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Women and Men Equal Sharing of Responsibilities


Welcome to the UN website of the online discussion on “Women and men: equal sharing of responsibilities”.

The online discussion will run for four weeks from 7 July to 1 August, 2008. Each of the first three weeks of the discussion will be devoted to a specific theme, while the last week will provide the opportunity to wrap up and to raise additional issues if necessary. In addition to discussing achievements and remaining gaps and challenges in all areas, examples of concrete experiences, lessons learned and good practices, including policy interventions that have emerged in an effort to promote a better sharing of responsibilities between women and men, should be highlighted during all weeks.

The online discussion is part of the preparatory process for the 53rd session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in 2009, which will consider “The equal sharing of responsibilities between women and men, including caregiving in the context of HIV/AIDS” as its priority theme. We encourage you to share your ideas and experiences as input to further development of global policy in this area.

The purpose of the online discussion is to contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of the issues and to identify good practices and strategies required to accelerate gender equality in this regard.

Contributions made to this online discussion will serve as a resource to the work of the Commission on the Status of Women in developing concrete recommendation on the issue of equal sharing of responsibilities between women and men, including caregiving in the context of HIV/AIDS.

For more information, please see:


Commitments on the equal sharing of responsibilities between women and men, including care-giving in the context of HIV/AIDS have been made by Governments at the international level, including at the International Conference on Population and Development (1994), the Fourth World Conference on Women (1995), the World Summit for Social Development (1995), and the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly (2000), as well as by the Commission on the Status of Women. International human rights treaties, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), also recognize the obligations that State parties have to promote the equal sharing of responsibility between women and men.

Traditional gender roles and stereotypes often narrowly define the division of labour between women and men, and girls and boys in the domestic sphere. The HIV/AIDS pandemic has compounded the care responsibilities of women and girls. Unequal sharing of responsibilities between women and men limits women’s participation in the labour market, and can lead to increased responsibilities for women when they are employed. It also has implications for women’s full participation in decision-making in all areas, limiting their potential to find the time and develop the skills needed for their full participation. Girls and young women are expected to manage both educational and domestic responsibilities, often resulting in poor scholastic performance and early drop-out from the educational system.

Themes of the online discussion

Week One: 7-11 July 2008
Gender stereotypes and equal sharing of responsibilities between women and men in the private sphere

Week Two: 14-18 July 2008
The effects of unequal sharing of responsibilities on women’s full participation in the public sphere

Week Three: 21-25 July 2008
HIV/AIDS and equal sharing of responsibilities between women and men

Week Four: 28 July- 1 August 2008
Other issues, wrap up and recommendations for future action

Registration for the online discussion

To register, please click on the following link to fill out an online form:

You are encouraged to register before 3 July 2008.

You will receive an email with your username and password before the start of the online discussion.

If you have any questions about the registration process, please contact us at:

Ground rules for the online discussion

The ground rules are the following. Messages should:

Be identifiable. Please add your name, organization (if any) and country (for DAW record keeping and statistical purposes) at the end of your message;
Refer to the subject of the week;
Be in English;
Contain no insulting language;
Not exceed three paragraphs or half of a printed page;
Have no attachments, all text has to be in the body of the posted message.

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