Category Archives: WOMEN’S EQUALITY

Schoolgirls become world leaders for the day in equal rights campaign

. . . WOMEN’S EQUALITY . . .

An article from Their World

To mark International Day of the Girl today, more than 1000 girls have taken over some of the top jobs around the globe. – from executives at Google and Facebook to government posts and local councils. It’s all part of a campaign called Girls Get Equal, launched on International Day of the Girl by the child rights organisation Plan International. 

Amazing #GirlsTakeover news from Peru. Emily has taken over from her country’s President! “I received the enormous responsibility to become President and represent the voices of Peruvian girls, especially those who live in rural areas like me.“#DayoftheGirl

Around the world, girls are denied equal access to education and opportunity – just because they are girls.

Almost one in 10 girls are not in primary school, according to new United Nations figures. Girls of every age are more likely to be excluded from education than boys. And that leaves them at risk of child labour, early marriage and exploitation.

Among today’s takeovers is Emily – president of Peru!

In Paraguay, 11-year-old schoolgirl Nara has also become president for the day. She dreams of becoming an engineer – but she also fears sexual assault after several of her friends were attacked and raped.

“My example for other girls as president is never give up and be confident in yourself. It’s not just the boys who can achieve things,” Nara told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“I would like that girls are treated as equals. Men always leave us behind and place barriers in our way.”

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Question for this article

Prospects for progress in women’s equality, what are the short and long term prospects?

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Nara said sexual violence is one of the biggest problems holding girls back in Paraguay.

“The thing that’s most difficult for girls here is the abuse, the harassment, the rapes,” she said. “Girls feel trapped inside themselves because of the violence they have experienced.”

Reports show about 18 million girls aged 15 to 19 are victims of sexual violence each year – often leading to school dropout and reinforcing cultural practices such as early marriage.

Millions of girls are harassed on their way to and from school. Even when they get there, they can suffer sexual violence and bullying.

For last year’s International Day of the Girl, Theirworld looked at  13 reasons why girls are not in school. They include early marriage, pregnancy, conflict, disabilities and a lack of female teachers and role models.

More than 50 million child marriages could be prevented by 2030 if all girls finished secondary school, the charity Save the Children said today.

As well as education, the rights of girls and women are routinely being overlooked. A 2017 global survey of 30,000 young people by the World Economic Forum found more than half of young women felt their views were not heard or not taken seriously.

Only about one in four parliamentarians worldwide is a woman, while fewer than one in five government ministers is female.

As part of Girls Get Equal, other takeovers today include girls running the parliaments of Zimbabwe and Western Australia.

Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen, chief executive of Plan International, said: “It’s girls’ turn to take the lead – to be seen, heard and valued as equals.”

(Thank you to Janet Hudgins, the CPNN reporter for this article.)

The Nobel Prize for Peace 2018


An announcemet from The Nobel Prize Organization

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2018 to Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad for their efforts to end the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict. Both laureates have made a crucial contribution to focusing attention on, and combating, such war crimes. Denis Mukwege is the helper who has devoted his life to defending these victims. Nadia Murad is the witness who tells of the abuses perpetrated against herself and others. Each of them in their own way has helped to give greater visibility to war-time sexual violence, so that the perpetrators can be held accountable for their actions.

The physician Denis Mukwege has spent large parts of his adult life helping the victims of sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Since the Panzi Hospital was established in Bukavu in 1999, Dr. Mukwege and his staff have treated thousands of patients who have fallen victim to such assaults. Most of the abuses have been committed in the context of a long-lasting civil war that has cost the lives of more than six million Congolese.

Denis Mukwege is the foremost, most unifying symbol, both nationally and internationally, of the struggle to end sexual violence in war and armed conflicts. His basic principle is that “justice is everyone’s business”. Men and women, officers and soldiers, and local, national and international authorities alike all have a shared responsibility for reporting, and combating, this type of war crime. The importance of Dr. Mukwege’s enduring, dedicated and selfless efforts in this field cannot be overstated. He has repeatedly condemned impunity for mass rape and criticised the Congolese government and other countries for not doing enough to stop the use of sexual violence against women as a strategy and weapon of war.

