Thursday, March 19, 2015

National Council of Women of Canada Signs on to the Regional Caucus Statement


 CSW59 Political Declaration: Women's organisations in Europe and North America call on UN member states to Commit, Accelerate and Invest in women's and girls' human rights

NCWC along with many NGOs from the North American/European Caucus have signed on to a statement, stating that the political declaration is not an ambitious, serious and forward-looking commitment and raises severe concerns for women’s organisations.

Women’s organisations should be supported to participate in the work of the CSW and regional meetings on gender equality, including on the post-2015 agenda, due to their instrumental role in promoting women’s and girls’ rights. Women’s organisations and feminist groups should be systematically included in national delegations to the CSW, given access to negotiations, and be able to speak and intervene during general and panel discussion.

See the full statement here.


Working Methods

This is an important document, and it sets down the role of NGOs at the Commission on the Status of Women - will they have the ability to influence the negotiations that go on.

ALERT
Negotiations on the CSW Working Methods as agreed will be adopted tomorrow at the United Nations.
Read 18th March version with facilitator's comments

Sunday, March 15, 2015

NCWC Delegate Sue Calhoun's Report


March 13th
Just back from the first week of the 59th Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations in New York. This is a two-week period each year where the 193 member countries of the UN are required to come in, and report on what they're doing to improve the status of girls and women in their country. It's about intergovernmental negotiations, although since the governments are there, so are the women. Some 8,500 women representing 1,000 NGOs world-wide are there this year. So while governments negotiate, there are also “Side events,” with “high level” government representatives that are held in the UN building, and “Parallel events,” held in the UN Church Centre across the street plus other locations. This is my sixth time in eight years, and I love it. Here’s a brief overview of some of the many things going on. 

March 8th
Photo 1 – Apollo Theatre
Consultation day for the NGOs is always held on Sunday. Organized by the NGO-SWC/NY committee, it’s always a good chance to get a preview of what the issues are. This year, it was at the Apollo theatre in NYC. How cool is that!

Photo 2 - UN building
Theme this year, Beijing Plus 20, celebrating The Beijing Declaration and platform for action, and assessing where we go from here. Today, the phrase "Women's rights are human rights" is so widely recognized that we tend to forget how difficult it was to establish that concept a mere 20 years ago. The fact that so many women’s groups come, as NGOS CSW/NY chair Soon-Young Yoon said Sunday, shows not only important civil society has become to the UN but also how the UN has become an extraordinary avenue to raise women's issues on the global stage 

Photo 3 - CSW59 poster up

Photo 4 - IWD March to Times Square on March 8th

Photo 5 – Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka
Powerful address by UN Women Under-Secretary-General Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka at Consultation Day on Sunday. Moving forward, she said, we need to focus not on what needs to be done but how we will get it done. In the next 15 years, “we need to break the back of inequality once and for all. This can be done. This is not mission impossible. It is the last mile.” The objective now is Planet 50-50 by 2030. 

Photo 6 – Dr Gertrude Mongella
Wonderful as well to see and hear from Dr. Gertrude Mongella, former Under-Secretary-General for the UN Fourth World Conference on Women on “What Beijing + 20 Must Accomplish.”
 
Photo 7 - Ban Ki-moon

March 9th, opening - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon opened the CSW with a review of progress since 1995, and called it unacceptably slow, with stagnation and even regression in some cases. There are five countries in the world w/o a single woman in parliament; eight w/o a female Cabinet minister. He wouldn't name them - they know who they are. In his report, the SG said that progress has been particularly slow for women and girls who experience multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination. He called for greater participation by men. "Truly powerful men are those who work for the empowerment of women."   A synthesis of the SG’s report on the 20-year review and appraisal of the implement of the Beijing Platform for Action can be found here. http://www.unwomen.org/en/digital-library/publications/2015/02/beijing-synthesis-report

Photo 8 - CEDAW
CEDAW and Gender-based Violence: Progress and Challenges 20 years after Beijing. Interesting panel discussion moderated by Japanese Association of International Women’s Rights Board member Professor Mitsuko Horiuchi. One of the panelists reminded us that Canada has been found “in grave violation” under CEDAW (the Convention on the Elimination of all kinds of Discrimination Against Women) for its treatment of Aboriginal women and girls. A report out of Geneva on March 6th found that the Canadian police and justice system have failed to effectively protect Aboriginal women, to hold offenders to account, and to ensure victims get redressed. CEDAW made 38 recommendations to correct the situation; Canada has accepted 34. The US is one of the few countries in the world that has never been a signatory to CEDAW.

