Cordaid And Partners Were Present At NGO Global Women’s Forum
2010 marks the 15th anniversary of the Beijing World Conference on Women. In recognition of this anniversary, the NGO Committee on the Status of Women, NY organized an NGO Global Women’s Forum.
NGO’s gathered together to advocate for a full implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action. Around 1000 people were present at the two days forum. We discussed issues like more women leadership, more education for girls and women, greater involvement of women in peace negotiations. Therefore full gender equality is needed.
The keynote speaker of the NGO forum was Dr. Sima Samar. She is chair of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission and was invited by Cordaid. She mentioned that 15 years after Beijing we have done lots but we are still at the beginning, to achieve that women are equal to men. Most women in Afghanistan still do not have access to education, work and healthcare. Neither to justice. A good woman in Afghanistan is a woman who is not raising her voice. This definition of a good or bad woman should be changed. We have to empower the women and let them know their rights. Women movements, women freedom and women rights should be given priority by the international community and their spaces for agency and advocacy should be improved.
Lia van Broekhoven, policy advisor for Cordaid on the nexus between development, peace and security, was one of the speakers on a panel held on the second day. Her message is that women work hard for development peace, security and human rights need to join hands. Security issues are about “hard power”, and a concerted effort of various communities to address them from a civil society perspective should take priority. The Human Security framework can support us, women, in finding avenues to link human rights, development and security that work in tandem to aim for a more peaceful world. We should not underestimate the formidable powers we are up against, but also not loose courage that we can engage with security actors and powerholders. Building peace is the most difficult to do, but it connects our worlds. We need resources for this, and pooling our strengths and energies is an important step (full speech attached).
During the NGO forum attention is asked to the UN member states and the UN secretariat to move swiftly forward to create the new UN gender equality entity. The UN must fulfill its mandate of working for gender equality as a crucial component of development, human rights, peace and security. Therefore building a United Nations that really works for all women is needed. The UN already recognized the need for a strong, well resourced coordinated body to be a driver for these goals. The time to act on realizing this possibility is now. For more information, visit http://gear.groupsite.com/main/summary
In a regional meeting session participants from Europe discussed the next steps we should take in favor of women rights. Several outcomes which were presented are as follows:
- Women in decision making positions should be increased; 50% should be women, we should connect this with CEDAW, the 50% should also be realized at EC level and at corporate level and transparency is needed.
- Violence against women should be on the agenda; we should refer to human rights articles, a special new convention on violence against women should be created, a EU directive is needed to guide national laws, there should be proper finance for prevention, shelter and other support for women suffering from violence.
- Women and the economic crises need attention; gender analysis is needed for money spent by corporate, banks and military activities. We should encourage gender budgeting also in EU countries.
The NGO’s called on governments, civil society and the United Nations to collaborate and ensure the outcomes of the Beijing Platform for Action will be realized.