Monday, August 31, 2015

Goal 1: End poverty in all its forms everywhere

  • By 2030, eradicate extreme poverty for all people everywhere, currently measured as people living on less than $1.25 a day 1.2
  • By 2030, reduce at least by half the proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions
  • Implement nationally appropriate social protection systems and measures for all, including floors, and by 2030 achieve substantial coverage of the poor and the vulnerable
  • By 2030, ensure that all men and women, in particular the poor and the vulnerable, have equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to basic services, ownership and control over land and other forms of 13 property, inheritance, natural resources, appropriate new technology and financial services, including microfinance
  • By 2030, build the resilience of the poor and those in vulnerable situations and reduce their exposure and vulnerability to climate-related extreme events and other economic, social and environmental shocks and disasters
  • Ensure significant mobilization of resources from a variety of sources, including through enhanced development cooperation, in order to provide adequate and predictable means for developing countries, in particular least developed countries, to implement programmes and policies to end poverty in all its dimensions
  • Create sound policy frameworks at the national, regional and international levels, based on pro-poor and gender-sensitive development strategies, to support accelerated investment in poverty eradication actions
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Sunday, August 30, 2015


In September 2015, at the UN General Assembly, countries will have the opportunity to adopt a set of global goals to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all as part of a new sustainable development agenda. See  in the following posts the individual goals and indicator targets.

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Saturday, August 29, 2015

Denial of proper food III/III

 The Standard Unified Contract obliges the employer to provide proper working conditions for the worker and to cover her food and clothing needs. However, 32% of the workers said they did not receive sufficient food from the employers. Others said they had to eat in secret. In some cases the food provided by the employer was limited to half a loaf of bread with a piece of cheese and cup of tea over a 24-hour period. 
They would all eat out and they wouldn’t give me anything to eat. I used to cook in their absence and hide the food under the table. I used to eat when they were out, and I would open all the doors and windows for the smell to get out so the Madame would not find out. I asked her to let me cook and she refused. That’s why I would cook in her absence. One day she asked me where the food was going, and I told her I didn’t know, and asked her to look how small my stomach was. They would eat all the fruit and give me half a loaf of bread. How can I eat and be full? They used to eat a lot and order in, but never order food for me. I would be hungry and look at them and they would never buy me anything. I used to cry a lot, even when they would go out I would cry because I knew they were eating while I was hungry. I would only cook rice and never 48 49 vegetables, because if she smelled the vegetables, she would scream at me, ‘What’s that smell?!’ So I would cook rice and eat it with water.”87 Due to being denied sufficient food, other workers said they would buy supplies and cook at their own expense, while some had to hide their food and eat it in secret.
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Friday, August 28, 2015

Prejudice and racism of employers towards migrant domestic workers II/III

While documenting racist behaviour towards MDWs ( migrant domestic workers), there was a striking contradiction in the attitude of the employers; on the one hand, they would ask the workers to perform most of the housework from caring for the children – including infants – cooking food, and washing and ironing clothes, to making coffee and juice and performing other household chores. On the other hand, they felt “repelled and disgusted” by the MDWs.
The majority of the domestic workers experienced blatant racism, a reflection of negative prejudices towards them and their treatment as inferiors. Most workers were prohibited from washing their clothes with the clothes of the employers. Some were assigned a different set of utensils to those used by the employers and their families. Some were even forbidden from sitting on the house furniture. Some of the workers resisted this racism in their own way, despite their limited means: 87 An interview with a Nepalese migrant worker in Lebanon conducted in Zikrit on April 9, 2013 88 An interview with a migrant worker after returning to Nepal conducted in Lamjung on May 15, 2013
“I was forbidden from sitting on their sofa, but I used to sit on their favourite sofa when they were out. They would only allow me to sit on a chair in the kitchen…I would also wash my stuff with their loaf, and wash my clothes with theirs when the Madame went to pray. When she asked me I would say I had hand washed them just as she’d wanted me to. I used to watch the Indian channel on TV and then switch it back to Arabic and turn TV off when she came in.
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Thursday, August 27, 2015

