Category Archives: WOMEN’S EQUALITY

New report of Inter-Parliamentary Union shows that women MPs have never been so diverse


A press release from the Inter-Parliamentary Union

According to the latest IPU report, Women in Parliament 2022, women’s participation in parliament has never been as diverse and representative as it is in many countries today. And for the first time in history, not a single functioning parliament in the world is male-only. 

Celia Xakriaba, a climate activist, is one of 4 indigenous women to be elected to the Brazilian Parliament. Photo from Wiki Commons.

The findings in the annual IPU report are based on the 47 countries that held elections in 2022. In those elections, women took an average 25.8% of seats up for election or appointment. This represents a 2.3 percentage point increase compared to previous renewals in these chambers.

Brazil saw a record 4,829 women who identify as black running for election (out of 26,778 candidates); in the USA, a record number of women of colour (263) stood in the midterm elections; LGBTQI+ representation in Colombia tripled from two to six members of the Congress; and in France, 32 candidates from minority backgrounds were elected to the new National Assembly, an all-time high of 5.8% of the total.  

Other positive trends include technological and operational transformations, largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which have increased the potential for parliaments to become more gender-sensitive and family-friendly. The influence of gender issues on election outcomes, with increased awareness of discrimination and gender-based violence, as well as alliances with other social movements, also helped drive strong results for women in some of the parliamentary elections.

However, overall progress towards global gender equality remains painfully slow: the global share of women in parliaments stood at 26.5% on 1 January 2023, a year-on-year increase of only 0.4 percentage points, the slowest growth in six years.

Mixed regional findings

Overall, six countries now have gender parity (or a greater share of women than men) in their lower or single chamber as of 1 January 2023. New Zealand joined last year’s club of five consisting of Cuba, Mexico, Nicaragua, Rwanda and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), at the top of the IPU’s authoritative global ranking of women in parliament.

Other notable gains in women’s representation were recorded in Australia (the strongest outcome of the year with a record 56.6% of seats won by women in the Senate), Colombia, Equatorial Guinea, Malta and Slovenia.

High stakes elections in Angola, Kenya and Senegal all saw positive strides for women. Wide divides characterized results in Asia: record numbers of women were elected to the historically male-dominated Senate in Japan but in India, elections to the upper chamber led to women occupying only 15.1% of seats, well below the global and regional averages.

The Pacific saw the highest growth rate in women’s representation out of all the regions, gaining 1.7 percentage points to reach an overall average of 22.6% women in parliament. Every Pacific parliament now has at least one woman legislator.

In the 15 European chambers that were renewed in 2022, there was little shift in women’s representation, stagnating at 31%.

(continued in right column)

Questions for this article:

How can parliamentarians promote a culture of peace?

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

(continued from left column)

In the Middle East and North Africa region, seven chambers were renewed in 2022. On average, women were elected to 16.3% of the seats in these chambers, the lowest regional percentage in the world for elections held in the year. Three countries were below 10%: Algeria (upper chamber: 4.3%), Kuwait (6.3%) and Lebanon (6.3%).

Bahrain is an outlier in the region with a record eight women elected to the lower chamber, including many first-time lawmakers. 73 women ran for election to the lower chamber (out of a total of 330 candidates) compared with the 41 women who ran in the last election in 2018. Ten women were also appointed to the 40-member upper chamber.

Quotas work

Legislated quotas were again a decisive factor in the increases seen in women’s representation. Legislated quotas enshrined in the constitution and/or electoral laws require that a minimum number of candidates are women (or of the under-represented sex). Chambers with legislated quotas or combined with voluntary party quotas produced a significantly higher share of women than those without in the 2022 elections (30.9% versus 21.2%).

Women’s leadership on climate change

Women in Parliament 2022 gives several examples of female climate leadership including Prime Minister Sanna Marin of Finland, who has pushed for net zero by 2035, and Prime Minister Mia Mottley of Barbados, who is aiming to phase out fossil fuels by 2030.

At COP27, the UN Climate Change Conference, Senator Sherry Rehman, the Minister of Climate Change in Pakistan, was one of the prominent advocates which led to the successful establishment of a loss and damage fund to support poorer countries who are greatly affected by climate change. However, despite this leadership, women continue to be under-represented in decision-making positions on climate. For example, women accounted for less than 34% of country negotiating teams and only 7 out of 110 Heads of State present at COP27.
Quotes from IPU leadership

Lesia Vasylenko, President of the IPU Bureau of Women MPs.

“Every woman who is elected brings parliaments one step closer to becoming more inclusive and representative. And it’s great to see much more diversity this year in many elections around the world. But overall progress is far too slow, with half the world’s populations still vastly under-represented. There is an urgent need to change this to strengthen democracy everywhere.”

Duarte Pacheco, IPU President

“The only way to make real progress toward achieving gender equality in parliaments is to share the responsibility between men and women. I call on my male colleagues in every parliament in the world to work with their female counterparts to move forward and accelerate the pace of change.”

