Dr. Yuriko Meguro, vice-chair of the seminar, summarized in outline form what she perceived to be the areas of commonality and areas that required further discussion.


Dr. Meguro suggested that although there were differences from country to country, the evident commonality between women is that, relative to men, women continue to be discriminated against. As well, in each country women are endeavoring (at different speeds) to "catch up" to men in terms of equality. For example, in Kenya women do chores and tasks that they have done for centuries, plus they now perform additional tasks such as learning how to read and write in an attempt to gain equal access to all aspects of the society. New Zealand women were the first in the world to obtain suffrage. Today however, they continue to carry out traditional life roles. This is especially true for aboriginal women. The universal status of women's political and decision making capability is that things have improved somewhat but that it is still very limited beyond the home.

The "North-South" problem continues to impact on women's issues. This question was first addressed at Mexico City and has not yet been alleviated. A difference in the problems of women who are "have's" and women who are "have-nots" exists within individual countries as well.

The need for standard definitions of terms and assurance of common understandings was identified. For example, terms such as "society" and "life-long learning" need to be commonly understood to discuss the issues in a full way.

Dr. Meguro defined three aspects of decision making that women are involved in and need to continue to be involved in:

  1. Formal - within the "system" and/or individual organizations, women need to know who is in charge of making decisions, how they are made and gain access to the process.

  2. Informal - who are the people in a position to influence those who make decisions? Who are the people who influence decision makers' political consciousness, both in "The System" and out of "The System"?

  3. Semi-formal - women's clubs, associations can influence/lobby decision makers.

Delegates were asked to consider and further explore certain aspects of their various cultural backgrounds in the discussions that were to follow and conclude the seminar. Take for example, the question of the division of labor between men and women. When this decision is clear, the roles men and women carry out are also clear. However, as the division of labor blurs with the breaking down of polarized roles, women want more say in the formal decision making process.

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