Global News

As our team becomes aware of news that is of global importance to women, we are committed to making it available here, and to featuring what we can in our periodic Newsletter.  If you are aware of news that you feel is global in nature, please join our network and/or submit your news items here if you are already a member.  If you would like to become a regular "reporter", please contact Jeanie@wayswomenlead.net .  Together we will create currents of good news around the world!

Brazil Elects Its First Woman President

posted Nov 3, 2010, 5:11 AM by Ann Smith

Dilma Rousseff has become the first woman to be elected Brazil's president, succeeding Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Ms. Rousseff, 62, has enjoyed the full support of President Lula, who is leaving after two terms of office with record popularity. On the evening of Sunday, October 31, thousands of supporters of the governing Workers Party took to the streets across Brazil to celebrate her victory.

Rousseff, who has never held elected office before, joined President Lula's cabinet as energy minister in 2003-5 and then became his chief of staff. She held this post until March 2010, when she launched her campaign for the presidency as the Workers Party (PT) candidate.

Rousseff Is "Mother Of The Nation"

During the election campaign, President Lula referred to Ms. Rousseff constantly as "mother of the nation," an image picked up and embellished in her TV election ads.

In her victory speech, she said her first priority would be to lift 20 million Brazilians out of poverty. "I reiterate my fundamental promise: the eradication of poverty," she said. "We must not rest while there are Brazilians going hungry."

Rousseff Endured Torture And Jail For Two Years

Ms. Rousseff has an unusual background: she is a former Marxist rebel who was jailed and tortured in 1970-72 for resisting military rule. Since then she has trained as an economist and worked her way up through local and state governments.

Women Gain Power In South America

She joins the growing number of women in South America who have gained power: Michele Bachelet was formerly President of Chile, and is now head of the United Nations Global Women's agency, while Argentina is now headed by Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.   

Posted by: Judy Mollan  on  Care2 Causes [care2-causes@newsletters.care2.com]

 



Michelle Bachelet to Head UN Women

posted Sep 27, 2010, 5:58 AM by Ann Smith

 

GEAR - Gender/Equality/Architecture/Reform

FEIM - La Fundación para Estudio e Investigación de la Mujer

 

22 September 2010

Mabel Bianco

 

Michelle Bachelet’s First Press Conference at the United Nations

 

Michelle Bachelet, recently assigned by the Secretary General of the United Nations to head UN Women, held her first press conference in the auditorium of the Dag Hammarskjöld Library. She is the past president of Chile. 

 

As Latin American Focal Point for the GEAR Campaign and President of FEIM, I participated in this press conference where Bachelet demonstrated her political capabilities, although it is obvious that she was not able to talk about her service during her term in office yet because this would anticipate the timeline set by United Nations. Although she will not take office until January, starting now she will be incorporated into the United Nations and begin working with the transition group, which is made up of the four already existing women’s entities in the UN that will be integrated into the new entity. The representatives of the 41 countries that will make up the UN Women’s Board of Directors will be elected in October and the Committee will be constituted in November and begin their functions in January 2011.

 

Among the questions that she was asked at the conference, I will point out the most important ones, which I consider should be disseminated. How should violence against women be addressed—including massive rape of women in armed conflicts as well as such acts committed by United Nations Peacekeepers?  Bachelet responded by stating that she will strengthen the actions of the Secretary General’s UNITE Campaign, and, among other actions, she will promote that the necessary laws are passed to address all forms of violence against women and that they be implemented in the countries where they already exist. She will also promote the creation and application of punishments for violence against women so that women feel that their rights are respected. She will promote that women not only receive treatment and support but also violence prevention, by advocating that this to be incorporated into primary education for girls and boys, and alluding to comprehensive sexuality education. Regarding massive rape of women, she said that these acts must be judged and penalized regardless of who commits them and that a review of ways to overcome the immunity of UN personnel will have to be carried out.

 

Another question was how she would work to achieve the Millennium Development Goales –MDGs- and if she would incorporate MDG 5: maternal health. She replied that now, in her new position, she will continue to advocate for fulfilling the MDGs, adding that 2015 is very close and we cannot wait any longer before getting to work. She recognized that since some time ago, from the MDG Support Committee, she was most interested in women’s and girls’ empowerment and maternal health. Now, in UN Women, she will focus more on these objectives and, she added, maternal mortality rates are very high and this affects women’s possibilities. For this reason she believes that, as this continues to be very important health issue, there are no excuses for not implementing these actions. She gave examples of effective interventions and even mentioned abortion as a cause that needs to be addressed in order to avoid these deaths.