Various types of abuse faced by migrant domestic workers I/III

The majority of MDWs ( migrant domestic workers )who participated in the study faced a variety of types of abuse. They ranged from financial abuse (withholding and deducting wages), emotional abuse (racist behaviour and threats) and verbal abuse (scolds and insults), to physical abuse (beating) and sexual abuse (including harassment and rape). Most working conditions contained one of these types of abuse faced by MDWs.
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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Recruiting Female Workers in the Country of Origin: Deception and Abuse of Vulnerability

The recruitment stage in the country of origin impacts the entire experience of migration, and abuses
in this regard extend to male and female migrants of all skill sets. However, female migrant domestic
workers (MDWs) are impacted to a greater extent, given that they are recruited in a low-paying industry. This first section documents the experiences of MDWs from Nepal and Bangladesh prior to
their arrival in Lebanon. It puts particular focus on the personal, social and economic contexts of their
migration, and the structure upon which the relationship between them and the recruiters is drawn.
The aim of this is to explore the foundations upon which the decision to migrate to Lebanon to work
is made, and the availability of human trafficking channels in the process of recruiting the worker in
her home country.
1. Vulnerability in the country of origin and the reasons behind migration
Understanding the social and economic contexts behind migration helps shed light on the vulnerability
of the women involved, something which pushes them to migrate abroad. Estimates indicate that women make up about half of those who leave their country to work abroad.15 Poverty, unemployment, low wages, violence, environmental destruction and natural disasters are all principle factors that reduce job opportunities and push workers to migrate. For female workers, there are additional motivations, such as escaping the domination of the family and fleeing domestic violence.
The roots of this vulnerability extend back to the period prior to their migration to Lebanon, sinc the women tend to be the primary female breadwinners of their families and come from poor, rural areas. Our current study found that economic responsibilities and concerns play a fundamental and instinctive role in the decision of women to go and work overseas. All the participants in the study, from both countries, said that ‘earning money’ was the greatest incentive for migration, and they specified it as a chief and direct reason for their relocation. Our current study also shed light on the other reasons for migration, such as improving social circumstances, finding a good husband, and fleeing domestic violence or marginalization in society.

The survey found that 64% of the participants were married, 4% were divorced, and 6% widowed.
The overwhelming majority of them were the primary female breadwinners in their families. Moreover, rural women made up the largest proportion of the group, and they tended to be the least well-educated, the poorest, and lacking their own sources of income such as land or cattle, further depriving them of work opportunities. In addition to this, the male breadwinner may have stopped fulfilling his responsibilities, fallen ill, passed away, or simply stopped working. All these factors prevent women from providing for their families, pushing them to migrate. This was something expressed by Lona, from Nepal:

“My husband was working in Qatar when he developed heart problems. He returned to Nepal and came to require lots of medicine, and I had to keep up with my son’s school fees and provide for my husband.”