Photo 9 – Glen Canning presenting
Monday afternoon, Status of Women and YWCA Canada co-sponsored a session on cyber violence, and the list of speakers was excellent. It included Glen Canning from Nova Scotia, Canada, whose daughter Rehtaeh Parsons was a victim of cyber violence; Diane Woloachuk from the Canadian Teacher's Federation; speakers from YWCA New Zealand, OurWatch.org in Australia, Microsoft and the McGill Research Centre on emotional intelligence. SWC Minister Kellie Leitch opened the session by pointing out that 84 percent of victims of cyber violence are women under the age of 24. "It's as powerful and painful as any other form of violence," she said. Woloachuk from the Teacher's Federation noted that the safety zone for girls is getting smaller and smaller. Students receiving mean messages through social media take them seriously, become unable to learn and fall into depression, she said. Excellent speakers, lots of good strategies, information and resources.  

Photo 10 - “End Child Marriage"
Tuesday March 10 - Canada and Plan International co-sponsored a session on Tuesday on "Ending child, early and forced marriages.” 700 million women in the world were married off as children, and the consequences are disastrous: early pregnancy with resulting health problems; no education; lost opportunities; childhoods denied. GirlsNotBrides is a worldwide partnership of organizations trying to end it.

Photo 11 - With YWCA Canada Board member Rebecca Coughlin in the General Assembly room.

Photo 12 - With Bertha Yenwo, she runs a NGO for women entrepreneurs in Cameroon.

Photo 13 – Canada’s Status of Women Minister Dr. Kellie Leitch gives her report to the General Assembly.

Photo 14 – Speaker explaining Gift Box project

Wednesday, attended a session organized by the NGO Committee to Stop Trafficking in Persons on “What’s Changed, What needs to change since Beijing.” Statistics on Human Trafficking continue to worsen – HT is the fastest growing crime in the world, after drugs and guns, a $150 billion industry – there are nonetheless good examples of work being done to stop trafficking and rescue women and children who have been victims. One is girlbeheard.org, which gives voice to young women through video. Another is ungiftbox.org, an innovative project created by STOP THE TRAFFIK and the UN Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking launched during the 2012 London, England Olympics. GIFT boxes are walk-in pieces of public art used to educate people about human trafficking. 

Photo 15 – Stop HT poster

Photo 16, woman from Brazil, talking about the MenCare+ program implementation in her country.

A cross-cutting issue addressed in many of the sessions is violence, defined broadly: domestic violence; rape and sexual assault; child, early and forced marriage; FGM; honour killings; cyber violence; prostitution; human trafficking; rape as a tool of war ... and the list goes on. A common theme, the increasing need to engage boys and men. As a speaker from the Nordic Network said Wednesday, "We put all our energy into helping victims ... We talk to women about escaping and taking care of themselves. We need to talk to boys and men because among them, we'll find the perpetrators." Attended a session Thursday sponsored by Promundoglobal.org, an NGO that "works globally to achieve a culture of nonviolence and gender equality by engaging men and boys in partnership with women and girls." Founded in Brazil in 1997, the group is supported by the UN, World Bank and World Health Organization. It is implementing a program called MenCare+ in four countries. Another program is HeforShe.org, which encourages men around the world to stand up for gender equality, and which was launched at the CSW a few years ago. Still another program for men is breakthrough.tv/ringthebell/, which is a grass-roots movement that encourages men to actively interfere when domestic violence is occurring. I like this one, although not sure about the safety of it in the Canadian context. We need to start thinking more about this in Canada. 

