The fifty-ninth session of the Commission on the Status of Women will take place at United Nations Headquarters in New York from 9 to 20 March 2015. Representatives of Member States , UN entities, and ECOSOC-accredited non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from all regions of the world attend the session.
The main focus of the session will be on the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, including current challenges that affect its implementation and the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of women. The Commission will undertake a review of progress made in the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, 20 years after its adoption at the Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995. The review (Beijing+20) will also include the outcomes of the 23rd special session of the General Assembly, the first five-year assessment conducted after the adoption of the Platform for Action, which highlighted further actions and initiatives.
The session will also address opportunities for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women in the post-2015 development agenda.
The regional commissions of the United Nations will undertake regional reviews. Both the national and regional review processes will feed into the global review.
>> National-level review of implementation
>> Regional 20-year review processes
Organization of the session
The Commission’s two-week session will include the following activities:
The documentation for the session is expected to become available in late January 2015.
2015 UN Woman UK and Government Equalities Office Conference
Inspiring and Shaping the Future
- progress towards gender equality
Date: 27 February 2015, 1pm – 3pm
Venue: Room 011, Design Building, Northumbria University, City Campus East, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 2SW
Key Note Speaker: Rt. Hon. Nicky Morgan MP
Secretary of State for Education and Minister for Women and Equalities
This conference, in partnership with UN Women UK, is the final roadshow event concluding the series of regional consultations for the Government’s Women’s Engagement Programme. The consultations have been organised ahead of the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action which remain the most powerful and comprehensive global policy framework to achieve gender equality in all dimensions of life. The aim of this conference is to revitalise public debate and to shape UK domestic and foreign equality policies in the future.
The Secretary of State will open the conference and share her views on gender equality: both the achievements and the challenges remaining. Experts from within the gender equality field will give presentations covering the following issues: education, gender diversity at workplace and the role of young girls in shaping the future.
Following presentations from our distinguished panel there will an open forum for discussion.
Please register via Eventbrite
Please send any special requirements to email@example.com by Thursday, 19th February 2015. More information about the conference will be published soon.
We hope you can join us for this important conference and be part of the future.]]>
UN Women UK and the Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice held a joint event hosted by Winckworth Sherwood to mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and kick-start 16 days of activism which came to a close today with International Human Rights Day.
The works of an artist currently in Sri Lanka were presented. They included her pictures from Mullaitivu, family photo albums recovered whilst shooting in Mullivaikkal, and a series of images of hands belonging to one family of survivors from the Northern district of Mullaitivu – coupled with hand written texts inscribed directly onto the surfaces of the images by the survivors themselves.
As the artist said, “I hope to evoke a crystallization of the themes surrounding the unseen, the hidden, and the unrepresentable in the context of post war Sri Lanka and to engage with the threshold lying between fact and fiction, politics and poetics.”
Three speakers then addressed the issue of the challenges faced by Tamil women and girls in Sri Lanka.
Frances Harrison, the journalist and author of “Still Counting the Dead: Survivors of Sri Lanka’s Hidden War”, spoke about sexual violence in Sri Lanka. She offered a harrowing account of the personal stories of many people she had met – many of whom had chosen to share their stories with her precisely because they wanted to make sure this never happened to anybody else.
Natalie Samarasinghe, Executive Director of the United Nations Association, then discussed the role of the UN in ending violence against Women and Girls, the successes and failures of the UN system, and how much more work is needed, particularly given the incredible scale of the problem around the world, as well as in Sri Lanka specifically.
Shivani Jegarajah, a Human Rights barrister from Michael Mansfield’s Chambers, then discussed whether women in occupied war zones and post conflict zones should be considered a protected group with respect to their refugee status in the United Kingdom, and made the argument that Tamil Women in the Northern Province most certainly should.
A Q& A then followed which primarily focussed on how best we could help the survivors of sexual violence in Sri Lanka. It was suggested that participants should lobby their members of parliament to demand fairer treatment for Sri Lankan asylum seekers, and that they should support charities founded with the purpose of supporting the survivors of sexual violence and torture.
Singer Maya Arulpragasam (M.I.A.) attended the event to show her support.
After the event Frances Harrison sold copies of her books. Proceeds and donations were split 50/50 between UN Women and Support a Survivor of Torture – a new charity established by Frances Harrison to support survivors of sexual torture in Sri Lanka.
