UN initiative will put a value to unpaid community work by Latin American women

4 October 2005

A new United Nations initiative in Latin America will calculate women's unpaid and volunteer work with a view to improving their chances for resource allocation, the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) said today.

"We have shown that analyzing budgets from a gender perspective can enhance transparency and accountability in how public resources are raised and spent," UNIFEM Executive Director Noeleen Heyzer said. Since budgets are used to shape policy and provide the means for achieving social and economic objectives, they must take account of the women who often provide services that are not documented or remunerated, she said.

Gender-responsive budgets aim to ensure than men and women benefit equally from the distribution and use of public resources, said the agency, which is jointly sponsoring the project with the UN Volunteers (UNV) programme.

The project will be carried out in five Latin American countries where women's participation in local decision-making represents best practice examples, such as the Municipality of Rosario, Argentina, and the Municipality of Cuenca in Ecuador. UN volunteers will provide training to women's collectives, civil servants and advocates on how to apply gender budget analysis, and will sensitize governments to the concept and practice.

"Volunteering represents an enormous reservoir of skills, energy and local knowledge, which, when properly supported, can be a strategic resource for women to make their voices heard and their actions felt," UNV Executive Coordinator Ad de Raad said.

 

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