Elimination and Prevention of all Forms of Violence Against Women and Girls – Bringing it Home. Edinburgh: 6 June, 11am-3pm. email@example.com for details
Scottish Women’s Convention’s Post-CSW 57 event
There was an intensity in the hush before the first speaker rose to begin. Every chair had an inhabitant and yet they carried on arriving, crowding around doors, sat on tables propped by walls and crouched with steady gaze at the back of the room. It was a delight to see gathered so many youthful faces, fresh and attentive. An interest echoed across generations in the variety of those in attendance. The desire to begin a dialogue about feminism and gender equality that spanned age, experience and background was keenly felt.
The House of Commons seemed a fitting backdrop for the importance and prestige of an event – organised by the National Alliance of Women’s Organisations (NAWO) and the Women’s Federation for World Peace (WFWP) – that intended to excite young women into getting involved in the gender equality agenda on both a national and international scale. More fitting still that it was Heidi Alexander MP for Lewisham East that kicked off the proceedings, speaking with warm officiousness about her political career and life within these walls.
Heidi urged us to believe that we can do something to change things, that it is important to ‘put your money where your mouth is’ and ‘throw your hat in the ring’. Highlighting the failure of parliament to sufficiently reflect and represent persons across the UK, it was she quipped: ‘pretty male, pale and stale’. There was laughter at the deft poetic nuance used to illustrate this stark truth. To conclude Heidi asserted that we need women to be present in all spheres of public life and that we must look to ourselves to uncover the skills and interests we can uniquely contribute to this process.
A flying visit from the MP for Ealing Southall sponsoring the event Mr Virendra Sharma, emphasised Heidi’s belief in participation, with Virendra opining that: ‘if you don’t participate you don’t get equality’. He expressed disbelief that there was still a need for equality discussion in the twenty first century, disheartened that equality had not yet been achieved in the political system. A positive upswing was delivered in quiet yet forceful tones through which Virendra spoke of the progress that had been made in encouraging young women to participate in politics, particularly through events like this one taking place in committee rooms in the heart of Westminister, rooms where ‘ordinary people’ were unable to venture mere years before. Virendra’s final hurrah was to assert that this should not be the last meeting on young women’s involvement in the gender equality agenda, an endorsement that was received with a wave of smiles across the room.
Carlene Firmin’s upbeat confidence and engaging style were reflected in the immediate identification within her presentation of the imperative of making yourself heard metaphorically and physically if change is to be implemented that benefits young women. As the founder and director of Girls Against Gangs (GAG) and working in the Office of the Children’s Commissioner Carlene is enthusiastic about providing young women with the support they need to fully realise their identities and their potential within society.
In discussing her career trajectory Carlene admitted that she pursued a degree and work experience in an unrelated sector and that through chance she ended up working at a Children’s Charity. Due to the modest size of the charity Carlene found that she was able to get involved in a wide variety of tasks and that she came to first recognize and then enjoy social policy work. In reflecting on the evolution of her career and specialism’s Carlene candidly expressed that sometimes you must simply: ‘go with what you do at the time and see what happens’. This refreshing honesty was further exampled in Carlene’s belief that it is important as a young woman getting involved in gender equality to say yes to opportunities, be yourself and: ‘use the fact that you are young and talking about things they [e.g. politicians/policy makers and changers] may not have experienced’ to your advantage.
While involved in a youth violence project in which the radio station ‘Choice’ encouraged young people to come and discuss their experiences of violence at a scheduled meeting Carlene noticed that just under 50% of attendees were young women who were deeply affected and concerned by this issue. They outlined fears about carrying weapons for male friends and the constant worry about their brothers being injured or killed. Carlene discovered that girls were not covered in Government policy on gangs at this time though they too were involved in the negative fallout from such groups. It was then that Carlene formed the Girls Against Gangs project in 2010 to: ‘empower girls to become local advisors on gender and youth violence’. In December 2012 £1.2million was pledged by the Government for three year projects funding support workers: ‘for girls vulnerable to or suffering from gang-related sexual violence’ in London, great progress in recognising gender specific violent acts. Carlene built on this positivity by emphatically urging the young women in the crowd: ‘there is a space for you’ and inspiring them to use their unique backgrounds and interests to pursue careers in this sector.