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(click here for the article in French.)

Question related to this article:

Protecting women and girls against violence, Is progress being made?

What role should men play to stop violence against women?

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Nadia Murad is herself a victim of war crimes. She refused to accept the social codes that require women to remain silent and ashamed of the abuses to which they have been subjected. She has shown uncommon courage in recounting her own sufferings and speaking up on behalf of other victims.

Nadia Murad is a member of the Yazidi minority in northern Iraq, where she lived with her family in the remote village of Kocho. In August 2014 the Islamic State (IS) launched a brutal, systematic attack on the villages of the Sinjar district, aimed at exterminating the Yazidi population. In Nadia Murad’s village, several hundred people were massacred. The younger women, including underage children, were abducted and held as sex slaves. While a captive of the IS, Nadia Murad was repeatedly subjected to rape and other abuses. Her assaulters threatened to execute her if she did not convert to their hateful, inhuman version of Islam.

Nadia Murad is just one of an estimated 3 000 Yazidi girls and women who were victims of rape and other abuses by the IS army. The abuses were systematic, and part of a military strategy. Thus they served as a weapon in the fight against Yazidis and other religious minorities.
After a three-month nightmare Nadia Murad managed to flee. Following her escape, she chose to speak openly about what she had suffered. In 2016, at the age of just 23, she was named the UN’s first Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking.

This year marks a decade since the UN Security Council adopted Resolution 1820 (2008), which determined that the use of sexual violence as a weapon of war and armed conflict constitutes both a war crime and a threat to international peace and security. This is also set out in the Rome Statute of 1998, which governs the work of the International Criminal Court. The Statute establishes that sexual violence in war and armed conflict is a grave violation of international law.  A more peaceful world can only be achieved if women and their fundamental rights and security are recognised and protected in war.

This year’s Nobel Peace Prize is firmly embedded in the criteria spelled out in Alfred Nobel’s will. Denis Mukwege and Nadia Murad have both put their personal security at risk by courageously combating war crimes and seeking justice for the victims. They have thereby promoted the fraternity of nations through the application of principles of international law.

Morocco and Senegal promote gender equality through media


An article from Devdiscourse

The first traveling workshop of the project ” Prevent violence and promote gender equality through the media in Morocco and Senegal ” was held from 16 to 18 August 2018 in Thiès (Dakar-Senegal). An activity that allowed the various participating journalists to build their capacity in the mastery of the concept of gender, human rights issues and their consideration in the collection and processing of information.

©UNESCO/Théodora Samba Taliane

The project “Preventing violence and promoting gender equality through the media in Morocco and Senegal”, funded by Spain under the International Program for the Development of Communication (IPDC), has as its main objective to empower beneficiaries to promote gender equality and combat the reporting and spread of hate speech in the media while promoting a better strategic approach to the use of digital.

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Click here for the version in French)

Question related to this article:

Protecting women and girls against violence, Is progress being made?

African journalism and the Culture of Peace, A model for the rest of the world?

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The project is implemented in Senegal with the support of partners at the national level such as the Ministry of Communication, Telecommunications, Posts and the Digital Economy, the Senegalese National Commission for UNESCO (COMNAT), the Union of Associative and Community Radios of Senegal (URAC), 

A series of four itinerant workshops are planned to be held throughout Senegal. It is in this context that the first event was organized. The workshop, which was held on August 16, 17, 18, welcomed nearly 40 participants, members of the community radios as well as the online press, located in the region of Dakar and Thiès.

For three days they were trained on the concepts of human rights, gender and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW); and in journalistic techniques, on the notions of ethics and deontology in the treatment of information. 

At the end of the training sessions, the participants were asked to make radio and written productions, respecting the notions of gender, ethical and ethical according to the knowledge acquired. These productions will be monitored throughout the implementation of the project for dissemination to local communities. 

This workshop was an opportunity, especially for members of the online press, to participate for the first time in an activity dealing with gender issues, demonstrating clearly that the need for strengthening on these themes is essential, and this at all scales. The next traveling workshops will be held in Kaolack (September), St. Louis (October) and Kolda (November).

