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GENDER AND DEVELOPMENT
Empowerment of women and girls tops agenda at UN Economic and Social Council
Posted: Jul 28,2010

28 June 2010 – The annual high-level segment of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) opened today with speakers calling for women and girls to be placed at the centre of the global struggle to achieve the social and economic targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

This year’s focus “allows us to strengthen the linkages between gender equality, women’s human rights and non-discrimination as a basis for progress in development goals, including the Millennium Development Goals,” said ECOSOC President Hamidon Ali, referring to the eight goals that world leaders have agreed to try to realize before their 2015 deadline.

In his opening address to the meeting, held at UN Headquarters in New York, Mr. Ali said that while the third goal relates directly to the empowerment of women, “all MDGs are dependant upon women having a greater say in their own development.”

He noted specifically the need for greater cooperation to end violence against women and girls, and the empowerment of rural women as a critical force in reducing poverty and hunger.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in his opening remarks, told government ministers that “until women and girls are liberated from poverty and injustice, all our goals – peace, security, sustainable development – stand in jeopardy.”

Mr. Ban noted that this year is a “landmark year for gender issues” with the 15th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action – which remains the most comprehensive global policy framework to achieve the goals of gender equality, development and peace – and the 10th anniversary of Security Council resolution 1325 on women and peace and security.

In addition to senior UN officials, the audience heard today from special speakers, including Michelle Bachelet, former Chilean president.

Recalling her own election as the first female Chilean president and the increasing participation of women in the political sphere, Ms. Bachelet called on the international community “to move mountains” to end the persistent injustice the women faced.

Meanwhile, Frances Stewart, Professor of Development Economics and Director of the Centre for Research and Inequality, Human Security and Ethnicity at Oxford University, warned that the progress made to date was being threatened by intersecting crises of food security, financial markets, human rights and security, and climate change.

She cautioned that the least progress was being made in the security domain, where despite a decline in wars and violent conflict over the past 15 years, general violence of which women were the prime victims remained unacceptably high.

In addition to the annual ministerial review, the high-level segment of the ECOSOC substantive session will include the Development Cooperation Forum, which aims to strengthen global partnerships for development.

The end result of this week’s discussions will be a “short and action-oriented” ministerial declaration that can be “understood by the man-in-the-street,” Mr. Ali said.

The declaration will serve as a component to this September’s high-level summit convened by Mr. Ban to try to urge world leaders to accelerate progress towards the MDGs ahead of 2015.

 

 

(UN Source)

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"... From the beginning of the first century A.D., when the two Trung Sisters rose up to fight the enemy and save the nation, until now, whenever our country has faced danger, our women have contributed whatever they could toward the cause of national liberation.

Our people are grateful that our mothers from South and North alike have borne and raised our nation's generation of heroes....

Under the Socialist system, tens of thousands of women have become specialists in different fields and, as cadre, serve as directors and vice-directors of factories, leaders of farming cooperatives, presidents of People’s Committees, and general secretaries of Party Cells....

And so, the women of Vietnam from ancient times until now, from South to North, from young to old, are truly heroes ..."

(Excerpted from President Ho Chi Minh's speech on the 36th Anniversary of Vietnam Women's Union 20 October 1966)

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