Celebrate Women on International Women's Day!
This issue of WEDO Enews & Views comes to you on International Women’s Day,
a nearly century-old celebration of women’s work and lives.
IWD honors the women who have worked tirelessly and, in many cases,
thanklessly—from their homes, the halls of Parliament, the
village, and beyond—to create a more just, peaceful and
sustainable planet. WEDO’s work continues in the same
tradition as so many of our friends, partners, and the women who helped
to create this organization.
In the spirit of International Women’s Day, we’d like to
share our latest work with you and thank you for your own work and
support for women’s rights worldwide.
Women Take Over the UN
The Commission on the Status of Women gives activists a platform
By Anique Halliday
For the past two weeks, hundreds of women and girls from every
continent have filled the halls and meeting rooms at the UN. They are
forcing governments to confront violence and discrimination against
young women and girls and pushing the UN to commit to a new women’s
WEDO, alongside dozens of partners, has used this year’s Commission on the Status of Women
(CSW) to call for a new women’s agency at the UN. Women’s rights
activists have met every other day at the NGO Linkage Caucus to share
information and strategize on actions. They’ve also drafted an Open Letter calling on UN Member States and the Secretary General to commit
to gender equality and a new women’s agency. At this 51st CSW,
activists have made a loud and clear case for gender justice and
women’s human rights. And they’re being heard.
UN Reform: What's Next?
We're pleased that the Secretary General used CSW to announce his support for a strengthened gender architecture at the UN
and we hope that Member States will work towards creating a
consolidated, well-funded agency for women. While
informal discussions are still ongoing, the
UN General Assembly (all Member States) will begin formally
Panel’s UN Reform recommendations sometime this spring. In
the meantime, women from around the world have used the Commission on the Status of Women
(CSW) in New York to make their case directly to their government
representatives and to the Secretary-General Mr. Ban Ki Moon and the
new Deputy Secretary-General Ms. Asha-Rose Migiro.
We urge you to follow the UN Reform process from wherever you are: download our UN Reform factsheet and Open Letter from NGOs at the CSW to
learn more or lobby your government officials, write letters to the new
SG, and join the listserv to stay up to date, email email@example.com.
WEDO at the World Social Forum
The 7th annual World Social Forum (WSF)
in Nairobi, Kenya marked the first time the week-long social justice
meeting converged in Africa. From 20 – 25 January 2007,
WEDO’s Nadia Johson and Anique Halliday joined over 50,000
activists from around the globe to discuss, challenge, and
strategize on a range of issues including globalization, human rights,
and the role of the UN.
WSF workshops covered
dozens of issues ranging from anti-globalization to women’s
rights to land rights to HIV/AIDS and more. WEDO’s
workshop, “Gender Equality May Finally Arrive at the UN” drew a diverse audience and an energized debate about women’s rights and the relevance of the UN.
Led by Nadia Johnson, Anique Halliday (WEDO) and Mavic Cabrera-Balleza (International Women’s Tribune Centre-IWTC),
the workshop covered the UN Reform process and specifically addressed
the creation of the new women’s agency. Cabrera-Balleza
facilitated an energetic debate between the audience about the
relevance and so-called democracy of the UN. The workshop was a
space to share concerns about the UN but also to share ideas about how
to make women’s rights a priority in UN Reform and on the
national and local levels.
The World Social Forum originated in Porte Alegre in 2001 as a response
and challenge to the World Economic Forum held in Davos,
Switzerland. The idea that “another world is
possible” was still very much alive at this 7th annual forum in
Nairobi and WEDO was able to re-convene with old partners and broaden
Prior to the WSF, WEDO participated in the Women Leaders Forum on Food, Agriculture and Trade, organized jointly by Institute on Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) and International Gender and Trade Network
(IGTN). The strategy meeting brought together activists in women's,
farmers and workers movements to identify ways to challenge and change
international trade rules that continue to negatively effect women as
workers, farmers and consumers. WEDOs project Misfortune 500 is working
to advance documentation of the gendered impacts that industrial
agribusiness have on women's rights, lives and livelihoods.
"The World Is Not All a Gloomy Picture of Destruction": The UN Forum on Poverty
By Melodie Hunter
Despite a decade of global policy work on eradicating
poverty, very little has changed for the world’s poor. The
goals set out at the beginning of the UN Decade for the Eradication of
Poverty in 1996 have not been met. The stark reality of
these failings were enumerated and addressed at the UN Forum on the Eradication of Poverty in November of last year.
The Forum—a mixture of panels and speeches by activists, academics and governments—marked the end of the first UN Decade for the Eradication of Poverty borne
out of the International Year for the Eradication of Poverty in 1996.
The Decade aimed “to achieve the goal of eradicating
absolute poverty and reducing overall poverty substantially in the
Speakers at the forum were fairly candid and
clear: the fight against poverty, in policy and on the ground,
has not succeeded. And yet, there was still a sense of hope, that
with new methods and innovative ideas, progress isn't inevitable, that
change is on the horizon.
Highlights: What to Watch Out For
Satya Magazine Interview
Be sure to check out Satya Magazine’s interview with WEDO’s Executive Director, June Zeitlin.
Longtime activist, writer and policy analyst Mia MacDonald talks with
Ms. Zeitlin about WEDO, gender, the environment and
Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD)
From 30 April - 11 May, the 15th session of the Commission on
Sustainable Development (CSD) will focus on the following areas:
Energy for Sustainable Development; Industrial Development; Air
pollution/ Atmosphere; and Climate Change.
Check out the schedule for CSD-15 (pdf). And be sure to check www.wedo.org for updates on UN Conferences.
Upcoming: A special issue of WEDO Enews & Views
The April issue will be dedicated to WEDO’s work on environment
and climate change projects! You’ll learn more about our
exciting gender mainstreaming project with UNEP, new initiatives on
climate change, and more . . .