|A MESSAGE FROM WOMEN’S INTERCULTURAL NETWORK (WIN), PRESIDENT/CEO, MARILYN FOWLER
Our deepest gratitude for Hillary’s courage to keep fighting against a merciless opposition and break the glass ceiling with the popular vote. She survived the battle with honor to lead another movement another day. Shout outs to Tammy Duckworth, Kamala Harris and all the women warriors who braved this election. And, with much appreciation for our awesome President Barak Hussein Obama and First Lady Michele Obama who fought for us eight years with grace and dignity. WIN’s roots go back to the women’s and civil rights movements in the ‘60s. This week felt like that era to me and the outcome has been paralyzing.
But we must move on as we have always done. WIN rose out of the early human rights movements to build strong women’s networks empowered locally with links to women in other states, countries, cultures and religions. WIN brought the 1995 UN Women’s Conference to California with CAWA, a sustainable state women’s policy mechanism. In 2015, WIN brought the global UN CEDAW effort local for the Cities for CEDAW campaign. We believe that you can not know a country’s politics without knowing its culture. Our mission has always been to bring women together across cultures for collective action. Our mission hasn’t changed, only our tools and strategies change. See more on the 2017 CAWA Report and Plan of Action on our website.
WIN stands ready to mobilize against sexism, bigotry, racism, misogyny, fascism and oppression of any kind. But we can’t do it without you. Let’s reach out to US women who sent an election message to us of frustration, mistrust, anger and fear. Please stay with us. We will be stronger together.
The Women’s Intercultural Network submitted the following Caucus Conclusions for consideration in conjunction with the United Nations Committee of the Status of Women annual meeting, which was held in New York, March 14-25, 2016.
The WIN Caucus’ primary comments focus on securing assurances by State Parties, corporations, and other entities to uphold the provisions of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and dedicate the necessary resources to ensuring the promotion and protection of the rights of women and girls around the world.
Specifically, the WIN Caucus calls on all relevant parties to take note of the following:
- The rights of girls need to be reiterated throughout the Agreed Conclusions document to underline girls’ unique needs and challenges, such as trafficking, genital mutilation, and the issue of child brides. Governments must be held responsible for allocation of all necessary funds and resources to strengthen the empowerment of girls in accordance with the provisions of CEDAW, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and all other relevant international law.
- State Parties and International Organizations, including the United Nations and the Committee on the Status of Women, must ensure that corporations are an integral part of the discussion and implementation of procedures for upholding human rights. Governments need to ensure corporate accountability for human rights violations in line with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights endorsed by the UN Human Rights Council in 2011 and should pass all necessary domestic law to ensure such accountability.
- It shall also be recognized the corporations have a special role in assisting with mitigation and adaption to climate change and work to ensure sustainable development models in line with local populations, specific cultural and economic contexts, and indigenous rights to law and natural resources.
- Special attention should be paid to the role of extractive industries in considering sustainable development and the protection of the rights and needs of women and girls.
- State Parties must increase economic, social, political, cultural, technological, and educational resources for marginalized population and strengthen accountability of all member states to develop effective actions and policies to adequately address gender based discrimination.
- Public-private partnerships have a crucial role to play in providing these resources and states should take all necessary action to ensure their participation.
- It should be recognized that technology companies have a special role to play in sustainable development and the empowerment of women and girls worldwide.
- Women and girls are entitled to access the information necessary to ensure their effective growth and development and protect and promote their rights in equality and dignity. The right of access to information is a fundamental right, as outlined in numerous international treaties, court cases, and policy documents, and is necessary for empowerment and the fulfillment of other rights crucial to the empowerment of women and girls.
- The WIN Caucus calls on all state and non-state actors such as corporations to defend the human rights defenders within their territory and around the world from abuse, harassment, punishment, torture, and death. We call for a stronger statement by states and the Committee on the Status of Women condemning actions against human rights defenders and a statement of understanding that enhanced protections are going to need to be different in different contexts and cultures.
- We call on all states to actively work to internalize the founding documents and the resolution that came out of CSW60. Such internalization needs to include legislation, the judiciary, police, and civil society, as well as the education system. All states must work to ensure that at whatever their current level of internalization, they actively work to improve the situation within their own territory, including an emphasis on Art. 5(a) of CEDAW which calls upon states to work to modify culture patterns detrimental to achieving equality and equity.