Promoting a culture of peace and gender equality is central to UNESCO’s mission. This project is part of the Organization’s drive to strengthen peace and non-violence through the media with a focus on building their capacity to advance ethical, objective and quality journalism.

Historic leap in Tunisia: Women make up 47 per cent of local government

. . . WOMEN’S EQUALITY . . .

An article from UN Women

Seven years after the 2011 Revolution and four years after the adoption of the Constitution, women now make up 47 per cent of the local council positions in Tunisia following the May 2018 elections. The dramatic increase in women members is the result of a 2016 electoral law that includes the principles of parity and alternation between men and women on candidate lists for all elections.

Ichrak Rhouma participated in the Political Academy Project. She was elected on May 6th, 2018 in Sidi Hassine council, Tunis. Photo: Aswat Nissa

In May, Ichrak Rhouma was elected to the Sidi Hassine Council in Tunis, the capital city. Prior to being elected, Rhouma participated in the Women’s Political Academy, a joint project by UN Women and the Tunisian women’s rights organization, Aswat Nissa (Women’s Voices). The Academy trained women candidates on local governance, missions and roles of municipal councils, as well as media relations. Rhouma says that the Women’s Political Academy “allowed us to deepen our knowledge on women’s rights in general, but also to learn new concepts such as gender-sensitive budgeting.”

In addition to the Academy, the project has conducted research on women’s expectations of municipal council’s activities in five regions across the country. The study’s results informed candidates’ electoral campaigns and shaped regional development planning.

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Question for this article

Prospects for progress in women’s equality, what are the short and long term prospects?

What is the United Nations doing for a culture of peace?

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Prior to the 2018 elections in Tunisia, UN Women and its civil society partners conducted capacity building sessions and supported the updating of the gender-sensitive election observation manual. UN Women also provided capacity building to 75 election observers who were trained on the importance of women’s participation in elections and how to observe gender-related issues during the voting stages.

UN Women also supported the Tunisian League of Women Voters (LET) to run awareness-raising campaigns to increase voter participation, especially in the regions of Sousse, Bizerte and Nabeul, which had registered the lowest rates in 2012 elections.

“The objective was to invigorate a participatory democracy and political culture within women and youth. Our awareness campaigns trained and engaged young men and women who went door to door explaining the importance of women’s participation in the political scene,” explains Nejma Ben Kheher, Project Officer at LET.

Khedher added, “Now that we have this high number of elected women in local and regional councils, we hope to continue supporting them with targeted training, such as access to information or gender-responsive budgeting to help them succeed in their mission.”

“The increased women’s representation in the municipal councils offers an opportunity to impact territorial policies in Tunisia,” said Leila Rhiwi, UN Women Representative in Maghreb. “UN Women will continue supporting the councils to integrate gender concerns into their communal development plans that foster good governance and women’s leadership.”

Tunisia is one of the few countries in the world to establish the principle and practice of equal representation of men and women across candidate lists (horizontal parity – where women should head 50 per cent of candidate lists), as well as down the candidate lists (vertical parity – alternating men and women through the list), in its electoral law. While gender parity has been achieved regarding the municipal lists, according to the High Authority for Independent Elections, more work is needed to support horizontal parity, since women only made up 29.6 per cent of positions at the head of party lists.

Tunisia will hold its parliamentary and presidential elections in 2019.

Women in school to promote a sustainable peace in Cameroon

. . . WOMEN’S EQUALITY . . .

An article from Media Terre (translation by CPNN)

“The role of women in conflict resolution and in the construction of a lasting peace in Cameroon”: This was the theme of the program “Ladies Hours” held by the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung for Cameroon and Central Africa in Bastoson July 24, 2018. The program is a platform for exchange, information and training of women on the issues of the hour. Twenty-five women decision-makers from the government, political parties, civil society, cultural and professional associations and the media were invited to this quarterly meeting. They shared their experiences and worked for reforms to improve the status of women to be better partners in building sustainable peace and development in Cameroon.