Likewise, frustration at the decline in wages in both Nepal and Bangladesh was a key reason behind
the migration of female workers, since the decreased wage levels prevent them from securing a decent living for themselves or their families, as Nita from Nepal explained:
“My elder sister saw how hard I was working here in Nepal; I worked in carpet weaving, and I set up my own portable stall selling straw objects in the street. I was trying to do lots of different things, but I continued to face financial difficulties. Then my sister told me she would take care of my children so that I could leave the country. My mother had died, and my father was ill and later also passed away. My husband had been working in Saudi Arabia for nine years; he only visited me once and wasn’t sending any money home. It was for this reason that I decided to go abroad – it was for the sake of my children.”
Alongside poverty and family responsibilities, one of the participants explained how she looked at migration as a way to improve her social and economic circumstances so that she could buy land, or build a house, with the aim of being able to marry. Fatima explained her reasons for migrating as follows:
“I wanted to help my family, save money and buy land or a house, in order to find a good husband. A woman who has money, land or a house is able to find a better husband than a woman who does not – he could be highly educated, and with a good social standing, even if she was neither beautiful nor educated.”
Another participant in the semi-structured interviews, Rozina, migrated to escape the domination of her violent husband, and to pay off his debts. She said:
“I came to pay off a loan to the bank that my husband had gambled away, and to provide for my daughter and my family. I spent a hundred dollars getting the term ‘married’ off my passport, so that my husband couldn’t prevent me from travelling.”
Sixteen percent of the participants in the survey carried out in Lebanon had migrated when under the age of 17, and had resorted to changing their identities on their passports in order to bypass the legal restriction on minors travelling for work, or because of the restrictions, imposed by both the Nepalese
and Bangladeshi governments, on the ages at which female domestic workers are allowed to travel.
Three women who had returned to Nepal said that they had been 19 years of age when they migrated for the first time to Lebanon, while another returnee said she had been 17. It should be noted at this point that this group of young female migrants were the oldest out of their siblings, and that their decision to migrate was partly motivated by the idea of visiting another country, as well as out of a
desire to provide money for their families. This was what Dargha, from Nepal, explained:
“I took the decision together with my mother. There were problems between my mother and my father so she decided to move with me and my two younger brothers to Kathmandu. I wasn’t educated. In Kathmandu I couldn’t find any work with a monthly wage higher than 1000 or 2000 rupees (approximately 10 – 21 US dollars), and that wasn’t enough for us. So I decided to travel abroad, despite the difficulties involved.”

 It is against this background of restricted choices that women take the decision to migrate abroad to find work, and, by and large, this decision is a collective one taken with the family. The family tends to choose the member of the family most likely to find work abroad because of linguistic or professional skills, or because of the gendered choices available such as domestic work. The importance of the collective decision lies in the fact that the whole extended family is likely to depend on the migrant worker’s expected income. It is important that we realise the inherent imbalance of power on an economic level, since it delineates the course taken to recruit the MDWs. It reflects the vulnerability that impacts the experiences of those women across all stages of the migration process, and it allows those who work in the recruitment of the migrants to use their vulnerability to extract profit.

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Sunday, August 23, 2015


Known as the "Mother of the Revolution" in Yemen, journalist and activist Tawakkol Karman emerged as a leader of the Yemeni protest movement after Tunisian activists ousted their president, Ben Ali, in January 2011. In addition to organizing student rallies in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, Karman led mass protests calling for the end of President Ali Abdullah Saleh's regime, including an Egypt-inspired "Day of Rage." A grassroots organizer and the chairwoman of Women Journalists Without Chains, Karman wasawarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011, becoming the first Yemeni to win the prize and the youngest Peace Prize laureate.

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Saturday, August 22, 2015

Mexico Acknowledges Feminicides, & Impunity – Launches GENDER ALERT


Amid a rising tide of widespread violence in the country[1] the State of Mexico issue its first-ever Gender Alert. AWID spoke to Maria Luz Estrada and Patricia Bedolla of the National Citizen’s Feminicide Observatory to discuss what this means for women human rights defenders Mexico State.
On July 28 2015 the - National System to Prevent, Treat, Punish and Eradicate Violence against Women (SNPASEVM) declared, for the first time ever, a Gender Alert in 11 municipalities of the State of Mexico - Ecatepec, Nezahualcoyotl, Chalco Valley, Toluca, Tlalnepantla, Naucalpan, Chimalhuacán, Tultitlan, Ixtapaluca, Cuautitlan Izcalli and Chalco.