Photo 17, in conference room 1
One of the “good news” pieces from this year’s CSW is that the daily de-brief by the NGO-SWC/NY committee is now back in the UN building. I’ve been going since 2008, and we’ve always been across the street at the UN Church Centre. But civil society participation is now so large, that they’ve given us conference room 1 in the UN building. As Chair Soon-Young Yoon said, we’re back! And we’re not leaving! 

Photo 18, Sue Calhoun in conference room 1

Photo 19, with Mary Scott, head of Canada’s National Council of Women delegation (of which I was a member).

Photo 20, Always great to see friends again, with Lucina Kathman, vp of PEN International from San Miguel, Mexico.




Publice Space: Opportunities and Challenges for Empowering Women

Lasmi Puri spoke about how important public space is for women, and especially in cities. Increasingly the populations in the urban environment will become more and more common.

Impact of fear of sexual harassment, so don't go to school, or work. Income reduced, and poverty because of the situation. Land is empowerment for women, economic empowerment. Can exercise political and decision making leadership. Too often, cities are sources of exclusion. Cities not sensitive to the needs of women. Safe Cities program, and sustainable cities, such as under Habitat 3 are great opportunities for women to learn and make a difference.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Beijing +20:Voices of Indigenous Women

Beijing + 20:Voices of Indigenous Women

A full room, with opening remarks. Sponsored by the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Women; the International fund for Agrcultural Development (IFAD) and the International Indigenous Women's Form (FIFI)

Indigenous women are told they are dirty, don't know how to give birth, the women are fed up, Others being violent towards them, this was normal. Isolated group. Indigenous women from Latin America are fed up, Ingenious women did not give up, they resisted, and were dignified. Fed up with being relegated to jails, and torture chambers. They are amazing creative, and brilliant. First resolution, fed up, reached out to us women that don't want to see any more women vitimized. Anxious to move move forward. Gender equality not just in name, "I learned from the different peoples that as long as a collective feeling for emancipation we can move forward." 20 years after Beijing, we have great expertise and wisdom, 80% of population have 5% of global wealth, We see majority of children didn't have birth certificates. 1.7 million girls trafficked. We are statisticked out.  We don't  want to be numbers.

Multisectoral, and Intersectionality of issues - Important to protect biodiversity. One of the prime agents for environmental preservation. High levels of discrimination. 

Reference to Report, just completed. Gender goal, achieving gender equality, leaving no one behind. Indigenous women are part of this. All the targets, we need to develop strategies for those countries with Indigenous populations. 

Distinction to preserve social norms that are discriminatory towards women. How to combine, the Indigenous women with progressive norms, which are feminist in the true sense of the word. Eliminating discriminating legislation. How to combine the best of the tradition with the best of feminist knowledge. Political Declaration, sectn. 6, Engaged with a number of countries. 

Speaker from Phillipines - women speak about lack of land rights, before speaking about violence. women's rights seen as individual rights. Indigenous women introduced the concept of community. Holistic way women can play an important role. Important role in preserving biodiversity. Reports have been done to build on these strengths.

Ms. Aminatu Samiratu Bambo, from Lelewal Foundation Women's Coordinator from Cameroon. UN Women scholarship - Spoke about situation in Cameroon, early marriage, GBV, no harmonizion of legislation with international agreements. Need for capacity buiding, want the next CSW to focus on women's issues and priority. 

Need more countries - have 13. Would be able to do more. Forum for contributing our solutions. Success with permanent forum - recommendations for Indigenous children. Many aspiring examples, 3 generations, forge alliances. Multi dimensional, different departments, Agriculture, education, women, still countrires where we are invisible. Indicators so we can show we are making progress.

I wondered why Canada's Indigenous women were not part of this panel. The president of NWAC was in the audience.

CSW Working Methods Document

ALERT

Negotiations on the CSW Working Methods will continue 16 to 20 March.

Click here for 4 March version with facilitator's comments.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Women and Girls in STEM

Women in STEM fields is a passion of mine, being a women in science.  This event created dialogue across nations about getting women involved in science.  There were representatives from India, Latvia and the United States.  Several barriers were discussed to getting women into STEM fields.