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Question for this article

Can the women of Africa lead the continent to peace?

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What role do women play in today’s conflicts?

An inventory of women’s activity in the current security situation in our country indicates that it is women and girls who suffer the most in conflicts because of their vulnerability: poverty, rape, destruction of their homes. sometimes their relocation, loss of loved ones. Women are absent in decision-making bodies. They are not involved in socio-political activity and do not confront the different crises such as Boko Haram and the Anglophone crisis. Women in the English-speaking regions have formed an awareness and mediation group for a return to calm.

What can women do in building lasting peace?

The education of a society is mainly based on women. They are life givers, protectors of life, initiators of life. They therefore have a very great responsibility in the culture of peace through the initiation of children and society to justice, to peace. The culture of peace is a set of acts and attitudes that give precedence to social harmony and that have as a prerequisite social justice. Women must therefore be agents of peace and actors of peacebuilding in Cameroon through their attitudes, the language they hold, the positions and analyses they make of different situations in life. Justice and equity must govern their actions. For this, they must use all the means at their disposal to build peace in Cameroon, and advocate for the protection of women and girls in times of conflict. In addition, women must work together to engage in an inclusive dialogue on the culture of peace.

In conclusion, an invitation was made to women decision-makers for awareness-raising and ongoing training of women members of their organization on the context and the need for women to be key players in building lasting peace in the world in general and in Cameroon in particular.

An unprecedented upsurge of movements for women’s rights: UN Women annual report 2017-2018

. . . WOMEN’S EQUALITY . . .

Foreward to Annual Report by UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka

In 2017 we saw an unprecedented upsurge of movements for women’s rights, equality, safety and justice. The tireless work of activists has been central to this global drive, and women all over the world continue to demonstrate the power of many voices speaking as one. Together, we are calling for opportunity and accountability, drawing momentum from grass-roots networks and forging coalitions that stretch right up to the leaders of governments, businesses and civic institutions.

UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka visited a camp for people displaced by conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Despite the terrors of war and sexual violence, women leaders are forging ahead to make new, better lives for themselves and other women in the camp.

There is a profound hunger for change in women’s lives, and a growing recognition that when women band together they can achieve it—whether online through social media or offline through more traditional mobilization. They are confronting, challenging and condemning the practices that have normalized gender inequality, poverty, sexual miscon- duct, exclusion and discrimination across every area of life.

As our Annual Report shows, UN Women is supporting women politicians, electoral officials, voters, lawmakers, civil society activists and many others to claim their equal right to lead and be heard. The report highlights the experiences of a multitude of formidable women, from individuals like Alice Wahome, Kenyan parliamentarian, to the combined success story of the 14,000 Nepalese women who won an unprecedented 41 per cent of local government seats in 2017.

We salute these women leaders in formal positions as well as all those who have bravely spoken out against sexual harassment and violence through the #MeToo movement, and others. We commend the women who spoke out in the International Criminal Court against those who used rape as a weapon of war. We celebrate activists who campaigned for equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people.

We recognize those who advocated for legal reform in countries such as Tunisia, to end a provision that allowed rapists to escape persecution if they married their victims. We acknowledge those who have taken to the streets in India to condemn the murder and rape of young children, turning protests into broader-based movements that engage entire communities. We honour the indigenous leaders who have stood up for their custodial rights to land and traditional practices, and the human rights defenders who have even lost their lives for their cause.

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Question for this article

Does the UN advance equality for women?

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Through our report we celebrate individuals we have supported, whose life experiences represent hundreds of thousands of others like them, and whose achievements are accelerating progress towards gender equality. Small business owner Olga Macz of Guatemala told us about the increased income, independence and mobility that came with learning professional production and marketing skills.

Training also brought her increased understanding and assertion of her rights. In Egypt, more than 17,000 women from the poorest and most marginalized rural areas now have their first access to community-based village savings and loan associations, building not just savings and busi- ness opportunities but confidence and increased autonomy.

The time is now to end all forms of gender inequality. The culture of gender-based poverty, abuse and exploitation has to end with a new generation of equality that lasts for all women and girls, no matter where they live, or how they live. We must leave no one behind.

