International Womens Day, celebrated internationally on 8 March every year for over thirty years now, will focus this year on the theme Ending Impunity for Violence against Women. The Day serves to highlight the fact that securing peace and social progress and the full enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms require the active participation, equality and development of women; and to acknowledge the contribution of women to the strengthening of international peace and security.
8 March 2007
UN-NGLS Launches New Publication:
The Unfinished Story of Women and the United Nations
To help commemorate International Womens Day, UN-NGLS is pleased to announce its latest publication in the Development Dossierseries, The Unfinished Story of Women and the United Nations, which covers more than eighty-five years of history between women and inter-governmental organizations. Unrecorded by history and untold by the media, this book recalls the success story of women and the League of Nations and describes the unfolding history of women at the United Nations for the advancement and empowerment of women, especially in the 30 years since the First UN World Conference on Women in 1975 in Mexico City and up to the ten-year review and appraisal of the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action in 2005. It is available online.
See also the Online Focus archive on the UN-NGLS website on eliminating violence against women.
Commission on the Status of Women
The 51st session of the Commission on the Status of Women is being held from 26 February to 9 March 2007, with "The elimination of all forms of discrimination and violence against the girl childs" as its priority theme. The 51st session included a high-level roundtable on "Elimination of all forms of discrimination and violence against the girl child" on 26 February 2007; an interactive dialogue on "Progress in the implementation of the agreed conclusions on the role of men and boys in achieving gender equality" on 2 March; panel discussions on policy initiatives to eliminate all forms of discrimination and violence against the girl child on 27 February, and "Capacity building on mainstreaming a gender perspective in the development, implementation and evaluation of national policies and programmes for the elimination of all forms of discrimination and violence against the girl child" also on 27 February. An informal panel on "Financing for gender equality and the empowerment of women" was held on 28 February 2007. Further information on the 51st session of the CSW is available online. A large number of NGO side events were also scheduled. A comprehensive listing of these events is available online.
Panel Discussion: How to Strengthen Gender Architecture
On 26 February, a panel discussion on United Nations Reform: How to Strengthen Gender Architecture? was held as a side event of the 51st session of the Commission on the Status of Women. The event was cosponsored by the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), UN-NGLS, the Women's Environment and Development Organizations (WEDO) and the Center for Women's Global Leadership. A report of the panel discussion will be available soon on the NGLS website.
GA Informal Thematic Debate: Promotion of Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women
From 6-7 March 2007, the General Assembly will hold an informal thematic debate on the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women, with the President of the General Assembly, Haya Rashed Al Khalifa, and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon opening the two-day debate. During the 2005 World Summit, world leaders affirmed their commitment to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women as an integral aspect of reducing poverty and achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The two panel discussions will focus on women in decision making and the empowerment of women including through microfinance. Further information is available online.
Report of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences
Yakin Ertrk, Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, has released her report: Intersections between culture and violence against women (A/HRC/4/34). Section I of the report is an introduction, section II summarizes the Special Rapporteur's activities in 2006 and section III examines the intersections of culture and violence against women and contains the Rapporteur's conclusions. The report addresses the dominant culture-based paradigms that justify or explain the violations of women's rights. In order to successfully uphold universally agreed values, in particular the principle that no custom, tradition or religious consideration can be invoked to justify violence against women, the report identifies the myths around cultural discourses and outlines general guidelines for an effective strategy to counter and transform culture-based discourses, which constitute one of the major obstacles to the implementation of women's rights. The report is available online.
UN Trust Fund in Support of Actions to Eliminate Violence against Women
The year 2007 marks the 10th anniversary of the United Nations Trust Fund in Support of Actions to Eliminate Violence against Women, which is managed by the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM). In establishing the Trust Fund, the General Assembly (resolution 50/166 in 1996) highlighted eliminating violence against women as critical to accelerating the implementation of the 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. The Trust Fund is the only multilateral grant-making mechanism that supports local, national and regional efforts to combat violence. Since it began operations in 1997, the Trust Fund has distributed nearly US$13 million to 226 innovative programmes to address violence against women in more than 100 countries, including projects that conduct public education and awareness campaigns, build coalitions, involve law-enforcement, judicial and government agencies, train educators, healthcare personnel and police officials to respond to and prevent violence. Many projects strive to alter community attitudes and involve men as allies. Further information is available online.
UNFPA: Ending Violence Against Women
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has launched a new publication entitled Ending Violence Against Women: Programming for Prevention, Protection and Care. The handbook, intended primarily for development practitioners, provides practical points to consider when designing and implementing projects addressing violence against women. It is a collection of good practices drawn from ten case studies described in a complementary volume Programming to Address Violence Against Women. The approaches are based on an appreciation of culture and the role it plays in this issue.
Ending Violence Against Women is available online. Also available on the UNFPA website is an Online Exhibition: Ending Violence Against Women, which includes cultural sensitive programming approaches, case studies and other related resources.
The first virtual network linking women in politics throughout the world was launched on 27 February 2007 at the United Nations: the International Knowledge Network of Women in Politics (iKNOW Politics). The initiative was founded in partnership by the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, the United Nations Development Programme and the United Nations Development Fund for Women.