Thanks to the pressure and work of women rights organizations and mainstream civil society organizations, authorities in the State of Mexico were made to acknowledge the seriousness of the systemic violence against women. A multidisciplinary and inter-institutional group[2] conducted an investigation and issued a report, based partially on information offered by the Observatory and Mexican Commission for the Defense and Promotion of Human Rights (CMDPDH), and the government of the State of Mexico. The Observatory notes "said research was completed via analysis of official statistics, interviews with authorities and with relatives of victims of femicide".
Maria Luz Estrada points out that "recognition is a breakthrough. The State acknowledges that there is a serious problem of feminicide impunity, given that about 70% of women's murders are not investigated; and recognizes that there are 1500 missing young women, most of them from seven of the eleven municipalities under this Gender Alert."
Gender Alert
The Declaration of a Gender Alert is a collective action mechanism established by the “Law on Women's Access to a Life Free of Violence” of 2007. Article 22 proposes a set of emergency governmental measures to confront and eradicate feminicidal violence in a given region, and can be exercised by individuals or by the community itself. According to Estrada the assumption is that "these measures are temporary, but given the situation in Mexico we believe they won't be, as we've witnessed serious decomposition of our justice system, along with public policies that are totally inefficient in eliminating inequalities, let alone violence against women, which has been a major challenge for governments."
Since 2008 the Observatory has submitted numerous Gender Alert requests that have been repeatedly denied. The first request related to the murders of women journalists in Oaxaca, and as Estrada points out "because there were high levels of community violence, a situation where they were disappearing and assassinating women in that area. They did not accept our request and asked us to submit evidence, meaning we had to prove what was happening, whereas that is the specific investigation the authorities are required to carry out." Alert requests were also made for Guanajuato, and starting in 2010 for the State of Mexico.
According to information gathered by the Observatory, 54% of the murders and incidents of feminicidal violence have taken place in ten of the State of Mexico municipalities under the alert. Estrada points out that "between 2005 and 2010 the Observatory recorded 522 cases of women whose murderers remained unknown. We had 100 unidentified female victims, and documented four thousand reports of rapes that weren't being investigated or tried, all under the administration of current President Enrique Peña Nieto."
The Observatory informed and drew the government's attention to how brutal the murders were, and how victims were then dumped in vacant lots or by the roadside. Obviously these crimes were not common crimes but clear cases of feminicide. Patricia Bedolla states that, "rejecting the request for issuing the Gender Alerts has caused this problem to intensify, and today the issue has expanded from women being murdered, to include women disappearing. The issue of disappearance is a new topic which is incorporated in this struggle, we at first spoke of feminicide and now speak of missing young women in the State of Mexico."
Protocols and the backdrop of violence
A variety of issues could point to the causes of violence against women in the State of Mexico. One factor, Estrada explains, is that "Mexico State serves as a crossroads for internal and external migrants, crossing the border via the train known as "The Beast". There is the also the different networks of organized crime, some of them involved in human trafficking, and also organized crime within the State of Mexico regarding drug trafficking, contraband, where the issue of women becomes cross-cutting, depending on how these criminal networks exploit women."
Since the 2009 ruling by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) in the case known as Cotton Field[3], the State of Mexico has had to institute a criminal Investigation Protocol for murders, disappearances and sexual violence. The Observatory contributed to its creation, especially guiding the development of the Penal Protocol to help justice officials in identifying a crime as feminnicide. Estrada explains " if the authorities do not have a criminal code to assist them, the Protocol becomes a manual that they do not use, the only constraint was to establish an understanding whereby they became able to distinguish homicide from feminicide,"
Bedolla notes that a problem with these protocols lies in the interpretation of feminicide. For a good while it has been interpreted by the authorities “just from the domestic violence perspective; and resulted in the creation of the violent partner profile and the use of techniques such as psychological autopsy, the Observatory says it is a misused tool, and should not be used within these investigations."[4]
Bedolla stresses the need to discuss "what we mean by feminicide". For instance in cases of sexual violence[5] the burden of proof operates differently. Ciudad Juarez gave us insights into how women could be sexually abused without the need of having being raped. The degrading injuries, the ways in which to inscribe anger onto a woman's body. Something new is women being held incommunicado. Women are trafficked, deprived of their liberty and are subsequently killed. Bedolla and Estrada agree that are review of interview methods is required to highlight how gender dynamics manifest in "the subjugation, domination, and discrimination in the ways women are killed.
Both interviewees point out that there are numerous Protocols but there is no political will. Estrada explains, “The problem with the State of Mexico is that the perpetrators involved are the very same police officers who rape women, who are involved in trafficking networks and are embedded within the very fabric of these networks. This is why this was the first Gender Alert decreed of the thirteen applications sought since 2008."
Involvement of women's organizations and civil society in the next steps
To track and monitor proper compliance with the Alert, an interdisciplinary and inter-organizational group is being established, which will involve civil society for the first time. Estrada confirms that "The Observatory will be part of this task force, and we are already working on establishing follow up agreements with the Ministry of the Interior.
The Observatory has 12 cases under the Alert Declaration, which will be used as indicators to show progress being made in investigations, especially in cases of murders of women that aren't investigated as feminicide, and in cases of missing young women. They also hope that organizations specialized in security and such investigations will be involved in the process.
Estrada and Bedolla insist that other laws and protocols are not needed, as Estrada explains, "now what we have to do is implement the Alert and the safety, security and justice measures within it and start working with authorities. We're facing a very big challenge."
19 August 2015 | By Gabby De Cicco
* The author is grateful to Veronica Vidal Degiorgis and Marusia López