 

She also stated that it is very important to improve women’s access to employment in the non-agricultural sector. Women’s participation is still very low, but she clarified that to achieve this, the current distribution of responsibilities in the family needs to be changed. For example, if women continue to be the sole caregivers for children, the elderly and the disabled, they will never be able to improve their participation in the formal labor market and this will keep them from achieving economic independence, which is something very important for improving the condition of women and real empowerment. 

 

Later, she clarified that she the believes that UN Women cannot have only one formula for improving the situation of women, and it will therefore be necessary to see what is needed most in each country and privilege working on those issues, without leaving out others. In response to a question about how she will work in countries where women’s rights are ignored, she said that in those cases we will have to be realistic and work cautiously but continuously to move forward. Answering a journalist’s question about what it means to be realistic and cautious, Bachelet clarified that she is passionate and therefore, through UN Women, she will work to truly accelerate improvements for women. The audience applauded her answer.       

 

In response to a question about whether she planned to work with civil society, she said that she already respects and knows the work of women’s organizations, that she has experience working with these organizations and that she believes that this is a key for UN Women. She mentioned, for example, that she has promoted the formation of advisory committees, commissions and other mechanisms for civil society participation, and that she will also promote this in UN Women.

 

She did not mention the situation of UN Women’s financial resources because there were no questions on this matter. Nonetheless, this is concerning because the commitment is to reach 500 million dollars but there still is not even a third of this amount. Therefore it is necessary that all states increase their donations and that women’s groups take an interest in this.

Safe and Clean Drinking Water & Sanitation Human Right

posted Aug 4, 2010, 4:39 AM by Ann Smith

Safe and clean drinking water and sanitation is a human right essential to the full enjoyment of life and all other human rights, the General Assembly declared on July 28th, voicing deep concern that almost 900 million people worldwide do not have access to clean water.

The 192-member Assembly also called on United Nations Member States and international organizations to offer funding, technology and other resources to help poorer countries scale up their efforts to provide clean, accessible and affordable drinking water and sanitation for everyone.

For more information about this significant UN action go to

http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=35456&Cr=SANITATION&Cr1

UN Women Born

posted Jul 2, 2010, 12:40 PM by Ann Smith

UN WOMEN BORN: CIVIL SOCIETY CELEBRATES CREATION OF GENDER EQUALITY ENTITY AFTER FOUR YEARS OF ADVOCACY

Celebrate with women and men from around the world that the United Nations General Assembly formally adopted, July 2, 2010, the establishment of the new gender equality entity.  The dream for this new agency is that it will become a solid foundation for advancing women’s human rights, reduce poverty and bring forth a greater realization of peace and democracy in the world.  Now that she is born, we all need to ensure that she has the human and financial resources to grow into her full potential as a powerful global entity that engages with women’s groups and other civil society organizations invested in gender equality and the empowerment of women.  After four years of advocacy the GEAR campaign has succeeded.  Congratulations!!!! 

As the new entity is developed, GEAR supporters will continue to advocate for four major elements critical to its implementation:

•       Meaningful, systematic and diverse civil society participation at all levels
•       Strong, country-level operational capacity and universal coverage
•       Ambitious funding with stable and predictable resources aimed at reaching   $1 billion within a few years
•       Strong leadership at the top with an Under Secretary-General who combines a global vision with gender equality expertise on the ground

For more information please go to the GEAR Campaign website - www.gearcampaign.org   - or contact the GEAR Campaign at: gearcampaign@gmail.com  www.gearcampaign.org   - or contact the GEAR Campaign at: gearcampaign@gmail.com 

 

5WCW Oral Statement at UN ECOSOC

posted Jun 28, 2010, 10:38 AM by Ann Smith

I am Whitney Smith and am honored to read this statement from Pathways to Peace. Co-sponsors are Women’s Intercultural Network and Women’s World Summit Foundation in Geneva. It was written by Jean Shinoda Bolen, M.D. The title is “Advocating a UN NGO 5th World Conference on Women and Girls.”