Lucy Barnett of The Orchid Project who work towards: ‘a world free from FGC’ opened her presentation by defining what Female Genital Cutting principally means, explaining that it is: ‘the removal of external sexual organs’. FGC happens for a variety of reasons, including as a right of passage procedure and as a pre-requisite for arranged young marriages. It is supported by communities at large and thus individuals who have misgivings may find it extremely difficult to bring these to wider attention for fear of social exclusion. The Orchid Project recognise that where FGC operates it is a: ‘social norm’ and that all parts of the community facilitate it occurring.
Lucy shocked the event attendees by outlining that 3million women and girls are at risk of FGC ‘in Africa alone’ and that 140million individuals across the world are living with the effects of FGC, thus making this a: ‘real global experience’ that must be tackled as such internationally and nationally. In this vein Lucy talked of The Orchid Project’s global advocacy work which involved talking to leaders from both the UK and other countries, while in the UK additionally focusing on lobbying the Department for International Development (DfID). Lynne Featherstone, International Development Minister unveiled a project earlier this year worth £35million that aims to reduce Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) in 10 key Countries across the world by 30% within 5 years and eradicate FGM within a generation, an example Lucy enthused of deep progress in recognition of tackling FGC.
In Senegal The Orchid Project along with Senegalese rapper and victim of cutting Sister Fa are making a: ‘real’ impact by spreading the message of anti-FGC and empowering women to become ‘agents of change’ within their communities. The popularity of Sister Fa and the method of creating change throughout all elements of communities means that Senegal could be free of FGC within 3years, a staggering achievement.
Lucy concluded that the three important messages to take away from the presentation were: the weight of the numbers of those affected by FGC; that change is happening; and that young women should encourage change and work as advocates for anti-FGC, even in actions as simple as tweeting or facebooking about FGC to break the taboo of discussing it. She finished with the passionate oration that: ‘you can be part of ending it’.
Having travelled to CSW57 this year in March as part of the National Alliance of Women’s Organisations Youth Caucus the next speaker Alex Wilcox felt moved to mount a spirited defence of Feminism and it’s deep relevance to the twenty first century and the lives of young people. It was not ‘just a women’s issue’ and it was a sector in which young people could have an enormous impact: ‘alone we are often ignored, but together we are deafening’. Gender Equality needed to be featured on the UK Curriculum, a suggestion greeted by cheers from the audience, and the focus in schools needed to be shifted from the ‘false illusion’ given by teachers only discussing the progress in women’s rights across the last century on to the imperative for further action.
Mainstream media campaigns around gender equality would be a great way to publicise and generate discussion and a push for change Alex believed, with the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) and International Women’s Day (IWD) particularly in need of a boost in understanding among young women. Celebrity support and endorsement was additionally a useful tool in spreading feminisms message in relation to the gender equality agenda to newer and wider audiences. Alex encouraged attendees to think creatively, proclaiming: ‘new methods [are needed] for a new generation’ and ‘small amounts add to big things’. Lastly, Alex identified that it was fundamental that young women’s voices were heard and that young women could join women’s organisations to work together for change.
Tom Heathfield, also of NAWO’s Youth Caucus and in attendance at CSW57, provided a novel angle on the gender equality agenda as the only young man speaking on the panel. Tom’s thought provoking and powerful presentation on masculinity and the role of young men in achieving gender equality had a visible impact on the audience as identified in the attentive and furrowed brows of the attendees.
Tom expressed that ideas of masculinity were deeply embedded in our society and centred around a ‘macho stereotype’ of exaggerated aggression. This led men and boys to focus on maintaining a masculine image that included enhancing physique and could turn in to excessively aggressive actions towards women. Due to the intrinsic nature of society and the masculine Tom assessed that it would be impossible to overturn these destructive norms completely thus instead role models within groups of guys should be cultivated and supported who expressed positive change in their behaviour towards women publicly, encouraging other men in the group to do likewise. In this way over time men and women could: ‘build a new model that makes the old model obsolete’.
Additionally Tom urged men to take responsibility for their actions, and for the macho culture in evidence saying: ‘a truly mans man would act independently and be held responsible for their actions’. Tom closed with the reflection that ‘a man’s violent act brings about his own downfall’ as well as inflicting harm on women since the man is ostracised from society for his behaviour, thus working together to establish gender equality benefitted those on all sides of the equation.