Martin Chungong, IPU Secretary General

“Our research shows that there are still too many barriers preventing women from entering parliament or indeed forcing them to leave politics, as we have seen recently. We have the data, tools and solutions to make gender equality a reality by, for example, making parliaments gender-sensitive and free of sexism, harassment and violence. What we now need is the political will at the highest level to make it happen.”


The IPU is the global organization of national parliaments. It was founded more than 133 years ago as the first multilateral political organization in the world, encouraging cooperation and dialogue between all nations. Today, the IPU comprises 178 national Member Parliaments and 14 regional parliamentary bodies. It promotes democracy and helps parliaments become stronger, younger, gender-balanced and more representative. It also defends the human rights of parliamentarians through a dedicated committee made up of MPs from around the world.

United Nations: CSW67 Opening statement: Digital rights are women’s rights


Opening statement to the Commission on the Status of Women at its 67th session, by Ms. Sima Bahous, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women

A new kind of poverty now confronts the world, one that excludes women and girls in devastating ways—that of digital poverty.   

The digital divide has become the new face of gender inequality, which is being compounded by the pushback against women and girls that we see in the world today.    

Ms. Sima Bahous, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women, delivers her opening statement to the 67th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women in the General Assembly Hall at United Nations Headquarters in New York, 6 March 2023. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown

That is why the work of this 67th Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) could not be more timely nor more critical.   

We meet to do what this Commission does best: develop norms and standards for an urgent issue of significant importance that offers both opportunity and challenge.  

The CSW mandate is exemplified in the priority theme of this year’s Commission. 
The digital revolution presents unprecedented opportunities for women and girls.  At the very same time, it has also given rise to profound new challenges, compounding gender inequalities in severe ways.   

The Secretary-General’s report is unambiguous. We will not achieve gender equality without closing the digital gap. 
The data are sobering.  Women are 18 per cent less likely than men to own a smartphone, and far less likely to access or use the Internet.  This past year alone, 259 million more men than women were online. Only 28 per cent of engineering graduates and 22 per cent of artificial intelligence workers globally are women, despite girls matching boys’ performance in science and technology subjects across many countries.
In the technology sector globally, women not only occupy fewer positions, but they also face a gender pay gap of 21 per cent.  Nearly half of all women working in technology have faced workplace harassment. 

The gap in access to digital tools and opportunity is widest where women and girls are often most vulnerable. This gap disproportionately affects women and girls with low literacy or low income, those living in rural or remote areas, migrants, women with disabilities, and older women.  It jeopardizes our promise to leave no one behind. 
These differences have serious consequences for women and girls.   

The digital divide can limit women’s access to life-saving information, mobile money products, agricultural extension, or online public services.  In turn, this fundamentally influences whether a woman completes her education, owns her own bank account, makes informed decisions about her body, feeds her family, or gains productive employment. 
At its heart, the digital gap is pervasive because technology is pervasive in all aspects of our modern lives. 
We must also squarely face the threats to the safety and well-being of girls that technology can present when abused.  Even where they enjoy access to digital tools and services, discrimination has taken a foothold and continues to find new ways to deny them their rights. 
Research has shown that 80 per cent of children in 25 countries reported feeling in danger of sexual abuse and exploitation when online, with adolescent girls the most vulnerable. 

A survey of women journalists from 125 countries found that three-quarters had experienced online violence in the course of their work and a third had self-censored in response. 

Afghan women who spoke out through YouTube and blogging had their doors marked by the Taliban, with many fleeing their country for safety.  
In Iran, and as noted in the Secretary General´s report on the situation of human rights there, many women and girls continue to be targeted because of their participation in online campaigns.  
We continue to see radical groups and some governments use social media to target women, particularly women human rights defenders.  

Women’s rights activists cannot play their role in advancing equality if they fear reprisals.  They become, in effect, invisible.   

This is the new, digital repression and oppression. We stand in full solidarity with women and girls subjected to repression and oppression worldwide. 

The reality is that those forces and actors who would deny women and girls their rights are as adaptable as they are evil. 
So, we must adapt faster and more effectively than they do, with stronger responses, protections and ultimately, greater resolve.  
Technology and innovation are indeed enablers.  What they enable is up to us. 

At the same time, the digital revolution offers the potential for unprecedented improvement in the lives of women and girls.  We must not spurn it. 

Research by UN Women and DESA shows that global progress towards the SDG targets has become more precarious than ever.   

We live in a world of poly-crises that make progress ever more uneven including in the digital space, creating new and unique barriers for women and girls.   

These crises span from the still-unresolved challenges of COVID, to the global economic divide advancing unprecedented inequities across food and energy access, to conflict and instability such as that in Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Myanmar, the Occupied Palestinian Territory, Ukraine and Yemen. 

We need every advantage we can find to bring the SDGs back on track. 

Technology and innovation are proven accelerators to drive concrete progress, once again, across the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  

(Article continues in right column.)

Questions related to this article:

Does the UN advance equality for women?

Is Internet freedom a basic human right?

