Advancing Women's Human Rights through Gender Responsive Public Services

This Expert paper by PSI proposes that the UNCSW adopt the framework of Gender Responsive Quality Public Services (GRQPS) and in doing so address the primary barriers to the delivery of GRQPS and the enablers of GRQPS and women’s human rights, including labour rights of those workers who are strategic in front line-public services.

The critical role public services play in advancing women’s human rights and addressing gender inequality has been repeatedly recognised in international law as well as by researchers, unions and civil society. From the Beijing Platform for Action to the Human Rights Council, treaty bodies, UN Resolutions and previous conclusions of the CSW, member states and experts have repreatedly recognised that a failure to deliver public services has discriminatory impacts.

States remain the primary duty bearers responsible for deliverying human rights. Yet increasingly states seek to relinquish their obligations, diminish public services and seek ways to have them provided by private sector actors. These decisions are political, not financial, and the outcome often means higher costs to states, lower quality services, and increased inequality and marginalization. States have the capacity to progressively provide GRQPS; too often they simply lack the political will to do so.

Public Services International (PSI) – part of the Global Union Coalition – appreciates the opportunity to contribute to the Expert Group Meeting (EGM) in preparation for the 63nd Commission on the Status of Women priority theme: “Social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls”. We comend the Commission for recognising the essential role Public Services have in advancing women’s human rights and the need to address state obligations to better deliver public services, as well as, look forward to discussions on the gender gaps in social protection.

The Global Union Coalition at the UNCSW participates each year with a trade union delegation of women leaders and activist from around the world, representing unions of the ITUC, EI and PSI and other Global Unions who attend the UNCSW regularly including the ITF, IFJ, IUF/IDWF and UNI Global Union.

For more information follow the CSW63 union delegation's blog:


Download a PDF of the report in English - Español