The global platform is specifically designed to promote gender-sensitive governance and advance the role and number of women in political and public life. It connects parliamentarians, representatives, candidates, political party leaders and members, researchers, academia and practitioners across borders, generations and faiths, equipping them with the materials, expertise and best practices to make their political mark.
Drawing on a database of over 100 experts on women in politics, iKNOW Politics allows users to access an online library with more than 400 reports, handbooks and training materials in English, French and Spanish from leading international agencies, research institutions, academia and civil society groups. More information is available online.
ILO--Celebrating working women: Breaking boundaries, driving change
In keeping with the International Labour Organization (ILO) commitment to gender equality and the improvement of working conditions for women, the ILO celebrates International Women's Day each year by hosting a roundtable discussion highlighting the role and/or achievements of women in a particular field of work.
This year's guest include:
Anousheh Ansari - On September 18, 2006, she captured headlines around the world as the first woman private space explorer after she spent eight days aboard the International Space Station. An active proponent of world-changing technologies and social entrepreneurship, she is currently the co-founder and chairwoman of the technology company, Prodea Systems.
Rabiatu Serah Diallo - An active campaigner for workers' rights since her early youth, she is the first woman to hold the post of General Secretary of the Confederation Nationale des Travailleurs de Guinée (CNTG) and the first woman to attain such a position in an African country. She has been working on all fronts in her country, Guinea, which faces severe poverty and has been the scene of violent clashes over recent weeks.
ILO will also issue a new study entitled Global Employment Trends for Women, Brief 2007, which provides a concise overview of the state of women in labour markets worldwide, including new data on the number of women who are in work, the number who are unemployed and what it calls the âfeminization of working poverty. The study also analyzes the evolution of female participation in labour markets over the past decade. It will be available online.
UNESCO: Women Peacemakers
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is hosting an international conference on 8 March that will bring together women who contribute, through their work, to the promotion of peace around the world. In order to face the most complex crises the world has ever known, and because conflicts have direct consequences on women, it is fundamental that women participate fully and equally in the prevention of conflicts, in peacebuilding processes and in the consolidation of peace.
Further information is available online.
Also on International Women's Day, educators worldwide are demanding that governments act to halt violence that endangers women's lives, violates their rights, harms their families and poses an affront to humanity and international law. According to Education International (EI), the federation of organizations representing over 30 million teachers and other education workers, women around the world continue to face systemic discrimination and inequality that restricts their choices, limits their ability to act and undercuts their enormous potential to contribute to peace and development.
EI and its member organizations are urging governments to pursue the Education for All goals and Millennium Development Goals related to education, by: guaranteeing the fundamental right to education to all girls worldwide; strengthening opportunities for post-primary education for girls while meeting commitments to universal primary education; making schools girl-friendly; recruiting female teachers from the communities in areas where the school enrolment of girls is low due to cultural factors and traditional practices that pose impediments to education; implementing international conventions prohibiting child labour and setting minimum age for labour; combating violence against girls and women; taking measures to prevent, suppress and punish trafficking in persons, especially women and children; and providing sexual health education and access to quality public services by adolescents, poor women and disadvantaged groups. More information is available online.
WEDO: Women and UN Reform
The Women's Environment and Development Organization (WEDO) has produced an advocacy and activist resource fact sheet on gender equality and UN Reform. Using clear and simple language, "UN Reform: What's at Stake for Women?" outlines the UN reform process and how it affects women's lives. It provides an overview of women's work throughout the process, key demands met and steps to take to get involved and help make change. UN Reform: What's at Stake for Women is available online.
The Women's UN Report Program & Network (WUNRN) is a non-governmental organization that strives to implement the conclusions and recommendations of the United Nations Study on Freedom of Religion of Belief and the Status of Women From the Viewpoint of Religion and Traditions (E/CN.4/2002/73/Add.2). The study provides a universal and comprehensive UN approach to intolerance and discrimination against women and girls based on religion and traditions.
The WUNRN programme represents multisectoral linkages between governments, the United Nations, civil society, NGOs, academia, religions, media, foundations and more. WUNRN is an information resource and an advocacy programme on the human rights, empowerment, and oppression of women and girls around the world.
The WUNRN ListServe is considered one of the most active and expansive Gender ListServes in the world. To sign up, send an email request to WUNRN at firstname.lastname@example.org . Further information is available online.
Women's International Perspective
The Women's International Perspective, WIPSM, a news and opinion website that aims to help set a new standard in online news reporting, will be launched on 8 March, bringing together women writers from around the world who provide comprehensive news coverage on global issues and events.
WIPSM aims to address the under-representation of women in media and to offer breaking news stories written from the woman's perspective in order to help enhance global dialogue and bring divergent cultures, opinions, and ideas together. The WIPSM front page features news headlines, a unique female byline portal of regional publications from around the globe, and links to The WIPSM writer contributions. Editorials are written by both established and emerging writers.
For more information, please contact: Sarah McGowan, Content Editor, at: email@example.com . Further information can be found online.
For a list of events taking place around the world, please visit: The International Women's Day website: (http://www.internationalwomensday.com).