WEDO Enews & Views
Women's Environment & Development Organization

January 2008
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In This Issue
In the Spotlight: Q & A with Carole Cullum
Kenya: WEDO Calls for Urgent Action
16 Days Campaign of 2007
Women from Global South Adapt to Climate Change
Women Ministers Unite on Climate Issues
Annual Meeting of the Commission on the Status of Women
Financing for Development in 2008
Women Candidates & Campaign Finance
Inside WEDO
Quick Links
Visit the WEDO Library for Advocacy and Research Tools, Press Releases, Fact Sheets and Publications!

Please consider the environment before printing this newsletter.
                   Climate Change Action
Hangs in the "Gender" Balance

Women 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 change.

At the same time, we know that climate change exaWomen are most vulnerable and also the most innovative when it comes to climate change.cerbates 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.

Yet 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 climate change.

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. 

Few 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 change.

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. 

WEDO is 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

June Zeitlin, Executive Director
In the Spotlight: Q & A with Long-time WEDO Friend and Supporter Carole Cullum
With Anna Grossman, Communications Program

It 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.

Q. 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 WEDO?

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 Republican convention. 

    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!

CAROLE CULLUM is a certified family law specialist in practice in San Francisco. She has been practicing law in San Francisco for over 20 years.

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Because when women lead, the world benefits.
WEDO Calls for Urgent Action to Stop Violence in Kenya

Long 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 last month with daily acknowledgments of extraordinary women.
16 Days celebrates Gertruida Baartman
Throughout 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.

South 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

As 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 survivWEDO partners Marlene Attzs and Madeleine Diouf-Sarral.

In 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.)

Advocates 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.

The event 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 participation.
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 Global Gender & Climate AllianceConservation 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.

For more information, you can contact:
News from Bali: 
Women Ministers Unite on Climate Change Issues

by Leah Stern, Sustainable Development Graduate Fellow

Women 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
Women Leaders and Ministers in Bali negotiations held in Bali this past December.  

"Women 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 deliJune Zeitlinvered via video at a meeting of the Network of Women Ministers of the Environment that took place in Bali alongside official negotiations.

Formed 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: Feb 25 - 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.

For 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!

The 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 "Poverty has a woman's face" (Credit: Supermarilore)FfD Conference in 2002. 

Discussions 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 September.

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.

As 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.)

50/50 Campaign Women Candidates Get Short Changed
by Colette Tamko, Gender and Governance Program Coordinator

One 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.
The 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.

Participants 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 cou50/50 Campaign Meeting on Finance in Trinidadnterparts, even when running in the same region during the same time/season.

According 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
Inside WEDO: 

Welcome to our new colleagues!

Jelena Pia-Comella (pictured) joins WEDO as a consultant concentrating oJelena Pia-Comellan 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.

Gail Elberg 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.

Sara Linarducci 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. 

Derek Pao is interning with the Accounting Department to assist in WEDO's financial management. He is studying at Baruch College in New York.


Two 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."

Editors/ Contributors:  Anna Grossman & Cate Owren
WEDO 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