[1] While this article was being written four women, including a human rights defender, were killed along with the photojournalist Ruben Espinosa. We contacted the Observatory and Luz Estrada confirmed the order that the deaths of Nadia Vera, Yesenia Quiroz Alfaro Alejandra Negrete and Virginia Martin Mile be investigated as feminicide: "The four women demonstrate elements of the crime of feminicide as recognized in Mexico City, the ways they were killed, one of them was a victim of sexual assault, and all have abusive injuries." Furthermore on August 11 the government of Morelos declared a gender alert for eight of its municipalities.
[2] The group is comprised of Procuraduría General de la República (PGR), Secretaría de Desarrollo Social (SEDESOL), Secretaría de Salud, Consejo Nacional para Prevenir La Discriminación (CONAPRED), Instituto Nacional de las Mujeres (INMUJERES) y Comisión Nacional para Prevenir y Erradicar la Violencia Contra las Mujeres (CONAVIM).
[3] In November 2009 the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR) condemned the Mexican government for violating human rights in feminicide cases of in Ciudad Juarez against Esmeralda Herrera Monreal, Laura Berenice Ramos Monarrez and Claudia Ivette Gonzalez, two of them minors, and state violence against their families. The statement details Mexico's international responsibility.
[4] According to a research conducted by the Observatory, the psychological autopsy is a practice that have shown to be, in the field of feminicides, an "ineffective tool for the accreditation of objective circumstances constituting a femicide. Its methodology and preparation is subjective and helps to reinforce the reproduction of gender stereotypes that in many cases could justify the violence or blame the victims of violence they suffer. ”
[5] According to the World Health Organization, sexual violence includes acts ranging from verbal harassment to forced penetration and a variety of types of coercion from peer pressure and intimidation to physical force. For more details please see:
- See more at:
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Friday, August 21, 2015


Tal al-Molouhi symbolized the Syrian regime's repressive policies long before the revolutions of the Arab Spring. A high school student who blogged poems and wrote articles advocating for Palestinian causes and a more just Syria, Molouhi was arrested in 2009 for her writing. The Arab blogosphere denounced her arrest as an example of the capricious and fanatical crackdown on free speech in Syria. In February 2011, Molouhi -- who was brought into court chained and blindfolded -- was sentenced to five years in prison. "This is my Homeland, in which I have a palm tree, a drop in a cloud, and a grave to protect me," says one of herpoems. "My master: I would like to have power even for one day to build the 'republic of feelings.'"

