Women's Environment & Development Organization
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Climate Change Action
Hangs in the "Gender" Balance
throughout the world have been adapting to climate change long before
scientists ever identified the causes or gave it a name. As farmers and
leaders in conservation, as innovators and catalysts for change and as
family caretakers, women in all regions are taking action on climate
At the same time, we know that climate change exacerbates
existing inequalities and that the poor - the majority of whom are
women - experience its harshest effects. From New Orleans to
Bangladesh, more women die and suffer from natural disasters than men.
the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) is
one of the few global treaties that does not mention women's equality.
Much of the intergovernmental debate has concentrated on technology
fixes and carbon trading, with little focus on the human dimensions of
Women, however, are key agents of change. New
research documents that communities fare better during natural
disasters when women play a leadership role in early warning systems
and reconstruction. And when governments tap into their knowledge,
solutions are both innovative and doable.
During a drought in
Micronesia, for example, women - utilizing their experience in working
the land - were able to create new wells filled with fresh drinking
water. In Kenya, women's groups affiliated with the Greenbelt Movement
have planted thousands of trees - replenishing the soil, generating
income and capturing carbon dioxide from the air.
women's organizations have yet to participate in the global discussion
on climate change. In Bali, where governments gathered this past
December for talks on climate change, WEDO was one of only a handful
of women's organizations present. Our team in Bali worked to raise
awareness among government and UN representatives, as well as among
other non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from the environmental and
social justice fields, on the links between gender equality and climate
A new global climate agreement to follow the Kyoto
Protocol (which expires in 2012) must be hammered out by the talks in
Copenhagen in 2009. It is essential that all the world's governments -
including the United States - sign onto to this multilateral agreement
for it to be most effective. WEDO will be mobilizing women here at home
to press for U.S. support for such an agreement.
deeply committed to bringing women's perspectives to national and
global policymaking on climate change. Most importantly, WEDO will make
sure that women's voices, their concerns and their wisdom are not only
recognized as valuable - but are the basis for solutions.
June Zeitlin, Executive Director
|In the Spotlight: Q & A with Long-time WEDO Friend and Supporter Carole Cullum
With Anna Grossman, Communications Program
is an appalling fact that women continue to comprise the majority of
the world's poor, and yet the amount of development aid and financial
resources available to women's groups has declined over the years.
While there has never been a surplus of money available to women's
organizations, in 2005 the Association for Women in Development (AWID)
reported that 51 percent of women's organizations receive less funding
compared to what they received in 2000. This means that, now more than
ever, WEDO and other women's organizations must rely on the support of
individuals and the grassroots in order to continue to advance women's
equality. We asked family lawyer and women's rights activist Carole Cullum to talk about what motivates her continued support of WEDO's work.
Your connection to WEDO dates back to 1974 when you worked as an aide
to former congresswoman and WEDO founder Bella Abzug. What was it like
to work with Bella? What has motivated you to continue supporting
A. It was
probably the most amazing job I've ever held. Bella was a
whirlwind of energy, knowledge and commitment. She took on the
most conservative of congressmen (yes, it was men then), and the most
important issues for us all, in a way that was amazing to
everyone-including the other side. She stood her ground, spoke to
truth, and skillfully used the rules of congress to bring about change,
to the amazement of those who tried to block her. She demanded 110% of
everyone who worked for her, but she demanded 200% of
herself. Bella considered her "constituency" to be not only
the people from her district in Manhattan, but also those people from
around the country and around the world who sent her letters, phone
calls and stopped to visit with her when they were in DC, sharing their
concerns. She was unafraid of the Nixon administration, the Department
of Justice, the CIA and the military at a time when the Cointelpro
programs were targeting her, and so many of us, myself included, for
our anti-war work. When she obtained her CIA records, I was
inspired to ask for my own and first found out that I had been targeted
by the FBI and CIA for my work with John Lennon and Yoko Ono to
organize anti-war concerts around the country prior to Nixon's 2nd
After she left
congress, and coming out of the International Women's Year conference
in Houston, Texas, in November of 1977, she began the work which
brought about WEDO. She was able to spread the work
for women's equality in a real way, not just at home, but to women
across the globe. Bella was committed to building an
international organization that worked in coordination with the UN in
developing and training women to take charge of their own lives and
places in their own governments. When she grew ill at the end,
she took the steps necessary to pass on the baton of WEDO to other
women who have continued her work. I have, from the very
beginning, supported WEDO and now give semi-annual donations to WEDO on
a regular basis. I do this out of commitment to the women of the
world and in memory of the most amazing woman I have ever met.
Read the whole interview!
CULLUM is a certified family law specialist in practice in San
Francisco. She has been practicing law in San Francisco for over 20
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Because when women lead, the world benefits.
WEDO Calls for Urgent Action to Stop Violence in Kenya
considered one of Africa's most stable nations, Kenya is now in a state
of crisis. Since the December 30th announcement of President Mwai
Kibaki's re-election, violent protests have swept through the country,
resulting in the deaths of nearly 700 civilians to date and the
displacement of a quarter million - 85% of whom are women. The international community must
hold the Kenyan government responsible for the security of its citizens.
