1. Men, Women, and Cross-Gender Solidarity
From time to time, bright ideas emerge that open new horizons of hope for better human relations. The work of Judith Hand on male-female biology, as it pertains to preventing violence and sustaining peace, may be one of those. She has lectured and written extensively on the criticality of cross-gender solidarity between men and women for peace and human development. The main focus of her work has thus far been on the need for male-female gender balance in social institutions, but it would seem to be applicable to fostering human solidarity across the entire gender continuum in both social and religious institutions.
A Future Without War is Judith Hand's website, where most of her writings can be readily accessed. The following are some links to material that should be of interest to readers of this journal:
- Women, Power, and the Biology of Peace, Judith L. Hand, Questpath Publishing, 2003.
- Biological Differences Between Men and Women With Respect to Social Stability and Aggression, Judith L. Hand, 2006.
- The Secret Ingredient: The Pivotal Catalyst for Change and Long Term Stability, Judith L. Hand, 2006.
- Empower Women, Judith L. Hand, 2006.
- Spread Liberal Democracy, Judith L. Hand, 2006.
- Locked in the Embrace of Male Biology: A Barrier to Positive Paradigm Shift, Judith L. Hand, 2009.
- Shaping the Future: A Proposal to Hasten a Global Paradigm Shift for the Security and Well-being of All Children Everywhere, Judith L. Hand, 2011.
Violence (war in particular) is the greatest obstacle to sustainable human development. Judith Hand is making a significant contribution to peace by pointing the way to a culture of global solidarity and nonviolence. The reader is cordially invited to visit A Future Without War for more information on this important piece of work. For some key excerpts from several authors on the general theme of "men, women, and cross-gender solidarity," click here.
Some additional supporting references:
- Reweaving the World: The Emergence of Ecofeminism, Irena Diamong and Gloria Feman Orenstein, Editor, Sierra Club Books, 1990.
- Sex on the Brain: The Biological Differences Between Men and Women, Deborah Blum, Penguin, 1998.
- Mother Nature: A History of Mothers, Infants, and Natural Selection, Sarah Blaffer Hrdy, Pantheon, 1999.
- Enlightened Power: How Women are Transforming the Practice of Leadership, Lin Coughlin et al. (Editors), Jossey-Bass, 2005.
- The End of Men, Hanna Rosin, The Atlantic Magazine, July-August 2010.
- Adam and Eve and the Gender Divide, John R. Coats, Huffington Post, 28 June 2010.
- Why should men and women be involved as allies in peacebuilding?, New Tactics in Human Rights, 7 February 2011.
- Unnatural Selection: Choosing Boys Over Girls, and the Consequences of a World Full of Men, Mara Hvistendahl, Public Affairs, June 2011.
- The Other Side of the Gender Equation: Gender Issues for Men in the Europe and Eurasia Region, Susan D. Somach, KDID Social Transitions, July 2011.
NOTE: Starting 11 October 2011, PBS will launch a five-part special series on Women, War and Peace.
2. Wikigender Resources on Gender Equality
The following information is taken from Wikigender:
Wikigender is a project initiated by the OECD Development Centre to facilitate the exchange and improve the knowledge on gender equality-related issues around the world. A particular focus lies on gathering empirical evidence and identifying adequate statistics to measure gender equality. In this respect, Wikigender serves as a pilot project for the OECD Global Project on Measuring the Progress of Societies. Based on the work of the OECD Gender, Institutions and Development Data Base, Wikigender aims to highlight the importance of social institutions such as norms, traditions and cultural practices that impact on women's empowerment.
For a list of Wikigender contents, click here. When visiting for the first time, consider reading the Help & FAQ first. There are many useful resources related to the promotion of gender equality worldwide. A very useful feature is the Gender Equality by Country Database. There is an open invitation to provide feedback and collaborate in developing this open access resource. To get in touch with the Wikigender staff via email, click here.
3. Why Does Systemic Violence Persist Against Women?
Why Does Systemic Violence Persist Against Women?
Initially published in Socialist Alternative, 30 August 2011
REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION
This year, tens of thousands of women worldwide have marched and rallied against sexual assault. Ignited by a Toronto Police Officer's claim that the best way to avoid getting raped is to "avoid dressing like a slut," the Slutwalks movement is among the most successful feminist actions in the last 20 years, due to its global popularity and ongoing momentum.