Teaching Women Science
- Making science engaging and an active learning process.  Actually doing science when teaching science and ensuring that science is taught with a gender neutral lens that both boys and girls can relate to.  

Implicit Violence Present in Science
- Everyone engages in life with inherent and ingrained biases and assumptions.  Science and scientists are painted as unbiased, which is untrue.  When hiring scientists and funding science, social stereotypes have been shown into coming into play. A candidate is seen to be less capable and less qualified if a female name graces the top of a resume.  This leads to women not moving up in science and leaving science in frustration.  These inherent biases need to discussed and realized so they can be countered when attempting to get women to participate in science in a real and meaningful way.  

The Image of STEM 
- The image of who goes into science tends to be socially awkward, unattractive, and male.  These representations of scientist in mainstream media work to present an image that work around the idea that normal people don’t go into science.  Scientist are odd, tend to be awkward loners with no fiends or family, also incapable of having a family.  Work in being untaken partnering with Hollywood to make science seem more normalized and accessible to women and people in general.  Also incorporating the broad spectrum of what STEM careers look like.  A scientist doesn’t always mean a solitary person in a lab coat, someone who shoots lasers, or someone who sits in an office with equations covering the walls.  Scientists have families, friends, and social aspects to their lives like  everyone else.  Working to represent that in media and changing the face of who is a scientist is half the battle.  

Women have specific work life balances that need to be accommodated in the field of science and every workplace.  There needs to be re-entry points for women who take time off to care for family members.  Creating a work environment where women feel supported and encourage women to grow makes it possible to move toward diversity within science, because “Science needs women and women need science.”

The one thing I was hoping to have discussed is the competitive rather than collaborative nature of science.  In my own experience, I found that unwillingness to work with each other and share knowledge was a huge barrier to participating in the possibility of transformative science.  I feel real collaboration also breeds inclusivity.  With this in mind we all move forward in creating a world where women are welcome all sectors of work, especially science. 


Counterterrorism and effects on women's organizatios

Counterterrorism Measures and their Effects on the Implantation of the Women, Peace and Security Agenda

This was a very interesting presentation, with those involved with various aspects of funding women's organization, in particular women's organizations working on Peace and Security, and how they are affected by current counterterrorism financial regulation that is in fact counter productive.

With speakers:
Isabelle Geuskens, Executive Director, Women Peacemakers Program

Carolyn Boyd Tomasovic, managing Director, Ecumenical Women's Initiative

Lia van Broekhoven, Executive Director, Human Security Network

Anjuman Ara Brgum, Steering Committee Member, WinG India

Jayne Huckerby, Associate Professor of Law, Director International  Law Clinic, Duke University



Opening statement - Kingdom of the Netherlands, your partner with peace, justice and development.

Paradox, how to address the dilemma, counterterrorism, and human and individual rights.

Speaker 1, counterterrorism (CT) measures, task force antimoney laundry. FATF (Financial Action Task Force) Standards based on funding of terrorist organizations. Used as a pretext in some countries to affect civil society groups.

Banks averse, so groups carry money, or go underground. US very effective in controlling FATF, other countries must get involved.

Lawyer from University, Jayne Huckerby spoke of current  efforts, countering CT. Counterterrorism financing, enabling men. Women as victims.

Emerging trends, transfer funds, but funds disappear. Told couldn't open bank account. Many groups being asked, realize because of counterterrorism regulations. 

Working on Women Peace and Security agenda, variety of measures affect women's groups already working in hi threatening environment. Relations with foreign donors.

Banks don't have leverage, asking for detailed accounts. Women in the midst of the crises not able to access funds. Administration burden, and access to funding becoming more and more difficult. Solutions, low profile, carrying money, increasingly dangerous.

Raising awareness important. Breaking the silence. Need more research.

Speaker on funding women's organizations. Growing administrative burden. range of options.

Suggestion of networking with unions. Policy incoherence. Within the same government. Antiterrorism, anti money laundry. Need more evidence, documenting evidence. Need a Core set of principals. Charity and security network. Money going to big organizations, such as Amnesty, Red Cross, but it is the smaller groups that are doing the work, and keeping system going.

Recommendations, look at what is no longer funded, don't want gov't footprint on it. 