For more information about our work please visit unwomenuk.org and srilankacampaign.org]]>
November saw the 20-year review of the Beijing Platform for Action and 700 participants from 350 NGOs in the 56 UN Economic Commission for Europe region countries gathered in Geneva to review progress and adopt recommendations for the future. The UN Women NC UK was represented by Jan Floyd-Douglass and Tuula Nieminen. Among the keynote speakers were UN Women Deputy Executive Director Lakshmi Puri and UN Women Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia Ingibjorg Gisladottir.
The intense three-day Forum was packed with major plenary sessions and 16 interactive roundtables. Each of the 12 critical areas of concern of the Beijing Platform for Action and four emerging issues (human rights and migrant women; science, technology and innovation for the advancement of women; older women; and men and boys for gender equality) were covered in the roundtable discussions. The NGO representatives were given a chance to comment on progress to date and to present recommendations for overcoming the remaining challenges in gender equality for women and girls everywhere.
At the end of the Forum, a declaration and recommendations were adopted. On 6th November, the declaration was delivered at the opening of the intergovernmental Beijing+20 UN ECE Review Meeting. The outcomes of the regional review processes, together with the national reviews completed by individual States in May 2014, will feed into the global review and appraisal that UN Women submits to the 59th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), in New York March 2015.
The UN Women NCUK fully supports the NGO Forum’s call for:
By Tuula Nieminen , Trustee, UN Women NC UK]]>
This year ten NCs and two UN Women representatives from New York met over three days to discuss the progress of UN Women and potential areas for development. Each National Committee gave a snapshot of local progress, best practice and campaign activity. As part of the conference, delegates were invited to meet with the Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs for Japan. Japan has made gender equality a national priority in their national planning.
The UK Government, along with Finland, was recognised for providing over $20M in core funding to UN Women. However, the need for greater funding of the Trust Fund to End Violence against Women and the Fund for Gender Equality was discussed.
Thanks to the Japan NC for a constructive and hospitable conference.]]>
Throughout the world there are practices, embedded in local cultures, which continue to scar young girls – such as FGM and the lesser known breast ironing. In many cases, these are to be continued under the misguided intention to “protect” women and girls from men’s sexual harassment. These violent acts are not only perpetrated by men on women, but by older generations of women on young girls. The issues therefore are quite complex as we are dealing with deep-seated cultural beliefs, but there is a need to help people to see that however well-intentioned they may believe their acts to be, they are acts of violence.
Breast ironing has been stated by UNFPA as one of five under-reported crimes relating to gender-based violence, next to “bridenapping” in Central Asia, the epidemic of traumatic fistula in Africa, femicide of women in Central America and child marriage.
In October in recognition of the International Day of the Girl Child, the UN Women London Branch held an event hosted by Commonwealth Parliamentary Association to raise awareness of breast ironing and the impact it has on the lives of young girls both physically, emotionally and psychologically. It may also expose them to numerous health problems. Margaret Nyuydzewira and Geraldine Yenwo founders of CAME Women and Girls Development Organisation (CAWOGIDO) spoke about their work to increase knowledge and understanding of the physical, psychological and socio-economic consequences of this practise and raise awareness that breast ironing is an abuse of human rights and is inhuman.
Breast ironing is a traditional practice which involves massaging or pressing the breasts of adolescent girls by using a stone, a hammer or a spatula heated over coals in order to suppress and reverse their development. It is widely spread in West African countries such as Cameroon, Guinea-Bissau, Chad, Togo, Benin, and Guinea-Conakry but also occurs in some regions of East and Central Africa. In Cameroon, up to 50% of girls as young as 10 years old undergo terribly painful breast ironing on a daily basis.
CAME is concerned that African immigrants have brought breast ironing practice with them to the UK. In their efforts to reduce the number of affected girls and women, CAME provides training for Cameroonian organisations working to protect girls from being abused through breast ironing and supporting families and communities. Margaret stressed however that there is a need to conduct serious studies both in the UK and in African countries to determine the real prevalence of the practice as well as its physical, psychological and socio-economic consequences. Watch more here.
The presentation was followed by a lively discussion, as many attendees admitted not having heard of the practice before. One of the attendees, an expert in midwifery, suggested that, similar to FGM, midwives here in the UK could be trained to be able to recognise the symptoms of breast ironing among girls in the UK. Attendees expressed their hope that a response to breast ironing will be faster than that in relation to FGM. To learn more about CAWOGIDO visit here.]]>
Dear UN Women Members,
Showcasing an innovative partnership between SAFE & Altrincham Grammar School for Girls
UN WOMEN Forthcoming Brunch Event: Saturday 29th November
Our next brunch is on Saturday, 29th November, at Francis Taylor Buildings, Inner Temple, London EC4Y 7BY (The nearest tube is Blackfriars but please do check TFL before setting out)
We are delighted to welcome John Redmond from SAFE – if you remember earlier this year John presented his innovative programme to end Slavery and Trafficking in the Manchester area. As a result of outreach work with students from Altrincham Grammar School for Girls they will be with him to showcase their work based on specific modules developed by SAFE and adopted by the school for their Citizenship Curriculum. We are delighted to welcome them and hope you can join us to share their findings and on-going work in this area.