(Article continued from left column.) 

Harnessed effectively, technology and innovation can be the game-changers to catalyse poverty reduction, decrease hunger, boost health, create new jobs, mitigate climate change, address humanitarian crises, improve energy access and make entire cities and communities safer and more sustainable – benefitting women and girls. Now is the time to shape the outcomes of CSW67 to inform the SDG Summit and the Summit of the Future in 2024 and the Global Digital Compact. 

In countless ways, the Sustainable Development Goals depend on the world’s ability to leverage technology and innovation for good.   

Consider social media.  It allowed women, desperately seeking help in the face of rising domestic violence during COVID-19 lockdowns, to access information and support.   

It has generated ‘heat maps’ to focus disaster response, most recently in the tragic earthquakes of Türkiye and Syria.  

Social media has been a crucial connector for the women’s movement within and between countries. 

Technology has facilitated our work across UN Women’s bold mandate.   

In countries such as Niger and Haiti, we have been able to digitalize data collection in Rapid Gender Assessments, saving time and money, as well as offering new, more powerful data management and visualization. 

In Ukraine, national authorities, civil society organizations and the private sector are working together to build digital solutions that support gender-responsive aid, economic recovery and reduce digital gaps.   

From artificial intelligence to virtual reality, to the blockchain – possibilities to harness technology, to save and improve lives and achieve the vision of the United Nations Charter, where every member of the human family lives a life of freedom and dignity, seem truly limitless.  

It is up to us to decide the course we wish to chart, and whether, ultimately, we use the opportunity being afforded us to build a better world, leaving no woman or girl behind in the digital revolution.   

Let me turn to the way forward. 

Our challenge is not to train more women or distribute mobile handsets.  Rather, it is to fix the institutions and the harmful gender stereotypes surrounding technology and innovation that fail women and girls.   

The Secretary-General’s report offers us solutions that I hope will be reflected in your Agreed Conclusions.   

First, we must close the gender digital divide.  Every member of society, especially the most marginalized, must have equal access to digital skills and services.  Digital services, especially e-government services, must be tailored and accessible for all women and girls. 

Second, we must invest in digital, science and technology education for girls and women, including those girls who missed out on education first time around.   

These opportunities cannot merely be the provision of basic computer skills. They must extend to the whole suite of capabilities needed to secure 21st century jobs in a digital world.  

Third, we must ensure jobs and leadership positions for women in the tech and innovation sectors.  As the Secretary-General said: “There is a great danger for gender equality, misogyny is embedded in the Silicon Valleys of this world”.  This demands profound institutional change.  That burden lies in large part on the leaders of the technology sector.    

Fourth, we must ensure transparency and accountability of digital technology. By design, technology must be safe, inclusive, affordable, and accessible.  This includes ensuring that unconscious or conscious bias is not embedded into new technologies and in the field of artificial intelligence.   

Fifth, we must place the principles of inclusion, intersectionality, and systemic change at the core of digitalization.  

If women are not included among technology and artificial intelligence creators, or decision-makers, digital products will not reflect the priorities of women and girls.    We must ensure that women and girls are a central part of the design, development, and deployment of technology.   

Sixth, we must confront misinformation head on, and we must work with men and boys to foster ethical and responsible online behaviour and make equality a cornerstone of digital citizenship. 

Finally, we must make the necessary effort and investment to ensure that online spaces are free of violence and abuse, with mechanisms and clear accountability to tackle all forms of harassment and discrimination and hate speech.   

We have turned a blind eye to their damaging effects for too long.   

Technology should liberate, it is instead aggravating violence, with online behaviours that seek to control, harm, silence or discredit the voices of women and girls.  

If we do not leave this Session having said collectively, unambiguously, “enough, no more”, then we will have failed. 

All these solutions demand the concerted actions not only of governments but of the whole of society, and in particular the private sector.   

The Action Coalition on Technology and Innovation, launched as part of the Generation Equality Forum, is one example of a platform that cultivates multi-stakeholder partnerships dedicated to advance gender equality through alliances between governments, private sector, youth, civil society, and the UN System.  We need to see this reflected at national levels and extended further. 

The issues of which this Commission is seized have always evolved, but rarely has that evolution been so dramatic, the opportunities it presents so transformative, the threats accompanying it so alarming, yet the solutions so clear.   

The pace of change demands that we contribute a global normative framework that ensures we harness technology towards the achievement of gender equality –  and that we do it here and now.   

We cannot indulge in distraction when presented with an opportunity to achieve something so necessary and so timely.  
I am confident we will spare no effort in showing that this Commission is of one mind and asserts with one voice that “digital rights are women’s rights”.  

This must be the vision and the outcome of CSW67.  

I look forward to working with you all to that end. 

I thank you. 

UN Security Council: ‘Radical change of direction’ needed in women, peace and security agenda


An article from the United Nations

New goals and effective plans on women’s involvement in peacebuilding are needed before it is too late, the head of the UN agency leading global efforts to achieve gender equality warned the Security Council on Tuesday. 