UN Women has a special relationship with the women’s movement; we arose from that activism. Civil society has had a historically crucial role in leading global action on gender equality by promoting reform, highlighting the complexities of the challenges facing women, influencing policies, participating in monitoring, and upholding ac- countability. We are working to create stronger support for women’s political activism and a broader space for women’s civil society voices so that our efforts combine to benefit those who truly need change most.

At the same time, we also need a movement of male feminists, and young men and boys who value and respect women and girls. Today’s activism needs to alter the way we listen to women and the way we look at them, recog- nizing the power of stereotypes to influence how we value people. Activists and leaders in the HeForShe movementin 2017 found tangible and scaleable solutions for inequal- ities, like the 3,500 child marriages annulled in Malawi by local chiefs, or the practical accountability actions taken in Iceland to make sure that companies put the equal pay law into practice.

At the 2018 UN Commission on the Status of Women, youth captured the urgency of the moment. They highlighted the importance of being present and participating fully in all the issues that affect their lives. They emphasized working in an intergenerational context so that they can learn from those who have been around for much longer and contrib- ute to giving us direction for the future.

The time is now to hold ourselves and our leaders accountable for progress, for all women.

Canada and partners announce historic investment in education for women and girls in crisis and conflict situations

. . . WOMEN’S EQUALITY . . .

An article on the web page of The Prime Minister of Canada

Gender equality is a fundamental human right and a top priority for Canada and its G7 Presidency. To make gender equality a reality, all women and girls around the world must have equal access to quality education and learning opportunities. When women and girls have an equal chance to learn, grow, and succeed, they help build an economy that works for everyone.

Canada, along with the European Union, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the World Bank, today announced an investment of close to $3.8 billion CAD, marking a fundamental shift toward improving access and reducing barriers to quality education around the world. Today’s announcement represents the single largest investment in education for women and girls in crisis and conflict situations. It has the potential to make a difference in the lives of millions of the world’s most vulnerable women and girls.

Prime Minister Trudeau participates in the working session of the G7. Photo by Adam Scotti (CPM)

These investments will support global action to:

* Equip women and girls with the skills needed for the jobs of the future

* Improve training for teachers to provide better curriculum for women and girls

* Improve the quality of available data on women’s and girls’ education

* Promote greater coordination between humanitarian and development partners

* Support innovative education methods, especially for vulnerable and hard to reach groups, including refugees and displaced people

* Support developing countries in efforts to provide equal opportunities for girls to complete at least 12 years of quality education, from primary to secondary school

Canada will work with these partners along with others to support women’s and girls’ education around the world. They will also make sure the voices of women and girls are included when decisions are made on education and employment.

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(Click here for the French version)

Question for this article

Gender equality in education, Is it advancing?

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“We need to work together to ensure all women and girls have access to quality education and modern skills training. From primary school to secondary school and beyond, women and girls in crisis and conflict situations must have the same opportunities to succeed. Investing in their education is not just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do. Given the chance, we know women and girls will drive positive change, and help build better lives for themselves, their families, their communities, and, in turn, the world.”

—The Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

Quick Facts

Of the total funding announced today, international partners committed to make the following investments:

* Canada is investing $400 million CAD over three years, in addition to the $180 million we provided in January 2018 to the Global Partnership for Education for 2018-2020.

* The European Union is investing 72 million euros over three years.

* Germany is investing 75 million euros.

* Japan is investing $200 million USD in girl’s and women’s quality education, including in emergencies or in conflict-affected or fragile states.

* The United Kingdom is investing £187 million, which builds on Prime Minister May’s announcement at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in April when she pledged £212 million to get almost one million girls in developing countries across the Commonwealth learning.

* The World Bank is investing $2 billion USD over five years.

In February 2018, France committed to provide 200 million euros to the Global Partnership for Education to support girls’ education and help strengthen education systems in developing countries.

At the end of 2016, globally there were 65.5 million forcibly displaced people, over half of whom were under 18 years of age, with little to no access to quality education and learning opportunities.