Anomalies in the election process
have been acknoweldged to such an extent that now the actual winner of
the presidential race is indeterminable. While
international political mediation has begun, communities are suffering
from serious food shortages, a paralyzed transportation system and lack
of medicines. Women have been particularly targeted in lootings
of homes and marketplaces and, according to many reports, incidents of
rape have increased dramatically.
On January 4th, WEDO announced a Call to Action
in support of our Kenyan partners and friends - and in support of
peace. Now widely endorsed by organizations and individuals, we will
share our Call to Action with international leaders. We urge you to visit our website, endorse our Call to Action, and send it to your government representatives and the US State Department.
|16 Days of 2007: WEDO's MisFortune500 Celebrates Extraordinary Women
Since 1991, the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence Campaign
has helped raise awareness about gender-based violence and
discrimination around the globe. The annual campaign, which spans
from November 25th to December 10th, between International Day for the
Elimination of all Forms of Violence Against Women and International
Human Rights Day, was marked by WEDO's MisFortune500.org last month with daily acknowledgments of extraordinary women.
the 16 Days, our corporate accountability watch-dog project,
MisFortune500, highlighted leading stories from 2007 that demonstrated
the discriminations women continue to fight against - and the ways they
are powerfully resisting violence and working for change.
African fruit picker Gertruida Baartman (pictured) campaigned against
Tesco, a massive supermarket chain, for its unlivable wages and
unhealthy working conditions. Betty Dukes, Patricia Surgeson,
Cleo Page, Debra Gunter, Edith Arana and Christine Kwapnoski fought
against Wal-Mart's discriminatory practices, winning the right to
represent 1.6 million current and former female employees in the
largest U.S. class-action lawsuit. And the Justice for Niger Delta
Women Project is organizing across ethnic groups to affect the
male-dominated political system and oil industry, demanding control of
resources and inclusion in decision-making processes. Read all the
extraordinary stories featured during 16 Days in the WEDO Library.
|News from Bali: Women From the Global South Provide Valuable Lessons on Climate Adaptation
by Lucy Wanjiru, Sustainable Development Graduate Fellow
our planet's climate changes, all of us will need to find ways to cope
and adapt. In parts of the world where the effects of climate change
are already having a noticeable impact on people's daily lives,
strategies for coping are quickly evolving and providing valuable
lessons for practitioners in the development field. For women in the
global South, who have been adapting to climate change for a long time,
the matter is one of survival.
Bali at the climate change negotiations, WEDO, Heinrich Böll
Foundation, UNDP, and Action Aid International highlighted women's
experiences adapting to climate change in the global South at an event
aimed at focusing more attention on the issue. So far there has been
little in the way of including women's experiences and concerns in
formal climate change policies. (Photo: Marlene Attzs, Trinidad, and Madeleine Diouf-Sarr, Senegal.)
emphasized that women's indigenous knowledge will contribute greatly to
the efficiency and effectiveness of current and future climate change
policies. They also acknowledged that the challenge will be to increase
women's participation and visibility in all climate change processes,
while noting the importance of including more women from both the North
and the South in climate change discussions.
complimented WEDO's national advocacy work on climate change that is
being launched in Ghana, Senegal, Trinidad and Tobago and Nepal this
year, which will target government climate change planning and
policymaking to incorporate a gender perspective and women's
News from Bali: Launch of the Global Gender and Climate Alliance
WEDO joined forces with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), and the World Conservation Union (IUCN) to launch the Global Gender and Climate Alliance (GGCA)
this past December in Bali during the official UN negotiations on
climate change. The GGCA was created to ensure that climate change
policies, decision-making, and initiatives at the global, regional and
national levels are gender responsive. The GGCA is seeking
collaborative partnerships with UN agencies and other institutions
interested in ensuring that gender considerations are addressed in all
climate change efforts.
|News from Bali:
Women Ministers Unite on Climate Change Issues
by Leah Stern, Sustainable Development Graduate Fellow
leaders and ministers of the environment called on the United Nations
to make women's contributions to curbing climate change a central part
of the negotiations held in Bali this past December.
are the missing voice in climate change, and women must come together
to move forward and create solutions," said Wangari Maathai, 2004 Nobel
Peace Laureate and founding WEDO Board Member, in a speech delivered via video at a meeting of the Network of Women Ministers of the Environment that took place in Bali alongside official negotiations.
in 2002 in the lead-up to the United Nations World Summit on
Sustainable Development, the Network works to ensure gender issues are
raised in the global environmental forum and that women have equal
participation in addressing environmental challenges.
Read the whole article
52nd Session of the
Commission on the Status of Women (CSW):
February 25 to March 7, 2008
CSW is around the corner! The thematic issue this year is financing for gender equality and the empowerment of women, and the "emerging theme" is gender perspectives on climate change.
background information on why gender equality and equity are critical
to financing for development, visit our brand new online Gender & FfD Resource Guide - annotated for easy reference and quick preparation for CSW!