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Wednesday, August 19, 2015


The sharp rhetoric of Asmaa Mahfouz played a crucial role in galvanizing the Egyptian revolution's massive protests in Tahrir Square. The activist and co-founder of the April 6 Youth Movement famously posted avideo to YouTube challenging Egyptians to join her in Tahrir Square on Jan. 25, 2011, to protest the human rights abuses of President Hosni Mubarak's regime: "If you think yourself a man, come with me on Jan. 25. Whoever says women shouldn't go to protests because they will get beaten, let him have some honor and manhood and come with me."
Mahfouz may have helped topple Mubarak, but she still attracted the ire of the military junta, the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), that came after him. In August 2011, she was court-martialed by the SCAF and charged with inciting violence, disturbing public order, and spreading false information through social media. Later that year Mahfouz was honored for her persistence when the European Parliament named her a co-recipient of the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought.
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Monday, August 17, 2015


As one of the few Tunisian activists to blog using her real name under the regime of President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, linguistics teacher Lina Ben Mhenni was risking her safety even before the uprising against the Tunisian regime began. Although herblog -- as well as her Facebook and Twitteraccounts -- were censored under Ben Ali, Ben Mhenni forged ahead with her reporting during the early weeks of the uprising as the only blogger present in the cities of Kasserine and Regueb when government forces violently cracked down on protesters in the Sidi Bouzid region, regularly posting photos and videos of the violence. Today, Ben Mhenni continues to publicly condemn the widespread corruption in the current government. "The majority of young people do not feel any change at all and I think that they are right," she wrote in an October 2011 op-ed for the Guardian. "To talk of a revolution we have to cut totally with the past and with the old regime."

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Saturday, August 15, 2015


Without the perseverance of human rights lawyer Razan Zaitouneh, the world would be even more in the dark about Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's killings and torture of civilian protesters. Her daily reporting on the Assad regime's atrocities -- which she posted to her website, the Syrian Human Rights Information Link -- served as a critical source for foreign media. Although forced to go into hiding in March 2011 after the government accused her of being a foreign agent, Zaitouneh was awarded the Anna Politkovskaya Award for her human rights activism in a conflict zone, and she was a co-recipient of last year'sSakharov Prize for Freedom of ThoughtForeign Policy also honored her in 2011 as one of its top 100 Global Thinkers. "I'm very proud to be Syrian and to be part of these historical days, and to feel all that greatness inside my people," she said in a video accepting the award. "We highly appreciate all the help … of those who supported us in any way around the world."

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Friday, August 14, 2015

Urge to make specific and transformative commitments. Women/Gender & The Post-2015 Development Agenda

Global Member State Leaders Meeting on Gender Equality & Women’s Empowerment: Commitment to Action!
Women/Gender & The Post-2015 Development Agenda
We are now at a critical time in history. Twenty years after the landmark Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, and at a time when the global community is defining the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for the post-2015 era, the international discourse on the need to achieve gender equality is stronger than ever before. We have made formidable gains in awareness, laws and some policies, but implementation of commitments is uneven and slow. Further, women’s human rights defenders are under attack in too many countries. The adoption of a new development framework and the Sustainable Development Goals in September 2015 is the next critical moment when the international community can highlight increased action and investment for gender equality, women’s rights and women’s and girls’ empowerment at the center of the global agenda for sustainable development.
In this context, the People’s Republic of China and UN Women will co-organize and co-host the Global Leaders’ Meeting on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment: A Commitment to Action, to be held on Sunday, 27 September 2015, starting at 9.00 am at United Nations Headquarters in New York.
The Meeting will be convened in conjunction with the United Nations summit for the adoption of the post-2015 development agenda, to be held from 25 to 27 September 2015, in New York. The meeting will call upon Member States and other policy makers to make clear commitments to the accelerated implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, of CEDAW, and achievement of gender equality within the timeframe of the post-development agenda that is, to deliver demonstrable results by 2030.