Girls are more likely to be taken out of school due to displacement-related poverty, more likely to be forced into early marriage, and are disproportionately affected by gender and sexual-based violence.

Canada holds the G7 Presidency for 2018, and is advancing domestic and international priorities framed under the following five key themes:

* Investing in growth that works for everyone

* Preparing for jobs of the future

* Advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment

* Working together on climate change, oceans, and clean energy

* Building a more peaceful and secure world

(Thank you to the Good News Agency for calling this article to our attention)

Panafrican Women’s Network for Culture of Peace and Sustainable Development

. . . WOMEN’S EQUALITY . . .

An article from Pyramid Media Gabon

Victoire Lasseni-Duboze was elected head of the Panafrican Women’s Network for Culture of Peace and Sustainable Development-Gabon section, at their Constitutive General Assembly which took place last weekend at the Libreville Chamber of Commerce. The Assembly was supported by the United Nations System in Gabon and the Doupambi-Matoka Foundation for Solidarity Development.

Victoire Lasseni- Duboze during her speech / DR.

This the culmination of a long process launched in 2017 with the implementation of the project “Support to the contribution of women to the promotion of the culture of peace and the objectives of sustainable development in Gabon” , initiated by the mediator of the Republic. It consisted of the realization of several women’s activities including the celebrations of International Women’s Day (8 March) and Peace (21 September).

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Question for this article

Can the women of Africa lead the continent to peace?

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The purpose of the activities is to promote the conditions for harmonious and peaceful living together for women from civil society and the artistic, cultural and scientific worlds. More than 200 women committed to creating a national network for a culture of peace and sustainable development during the first celebration. In 2017, during the international day of peace, the network was formalized by the establishment of a temporary office, which has started to elaborate the draft statutes, rules of procedure and action plan.

At the meeting, Stephen Jackson, coordinator of the United Nations System in Gabon, said: “I therefore welcome the convening of this constituent General Assembly of the Pan-African Women’s Network for the Culture of Peace and Development. sustainable-section Gabon. It testifies not only to the strength of conviction and commitment of Gabonese women but also it highlights, in line with the National Decade of Women (2015-2025 ), the awareness and recognition in this country of the necessary contribution of women to national development “.

After her election Victoire Lasseni-Duboze announced that the network will be set up in the nine provinces of Gabon. Because, she added: “we need peace throughout the territory”. The Panafrican Network of Women for Culture of Peace and Sustainable Development will aim to mobilize the women of Gabonese and African civil society in accordance with the “Plan of Action for a Culture of Peace in Africa- Take Action for Peace, adopted in Luanda, Angola, in March 2013, following the Pan-African Forum “Sources and Resources for a Culture of Peace”.

Mexico: Tlalnepantla Continues Work to Eradicate Gender Violence


An article from Ordenador

To raise awareness among citizens about the importance of eradicating gender violence and promoting a culture of peace throughout the municipal territory, the Tlalnepantla government continues to carry out activities of comprehensive attention to women, including a variety of services.

Each month the Municipal Institute for Women’s Equality and Development (IMIDM) carries out an average of 12 days of activities in various communities to prevent more women from being victims of some type of violence.

At their stands, attendees are given information on this topic, and it is expected that they in turn replicate this knowledge among their families and neighbors, to detect situations of violence in their communities.

During conferences, psychologists specialized in this subject offer a talk in which they teach the definition of violence and how to detect it; what is the gender violence alert, and what is the cycle of violence. Attendees are provided with emergency numbers to be called in case of violence.

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(Click here for the original in Spanish.)

Question for this article

Protecting women and girls against violence, Is progress being made?

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After the presentation, attendees have the opportunity to participate in a “Workshop to promote self-employment”, which is carried out free of charge, with the purpose of empowering women to generate their own economic resources to access a better quality of life.

Among the activities carried out in this workshop, crafts are taught for the preparation of candy, bags, baskets, portraits and key rings, as well as the manufacture of products for cleaning the home, which can then be marketed to obtain additional income

Those interested in participating in this workshop should contact the IMIDM, gather a group of at least 25 people and have an adequate space for the preparation of food.