 

To achieve gender equality and empowerment of women, the political will to make these goals into national and

international priorities has to exist. In democracies and govenments that are influenced by public opinion and votes,

mobilization of women on their own behalf has been the most effective and often the only reason for gains made so

far.

 

A 5th UN NGO World Conference on Women, the first since widespread use of the internet, has the potential of

informing, linking, and networking women, creating effective networks and developing a critical mass of people who

realize that the planet and humanity need to have women involved at every level to have peace, a sustainable

economy, and to demand that UN Security Council Resolution 1325,  and other documents be implemented.

 

The global women's movement needs the 5th UN sponsored World Conference on Women and Girls to continue the

momentum toward reaching gender equity. It would bring the concerns that mothers universally want for their children --  a world fit for children. This would be a world where children and therefore everyone, would not fear physical and

psychological violence, where there is enough good food to eat, clean air and water, health care, education and the

freedom to think, speak, create and love.

 

Neuroscience since Beijing shows that women respond to stress differently than men do. Women reduce stress by sharing perceptions, feelings and strategies. This is called the “Tend and Befriend” oxytocin response, and is enhanced by estrogen. This hormonal resonse supports dialogue, collaboration and peaceful resolution of conflicts and supports the designation of women as the “empathc gender.” This contrasts to men’s  “Fight or Flight” physiological Adrenaline and Testosterone response to stress, which increases aggression and competitiveness.  For peace and sustainability, political decisions and budgets need to be more oxytocin-influenced and less testosterone-driven.

 

At CSW54 Beijing + 15, it became evident how influential the 4th UN World Conference on Women had on developing leadership and networks among the women who attended. Most of whom are now in their sixties. They have had a major influence on shaping programs at every level. A UN 5th WCW would bring current and future women’s leaders together, creating and mobilizing intergenerational effective leadership, which is needed.

 

To accomplish the MDGs, civil society needs to play major roles at every level, to be an influence, increase women’s participation in furthering a “mother’s agenda” for children and planet. To accomplish this, ECOSOC needs to support the UN women’s entity authorized by the General Assembly in 2009, with sufficient funding and leadership to be effective, This new entity could organize a 5th UN NGO World Conference on Women by 2015 (instead of a

Beijing +20 review).

 

The potential of a UN NGO 5th World Conference on Women as a consciousness-raising focus is enormous. It would be the first in the 21st Century, the first since widespread use of the internet and technologies that could bring the conference to every city in the world. As a UN -sponsored conference of non-governmental organizations in civil society – the focus would be on learning best practices, networking support, and implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action and the Millennium Development Goals.

 

Thank you very much for this opportunity to speak on behalf of Pathways to Peace, Women’s Intercultural Network, Women’s World Summit Foundation and the ten thousand people who signed the online petition.  (http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/support-a-un-5th-world-conference-on-women.html, www.5wcw.org.)

 

 

Untitled Post

posted May 8, 2010, 7:45 AM by Ann Smith   [ updated May 8, 2010, 8:01 AM ]


Iranian women speak their truth about their country trying to get a seat on the United Nation's Commission on the Status of Women.  They are joined by women's activists worldwide in blocking this attempt.   The following was written by Robin Marty for Care2Causes. 

Via Radio Free Europe:

A group of women's rights activists in Iran and worldwide has written an open letter to the United Nations opposing the Iranian government's bid for membership on the UN's Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

The letter refers to Iranian laws that gender-equality groups say discriminate against women. These include statutes relating to such matters as divorce, child custody, education, and the ability to choose a husband.

Women have been "arrested, beaten, and imprisoned for peacefully seeking change of such laws," the letter says. "The Iranian government will certainly use [CSW membership] to curtail the progress and advancement of women."

 

The commission, who's sole reason for being is to promote the equality and advancement of women, seems like a very strange place for a country who has such warped ideas of women that their clerics proclaim things like "promiscuous women cause earthquakes," or is now declaring that they will arrest women who have suntans, since that proves they are not covering up properly in the eyes of Sharia law.

Feminist Daily News has more:

In February, Gender Equality in Iran issued a petition that demands "an end to state-led violence and repression" in Iran. In part, it said, "Over the past eight months, the grass-roots protest movement that emerged following the disputed presidential elections has been suppressed by mounting violence. Physical and psychological violence - through arrest, torture, rape, extended imprisonment, and even execution - has been exercised against civil and political activists in Iran. As of now, numerous women activists from various movements - women's, workers, students, civil, and political - are detained and/or have received heavy sentences. The list of detainees grows everyday."

