for the review and appraisal of progress made under
the International Development Strategy for the Second United Nations
Development Decade, and closely co-ordinated with any new international
development strategy that may be formulated.
214. The General Assembly has already made provision in its resolution
3276 (XXIX) of 10 December 1974 to consider relevant recommendations
of the World Conference of the International Womens Year at its seventh
special session and at its thirtieth session in 1975. The Plan should also
be considered at the sixtieth session of the Economic and Social Council
in the spring of 1976. The Secretary-General should be invited to make
appropriate arrangements for the first biennial review of progress in 1978,
in co-operation with Governments and taking into account the existing
structure and resources of the United Nations system. The Economic and
Social Council should review the findings of such a systematic evaluation
with the object of making, whenever necessary, appropriate modifications
in the goals and recommendations of the Plan.
215. The monitoring of trends and policies relating to women and rele-
vant to this Plan of Action should be undertaken continuously as a
specialized activity of the United Nations. They should be reviewed
biennially by the appropriate bodies of the United Nations system, begin-
ning in 1978. Because of the shortness of the intervals, such monitoring
would necessarily be selective and focus mainly on new and emerging
trends and policies.
216. The Plan of Action should also be considered by the regional
commissions, the United Nations Development Programme, the United
Nations Childrens Fund, the United Nations Industrial Development Orga-
nization, the relevant specialized agencies and other intergovernmental
and non-governmental organizations at their meetings following the World
Conference. The discussions and decisions of these bodies concerning
the Plan should be submitted to the Economic and Social Council and its
relevant functional commissions and advisory bodies (the Commission on
the Status of Women, the Commission for Social Development, the Popula-
tion Commission, the Statistical Commission, the Committee for Develop-
ment Planning, and the Committee on Review and Appraisal) at their
sessions in 1976 and 1977. An item on action on the implementation of
the Plan should be included in the agenda of the sessions of all these
bodies at intervals of no longer than two years.
217. At the regional level, the regional commissions should assume
responsibility for monitoring progress towards the greater and more effec-
tive participation of women in all aspects of development efforts. Such
100


monitoring should be carried out within the framework of the review and
appraisal of the International Development Strategy for the Second United
Nations Development Decade. The commissions should include informa-
tion on the integration of women in development in their reports to the
Economic and Social Council on the social and economic situation in the
regions. They should also discuss at appropriate intervals (such as every
two years) the progress made towards achieving the aims of this Plan of
Action. They should encourage Governments to provide equal opportuni-
ties for women to be represented on their delegations to the sessions of
the commissions and to other relevant meetings.
218. At the national level, Governments are encouraged to undertake
their own regular review and appraisal of progress made to achieve the
goals and objectives of the Plan and to report on its implementation to the
Economic and Social Council in conjunction, where necessary, with other
existing reporting systems (e.g., those of the International Development
Strategy for the Second United Nations Development Decade, the World
Population Plan of Action, the recommendations of the World Food Confer-
ence, and the implementation of the Declaration on the Elimination of
Discrimination against Women, and of the Programme of Concerted Inter-
national Action for the Advancement of Women).
219. Governments should, in the context of their own development
plans, evaluate the implications of this Plan and make any necessary
financial and administrative arrangements for its implementation.
Appendix
RELEVANT INTERNATIONAL INSTRUMENTS
A. United Nations instruments 1
1. General instruments
Charter of the United Nations
Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948)
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (1966)
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Optional
Protocol (1966)
Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the
Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others (1949)
101


2. United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
Convention against Discrimination in Education (1960)
Protocol instituting a Conciliation and Good Offices Commission to be
responsible for seeking a settlement of any disputes which may arise
between States Parties to the Convention against Discrimination in
Education (1962)
B. REGIONAL PLANS OF ACTION
1. Plan of Action for the Integration of Women in Development
adopted for the region of the Economic and Social Commission for
Asia and the Pacific1
We, the representatives of the Governments members of the Eco-
nomic Commission for Asia and the Far East,1 2 assembled at Bangkok
from 13 to 17 May 1974 for the Regional Consultation for Asia and the Far
East on the Integration of Women in Development with Special Reference
to Population Factors,
Gravely concerned over current demographic, economic, political
and social conditions and over the situation of women, particularly of
those living in the rural areas, and their lack of educational and employ-
ment opportunities,
Appreciating the growing realization of the importance of the role of
women in integrated development and the aspirations of Asian women to
contribute to development,
Recognizing the close interrelationship of the status of women and
the determinants of population growth and family size,
Reaffirming the recommendations on the draft World Population Plan
of Action made by the International Forum on the Role of Women in
Population and Development held in New York in February 1974, and the
principles of the Regional Consultation preparatory to the World Popula-
tion Conference held at Bangkok from 7 to 10 May 1974,
1 Formerly issued under the symbol $T/ESA/$ER.B/5/Add.1 and E/CONF.66/BP/2.
2 In accordance with Economic and Social Council resolution 1895 (LVII) of 1 August
1974, the name of the Commission was changed lo "Economic and Social Commission for
Asia and the Pacific".
103