The United Nations Development Programme released a report regarding hunger and malnutrition in Africa. How can they significantly be reduced? Helen Clark (UNDP administrator) says after meeting Kenyan women: “I think across Africa a big answer to fighting hunger and food shortages is empowering women farmers”; because indeed women are most are risk of forfeiting their own land rights. The report points out that “Where women have less power than men do, nutrition suffers, household security weakens and access to healthcare lags”. Women and girls all over Africa need to get more power, more rights to increase their voce in political and social matters to be able to stand up! The report also emphasizes that improvements in education for women from 1970-1995 have been a great help in the fight against child malnutrition.
Through this UNDP’s first-ever Africa Human Development Report, it appears that women have lower productivity than men. This “inferiority” is explained by the fact that women do not have the same education level, the same access to education and the same experience. Whereas if women could have farm inputs and training, then their productivity could catch up to men’s. The report argues that there is “plenty of evidence” showing that “empowering women is a highly efficient way to achieve progress across the multiple dimensions of food security”.
According to Peace Nobel laureate, Wangari Maathai, the report says, “African women in general need to know that it’s ok for them to be the way they are – to see the way they are as a strength, and to be liberated from fear and from silence.”
Today is International Women’s Day! Is it really supposed to be a celebration? Or should we be appalled that there is still a special day to fight for equality between genders and women’s rights around the world?!
Whether we are for or we are against a day dedicated to women, it is still an occasion to look at the great achievements that accomplish women around the world! After one year of the Revolution’s beginning in the Arab World, it is highly important to recognize and pay homage to the courage and struggle of women in the Arab societies. Somehow, we could dedicate this 2012 International Women’s Day to all these women taking part in the Revolution and fighting day after day for their rights, dignity and freedom in the Arab World, to all these beautiful women who next to their fathers, brothers and husbands have been raising protests against inequality, lack of respect and dictatorship! People will manage to rise democracy if they fight all together hand in hand, women and men! It is satisfying to see the young Arab female protesting, far away from the idea that Western people have of the Arab woman as passive and oppressed human beings. Let us remind that the uprisings in Tunisia, Syria, Lybia, Bahrain would not have been possible withtout the participation of women. Moreover, Young women have been using and rising their voice through social media networks to be heard and to spread their message all over the world as Aliaa Elmahdy, the young Egyptian woman did last December. Among the striking Arab women, we remember Tawakkul Karman, this Yemeni activist, one of the three winners of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize.
The question today regarding the recent victory of the Islamist parties in Tunisia and Egypt (Egypt Election Victory for Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis / Moderate Islamist Party Heads Toward Victory in Tunisia) is: Have Arab women won rights and democracy over the last year or through these new regimes, will they lost the few rights they used to have ?
Here below is a talk of UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet who calls for women’s equal participation in all spheres of life as fundamental to democracy and justice.
1909: The first National Woman’s Day was observed in the United States on 28 February. The Socialist Party of America designated this day in honour of the 1908 garment workers’ strike in New York, where women protested against working conditions.
1945: The Charter of United Nations was the first international agreement to affirm the principle of equality between women and men. Since then, the UN has helped create a historic legacy of internationally-agreed strategies, standards, programmes and goals to advance the status of women worldwide.
1975: The United Nations began celebrating International Women’s Day on 8 March. Two years later, in December 1977, the General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming a United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace. In adopting its resolution, the General Assembly recognized the role of women in peace efforts and development and urged an end to discrimination and an increase of support for women’s full and equal participation.
A quick video about the History of International Women’s Day:
Have you heard about the Girl Effect?
“It is a movement driven by girl champions around the globe. The Nike Foundation created the Girl Effect with critical financial and intellectual contributions by the NoVo Foundation and Nike Inc. and in collaboration with key partners such as the United Nations Foundation and the Coalition for Adolescent Girls.
Improve a girl’s life and many more lives benefit: her brothers, sisters, parents and beyond. As an educated mother, an active citizen and an ambitious entrepreneur, or prepared employee, she can break the cycle of poverty. Yet, despite her proven potential, in today’s developing countries she is more likely to be uneducated, a child bride, exposed to HIV/AIDS. And less than two cents of every international development dollar are directed to her. The world is missing out on a tremendous opportunity for change.”
Have a look at this brilliant campaign:
Highly interested in the condition and position of women all over the world at the global, regional and local levels, I have decided to create a blog dedicated to women. I look forward to learning more about the rights and priorities of the world’s women. Nowadays, many organizations already exist to fight for women’s rights; unfortunately these international organizations seem to be insignificant in some countries, such as Saudi Arabia, where women have not got the right to vote yet, or Afghanistan and Yemen where women do not have a lot of respect or recognition from men. These are only a few examples but the list of countries where women are still looking for more consideration and equality is long.
However, last year, in July 2010, the United Nations General Assembly created UN Women in order to protect and strengthen Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women and particularly merges four main units which are: the Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW); the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW); the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women (OSAGI); and finally the United Nations Development Fund for Women. As of this month, January 2011, UN Women has officially been operational. As it is clearly said on their official website, the UN Women will work for the :
- Elimination of discrimination against women and girls
- Empowerment of women
- Achievement of equality between women and men as partners and beneficiaries of development, human rights, humanitarian action and peace and security.
Michelle Bachelet, ex-President of Chile from March 2006 to March 2010 has been appointed as the head of UN Women since September 2010.
More specifically, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women or UN Women will provide a new powerful and purposeful voice for women and girls, for these who are still waiting for education, Human Rights, respect from men or even simple daily needs. Fortunately over the last decade, the world has seen a significant improvement regarding access to education for girls, however among the 776 million illiterate adults in the world, two-thirds are Women. (source: UN Women: Fact & figures on women)
Basically, through my research and my interest in women’s issues, I will try to present the most relevant topics from social, economic, political, and cultural views. I will talk about women who are under the boots of misogynous men, women who are struggling everyday for their rights, and finally I will provide portrayals of select women such as Michelle Bachelet, Zam Zam Abdullahi, Queen Raina of Jordan, , Lúz Mendez…
Below is a video where Michelle Bachelet, the Executive director of United Nations for Women points out the challenges that UN Women will have to take up.
Can we still hear that “women are almost invisible in some places or citizens of second class in some places”?