Annette Lawson, NAWO’s Chair, closed the event by thanking all those in attendance, eyes gleaming at the progress made in the open discussion of sensitive topics and the enthusiasm of all gathered to get involved and strive for change. The young women at the conference were an exciting example of the new generations impetus to change the situation in which they would become young adults, evidencing a restlessness with the current situation and an open renewal of the relevance of feminism and gender equality. They seemed to suggest that they will not accept anything less than the establishment of gender equality and eradication of violence against women and girls, and they felt united in assuring us that they could do it.
©Rosie Fox 2013
For more information see:
On NAWO and the NAWO Youth Caucus:
for WFWP Youth Caucus: http://www.wfwp.org.uk/youth/about-us.html
for Heidi Alexander MP: http://www.heidialexander.org.uk/
for Virendra Sharma: http://www.virendrasharma.com/
for Carlene Firmin – Office of the Children’s Commissioner: http://www.childrenscommissioner.gov.uk/
and her articles for the Guardian under ‘Girl in the Corner’: http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/series/girl-in-the-corner
for Lucy Barnett – The Orchid Project: http://orchidproject.org/
For Alex Wilcox and Tom Heathfield: http://nawoyouth2013.blogspot.co.uk/
In recent months, Britain’s relations with Europe have come under intense media and political scrutiny as the UK approaches 40 years of its membership of the European Union. In January, Prime Minister David Cameron gave a speech on the UK’s relationship with Europe and issued an ultimatum: a message to repatriate some EU powers or else the UK would leave. The Conservatives are entering the next general election with a pledge to re-negotiate the terms of UK membership of the EU and a commitment to hold a referendum on the UK’s position if re elected in 2015. This uncertainty surrounding the UK’s position in Europe brings a new focus to the Europe question in British politics. It prompts us to ask: What has the EU really done for us? In light of this, the European Parliament in the UK is hosting a series of events as part of its 2013 programme under the heading 40 years of the UK in the EU. These events aim to examine the real impact of UK membership in different policy areas in terms of legislation and values.
To coincide with International Women’s Week, NAWO and the European Parliament Information Office in the UK invited the public to debate the issue: ‘What has the EU done for gender equality?’. The debate was held on 7 March at Europe House in London and was followed by a reception. It explored the role that the EU has played in shaping gender equality for women in Europe and in the UK as well as the opportunities and dangers that might arise in this field from any repatriation of power by a UK government in the years to come. The debate was moderated by journalist and UK correspondent for France 24, Benedicte Paviot. The panel of speakers comprised of Labour MEP, Mary Honeyball, and Conservative MEP, Marina Yannakoudakis, both of whom are members of the Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee. Other key speakers included Dr Roberta Guerrina, Senior Lecturer and Head of the School of Politics at the University of Surrey, Jacqueline Minor, the first female head of the European Commission Representation in London, and Justine Roberts, businesswoman and CEO of Mumsnet.
A recent report: ‘Sex and Power 2013. Who runs Britain?’ has found that the UK is a nation ruled largely by men and a country in which women are severely underrepresented in politics and public decision-making. Publications like this suggest that Britain has still a long way to go in terms of achieving gender equality. The question is: would a policy of repatriation benefit or endanger women’s rights in the UK?
Dr Roberta Guerrina began the debate by asserting that ‘positive’ and employment’ are two words to best describe what the EU has done for gender equality. She referred to the comprehensive set of legislation and directives issued by the EU which have been a positive force in promoting and protecting women’s employment rights in the UK. The 1975 Equal Pay Directive established the principle of ‘equal pay for equal work’ to ‘work of equal value’ and was followed by the 1976 Equal Treatment Directive. The 1992 Pregnant Workers Directive was instrumental in shaping employment regulations relating to maternity leave and pay in the UK. Four years later the Parental Leave Directive radically established the right of each parent to three months leave which is non-transferable.
Measures such as the Social Chapter have contributed to women’s welfare by improving their working conditions and bargaining rights. However, it has been argued that this has had a negative impact on small businesses and their employees. Marina Yannakoudakis falls under this line of argument and is opposed to the EU pushing more legislation on smaller businesses. Yannakoudakis believes that the most important EU achievements for gender equality lie in the area of human rights. Indeed, the EU remains as a huge international donor and has been responsible for tackling issues such as the trafficking of men and women, female genital mutilation and forced marriage. The 1998 Human Rights Act was a direct result of the European Union. Yannakoudakis argues that human rights is the area that the EU should be tackling and not legislation. Legislation can empower women but cannot help them juggle tasks in everyday life. She believes that Britain’s legislation, as it stands, is already quite good. She pointed out that people’s ‘attitudes cannot be legislated’ and thus welcomes repatriation of justice and home affairs.