In closing, sustainable development cannot be achieved without recognizing women’s contribution to the economy and society at large. Women’s Intercultural Network and its partners support UN-Women’s call for countries to step up their efforts and implement effective solutions and strategies and close the global gender gap — by 2030.
Discussed and Drafted by Representatives from:
The Bella Abzug Leadership Institute
Iranian Circle of Women’s Intercultural Network (ICWIN)
UNA Women Greater Kansas City
US Women Connect
Women’s Equality Coalition Greater Kansas City
Women’s Intercultural Network (WIN)
Editors: Elahe Amani, Member of ICWIN Steering Committee; Lenka Belkova, Associate Director, WIN; Kathleen Cha, Former Co-Chair, WIN; Dana Zartner, Associate Professor and Chair, International Studies Department, University of San Francisco
Written by Lenka Belkova, WIN Associate Director
In March WIN participated in the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UN CSW) 60th session in New York with an unprecedented number of NGO accredited delegates. This year’s UN CSW primary theme addressed women’s empowerment and its link to sustainable development.
Women’s Human Rights and Sustainable Cities with CEDAW and Habitat III panel at NGO CSW FORUM NY, March 15 2016
WIN’s star panel at the Forum “Women’s Human Rights and Sustainable Cities with CEDAW and Habitat III” was moderated by Elmy Bermejo, Region Nine Representative to the US Department of Labor in conversation with distinguished speakers Krishanti Dharmaraj, Executive Director of Center for Women’s Global Leadership, Rutgers University; Araceli Campos, Commissioner, LA Commission on the Status of Women; Lois A. Herman, Editor and Publisher of Women’s United Nations Report Network; Ross Uchimura, CEO, Solariv, Sustainable Smart Village-Nepal; June Zeitlin, Director of Human Rights Policy at The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and Soon-Young Yoon, former Chair UN CSW NGO NY and visionary of Cities for CEDAW.
During the panel discussion Krishanti Dharmaraj stressed the importance of policies’ relevance for diverse communities to remain effective. With regard to Cities for CEDAW campaign, LA Commissioner Araceli Campos offered examples from Los Angeles on how a CEDAW ordinance can bring a change fostering fairness and inclusiveness by providing new programs for disadvantaged communities and training city employees to assist in identifying human traffickers. Long time advocate for US CEDAW ratification, June Zeitlin, reminded everyone that passing of CEDAW at the federal level is still as important as implementing it locally. Lois Herman, delivered passionate remarks on CEDAW education and mainstreaming while Ross Uchimura, whose ambitious plan to bring solar panels to Nepal with his company while upholding CEDAW principles, captured audiences attention with applause. Soon Young-Yoon, who paid a short visit to our panel, spoke about Habitat III.
The panel was well received and we hope that it incited even greater interest in the growing movement for local policies reflecting human rights principles.
WIN Co-Sponsored several other panels discussing topics from violence against women, technology for women’s empowerment, CEDAW activism in the USA, women’s entrepreneurship and support for refugee girls.
WIN Caucus at Ms Foundation, Brooklyn, NY
As every year, WIN invited organizations to comment at our annual Caucus on the UN CSW 60 Draft Agreed Conclusions for a collective statement addressed to US government representatives to the UN CSW. Participating organizations included The Bella Abzug Leadership Institute, FemResources, Iranian Circle of Womens Intercultural Network, UNAWomen Greater Kansas City, US Women Connect, Women’s Equality Coalition Greater Kansas City and other community leaders from around the country. Our final statement highlighted the importance of
- recognizing women’s contribution to the economy and society at large.
- the rights of girls to underline girls’ unique needs and challenges, such as trafficking, genital mutilation, or the prevalent issue of child brides.
- recognizing the importance of securing data for implementation and action.
- increasing resources for marginalized population and strengthening accountability of all member states to develop effective actions and policies to adequately address gender based discrimination.
- corporations that must be part of the discussion and accountability on upholding human rights.
- the role of technology in empowering women and girls.
- the right of access to information as a fundamental and universal right, necessary for economic empowerment and the fulfillment of other rights.
- the right to gender identity as a key human right that must be as such addressed throughout the UN CSW 60th Agreed Conclusions.
Many thanks go to our UN NGO delegates, panel speakers and everyone who engaged with us during UN CSW 60 in giving women and girls a stronger voice.