Sima Bahous, Executive Director of UN Women, was speaking during a Council meeting to reaffirm the importance of Resolution 1325  on women, peace and security,  adopted in October 2000, and to take stock of implementation since it turned 20 nearly three years ago. 

UN Photo/Manuel Elías Verónica Nataniel Macamo Dlhovo, Minister for Foreign
Affairs and Cooperation of Mozambique and President of the Security Council
for the month of March, chairs the Security Council meeting on
Women and peace and security.

“As we meet today at the mid-point between the 20th and 25th anniversaries, on the eve of International Women’s Day, it is obvious that we need a radical change of direction,” she said

No significant change 

Ms. Bahous noted that although several historic firsts for gender equality occurred during the first two decades of the resolution, “we have neither significantly changed the composition of peace tables, nor the impunity enjoyed by those who commit atrocities against women and girls.” 

She said the 20th anniversary “was not a celebration, but a wake-up call,” pointing to situations from across the globe that have emerged since then.

They include the regression of women’s and girls’ rights in Afghanistan in the wake of the Taliban takeover, sexual violence committed in the war in the Tigray region in Ethiopia, and online abuse targeting women opposing military rule in Myanmar. 

Women and children also comprise a staggering 90 per cent of the nearly eight million people forced to flee the conflict in Ukraine, and nearly 70 per cent of those displaced within the country.
Military spending increasing 

Furthermore, women peacebuilders had hoped that the COVID-19 pandemic would cause countries to rethink military spending, as the global crisis revealed the value of caregivers and the importance of investing in health, education, food security and social protection. 

“Instead, that spending has continued to grow, passing the two-trillion-dollar mark, even without the significant military expenditure of the last months,” she said. “Neither the pandemic nor supply-chain issues prevented another year of rising global arms sales.”  

The way forward 

Ms. Bahous outlined two suggestions that show what a change of direction could look like for the international community. 

“First, we cannot expect 2025 to be any different if the bulk of our interventions continue to be trainings, sensitization, guidance, capacity building, setting up networks, and holding one event after another to talk about women’s participation, rather than mandating it in every meeting and decision-making process in which we have authority,” she stipulated. 

Her second point focused on the need to get resources to women’s groups in conflict-affected countries, particularly through the Women’s Peace and Humanitarian Fund

The UN-led partnership was established in 2015 and has so far supported more than 900 organizations. 

“We urgently need better ways to support civil society and social movements in these countries. That means being much more intentional about funding or engaging with new groups, and especially with young women,” she said. 

(Article continues in right column.)

Questions related to this article:

UN Resolution 1325, does it make a difference?

Does the UN advance equality for women?

Can the women of Africa lead the continent to peace?

(Article continued from left column.)

Women’s involvement equals success 

The meeting was chaired by Mozambique, which holds the rotating Security Council presidency this month.
The country’s Foreign Minister, Verónica Nataniel Macamo Dlhovo, expressed hope that the debate will lead to action, such as stronger strategies on gender equality, as well as women’s effective participation in peacekeeping and peacebuilding. 

“There is no doubt that by involving women in the peacebuilding and peacekeeping agenda in our countries, we will achieve success,” she said, speaking in Portuguese. 
“Under no circumstances do we want that the people who bring life into the world are negatively impacted. We must protect them. Use women’s sensitivity to resolve conflicts and maintain peace on our planet.” 

Respect international law 

Currently, more than 100 armed conflicts are raging around the world, according to Mirjana Spoljaric, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
The organization sees the daily brutal impacts of armed conflict on women and girls, she said, which include “shocking levels” of sexual violence, displacement, and deaths during childbirth because they lack access to care.
Ms. Spoljaric upheld the importance of international humanitarian law during conflict and urged States to apply a gender perspective in its application and interpretation. 

“Respect for international humanitarian law will prevent the enormous harm resulting from violations of its rules, and it will help to rebuild stability and reconcile societies,” she said. 

States also must ensure that the clear prohibition of sexual violence under international humanitarian law is integrated into national law, military doctrine and training. 

“Engaging more boldly and directly weapon bearers on this issue – with the ultimate goal that it does not occur in the first place – should become a de facto preventive approach, supported and facilitated in times of peace to prevent the worst in times of war,” she added. 

African women leaders network

Bineta Diop of the African Union Commission also addressed the Council, highlighting its work in getting countries to accelerate implementation of the resolution.
This is being done through a strategy focused on advocacy and accountability, and in building a network of women leaders on the continent.

“We are ensuring that women’s leadership is mainstreamed in governance, peace and development processes so as to create a critical mass of women leaders at all levels,” she said.

“We need to make sure that they are in all sectors of life. not just in peace processes.”

Partner with women activists 

Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee from Liberia called for amplifying the women, peace and security agenda. She recommended steps such as engaging and partnering with local women peace activists, who she called “the custodians of their communities.” 

Women must also be negotiators and mediators in peace talks. “It is amazing to see how only the men with guns are consistently invited to the table to find solutions, while women who bear the greatest brunt are often invited as observers,” she remarked. 

