Greetings from the UN!
There are no words to describe the feeling of synergy and energy, common purpose and commitment that is the Commission on the Status of Women meeting at the United Nations. This year's meeting, CSW 55's main theme is on STEM but there are sessions on many other topics. Safety and education of women and children is a common theme and it is sobering to me personally to hear how many women and children live in jeopardy. I attended a very interesting session yesterday - A reporting out of a ten year Impact study on the Implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security in Peacekeeping.
Resolution 1325, passed in 2000, was in "recognition of the serious impact that armed conflict has on women and children and the potential of women to contribute to all of the processes which aim to establish and sustain peace". Presenters were from the Sudan, Haiti and Timor-Leste. The findings were a mixed bag with some progress being made to protect women/girls in times of conflict and natural disaster but still much more work to be done. In each case where women were given some role of influence (either in the electoral process, voter registration etc) conditions did improve albeit in some cases very slightly. Some countries set quotas for women's participation in the electorate as part of a new government or a reconstruction. These do not however guarantee that the quotas will actually be met. Still they are a first step. InHaiti the inclusion of women police has helped with the reporting of rapes since the earthquake but rape still continues for women living in IDP camps.
While it might be easier to focus on the accomplishments that have been made, to do so would be to minimize the dramatic circumstances in which many women in this world live. Women are vulnerable - the more so the lower the economic position. Education has consistently been a theme for equalizing women and men, but when economics are involved and primary or secondary education is fee based it is usually the boy child that is sent and the girl child stays home to work.
More on UN Women in my next post. Please contact me with any questions.