In addition to the continued harassment of activists, during the fall of 2009 a documentary attacking Iran's women's rights movement was broadcast on state television. At about the same time, the head of Iran's state television, Ezatollah Zarghami, declared that state-sponsored television programs will henceforth prohibit women who appear on air from using make-up. Zarghami told the newspaper Eternad that "make-up by women during television programs is illegal and against Islamic Sharia law. There should not be a single case of a woman wearing make-up during a program."


 


Spiritual Practice Rx for Stress

posted Apr 19, 2010, 10:52 AM by Ann Smith

What's the Point of the Women's Revolution if We Can't Dance - Stress, Burnout Risk +
by Jane Barry  |  March 30, 2010
http://www.worldpulse.com/magazine/articles/whats-the-point-of-the-revolution-if-we-cant-dance?page=0,0

Jane Barry and Jelena Dordevic met with activists around the world to discuss the culture of the women’s movement and uncovered a disturbing trend: We’re deeply unsettled in our work, and it’s affecting our progress. It’s time to change that.

"Sustainability is about being able to do the work we love, while still feeling full and happy in every part of our lives."

Oxana Alistratova is an intense, driven activist running an anti-trafficking center in Moldova. When we first meet in Dublin, at a Front Line Human Rights Defenders meeting, we talk for hours about her work, her life, and her safety. Every day she works directly with survivors while managing a staff of 15. It’s difficult and dangerous work.

I finally ask her how she manages to juggle it all. She pauses.

“Well, I don’t sleep,” she says.

Oxana’s answer sums up the experience of most activists in the women’s movement. Across the world—from Rwandan peace activists to US domestic violence advocates—we are looking for more time. We are constantly trying to balance too much work with too few resources and never enough rest. We’re making choices every day about well-being—our own and everyone else’s. With so much to be done, and so many wrongs in the world to right, we almost always choose to serve others first. We don’t feel we have a right to rest.

I know because, with my colleague Jelena Dordevic, I’ve talked with more than 100 female human rights activists from 45 countries about this topic, and they all said the same thing: We’ve created a culture of self-sacrifice. And we’re tired. We’re fearful, exhausted, even traumatized.

When we sat down and talked with women about their hopes and challenges, what we learned was both disturbing and surprising.

What’s disturbing is that as activists, we manage high levels of chronic stress, exposure to trauma, and enormous workloads. We’re deeply stressed about the amount of work we have to do, and yet we almost universally accept this level of work as an inevitable fact of activism.

What’s surprising is that despite it all, we seem to keep going.

Susan Wells, the founder of Montana’s Windcall Ranch—an all-expense paid retreat for activists—said it best. She talked of “a damaging work ethic,” in which we are encouraged to override our own needs in order to reach our end goal. She explained that there is a damaging perception that a truly committed activist should be willing to tackle the Goliath of social injustice regardless of the personal cost. She pointed out the irony in the fact that when she first established her home as a free retreat for overworked activists nearly 20 years ago, she sent out 3,000 invitations, but only 30 people applied. Most felt that they—and their organizations—just couldn’t afford the indulgence.

Our work is messy, complicated, and personal. We’re fighting against warlords, mercenaries, and weapon-manufacturing nations. We’re up against state-sponsored terrorism, transnational corporations, and the factory down the hill that’s polluting our water supplies. We’re exposing our neighbor who just trafficked his daughter. We’re up against the world, and it’s taking its toll.

And yet when Jelena and I first started interviewing women activists about how they cope with the enormous pressure, most reacted with confusion and even frustration.

During one group interview in Sri Lanka, after we had discussed how they were coping with stress, one activist stopped me and said, “Look, I don’t get it—what does this have to do with our work?”

I heard this comment over and over again. As activists we can talk for hours about funding crunches, fundamentalisms, ending war, and violence against women. But discussing our own fears is much harder. Our stress, exhaustion, and personal safety are private matters.

Once activists got past the initial shock of speaking about themselves, issues of burnout inevitably came up. Sarala Emmanuel in Sri Lanka described it as an overwhelming feeling that you can never stem the tide of violence.