Urge your leaders to make specific and transformative commitments!
This is an opportunity to demand genuine and renewed political commitment, at the highest possible level, for the full implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and realization of the gender equality goals and targets in the post-2015 development agenda and Sustainable Development Goals, as well as other international commitments to women’s rights made at other relevant UN events.
Lobby your governments between now and the summit in September so that they can make strong and clear commitments that will ensure real progress towards gender equality in your country, region and in the world. Governments willingness to set clear targets that are in line with priorities of women’s movements – from achieving parity in the number of women holding decision-making positions in the public and private sector to eliminating gender-based wage gaps or impunity for sexual violence – will make it easier for local groups and the global community to monitor progress and call for accountability.
Specific commitments should be made in cooperation with women’s movements, human rights defenders, and other NGOS and could be related to things such as:
  • Setting new benchmarks for investing in gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls;
  • Updating or establishing new inclusive and coherent local, national, and regional action plans, strategies and policies on gender equality that will lead to transformative equality of results and that have accountability measures built in;
  • Taking ambitious actions for enhancing women’s leadership and participation at all levels of decision-making, including in public and private settings as well as in conflict, post-conflict and peace processes;
  • Removing gender discriminatory provisions in legal and policy frameworks adopting new laws, and implementing existing ones to promote gender equality;
  • Introducing or enhancing measures that address social norms and stereotypes that condone gender inequality, multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination, human rights abuse and violence;
  • Launching gender sensitive public mobilization campaigns to promote gender equality and women’s human rights;
  • Putting significant financial and human resources into, including utilizing gender budgeting, to deliver on implementation of commitments to women’s and girls’ rights and equality;

What women’s movements and civil society advocates can do to influence leaders between now and September:
  • Lobby and get others to put pressure on governmental leaders directly;
  • Strategize with the gender/women’s national ministries to expand collective voice and influence;
  • Work with parliamentarians and national/local administrations;
  • Connect with media, including social media, hold press conferences, write Op-eds and give interviews to draw attention to the summit in September and the leadership role that your country can play in making strong commitments to gender equality; use UN Women newsletters and websites as well as those of civil society advocates for information on this;
  • Collaborate with various civil society actors on this issue – and put gender equality on the agenda of broad coalitions organizing for the 2015 Summit -- so that there is louder conversation on the opportunity that your country has at the summit in September to make a strong commitment to gender equality;

  • Work with the diversity of women’s movements and networks – with a strong focus on including women’s networks and groups that are often excluded -- to lobby more cohesively with your political leadership for concrete commitments at the summit;

It is useful to coordinate your actions with local, regional and global women’s and other NGO/CSO groups that are working for women’s rights and gender equality in the post 2015 process, such as the Women’s Coalition for Post 2015 at and the Women’s Major Group at
WUNRN has been advised that this High Level Meeting will be for Heads of State and their entourages. BUT, we are told the session will be UN WEBCAST.

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Thursday, August 13, 2015


Pediatric consultant Najwa Fituri is in charge of treating premature babies at the al-Jalaa maternity hospital in Benghazi, Libya, but when the revolution against Muammar al-Qaddafi descended into a bloody civil war, she heeded a new calling: smuggling drugs to treat anti-Qaddafi fighters. A member of the female empowerment group Women for Libya, Fituri hopes to be part of a new generation of Libyan women. "If [women] are qualified, they should be leaders of Libya," she told the BBC in December. "Everyone has the right to dream."
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Tuesday, August 11, 2015


On March 9, 2011, Salwa el-Husseini, Samira Ibrahim, and Rasha Abdel Rahman were just peaceful protesters at a sit-in at Tahrir Square -- a small group of thousands who had gathered to protest against the ruling military regime. But that changed when they were arrested by the Egyptian military along with 15 other female activists, strip-searched, and subjected to "virginity tests" in which the hymen is forcefully penetrated to check for blood. The three broke long-standing social taboos by speaking out about their treatment: Husseini agreed to be filmed as she recountedwhat happened at a news conference, while Abdel Rahman gave graphic details of her abuse in court. Although a military tribunal cleared the doctor who performed the tests of all charges, Ibrahim won a major victory when a Cairo administrative court heard her case and banned virginity tests on female detainees in military prisons.