Mapping what is happening with funding, have to report.

Girls as Peace Builders


Girls act for Change, Girls act for Peace: Empowering Girl Ambassadors for Peace
 
Opening remarks and welcome, Susan Truppe, parliamentary Secretary for SWC and Ambassador Guillermo Rishchynski, permanent mission of Canada to the UN

Mavic Cabrera-Balleza spoke about lives of girls, and harmful practises. Multiplied many times in countries affected by war. Global Network of Girl Ambassadors for Peace, 3 components, literacy, leadership, peace building. 

Girls Ambassadors for Peace conduct literacy classes in eastern Congo. Dedicated workshops, on issues they confront, early marriage, sexual violence, fgm etc. included peace building, because of nature of conflicts in the area. Implementing program in south Sudan as well. In Afghanistan, replicate program. 

Neema Namadamu 2nd woman to graduate from University in the Congo. Has coordinated program for girls in the Congo. Was to bring young girl ambassador, but visa denied. 

Spoke about importance of education. Early marriage, attitude, cultural expectation. Teach girls how to access justice. Global strategy taking action. 

Jazmin Papadopoulos, Winnipeg VOW member,  developed the training materials, along with colleague Janna Barkman. Jazmin spoke about VOW, and support for the democratic participation. The kit is in 18 modules so lots of options as to how it is used. Being used in the Congo, and soon in S. Sudan and Guatemala. 

Not up to authors to decide content. Girl ambassadors use what makes sense for their situation. Capacity building, identify oppression in every day life. 

Mavic - Loved tool kit, policy isn't everything, implementation,  action important. Including boys is also part of tool kit, and in Congo. 

Yusur Al-Bahrani, from VOW Toronto. The theme of bringing young women together, to share. Needs international connection. We should be in a circle, share. Needs to invest in peace not arms. Spoke of yuzzi women. Physically traumatized. Come together in a circle. Go behind headlnes. Invest in peace, not war. 

Death of Afghan woman killed yesterday, media telling about what is happening, but not causes, and how to stop, ie yuzzi women.

Cordaid, a Dutch based Foundation, concerned about no adequate funding, to right group. Arms trade agreement, meeting funding requirements, peace keepers who are protecting civilians who are being attacked with arms sold by same governments! 

Cordaid CEO, and former Dutch Ambassador to the UN, Simone Filippini spoke about support vs ownership. How many times have we done this - unleashing positive energy before. Defining security. Collective security. How to support girls programs, and signing arms agreement - both necessary.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Transforming Gender-Based Stereotypes - A Culture and Age Diversity Perspectives

This has been the most fulfilling event I have attended as of March 11th AM.  The event was sponsored by the YWCA (insert countries).  A panel of young women sat at the front of the room while people continued to squeeze in a tiny room.  The emcee from Australia welcomed everyone and proceeded to recognize the indigenous land we were on and explained why it is important to acknowledge the effects of colonization across the world.   The panel began with a young school teacher from YWCA in Honduras.  She pointed out that stereotypes are culturally specific and some cultures are more male driven.  She then did an over arching historical overview of women’s labour has affected stereotypes and touched on how media can be a tool of change, but is frequently a tool to perpetuate these stereotypes.  

The second speaker, who identified herself as an Indian migrant growing up in New Zealand, opened with a Maouri (indigenous people of NZ) greeting.  Again respecting the land and acknowledging the colonialist context in which we live.  She describes living in a culture where you must respect your elders and to challenge them can be seen as disrespectful and inappropriate.  Culture is used as an excuse for abuse and as women we need to shift culture and hold people accountable for there actions no matter there culture.  She went on to discuss her experience with her male feminist friends, that have marched in anti-rape culture rallies and identified as feminist, but when she had mentioned that her partner is going to stay home with the kids, they could not let go of their ingrained cultural stereotypes to be support that idea.  Which I think is a common experience for many. 