Conversely, Labour MEP, Mary Honeyball, would argue the importance of EU gender equality legislation and how this groundbreaking legislation has the effect of filtering down and influencing conditions within the UK. She referred to the 2004 Equal Treatment in Access to Goods and Services Directive which was the first legally binding piece of legislation that tackles equality outside the employment sphere. Measures such as this and the 2006 Equal Opportunities and Equal Treatment Directive, which provides a comprehensive framework against discrimination, prove that the EU continues to consolidate its position as a gender actor. Furthermore, she questions the actual feasibility of a policy of repatriation and questions whether or not it is indeed ‘doable’. Likewise, Jacqueline Minor deems legislation necessary in order to change culture and attitudes regarding gender equality.
Mumsnet Co-founder and CEO, Justine Roberts, offered an interesting perspective on what ordinary women in the UK feel about the EU and the issue of how the EU markets its activities. With over 500 million page views per month, Mumsnet has become a popular website among women and mothers in the UK and a forum for public debate. Prior to the debate held in Europe House, a similar debate on what the EU has done for gender equality was mirrored on Mumsnet. The response conveyed that it was generally felt that the EU was a good thing for gender equality in the UK and in Europe. Some Mumsnet users espoused the view that they would have little faith in UK politicians and courts in implementing measures to tackle gender discrimination if it were not for the EU pushing legislation on these matters, sentiments which indicate opposition to the possibility of a UK withdrawal from Europe.
However, the online thread reveals that some users consider that the achievements in the realm of gender equality, if any, are not well publicised. This indicates the existence of ignorance in the UK regarding what the EU has achieved for women in the last 50 years and that perhaps many people are unaware that women’s rights in the UK come directly from EU directives and legislation. In addition, some of the most influential Britons on EU policy who are making a real difference in the area of gender equality are women yet are relatively unfamiliar to a home audience. This suggests, as Roberts would contend, that the EU must place a stronger emphasis on marketing its aims and achievements in gender equality. The media colours our perception of what the EU is doing for our country and thus bears responsibility for what is not working in the EU. If these matters are addressed, perhaps people in the UK will have a clearer sense of what the EU is doing for gender equality.
Jacqueline Minor spoke about the existence of gender quotas, targets, action plans and training courses that make the EU a family friendly institution and that the proportion of men to women in EU institutions is half and half. Women account for 42 per cent of graduate entry, administrative and below managerial positions yet Minor revealed that women only constitute 28 per cent of employees at higher grading levels. In spite of the much lower percentage of females in EU managerial positions, 35.1 per cent of MEPs are woman which is almost twice the world average in national parliaments. In Britain, for example, a little over 20 per cent of MPs are women. Recently, EurActive compiled a UK40 ranking which is a list of the most influential Britons on EU policy and exposed that Sharon Bowles was ranked number one, ousting her male counterparts, David Cameron and Nick Clegg, who are ranked number 9 and 15 respectively.
Westminster, therefore, has much to learn and benefit from the Brussels example. As it stands, Britain currently lags behind its European counterparts such as the Nordics, for example, in terms of equality in jobs. The danger of repatriating powers could mean cuts to maternity packages among other things. In times of austerity, it is the institution of the EU that safeguards women’s rights and gender equality and one must consider the benefits of UK membership of the EU in the event of any decision regarding UK withdrawal. In conclusion to the debate, Paviot asked members of the audience to raise their hands if they felt that the EU was a positive force for gender equality. An overwhelming majority of those present raised their hands to indicate yes as their answer.
On behalf of the National Diversity Awards:
The National Diversity Awards 2013 in association with Microsoft is a celebration of outstanding achievements of Positive Role Models, Entrepreneurs & Community Organisations from across The UK. For one night only Britain’s most inspirational people come together to honour the rich tapestry of our nation and recognise individuals and groups from grass root communities who have contributed to creating a more diverse and inclusive society.
Nominate now for the gender strand of diversity in the following categories: Positive Role Model, Entrepreneurial of Excellence and Community Organisation.
The National Diversity Awards is a prestigious black tie event held at The Queens Hotel, Leeds on 20th September 2013. The awards are hosted by Big Brother presenter Brian Dowling and sponsored by companies that have developed an open and inclusive culture and are striving to build a more diverse and stable workforce.