GEAR (Gender Equality Architecture Reform) Campaign will be launched at
CSW by women's and human rights organizations in New York. The campaign
is demanding the creation of a new women's entity, adequately funded
and headed by an Under-Secretary General. Read the 2008 CSW Statement and stay tuned to our website for updates on the GEAR Campaign and on our side events at CSW!
|2008: A Big Year in Financing for Development
by Nadia Johnson, Economic and Social Justice Program Coordinator
A major decision was reached by the UN General Assembly in December 2007, when it adopted a resolution
detailing the preparatory process for the Financing for Development
(FfD) review conference later this year. The so-called Doha Conference,
which will be held in Doha, Qatar, from November 29 - December 2, 2008,
will be the first review conference since the Monterrey FfD Conference in 2002.
in the General Assembly will take place from February to May on each of
the six FfD themes - trade, investment, aid, debt, domestic resource
mobilization and global economic governance - and hearings with civil
society and the private sector will take place in June. Regional
consultations will also occur. A draft of the outcome document is
expected in July, and formal negotiations are scheduled to begin in
Back in Monterrey in 2002, women's groups joined
other civil society organizations in protesting that they were not a
part of the "Monterrey Consensus", which overall projected a
market-driven rather than human rights-based approach to development.
Advocates also argued that the Consensus contained limited commitments
to gender analysis and did not overall advance the need for a stronger
UN in global economic decision-making.
WEDO and other women's
organizations plan to make the most of the resolution, which stipulates
that "new problems and emerging issues" will be introduced to the
discussions, giving women's groups the opportunity to advocate for a
Doha outcome that puts women at the center of financing for development.
this year's Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) theme is financing
for gender equality and the empowerment of women, we will mobilize our
partners around this issue. Visit WEDO's FfD and CSW pages to learn more about our advocacy efforts and join the FfD Women's Caucus listserv to stay up-to-date "on the Road to Doha"!
(Photo Credit: Supmarilore. A woman holds a sign at the World Social Forum in Nairobi, Kenya, 2007.)
| Women Candidates Get Short Changed
by Colette Tamko, Gender and Governance Program Coordinator
of the major obstacles to women's participation in political and
electoral processes is lack of economic resources. Finding ways to
increase access to funds is central to achieving gender equality in
decision-making, according to experts who gathered in Trinidad last
month to focus on women candidates and campaign finance.
meeting, which drew participants from all around the world with diverse
backgrounds, was organized by WEDO and the Network of NGOs for the
Advancement of Women of Trinidad-and-Tobago.
zeroed in on ways in which women candidates can get their fair share of
the financial pie. Current research shows that women don't receive the
same amounts of money as their male counterparts, even when running in the same region during the same time/season.
to U.S. Senator Gloria Butler of Georgia, women candidates need to
adopt an aggressive approach and urge supporters to give them the
resources that are due to them. In the U.S., individual contributions
overwhelmingly comprise the most important source of financing for all
candidates, both women and men. In general, women who win raise
significantly more money than women who lose, while male winners
collect only marginally more money than their losing counterparts.
Read the whole article
Welcome to our new colleagues!
Jelena Pia-Comella (pictured) joins WEDO as a consultant concentrating on our Gender Equality Architecture Reform (GEAR) campaign. Originally from Andorra, Jelena was
a senior diplomat representing her country in Canada, the United States
and at the United Nations for many years prior to joining WEDO.
is our interim Senior Operations Manager, sharing her management
expertise with us for several months before returning to her position
with the All Stars Project - one of the most successful inner-city youth development projects in the country. She
helped found the All Stars Project over 30 years ago and built its
award-winning volunteer program. Gail has decades of experience
building community-based organizations for social justice and speaks
and writes on the topic of civic development and volunteerism.
is interning with the Communications Department helping to make WEDO's
advocacy work more accessible to the public. After taking a semester
off from college, she returns this winter to study International
Relations at Rutgers University in New Jersey.
is interning with the Accounting Department to assist in WEDO's
financial management. He is studying at Baruch College in New York.
of our Graduate Fellows traveled with WEDO to the United Nations
international climate change conference (COP 13) in Bali this past
December. "My experience at COP 13 was priceless," said Lucy Wanjiru.
"This was a fabulous occasion for me as a development practitioner from
the South to experience global action, lobbying, networking and
development activities at close range."
"I knew the trip to
Bali would hold invaluable lessons as both a student and a young
professional," remarked Leah Stern. "I was able to witness great
leaders negotiate important steps towards securing the fate of women
around the world. I also understood that what was occurring would mark
history and pave the way for the future."
is an international organization that advocates for women's equality in
global policy. Working in key global forums such as the UN, WEDO
advocates for and seeks to empower women as decision makers to achieve
economic, social and gender justice, a healthy, peaceful planet and
human rights for all. For more information, visit www.wedo.org.
Editors/ Contributors: Anna Grossman & Cate Owren