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Sunday, August 9, 2015


Computer security consultant Manal al-Sharif made headlines in May 2011 when a colleague filmed her driving a car in Khobar, Saudi Arabia, as part of her advocacy campaign for Saudi women's right to drive. The video was posted on YouTube and Facebook, and it soon spread like wildfire. Four days later, about 600,000 people had already watched the footage. Although officials jailed her for nine days as punishment for breaking the prohibition on female drivers in Saudi Arabia -- the only country in the world with such a ban -- her actions successfully galvanized a rare bout of popular protest in the kingdom. On June 17, several dozen Saudi women got behind the wheel to repeat Sharif's act of defiance.

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Saturday, August 8, 2015

A framework to advance indigenous women’s issues

86. Indigenous women are emerging as a powerful and compelling voice in the indigenous rights and the women’s rights movements, promoting conditions for the improved exercise and better enjoyment of their rights on the basis of equality, and in a nuanced manner, so as to ensure respect for these rights while continuing to maintain and transmit indigenous cultures and values. 

87. Within this context, there has been a steady progress in the achievements made by indigenous women at the national and international levels. Indigenous women have made headway in highlighting their issues through increased participation at international forums, both as part of that processes related to indigenous peoples and those that relate to women more broadly. These efforts have ensured that indigenous women’s rights and concerns are recognized and reflected in international instruments such as the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention of the International Labour Organization (Convention No. 169), as well as in the more recent outcome document of the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples. 

88. Nevertheless, 20 years after the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, indigenous women are still facing significant challenges to the full enjoyment of their human rights. The analysis of national reviews highlights indigenous women’s specific situations and progress made by States, as well as insights into the numerous outstanding challenges. The wide array of measures reported by States show that advances in indigenous women’s rights vary greatly across regions and countries and are influenced by national priorities and political opportunities, as well as by financial resources. It is worth noting that certain States and regions have various initiatives that include a specific focus on indigenous women, while others are largely silent on the issue. 

89. The most targeted action by States appears to be in the areas of violence against women, health, education and capacity-building. These areas are more clearly gender-specific (especially violence against women and health concerns affecting women in particular), or are areas in which indigenous women have been shown to experience a particular vulnerability or disadvantage (such as illiteracy rates). Within these areas, several States recognized that indigenous women face specific challenges that merit differentiated action. Certainly, some of the measures described by States in their reports to address concerns could be described as emerging good practices, which could be built upon or replicated in other countries or contexts. 

90. An overarching concern identified by States is the level of participation by indigenous women in power and in decision-making, both at the local and national levels. Across the board, women still face discrimination in this regard, despite the modest gains made in some countries. The low level of participation by indigenous women presents both a problem in and of itself as well as a hurdle to the raising of awareness about and developing solutions to the wide range of other concerns for indigenous women in areas including education, health, violence, poverty reduction and access to justice. Increasing the participation of indigenous women in powerand in decision-making should be a priority both for States and within indigenous communities.

 91. Furthermore, responding to the particular issues faced by indigenous women could be improved by mainstreaming and by considering their rights a s a crosscutting issue in general policies and programmes on women and/or indigenous peoples. In addition, responses to the concerns faced by indigenous women could be improved by increasing awareness of the issues of concern to indigenous women among national decision makers and authorities. This would enable policymakers to have a better understanding of the many issues that indigenous women are currently facing. In this regard, the disaggregation of data by sex and ethnicity is a fundamental tool for identifying and measuring problem areas and developing solutions. 

92. Finally, it is worth noting that addressing concerns facing indigenous women and girls requires that both their rights as women and their rights as indigenous peoples be made a priority. In this regard, the rights enshrined in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples must be advanced concurrently with initiatives designed specifically for indigenous women so as to help in tackling the structural problems affecting indigenous peoples that further contribute to the difficulties affecting indigenous women in particular. This includes advancement of the right to self-determination by indigenous peoples so that they can themselves participate in the development of effective, culturally appropriate and sustainable solutions to the problems faced by indigenous women.

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