One in six U.S. women will be raped in her lifetime, and 60% of them will never report it. Why, despite all the gains women have won, do epidemic levels of violence against women persist? Why are a majority of rapes never reported?
For the new movement against sexual violence to achieve change, it must move beyond surface level answers and squarely tackle the root of the problem.
Re-enforcing Rape Culture
The situation in colleges and universities provides a good case study. On paper, many have structural support for rape survivors in the form of rape crisis centers and periodic restrictions on fraternity parties. Yet one in four women experience sexual assault in her college years, and more than 95% of these rapes are not reported to the police.
Colleges and universities may have rape crisis centers, but these are overshadowed by a culture that relentlessly objectifies women while demanding impossible double standards of behavior.
Training law enforcement to be politically correct is clearly not enough. Violence against women, even rape, is normalized under capitalism. The corporate media sensationalizes rape trials, routinely investigating prior sexual activity of victims to paint them as "sluts" and therefore partially responsible for being raped. Meanwhile, the profit-driven advertisement industry promotes female sexuality to sell products, as television and film constantly portray sex and violence as natural counterparts.
The corporate media uses euphemisms instead of rape or sexual assault, refusing to acknowledge the reality of the rape epidemic, while excusing and watering it down. Recently, Oregon Representative, David Wu, announced his resignation, as the New York Times reported, "in the wake of allegations that he engaged in unwanted sexual activities with a teenage girl." Why is this powerful political figure accused of "unwanted sexual activities" rather than "rape" or "sexual assault"? (07/25/2011).
Legal equality for women has not erased structural inequality. In her lifetime, a woman still earns 59 cents for every dollar earned by a man, and she still performs 70-80% of unpaid labor in the home. Like all other forms of systemic violence, the constant threat of sexual violence functions to reinforce systemic exploitation and material inequalities. Right-wing moral code frequently blames poor single women for being irresponsible in order to justify cuts to social services, just as it blames them for irresponsibly being in the wrong place at the wrong time if they are sexually assaulted. Rape culture cannot be isolated from the other issues that women face in all aspects of their lives in order to oppress them.
The conditions are even worse for millions of undocumented women facing the threat of deportation if they call the police, women of color who are more likely to experience police brutality in their families, or LGBT couples who fear reinforcing the stigma around same-sex relationships. In this way, racism, homophobia, and other oppressive relations in society re-enforce a culture that tells women not to get raped, rather than developing institutional responses to end systemic sexual violence.
When the Toronto officer advised women to "avoid dressing like a slut" if they don't want to get raped, this was a perfect example of victim blaming and "slut shaming" and why a majority of women never report rape. Why would you report that you've been sexually assaulted when your neighborhood law enforcement believes that it was potentially your own fault for what you wore, where you were, or how you acted?
Together, victim blaming and slut shaming compose much of what is described as "rape culture," a set of sexist ideas deeply embedded in capitalist society that excuses and normalizes violence against women. Rape culture puts a false sense of responsibility on women to "not get raped" by setting up impossible standards of how to dress, behave, etc., rather than holding rapists fully responsible or tackling the underlying causes of systemic violence against women.
Despite the media's continual promotion of fear of strangers, women are three times more likely to be raped by someone they know than by a stranger, and are nine times more likely to be raped in a familiar location than the archetypal dark alley. The dominant image of innocent rape victims randomly attacked by monsters is a false caricature. Yet spouse and date rape are often stigmatized as somehow less legitimate. The reality is, rape is rape.
But rape is not an inevitable part of women's lives under all systems. Class society generates the oppression of women and the misogyny of rapists. And it is capitalism that continues to divide us and maintain varying levels of inequality, to subordinate based on race, class, immigrant status, gender identity, sexuality, disability, etc. Without confronting these inequalities, the working class will remain incapable of organizing serious resistance to capitalism's divide and conquer strategy.
Ending the culture that allows rape to be systematically unreported and widely accepted as inevitable is not imaginable without ending capitalism, the system which breeds these attitudes. This does not, however, mean standing aside from fights to expose and reform sexist institutions. While the Slutwalks lack a working class perspective, the movement has brought tens of thousands of women into the streets against oppression. Mass demonstrations, placing demands on political and legal institutions, on colleges and on employers, are crucial tactics for building women's collective power and educating the wider movements of working people to fully integrate a women's rights agenda into our struggle.