“When you hear about another rape or another killing, it makes you depressed,” she said. “In a way it does seem too much—we can’t respond to it all.”

It’s time we start talking. Sooner or later, the stress of the work gets absorbed into our hearts, minds, bodies, and into the movement as a whole. Without the time and space to reflect and recover, it stays there. Eventually it takes form as breakdowns, strokes, heart disease, cancer, suicide.

“I felt that I couldn’t cope with one more minute of handling responsibilities,” said Anissa Helie, a human rights activist in Algeria. “I spent five weeks in bed, only getting up to go to the toilet, not even able to make myself a cup of tea.”

The time has come to make our own personal well-being a priority. Because without physical and emotional health, how can we do the important work that we have set out to do?

Activist Pramada Menon coined the phrase “activist sustainability.”

“We never think of our own sustainability,” she said. “I am not talking about funding. The question is how do we sustain our own lives, get our own energy, and bring that change elsewhere?” . . .

When we are living under constant pressure, the stress and anxiety of staying alert gets to be too much. When we are this tired, we have no time to strategize, to analyze threats, to do our jobs well. Worries about feeding our families or retiring without a pension are as important as concerns about funding our organizations and combating violence. These are part of the same sustainability equation.

Sustainability is about being able to do the work we love, while still feeling full and happy in every part of our lives. It’s about feeling safe, feeling connected, feeling recognized, respected, and valued—for who
we are, as much as for what we do.

But how do we sustain ourselves? How do we maintain the energy needed to create the change we so desperately seek?

As a movement, I know that we are resilient. We get knocked down. And we get back up again. Here’s how.
Joining Forces
As activists, we are each other’s families. We create peace by joining forces, by gathering, talking, and listening.

For many, the first time we come together with other activists is one of the first times that we find safety—not just in numbers but also in common experience. Sometimes, these spaces aren’t available in our own communities and we must seek them out by attending conferences, joining forums, and finding friends that can become our families and our pillars.

Let’s start talking. Not on the edges of conferences or in rushed e-mails. Not during tearful, exhausted calls from the office to another time zone at three in the morning. This has to be deliberate. We have to put talking, listening, and responding to our own needs at the top of our agendas.
Crying It Out
Crying has universal resonance among activists.

Hope Chigudu, a Zimbabwean activist, pointed out that one group who works on HIV/AIDS issues has a “crying room” to help its members deal with the tragedy and horrors they view every day. And, in our work, we see a lot of tragedy.

I am reminded of Barbara Bangura, a Sierra Leonean activist who worked with women who had been captured and enslaved by rebel soldiers during the decade-long civil war. When we met in her crowded offices, I was struck by her composure. What did it take to maintain serenity when surrounded by so much pain and sadness?

Barbara told me that usually she manages, but that there are stories that she just can’t shake. Every activist has these stories—those that seep, unexpectedly, into every aspect of our lives, haunting our dreams. These are the stories that drive us to the brink of despair, that leave us asking, “Why is this happening?”

We need to feel these stories, to take time to reflect on the gravity of the situations we are facing. These are the times when we allow ourselves to feel and release, to share in the sorrow.
Feeding the Soul
Spirituality, in its many forms, sustains many of us. Let’s get the “S” word out of the closet and talk openly about how to embrace what works and how to put aside the rest. For some, there is no name for this form of renewal; it is simply as natural as embracing the elements or digging bare hands into the earth to help create life. Spirituality takes us back to our deepest beliefs and values, to the source of our passion and commitment. For many, it can be the key to sustaining ourselves as activists. Because, as Margaret Schink, a US-based activist and one of the founders of Urgent Action Fund, says, “We’ll never have peace unless people have peace within themselves. To really bring about significant change, people have to go within themselves and find peace.”

It’s controversial, and deeply personal, and that can make it difficult to talk about. But the majority of the activists I interviewed practiced some kind of spirituality that kept them going—from walking in the woods to Buddhist meditation. Spiritual practices can help us make sense of the things going on around us. They can help us return to loving the world and loving ourselves. Making a practice of validating and affirming our spirituality can rejuvenate our work. . . .
Make Sustainability a Part of Our Everyday Lives
As a network of organizations working for the world’s women, we must begin to dedicate real time in our own work environments to sitting down and talking about well-being together. We must begin to shift our culture radically by incorporating self-sustainability, activist safety, and well-being into our everyday routines.