The next panelist was a young women from Myanmar.  She went on to describe how violence is ingrained in her culture.  Due to the gender stereotype present in her culture, violence is justified and tends to be constructed as the women’s fault.  A women is responsible for the family’s honour and dignity, therefore women is shamed for what had happened to her and sometimes can be forced to marry her perpetrator because she is “damaged”.  This attitude toward women and the stereotypical gender roles within the culture works to protect the perpetrator and blame the women.  Though the context of the culture is different you find a similar over arching theme across cultures and the demands they put on women’s bodies and roles.  

Moving onto Paulette Senior, who was representing the YWCA-Canada.  She made some very prevalent points about being part of an organization or government and how to work to tear down these stereotypes.  “We say we value diversity but do we walk diversity, and what values are reflected in the organization.”  Stereotypes in culture are reflective of how society values women and what they see as "woman".  Because almost across the globe women are seen as less than man, this ingrains an attitude that makes violence against women accepted and naturalized with society.  

Laurie Gayle of YWCA-Scotland had some very interesting things to say.  She also announced a pilot report from the government called the Status of Young Women Report.  This report works to gather cross-sectional data to better understand the specific needs of young women to better serve them and empower them.  “One of the first things girls experience are stereotypes, it causes women to hesitate.”  They hesitate and doubt themselves as to if they can really do it.  

The emcee then wrapped up the session with some very helpful actions to work to combat stereotypes. 
1) Call them out
2) Link the stereotypes with the negative attitude
3) Pay attention to the interaction between different stereotypes
4) Use humour when possible and appropriate. 
5) Promote unique and varied voices of women across the world. 

Women in Political Leadership

I went to this event for information as to how to promote women in political leadership and how to get more women there.  40% of the panel spoke in languages other than english with no translation available, but their passion and frustration was fully felt through the tone of their words.  The panel was a cross section of high level women in government from countries across the world,  most touched how the support system surrounding them allowed them to get to where they are today.

As H.E. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka time came to speak of her experience becoming a woman in her position, the room perked up to listen to what she had to say.  She began with her attitude as a young women working in the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa, and how she was more than willing to die for her cause because the threat of death was very real for her at that moment in her life.  She looks back now on her younger self and shakes her head, over time she developed a type of resilience and a need to live, so she could insight change and continue her valuable work. She went on to reflect that many people she grew up with and went to school with have now perished or been exiled, and that she is very lucky to be where she is today.  

Moving to discuss how her advocacy influences her policy work and using policy to break down the barriers that are very much in existence in South Africa and all over the world.   She emphasizes that if you build a policy or program for women, that works for women, it will 100% of the time work for men.  The opposite is not true.  Building policy that strives to work for women and for other marginalized groups works to equal the playing field.  She used the example of her position in the South African Government as the Minister of Minerals and Energy, she created and maintained policy that required mining companies to employ women and people of colour to be re-licensed, to ensure that the those populations were stakeholders in  areas of economic gain and work to make the industry reflective of the population of the country.  

The most engaging part of her speech was when she described her conversation with Nelson Mandela.  She was elected into South African government, passionate about education and women’s rights.  He wanted to move her to the Minerals and Energy portfolio.  She was feeling that wasn’t the right move and that it was taking her away from her passion.  He shared with her the story of his activism, imprisonment and rise to presidency, going onto to tell her to “just go and  try it,” subtly pointing out you can make change in places you may not expect.  

She closed with this advice, so much energy is spent surviving and focusing.  Ensure you are being fair, do things with integrity, and be able to laugh at yourself.    

Girls ae Peacbuilders

Girls act for change, girls act for peace: Empowering Girl Ambassadors for Peace

Opening remarks and welcome, Susan Truppe, parliamentary Secretary for SWC and Ambassador Guillermo Rishchynski, permanent mission of Canada to the UN

Mavic Cabrera-Balleza spoke about lives of girls, and harmful,practises. Multiplied many times in countries affected by war. Global Network of Girl Ambassadors for Peace, 3 components, literacy, leadership, peace building. 

Girls Ambassadors for Peace conduct literacy classes in eastern Congo. Dedicated workshops, on issues they confront, early marriage, sexual violence, fgm etc. included peace building, because of nature of conflicts in the area. Implementing program in south Sudan as well. In Afghanistan, replicate program. 