We look forward to seeing you. Please arrive for Refreshments at 10.30 am – the talk begins at 11 am sharp. There will be plenty of time to ask questions. The event finishes at 2.00 pm.
Our brunches are free to UN WOMEN members and you are welcome to bring a guest along but don’t forget that you must book in advance.
If you would like to attend please email UN Women London Committee to register your place. Spaces are limited so please book your place early so as not to be disappointed.]]>
Dear UN Women Members,
UN Women UK Event in Partnership with Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice
On behalf of the UN Women National Committee UK (London) we are delighted to invite you to a reception on Tuesday 25th November, 2014, at Winckworth Sherwood Solicitors, Minerva House, 5 Montague Close, London SE1 9BB (the nearest tube is London Bridge station, but please do check TFL before setting out). The event begins at 6.30pm and end at 9.30 pm.
We are holding this to mark The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women and Girls on Tuesday 25th November.
In partnership with Sri Lanka Campaign for Peace and Justice we will highlight the challenges, in particular, faced by women and girls in Sri Lanka.
Frances Harrison (the journalist and author of “Still Counting the Dead: Survivors of Sri Lanka’s Hidden War”) will talk about sexual violence in Sri Lanka and Natalie Samarasinghe, Executive Director of the United Nations Association, will discuss VAWG and the role and function of the UN.
Entrance to the event is free but for security reasons you must register your place first. We think this will be a very popular event and places will be allocated on a first come, first serve basis. Please register at: UN Women London Committee.
At the end there will be a collection for the UN WOMEN Trust Fund to end Violence Against Women and Girls and the charity run by Frances Harrison called “Support a Survivor of Torture”. Suggested donation: £10.00. Proceeds will be shared equally. There will also be a chance to buy copies of Frances’ book.]]>
• Women and Poverty
• Education and Training of Women
• Women and Health
• Violence against Women
• Women and Armed Conflict
• Women and the Economy
• Women in Power and Decision-making
• Institutional Mechanism for the Advancement of Women
• Human Rights of Women
• Women and the Media
• Women and the Environment
• The Girl-child
Being responsible for the follow-up to the Beijing Conference, the Commission on the Status of Women has over the past decade been systematically reviewing the progress in the implementation of the 12 areas of concern (Beijing+5, Beijing+10, and Beijing+15). The 20-year review is currently underway, and individual States have already completed their national reviews. The national reviews are being followed by five regional review processes, which involve the preparation of regional reports and the organisation of regional inter-governmental meetings by the UN Regional Commissions: Africa on 11 – 14 November, Europe and Central Asia on 6 – 7 November, Latin America and the Caribbean on 18 – 20 November, Asia and the Pacific on 17 – 20 November, and the Arab Region on 1 – 2 December.
The UN Women NCUK will be contributing to this important review process by providing input to the European review at the Geneva Beiing+20 NGO Forum – UN Economic Commission for Europe (UN ECE) Regional Review on 3 – 5 November at Palais des Nations in Geneva. The UN ECE covers a large and diverse region comprising 53 Member States in Europe and Central Asia, as well as Canada, the United States and Israel. The objective of the Forum is to contribute to the Beijing+20 review process; to identify emerging women’s issues; and to provide input for the current discussions on the Post-2015 Agenda. The Forum’s expected outcome is a comprehensive report with a set of action-oriented recommendations that will be presented at the inter-governmental Beijing+20 UN ECE Regional Review meeting taking place immediately after the NGO Forum. The recommendations will also be included in the final ECE report.
The national reviews and the outcomes of the regional review processes will feed into the global review and appraisal that UN Women will prepare and submit to the 59th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), which will take place at the UN Headquarters in New York from 9 to 20 March 2015.
Following the NGO Forum, the UN Women NCUK will start preparing for the 59th Session of CSW, including providing input on the priority areas in gender equality to the Government Equalities Office at the pre-CSW Annual National Consultation with Women event on November 10th in London. The main focus of the 59th Session of CSW will be on the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, but the Session will also address opportunities for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women in the Post-2015 development agenda.
Sign up to our mailing list for further updates on the Beijing+20 and Post-2015 processes.
By Tuula Nieminen, Trustee, UN Women NCUK