The concept for The National Diversity Awards arose when The Diversity Group identified an urgent need for more positive role model to be actively promoted, empowering and inspiring the wide breadth of communities across The UK.
Our aims and what we inspire to accomplish by holding these ceremonies
The National Diversity Awards have gained support from the likes of Stephen Fry, Misha B and several paralympians such as Jody Cundy, Sarah Storey and Ade Adepitan.
Award categories include: Positive Role Model; Community Organisation; Entrepreneurial of Excellence – All of which will be split into age, race/Religion/Faith, disability, gender and LGBT. You can also nominate for a Diverse Company and Lifetime Achiever.
In society today there are deeply embedded social conventions and
stereotypes. And, for men in some cases, an aspirational stereotype is the
“alpha male” or “macho man” position. The issue is that this stereotype can
become destructive, as the aim for physical attractiveness to women turns
into physical aggression against them.
However, surely it’s more productive to work with existing stereotypes and
adapt them for the benefit of women, rather than trying to change them
altogether. Firstly, the physicality of a man needs to be seen as a tool to
protect women in the family in the name of honour. And if this unspoken
convention is broken, then it becomes the role of the victim of
abuse/violence (woman or girl) to report the man, and then the role of
society to ostracise the offender. The result is that men are made aware
that if they misuse their physicality of “machoness” then they face a social
stigma, and ironically will become the architect of their own downfall.
But this adaptation requires education. Perhaps early on in school, or later
even. Models of healthy masculinity need to be shown to men and boys, as it
is too much to ask for them to change through the strength of their own
And then, role models within groups of men and boys emerge. It only takes
one to take on board this re education and be models of healthy masculinity
for the rest to follow. An appropriate analogy is the sporting field… A
few players raise their game and the others follow in order to match their
excellence. Soon, the whole team is playing to a high standard. Through this
mechanism, attitudes can change.
So, education on healthy masculinity is needed to give men and boys a new
perspective on what it means to be the “alpha male” or “macho man”. This
will set a standard and entice other men and boys to follow.
NAWO Youth Caucus
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Agendas driven by political alignments, issues of sovereignty, the secular versus the non-secular, and donor versus recipient countries, continue to inform the debate at the CSW. Ten years ago, no agreement was reached on how to prevent and eliminate violence against women and girls. What are the prospects for agreement this time?
In the closing days of the CSW, the temperature is hot in the conference and negotiation rooms as governments seeks to ravel and unravel the wording of what should become the Agreed Conclusions – that is, the outcome of the two weeks of this extremely serious Commission.
This meeting seeks to make sense of the pandemic of violence against women and girls that has swept the world. It is a War on Women that has to stop. No-one denies the appalling figures which show the abuse of women and girls to be extraordinarily common, most of it happening behind closed doors in what should be the safe spaces of families. No-one thinks rape, whether in the home, street, field or in war, is just fine and dandy. No-one thinks grooming boy members of gangs to seduce girls and then hand them on to older men for their sexual pleasures, caring nothing for the girls, while both are threatened with other kinds of violence and other dangers if they do not oblige, is just part of life ‘s rich tapestry. No-one believes women can be beaten, their eyes put out, acid thrown on them because they have upset some man or men, including their spouses.
Nor do most people think inflicting sex with a brother in law as punishment for the death of her husband is a tolerable custom to ‘cleanse’ a widow of her sin; but surely she is a witch if her husband has died? And there is less clarity on the age at which a girl may be forced to marry (a violation of her rights in any event). Is she still a child when she has her first menses at 9? If she is a woman she should be married and produce sons and the occasional daughter for her husband. Who says she should be free to finish school (if she has ever begun), and make her own choices when she is grown up? Has she been ‘cut’? If not, she may not be desirable to men in any event. We, this argument might continue, know best what is suitable for us, our culture and our religion. Universal, inalienable rights only go so far. Not across our borders.
The first draft of the all important document was produced by UN Women. Known as the zero document, this year’s was generally judged as not too bad. UN Women is leading the work effectively with much that is exactly what women want,. They were canny and wrote something that might actually get agreement. NGOs read it carefully and saw the gaps and silences which if filled, would do more than hold the line and move us forward because the world has changed since Beijing in 1995. We need finally, as the Norwegian representative said powerfully in her statement to the Commission, to deal with the issue of women’s need for reproductive rights, for which we have been fighting for many years.