She also urged countries to “move beyond rhetoric” by ensuring funding and political will, because without them, Resolution 1325 “remains a toothless bulldog”.
Ms. Gbowee stressed that women, peace and security must be seen as a holistic part of the global peace and security agenda.  
“We will continue to search for peace in vain in our world unless we bring women to the table,” she warned.  “I firmly believe that trying to work for global peace and security minus women is trying to see the whole picture with your one eye covered.” 

Mexico: Tlaxcala has first place in the list of Women Builders of Peace


An article by Arled Jarillo in El Sol de Tlaxcala

As of February 9, 2023, Tlaxcala occupies the first national place, out of 28 states that participate in the program Women Builders of Peace (Mucpaz), with 214 networks in the 60 municipalities, integrating 8,208 women and allies,

Photo: Courtesy – State Government

(Click here for the original article in Spanish.)

Questions related to this article:

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

Is there progress towards a culture of peace in Mexico?

Those responsible for installing, training and monitoring all the networks that are carried out in the state are the Executive Commission of the State Public Security System, as it forms part of the “Prevention of Family and Gender Violence” project, of the National Institute of Women and the Executive Secretariat of the National Public Security System.

Read more: Sesnsp recognizes Tlaxcala as example of peace-building in the country.

Making women aware of their rights, promoting gender equality, detecting the main problems in each environment, proposing solutions, promoting solidarity and community work, among other actions, are the main work of these networks.

The municipalities with the most networks are: Huamantla, with 27; Tlaxcala, with 24; Ixtacuixtla, with 23; Tlaxco, with 13 and Apetatitlán, with nine. 32 municipalities have from seven to two, and 23 only one.

Other Mucpaz networks are those of policewomen, civil protection, at the National Pedagogical University of Apetatitlán, another at the Tetlatlahuca Technical High School 47, in addition to that of women with relatives with autism. All of them share the purpose of preventing family violence. and gender, through strategies focused on creating environments free of violence and promoting a culture of peace.

Vatican: Women raise their voices for peace


An article by Linda Bordoni from Vatican News

Pope’s powerful appeal for peace in Ukraine resounded at the weekly General Audience on the eve of the one-year anniversary of the Russian invasion. Participating in the audience were three young women who felt particularly encouraged and comforted by his continuing closeness and prayers. The women from Russia, Ukraine and Belarus told Vatican Radio about their own dreams for peace and of their continuing pacifist commitment.

From left to right: Olga Karach, Linda Bordoni, Kateryna Lanko and Darya Berg

Darya from Russia, Olga from Belarus and Katya from Ukraine are in Italy bringing the voices of millions of their countrymen who oppose the ongoing war in Ukraine and the increasing militarization of the world.

They have been invited by the Italian Non-Violent Movement (Movimento Nonviolento) which promotes demilitarization and peace-making activities.

Speaking to Vatican Radio after having participated in Pope Francis’ General Audience on Wednesday morning, the three women reiterated their commitment to work for peace. They expressed gratitude and admiration for the Pope’s tireless condemnation of the absurdity of war, for his appeals to world leaders to pursue negotiations and peace-making, and for his spiritual and concrete closeness to those who are suffering.

“It is my aim,” Darya Berg explained, “to find a way for Russian people to live without blood on their hands.”

‘Go by the forest’

Representing the “Go by the forest” project, she explained it is a nonviolent civil resistance project working “to help Russian people avoid this awful war that Russia started in Ukraine.”

Darya, who has had to flee her country in order to be able to pursue her pacifist ideals and commitment, said she would be in jail today in Russia for her words and actions.

She is here, she added, to represent them and to tell Europe and the whole world that there are “a lot of Russian people who are against the war, who don’t want to kill anybody who wants peace.”

It is important to hear the voices, she said, even if they are silent.

Darya explained that “Go by the Forest” has a double meaning in Russia: it means “We don’t care about what you think,” and that, she explained, “is what we say to the government in our country.” It is also an invitation to “go by the forest” to find ways to cross the border and escape military conscription.

That’s what we do, she said, to help “people who don’t want to kill anybody in this bloody war,” helping them understand their rights, helping them by providing legal information, psychological support and hiding places in Russian territory as well as crossing the borders.

(Article continued in right column)

Questions related to this article:

Do women have a special role to play in the peace movement?

Can the peace movement help stop the war in the Ukraine?

(Article continued from left column)

It is still legal, Darya explained, to exit the country; however, it is very difficult for people, especially from villages and small towns who do not have passports and who have never been out of Russia.

They are threatened, she said, “by the government, by the military, by the army. They don’t know what they can do, what they cannot do.”

‘Our House’

Belorussian Olga Karach heads an organisation called “Our House”. She said it is currently running a campaign to help Belarussian men avoid enrolment in the Belarussian army and the war in Ukraine.

She noted that just this week the Belorussian president passed a law approving the death penalty for army deserters.