Neema Namadamu 2nd woman to graduate from University. Has coordinated program in the Congo.
Was to bring young girl ambassador, but visa denied.



Spoke about importance of education. Early marriage, attitude, cultural expectation. Teach girls 
how to access justice. Global strategy taking action. 

Jazmin, developing training materials. Spoke about VOW, democratic participation. Kit in 18 modules. Being used in the Congo, and soon in S. Sudan and Guatemala. 

Not up to authors to decide content. Girl ambassadors use what makes sense for their situation. Capacity building, identify oppression in every day life. 

Mavic - Loved tool kit, policy isn't everything, implementation,  action important. Including boys is also part of tool kit, and in Congo. 


Yusur Al-Bahrani, from VOW Toronto. The theme of bringing young women together, to share. Needs international connection. We should be in a circle, share. Needs to invest in peace not arms. Spoke of yuzzi women. Physically traumatized. Come together in a circle. Go behind headlnes. Invest in peace, not war. 

Death of afghan woman killed yesterday, media telling about what is happening, but not causes, and how to stop, ie yuzzi women.

Coraid, no adequate funding, to right group. Arms trade agreement, meeting funding peace keepers who are protecting civilians who are being attacked with arms sold by same governments! 

Ambassador phillipine. Support vs ownership. How many times have we done this unleashing positive energy before.

Defining security. Collective security. How to support girls programs, and signing arms agreement.

Unsafe Abortion, A Leading Cause of Death

UNITED NATIONS, Mar 12 2015 (IPS) - Audible gasps echoed through the United Nations’ Trusteeship Council chamber on Tuesday, with audiences told the grim impacts of unsafe reproductive practices on women worldwide.

Hosted by the High-Level Task Force for the International Conference on Population and Development as part of the mammoth Commission on the Status of Women programme, the presentation on sexual and reproductive health described the stark reality for women who lack access to safe abortion or birthing procedures.
“There are 20 million women and girls who undergo unsafe abortion every year,” said Dr. Angela Diaz, Professor of Pediatrics and Preventative Medicine, and Director of the Adolescent Health Center at Mount Sinai Hospital.
To gasps from the packed chamber, she detailed the extreme measures women have gone to when safe abortion is not available.
Inserting coathangers, sticks, bicycle spokes, knitting needles; ingesting toxic substances like laundry detergent or turpentine, or strong prescription drugs intended to treat diseases like malaria; throwing themselves down stairs or off roofs to induce trauma that leads to abortion; all because they have no access to safe legal options,” Diaz said.
“Unsafe abortion is one of the leading causes of death around the globe… every year 47,000 women and girls die from complications from unsafe procedures.”
Diaz also claimed 25 per cent of adolescent girls who check in to Mount Sinai have a history of childhood sexual abuse.
The panel of scholars, social workers and medical professionals emphasised the damaging effects of gender inequality and intrusion on women’s rights worldwide. Manre Chirtau, a young activist fighting for sexual health services in Nigeria and internationally, said there are 13 million births to girls between the ages of 15 and 19 each year.
Barbara Young, National Organiser at the National Domestic Workers Alliance, claimed only 27 per cent of work visas given to migrant workers are held by women, making migrant women wholly dependant on their husbands’ income for survival.
When they have no visa, it entraps them in abusive and exploitative situations, with little or no legal recourse, a lack of knowledge of their rights, language barriers,” Young said.
“Sexual and reproductive rights violations can happen as soon as they leave home… the fear of deportation compels them to stay with their abusers.”
While the panellists’ shocking statistics were met with disbelief and anger from the audience, closing speaker Dr. Gita Sen spelt out hope for the future, and how closing the gender gap could bring about a brighter future.
Adjunct Professor of Global Health and Population at Harvard University, and General Co-Ordinator of DAWN (Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era), Sen said eliminating intimate partner violence would bring a US$4.4 trillion benefit to the globe.
“Closing the gender gap in labor force participants would raise global GDP [gross domestic product] by 12%… universal access to sexual and reproductive services would return US$120 for each $1 spent. That would yield US$400billion in annual benefits.”

-- by Josh Butler