Keep reading CSW – The UN is nothing without being global
Annette Lawson, as printed on openDemocracy: http://www.opendemocracy.net/5050/annette-lawson/csw-un-is-nothing-without-being-global
As we gathered in a circle pulling up chairs and keenly opening note-pads it became evident that there was considerable interest in a potential Convention for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls. Jackie Jones chiefly chaired the group and stimulated debate, while Sameem Ali provided back up and additional comment . The discussion took place in a break-out session at the UK NGO CSW57 Liaison Group on January 23rd 2013, hosted by NAWO and the European Parliamentary Office in London.
Our attention was drawn by Jackie to sentiments expressed by Rashida Manjoo, the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, in November 2012. According to the UN Women website Rashida unequivocally called for an international convention stating: ‘ “How do I hold States accountable if there is no specific legally binding instrument on violence against women? [...] It is time to adopt a comprehensive international convention on violence against women at the UN level” ’ . A UN Convention was inferred as the next logical step after Rashida: ‘cited the good practices that exist in two regional human rights systems [...] namely the Council of Europe’s Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, and the Inter-American Convention on the prevention, punishment and eradication of violence against women’.
That such regional practices exist raises an important point, one mentioned by various members of our assembled cluster, do other Conventions or legislative documents cover the necessary statements required for the elimination of violence against women? Though interested parties congregated cited several that touched on elements of the elimination of violence against women and girls – United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), The Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW, UN Convention)- it was felt that these did not provide a compelling and comprehensive legislative solution to this issue. In relation to CEDAW, entries on the elimination of violence against women were noted as general recommendations and did not require specific ratification by state parties to the agreement. Thus did the group proffer that a new Convention was required or CEDAW needed to be strengthened to bolster its effectiveness in this area.
Additionally Marai Larasi asserted the importance of recognising the girl child in legislation, frequently the girl child is undervalued and regarded as a burden. The girl child is not protected sufficiently across states and internationally in judicial expression. This interjection further inspired a general consensus amongst the group that adapting existing legislation or acknowledging the girl child through modern legislation was extremely desirable.
Concern was voiced that a Convention be understood as one route to eradicating violence against women and children. Exploration of alternatives was seen as strongly necessary before committing to a convention, an integrated approach appearing to hold the most promise. This stipulated that the Convention be understood as a practical instrument, and demonstrated as such to state players and individuals therein to increase the impetus to apply its principles. Substitute ideas revolved around strengthening services that worked to remove practices of violence against women and girls, increasing funding and awareness of this distressing issue, and educating children about violence against women and girls in a preventative capacity.
In this vein it was tentatively extended that encouraging uptake of a Convention on the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls could be problematic. Was it realistic to expect that state bodies would be receptive to further legislation and the potential demands of extensive reportage on progress? Would States be sufficiently intimidated by suggestions of accountability and respond accordingly? It was difficult to reach any definitive conclusions on this point, though a need to survey the field was floated. Also exploration was required to uncover the Country that may be willing to sponsor the Convention in order to push it through the UN General Assembly. The environment into which the legislation was emerging was seen as negative with ‘human rights a dirty word’, though Jackie was optimistic that the cyclical nature of political preference would potentially return the field to being favourable.
It was in this spirit of optimism and with the aspiration to halt the current regression of women’s rights that the group concluded. Salient closing remarks from Jackie assured the gathered that: ‘good momentum’ was gathering around this issue, and that we should forge ahead with the uplifting sentiment that we’ve: ‘got to start somewhere, why not here, why not now?’ This was a outlook echoed by Rashida Manjoo who reminded that: ‘ “Countries have an opportunity to come together to reaffirm existing commitments and take decisive global action to eliminate violence against women and girls at the upcoming Commission on the Status of Women” ’ . A Convention on the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls was viewed as an excellent negotiation tool at a minimum and a blue-print for change at the optimum end of the spectrum. What emerges from CSW57 -UN Headquarters New York, 4th-15th March 2013- could be vital in setting the tone on eradication of violence against women and girls for years to come, let’s hope the Agreed Conclusions reflect this importance.
Post Script: Further discussion and debate of a potential Convention on the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls encouraged by Jackie Jones, meetings can be arranged by contacting Jackie at: Jackie.Jones@uwe.ac.uk
NAWO and WFWP held an event at the House of Commons: ‘Young Women’s Global Voices’. Huge thanks to our inspiring speakers, and fantastic audience! 25th April – YC event (1)