Like Darya she is campaigning to raise the voice of those men “who don’t want to go to the army, who don’t want to take up weapons and who are now in a very marginalised space.”

Olga said that although media attention shifted following the peaceful revolution in 2020 in which thousands of anti-Lukashenko citizens were jailed or exiled, “still, we have a lot of terror and operations in our country.”

Today, she said the people of Belarus “need much more solidarity and much more support because now Lukashenko is under unbelievable pressure by Vladimir Putin to send the Belarussian army to Ukraine.”
She is in Italy now, Olga added, because she wants “block and prevent a second front in Ukraine from the Belarussian side.”

“We need the attention of Europe for the Belarussian situation,” she said, “, especially for Belarussian men who are trying to avoid participation in the army.”

The closeness of Pope Francis

Completing the trio is Kateryna Lanko from Kyiv in Ukraine, whose aim, she said, is “to make peace in Ukraine, to stop the war, to make a stronger peaceful movement in Ukraine and help our conscientious objectors.”

Commenting on Pope Francis’ powerful appeal for peace during the General Audience and on his words regarding the fact that “Whatever is built on rubble can never be a true victory,” she said she felt encouraged and warmed by them.

The strength of unity

The three women reaffirmed their common commitment stemming, they said, from common problems and the belief that together there is much they can do.

Their Italian tour aims to raise funds for their work, but more than that, to be heard. Olga recalled with gratitude the solidarity shown by so many Italians for Belarussian children in Chernobyl who were orphaned or affected by the nuclear disaster in 1986.

She hopes Europe will take notice of the fact that Lukashenko is currently organizing military training camps for children as young as six “to teach them to shoot, to use military equipment” and to be prepared as child soldiers.

“All three of us really need your help, Darya concluded, “and we really need to be heard. I believe that together we can end the war and that it’s very important for our countries to save as many people as possible.”

“We are here to say that there are people who don’t want to fight, who don’t want weapons in their hands who don’t want to kill and to die.”

World Radio Day: Celebrating radio as a tool for feminist peace


An article from the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom

What role does radio play in advancing social movements, including feminism and the peace movement? This World Radio Day, we’re exploring the answer to this question — and taking a look at how radio is used by WILPF members around the world today to broadcast messages of peace, justice, and equality for all.

Image credit: UN Photo/Michael Ali

From the time modern radio became popular as a means of broadcasting news and entertainment in the early 1920s, it has played an important role in disseminating messages of peace — including those shared by women.

In recognition of the unique relationship between radio and efforts for peace, this year’s World Radio Day theme  is “Radio and Peace” — a reflection of the medium’s powerful contributions to peacebuilding, conflict prevention, knowledge sharing, democracy, and activism. 

At WILPF, our movement has evolved alongside the advent of radio since our earliest days. Founded in 1915 in the midst of the First World War, generations of WILPF leaders and members across the globe have used radio as a critical tool for raising awareness of our cause and for bringing the voices of women to airwaves around the world.

Today, WILPF Sections and Groups continue to explore the possibilities of radio to advance movement building, dialogue, education, and action toward a future of feminist peace. Today, we’re glad and honoured to share just a few examples of how radio and peace go hand-in-hand through the work of WILPF members around the world. 

WILPF Sections in Burundi, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Nigeria, and Togo 

In Africa, radio is the primary mode of mass communication, with broad geographic reach and large audiences across all demographics. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, WILPF Sections throughout Africa made use of radio to share critical messages of peace and safety. WILPF Burundi, WILPF Côte d’Ivoire, and WILPF Togo broadcast important information about COVID-19 prevention techniques, while WILPF Nigeria raised awareness about the rise in instances of domestic violence during COVID-19 lockdowns. And in conjunction with the 33rd International Congress, WILPF Cameroon joined Radio Audace  to talk about WILPF’s International Programme 2022-2025.

(Article continued in right column)

Questions related to this article:

Do women have a special role to play in the peace movement?

How can peace be promoted by radio?

(Article continued from left column)

WILPF Argentina: Radio is essential for the people 

In April 2021, WILPF Argentina — with support from WILPF — partnered together with other organisations working for peace to develop a radio programme called “I’ll Give You My Voice, Sister.” 

Broadcast on Radio Rebelde 740AM, the radio spot has provided space for the partners to interview women politicians, popular militants, trade unionists, activists, deputies, senators, and other officials. Following a brief break, the half-hour show will resume this March with a broadcast every Wednesday morning. 

“Our humble task is to make other voices heard, the voices of the protagonists, without filters that add more confusion to the existing ones,” says María de los Ángeles Pagano of WILPF Argentina. “No matter how small the audience is for a radio programme, it will always be heard. We know that it is very useful for our work with WILPF.” 