Zawadi Nyong’o, an activist from Kenya, put together the following list of ways her organization can begin this shift. Let’s add to it.

  • Take 5 minutes every hour to stop, drink a glass of water, meditate, stretch, or do whatever is relaxing to you.
  • Create a space within the office for peaceful reflection.
  • Ensure that at least one day of annual staff retreats or gatherings are reserved for rest and restoration.
  • Fundraise for staff well-being. Give each staff member a personal well-being budget for massages, reiki, pilates, talk therapy, etc.
  • Say no to working on the weekends and budget sacred time for reflection during our work weeks.
Challenge Yourself to Challenge the Culture
Ask yourself what well-being means to you. What would it take for you to live in balance? Take the time to listen to your answer. It means change—and change can be scary. Let the process of exploring inner sustainability transform your own activism. Challenge your beliefs about what it means to be a part of this movement. It starts with ourselves as individual activists and permeates outward.

What does it mean if the way we’ve been active for generations isn’t working for us anymore? I’ve often wondered if embracing a different way of working negates all of the progress we’ve made until now.

Of course, it means exactly the opposite. Embracing activist sustainability is about celebrating where we’ve been and what we’ve accomplished. It’s about embracing the good and recognizing the bad. It’s time we start doing less and engage in “the extreme sport of stopping,” as one activist calls it.

We have to change the culture of activism and heal ourselves, so that we can begin to heal others. When this cultural shift takes hold, our movement will become truly unstoppable.




UN Gender Equality Architecture Reform GEAR

posted Mar 23, 2010, 11:25 AM by Ann Smith


Dear GEAR Campaign Supporters,

The recent meeting of the 54th Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) advanced the GEAR Campaign goal of continuing civil society pressure on governments to move forward in passing the resolution that creates the entity during this session of the General Assembly (which ends in September).  At the CSW, over 60 countries (list to be available soon) from all regions spoke in support of the new gender architecture in their speeches.  Governments initiated a resolution that was co-sponsored by 180 countries and introduced by the Joint Coordinating Committee of the Non-Aligned Movement and Group of 77/China (JCC) supporting the creation of the entity – indicating the wide spread assumption that this will happen. (The resolution is attached.)    

The UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, called on governments to take action to create the entity without further delay, and the NGO Action of holding up a “GEAR UP NOW!” sign in the balcony on the day of his speech as part of the UN official observance of International Women’s Day on March 3rd was greeted with enthusiastic applause.  The sessions on the new entity were packed, and many other sessions that addressed UN structural issues assumed the new architecture as part of the future UN landscape.  All the NGO regional groups at CSW used this period to advocate for GEAR and specifically for a strong operational capacity in the new entity.

The General Assembly (GA) held several informal discussions on the System-Wide Coherence process (including gender architecture) before the CSW and has scheduled more March-June during which time, it is anticipated that a SWC resolution launching the new women’s agency will be drafted.  Now, the GEAR Campaign’s greatest concern is not whether the entity will be created but WHAT will be created.  We expect the resolution to be passed by the end of this GA session in time for the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Summit review in September, but there are still a number of important details to be resolved.  In order for the entity to be effective as a driver for the UN system on women’s rights and empowerment, it must have a robust country level operation that is more than just advisory to the UN system.  This requires that it be both a coordinating body for the UN’s work on women with the capacity to hold the system accountable for gender mainstreaming as well as able to engage in its own programmatic work and to support governmental and NGO work at all levels.

We remain concerned about the money to enable the entity to be effective.  Member states should pledge core, predictable, and multi-year voluntary funds now with a goal of growing to $US1 billion and beyond over time.  There has not been enough progress on financial commitments to date.  Further, we want the resolution creating this entity to recognize that civil society has played a vital role in work on women’s rights and that it is critical to  partner with us and tap into the expertise and insights of a diverse and wide-ranging NGO constituency, particularly women’s organizations. 

We would like to see the Secretary-General initiate a transparent recruitment process for the Under Secretary General to lead the entity immediately.  We are encouraged that there are many rumors floating about names for this position which suggests the inevitability of the creation of the entity, but we would like a clear and accessible process begun soon to ensure a strong committed woman is appointed to this critical job.  The GEAR statement articulating these concerns is attached as a flyer with talking points which we hope will be used by GEAR supporters in the coming two months to advocate for this kind of entity.