It is worth mentioning that these days are carried out in coordination with the Municipal Health Institute and with the Municipal DIF System, which is why services such as eye examinations, pressure collection and vital signs, dental check, among others, are also available.

For his part, Edgar Mauricio Zepeda Montes, a resident of Santa Monica, acknowledged that this type of conference serves to raise awareness among people about gender violence and the way in which it harms the development of society.

Monica Bribiesca Barrera, from Valle Ceylán, said that these activities contribute to improve the environment in their communities “because there should be no violence of any kind, at any age, not even towards animals. Violence denigrates all of us as living beings.”

Women, Peace and Security Focal Points Network meets in Berlin to promote women’s role in peace processes

. . . WOMEN’S EQUALITY . . .

An article from UN Women

About 150 representatives from UN Member States, regional and international organizations and civil society from around the world met in Berlin, Germany, for the annual capital-level Women, Peace and Security Focal Points Network (WPS-FPN) meeting on April 9-10, 2018.

UN Women Deputy Executive Director Yannick Glemarec with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and other participants at the Women, Peace and Security Focal Points Network meeting in Berlin. Photo: Xander Heinl/

The Network, initiated by Spain in 2015 during the high-level review of the implementation of Security Council resolution 1325 and launched in 2016, serves as a cross-regional forum to exchange experiences and best practices to advance the implementation of the UN agenda on women, peace and security, and to improve coordination of funding and assistance to programmes.

Today, women remain a minority in all peace processes, representing only 4 per cent of the military component of UN peacekeeping missions, and 10 per cent of the police component. Despite increases since 2010, the percentage of gender-specific provisions in peace agreements declined in 2016. Violations against women human rights defenders persist and access of women and girls to justice and security remains hindered. In addition, harmful gender norms and structural barriers continue to contribute to inequalities and violence. Women in peacekeeping operations have been found to increase the credibility of forces, gain access to communities and vital information, and lead to an increase in reporting of sexual and gender-based crimes.

In his opening address, Heiko Maas, German Foreign Minister, emphasized that “Women can and must play an active role in conflict prevention, peace talks, reconstruction, reconciliation in societies and particularly in post­conflict situations.”

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Question for this article:

UN Resolution 1325, does it make a difference?

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He noted that one objective of the meeting was to “highlight how alliances can promote this agenda – alliances with regional organizations or strong partners such as the G7, with other networks and initiatives, but also, and very importantly, with civil society.”

Organized by Germany as current Chair of the Network, in close collaboration with Spain, Namibia and UN Women, the meeting focused on “Building Alliances to Advance the Women, Peace and Security Agenda” deepening the discussion on accountability mechanisms for conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence. Resources, professionalization of data collection and evidence finding were highlighted as key to promoting accountability, while comprehensive gender-sensitive conflict analysis and budgeting processes were highlighted as mechanisms to help ensure the implementation of strategic priorities and appropriate financing for the women, peace and security agenda across sectors.

In her keynote address on the second day, Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström underlined that “Gender equality is the issue of our time. It is not a women issue, it is a peace and security issue.”
UN Women Deputy Executive Director for Policy and Programme, Yannick Glemarec, urged participants to seize the opportunities offered by the Network to effect tangible changes in the way challenges of implementing the Women, Peace and Security agenda are addressed.

During the meeting, the Focal Points reflected on the critical need for streamlining the different reporting mechanisms and consultation processes on women, peace and security to foster an enabling environment for accountability by Member States and regional organizations. At the local level, they advise for specific timelines, aligned indicators, adequate budgets and the active involvement of civil society actors as key components for successful national action plans.

The Focal Points agreed on key actions for the Network from the meeting, which is reflected in a joint communiqué  which will be issued as an official document of the UN Security Council.

In closing remarks, Selma Ashipala-Musavyi, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation of Namibia, who will Chair the Network in 2019, said of the Network, “We are there to show the way for women to never give up hope.” The Network is expected to host additional meetings in New York in the coming months and during the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly.

(Thank you to the Good News Agency for calling our attention to this article.)