WILPF Germany: A space for dialogue and knowledge sharing 

On the first Monday of every other month, members of WILPF Germany can be heard on Radio Lora’s Radio International programme

During the one-hour live broadcast, the team reports on their activities, shares their opinions on current events, discusses critical issues impacting women and peace, and educates listeners about all things WILPF: its history, its feminist approach to peace, its focus areas, and much more. Listen online now

WILPF Italy: Making ourselves known to the public 

For years, WILPF Italy has engaged with Radio Radicale  to speak about human rights, nuclear disarmament, and the arms trade. In 2019, the radio station even recorded and broadcast an entire conference organised by the Section. 

WILPF Italy has also partnered with local radio stations to record and broadcast live protests and sit-ins, co-organised with the “Disarmisti Esigenti”, or “Demanding Disarmament,” which are broadcast on Florence’s Nuova Resistenza radio. 

“Undoubtedly, radio helps us make ourselves and our work known to the public,” says Patrizia Sterpetti of WILPF Italy. 

From radio to podcasting: The future of listening  

In recent years, podcasting has joined radio as an exciting new means of sharing news and stories, engaging in dialogue, and elevating voices through the power of audio. 

At WILPF, we have leaned into this new mode of communication with the creation of a number of new podcasts, including Think & ResistCaesura, and Political is Personal. Each takes a different approach to showcasing the work of the activists leading the feminist peace movement and shedding light on some of the most critical issues impacting peace and human security today. 

International Women’s Day 2023: “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality”


An article from UN Women

The theme for International Women’s Day, 8 March 2023 (IWD 2023) is, “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality”. This theme is aligned with the priority theme for the upcoming 67th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW-67), “Innovation and technological change, and education in the digital age for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls”. 

Photo: UN Trust Fund/Phil Borges

The United Nations Observance of IWD recognizes and celebrates the women and girls who are championing the advancement of transformative technology and digital education. IWD 2023 will explore the impact of the digital gender gap on widening economic and social inequalities. The event will also spotlight the importance of protecting the rights of women and girls in digital spaces and addressing online and ICT-facilitated gender-based violence.

(continued in right column)

Questions for this article

Does the UN advance equality for women?

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

(continued from left column)

Bringing women and other marginalized groups into technology results in more creative solutions and has greater potential for innovations that meet women’s needs and promote gender equality. Their lack of inclusion, by contrast, comes with massive costs: as per UN Women’s Gender Snapshot 2022 report, women’s exclusion from the digital world has shaved $1 trillion from the gross domestic product of low- and middle-income countries in the last decade—a loss that will grow to $1.5 trillion by 2025 without action. Reversing this trend will require tackling the problem of online violence, which a study of 51 countries revealed 38 per cent of women had personally experienced.

A gender-responsive approach to innovation, technology and digital education can increase the awareness of women and girls regarding their rights and civic engagement. Advancements in digital technology offer immense opportunities to address development and humanitarian challenges, and to achieve the 2030 Agenda’s Sustainable Development Goals. Unfortunately, the opportunities of the digital revolution also present a risk of perpetuating existing patterns of gender inequality. Growing inequalities are becoming increasingly evident in the context of digital skills and access to technologies, with women being left behind as the result of this digital gender divide. The need for inclusive and transformative technology and digital education is therefore crucial for a sustainable future.

The United Nations Observance of International Women’s Day under the theme, “DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality”, will be marked by a high-level event on Wednesday, 8 March 2023, 10:00 – 11:30 a.m. EST. The event will bring together technologists, innovators, entrepreneurs, and gender equality activists to provide an opportunity to highlight the role of all stakeholders in improving access to digital tools and be followed by a high-level panel discussion and musical performances.

Hidalgo, Mexico: Networks of Women Peace-Builders created in Apan, Tula and Pachuca


An article from News Hidalgo (translation by CPNN)

Within the framework of the Fund for the Well-being and Advancement of Women (FOBAM) of Inmujeres, this year the Hidalguense Institute for Women (IHM) carried out processes of awareness, training and strengthening of municipal and state institutional mechanisms to reduce adolescent pregnancy in 13 municipalities with medium and high adolescent fertility rates and build safe and peaceful spaces in Hidalgo.

Questions related to this article:

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

Is there progress towards a culture of peace in Mexico?

Three Networks of Women Peace-Builders (MUCPAZ) were created in Apan, Tula de Allende and Pachuca, strategic municipalities for the reconstruction of the social fabric. These citizen networks are made up of women from the community or municipalities who help with government agencies in the prevention of gender violence. Their strategies include to identify risk factors, detect possible situations in a timely manner violence, promote equality between women and men, help create environments free of violence and promote a culture of peace.

The members of the MUCPAZ networks include women regardless of whether or not they have schooled and they may speak Spanish or an indigenous language; They are survivors of gender violence, they know their communities, they know what the main problems are, and they have the capacity to create alternatives, solutions, and actions to transform their realities.

Both the women members of the networks and the civil servants of the participating municipalities received training workshops on peace, gender equality and prevention of violence against women.

With the advice and technical support of the IHM, they prepared a community action plan with the components of recovery, appropriation and new ways of living together. The plan was presented to the community in a public forum.

(Click here for the original article in Spanish.)