Finally, we have attached a new document from the Deputy Secretary General’s (DSG) office, “Establishment of a New Composite Entity for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment: Key Messages, Background and Current Status.”  This document answers many of the questions that we planned to address in a GEAR Q&A.  It is a public document that we think is very useful in clarifying many points about what the entity is intended to do.  While we agree with most of its points, it is also clear from this document why we need to continue to advocate with governments and the UN for a stronger operational presence of the entity on the ground that goes beyond what UNIFEM has now as well as for the money to make this possible and for greater civil society engagement.  

In the coming weeks, we urge you to continue to advocate for a resolution that creates the women’s entity with these characteristics – using both the DSG’s paper and the attached GEAR talking points. 

Center for Women's Global Leadership (CWGL) and Women's Environment and Development Organization (WEDO)
On behalf of the GEAR Campaign Working Group

GEAR Campaign Working Group:

Global Focal Points: Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID), Center for Women’s Global Leadership (CWGL), Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN), International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO)

Regional Focal Points: African's Women Development and Communication Network (FEMNET), Asia Pacific Women’s Watch (APWW), Collective for Research and Training on Development-Action (CRTD-A), European Women’s Lobby (EWL), femLINKpacific, Foundation for Studies and Research on Women (FEIM), Servitas Cameroon and South Asian Campaign for Gender Equality (SACGE)/SAATHI

New York UN Lobbying Strategy Group: AIDS-Free World, Amnesty International (AI), Bahá'í International Community, UN Office, Care International, Center for Women’s Global Leadership (CWGL), ENLACE and Feminist Task Force - Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP), Equality Now, Global Network of Women Peacebuilders, Huairou Commission, Human Rights Watch (HRW), InterAction, International Planned Parenthood Federation/Western Hemisphere Region (IPPF/WHR), International Service for Human Rights, International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC), International Women’s Tribune Centre (IWTC), MADRE, FIMI, Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO), World Federalist Movement (WFM) and Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF)

USA: White House Council on Women and Girls

posted Mar 21, 2010, 10:14 AM by Jeanie DeRousseau

THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
________________________________________________________________
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                   March 11, 2009
 
President Obama Announces White House Council on Women and Girls
President Obama today signed an Executive Order creating the White House Council on Women and Girls. The mission of the Council will be to provide a coordinated federal response to the challenges confronted by women and girls and to ensure that all Cabinet and Cabinet-level agencies consider how their policies and programs impact women and families. The White House Council on Women and Girls will meet regularly, and will serve as a forum for all involved agencies to focus on women.
 
Initial members of the Council include:

The Secretary of State;
The Secretary of the Treasury;
The Secretary of Defense;
The Attorney General;
The Secretary of Interior;
The Secretary of Agriculture;
The Secretary of Commerce;
The Secretary of Labor;
The Secretary of Health and Human Services;
The Secretary of Housing and Urban Development;
The Secretary of Transportation;
The Secretary of Energy;
The Secretary of Education;
The Secretary of Veterans Affairs;
The Secretary of Homeland Security;
The United States Ambassador to the United Nations;
The United States Trade Representative;
The Director of the Office of Management and Budget;
The Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency;
The Administrator of the Small Business Administration;
The Director of the Office of Personnel Management;
The Chair of the Council of Economic Advisors;
The Director of the National Economic Council; and
The Director of the Domestic Policy Council.

Bulgaria Passes Law to Ban GMO Crops

posted Mar 20, 2010, 4:54 AM by Ann Smith

Bulgaria's parliament voted on Thursday to tighten a law that effectively banned cultivation of genetically modified crops.  Public fears based on scientific and commercial reasons persuaded the Bulgarian government to prevent GMO crops from being planted.  While the United States Food and Drug Administration insists that foods produced by genetic engineering are the same as foods from traditional breeding, their own scientists have reported that, "the processes of genetic engineering and traditional breeding are different and... they lead to different risks."  Currently 90 percent of all who farm in developing countries are planting GMO crops.

The people of Bulgaria through hard work by activists and organizations campaigning for sustainable agriculture in Bulgaria,  and government listening to the people, now ensure that no field in Bulgaria will be cultivated with GMOS.  Bulgaria is leading the way for sustainable agriculture for the common good. 

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