Rachna Sharma: thought leader for world peace


Special to CPNN by Jalsut Luthra

Rachna Sharma, the founder of Phuro Innovations (India) is a popular political peace expert, social entrepreneur and speaker. 

It was her journey at Harvard Business School that gave her the clarity to articulate her purpose, a place where people empower and peel the onion of self-awareness. That is the most profound thing that ever happened to Rachna. Since then she has been contributing as a thought leader for world peace. 

Rachna has compiled her views and supported them with published research about the nations which received freedom around the same time as India, and how those countries rank on the global indices of Peace. She shows how these nations lifted themselves out of poverty and conflict, and how they participated in global institutions and campaigns to benefit their people. 

World Peace is a very wide subject and one has to take up pressing issues as goals and contribute to it. That is why this year she is focused on South Asia. 

(Continued in right column)

Question related to this article:

Do women have a special role to play in the peace movement?

Where in the world can we find good leadership today?

(Continued from left column)

Honours, Awards & Volunteer Work

Rachna was recognized as “LinkedIn Power Profile – Social Impact in 2018” making her amongst the top 73 profiles in India. Rachna has co-authored a book “Globalization and Voices from Indian Practitioners” in 2013 . Rachna also volunteered as ambassador for Pashmina Goat Project of Kashmir Ink foundation. She has volunteered and served on the Board of Gift Foundation an initiative of Mr. Sam Beard who in the capacity of public affairs advisor served several US Presidents from former Presidents Nixon, Ford, Clinton, Regan & Bush 

Rachna was born in Kishtwar Jammu & Kashmir, one of the most conflicted geographies in the world. It was her early life exposure to conflict which launched her interest in world peace.

Amidst the turmoil and migration in Jammu and Kschmir, Rachna finished her Bachelors in Hotel Management from Srinivas University in Mangalore Karnataka India. She began working In India’s tourism and hospitality industry in 2002 and served the industry till 2014. At that point she was a development director in India. 

In 2019, Rachna established Phuro Innovations to promote and further her cause of World Peace by adopting a project called “Political Peace Dialogue SAARC” (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation).

The project celebrates United Nations World Peace Day, UN Peacekeeping Day and Peace Education by hosting awareness events, publishing articles, research papers, policy notes, and delivering small projects. Rachna created and delivered several prototypes in India as mentioned in Timeline  and proposed a Venn diagram of Peace   in the capacity of a Thought Leader. She co-chairs the India Chapter for Harvard Alumni Entrepreneurs India since 2019, promoting innovation and leadership in India. 

Please read this article in Outlook Magazine  about her work in South Asia.

Russian mothers oppose the war


An article from Meduza

The Council of Wives and Mothers is a grassroots organization uniting women whose family members serve in the Russian military. Its leaders were understandably surprised when they heard about the President Putin’s planned meeting with several military mothers; not a single member of their group was invited.

photo of meeting from BBC

Council organizer Olga Tsukanova responded with video where she insists that the president should meet with “real mothers,” as opposed to the “tame” women Kremlin bureaucrats “hand-picked” for the occasion:

Vladimir Vladimirovich, are you a man or what? Do you have enough courage to look into our eyes — openly, in a meeting with women who weren’t hand-picked for you. Women who aren’t in your pocket, but real mothers who have traveled here from different cities at their own expense to meet with you? We are here, in Moscow, and we are ready to meet with you. We expect an answer from you! Are you going to keep hiding from us? We have men in the Defense Ministry, in the Military Prosecutor’s Office, in the Presidential Administration — it’s all men, including the president. And mothers are on the other side of the divide. Well, are you all going to come out for some dialogue — or will you just stay in hiding?

(Article continued in right column)

Questions related to this article:

Do women have a special role to play in the peace movement?

Can the peace movement help stop the war in the Ukraine?

(Article continued from left column)

On November 22, citing Kremlin sources, the Russian newspaper Vedomosti reported that Putin will meet with a group of military mothers on November 27, when Russia celebrates Mother’s Day. One of the sources said that Putin plans to discuss combat operations. When asked to confirm this information, Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov confirmed the report.

Valentina Melnikova, the secretary of the Union of Mothers’ Councils, told the Russian publication Verstka that no one at her advocacy organization has been invited to the meeting with the president. “If they invite us, we’ll think about it. What are we to talk about with Putin? We’re a peacemaking organization,” she said.

An unnamed Kremlin source told Verstka that the authorities are now considering the possible creation of an alternative, state-sponsored “patriotic” military mothers’ movement. This information is still unverified, however.

Since late October, soldiers’ family members in 15 regions across Russia have staged protests demanding the return of their loved ones from Ukraine and humane treatment for the soldiers while they’re in the army.

(Editor’s note: Meduza was one of the independent media in Russia that published accounts of opposition to the war in Ukraine when it was started. As a result they were shut down in Russia and have had to reopen abroad, as shown by their internet domain of “Indian ocean.” Among other articles recently in Meduza are More than 90,000 Russian troops lost in war and Russians are tired of the war.)