4. Gender Equality for Adaptation to Climate Change
"As a rights-based organisation, CARE's climate change strategy is geared towards the empowerment of poor and marginalised people. CARE is deeply concerned about constraints that the inequitable distribution of rights, resources and power – as well as repressive cultural rules and norms – place on people's ability to take action on climate change. We believe that a wide range of development goals are achievable only if decision makers at all levels recognise the unique risks faced by poor and marginalised people and their essential roles in planning, implementing and evaluating action on climate change.
"The majority of the world's poorest people today are women and girls. Climate change is making it even more difficult for them to realise their basic rights, and it is exacerbating inequalities since they are more vulnerable to its impacts than men.
"Moreover, many women are denied access to new information about climate change and participation in important decision-making processes despite having unique skills and knowledge – about low risk farming, sustainable water management, family health and community mobilisation, for example – vital to effective adaptation.
"For all these reasons, and because women are central to the food and livelihood security of their families, we place a special emphasis on gender equality and women's empowerment."
For more, including links to other CARE resources, click here.
KEY LINKS TO ADAPTATION & GENDER
- People-Centred Climate Change Adaptation: Integrating Gender Issues, FAO, 2007.
- Gender and Climate Change, UNDP, 2007.
- Women, Gender Equality and Climate Change, UN WomenWatch, 2009.
- Women are powerful agents of change, CARE International Climate Change Information Centre, 2011.
- Adaptation, gender and women's empowerment, CARE International Climate Change Brief, October 2010. Also available in Spanish, French, and Portuguese.
- Climate Adaptation Challenges from a Gender Perspective, Boell Foundation, 4 April 2011.
- Bringing gender into climate change adaptation, CCAFS, CGIAR, 12 July 2011.
COLLABORATION BETWEEN INDIA AND SIERRA LEONE
One specific case worthy of study in Women Bringing Solar Power to Sierra Leone, The Guardian, 15 September 2011. The following summary is excerpted from YaleGlobal, 16 September 2011.
"Developing renewables to meet the growing demand for energy is a top priority in the 21st century. So is enhancing collaboration among developing countries. By training semi-literate women from rural Sierra Leone in solar-energy techniques, Barefoot College in western India works towards achieving both these goals. Twelve women attended and then returned to villages in Sierra Leone to assemble 1,500 household solar units at a new branch of Barefoot College in Konta Line, where the training will continue, reports a blog for the Guardian. The governments of both countries have played their part; Sierra Leone invested $820,000 in the project, and India provided equipment. The vast majority of households in Sierra Leone go without power. Following its decades-long civil war, electricity is Sierra Leone's "most daunting infrastructural challenge," notes a World Bank report. Lighting extends education and socializing into the evening hours, and the women are planning on manufacturing solar units to spread the new power."
5. Symbiosis between Gender Equality and Democracy
Senior United Nations officials today stressed the need to promote the participation of women in decision-making, noting that democracy and gender equality are interlinked and mutually reinforcing.
Women's participation crucial
UN News Centre, 4 May 2011
"While women's political participation improves democracy, the reverse is also true: democracy is an incubator for gender equality," Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his remarks at a roundtable held at UN Headquarters on gender equality and democracy.
"It provides public space for discussion of human rights and women's empowerment. It enables women's groups to mobilize. It makes it easier for women to realize their political, civil, economic and social rights."
He told participants at the event, which included representatives from various UN departments and entities, as well as the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, that one need look no further than the daily headlines to see the timeliness of today's gathering.
"Women were among those who marched in Côte d'Ivoire to uphold the democratic will of the people – with several of them killed for making that stand,"said Mr. Ban. "In Egypt, Tunisia and elsewhere, women have been among those in the vanguard demanding change, rights, dignity, and opportunity."
Noting gender inequality in decision-making remains a great impediment to democracy, the Secretary-General said more must be done to address the gender gap in democratic participation.
"Certainly there has been important progress. More women, in more countries, are taking their place in parliament,"he stated.
"Yet fewer than 10 per cent of countries have female heads of State or government. Fewer than 30 countries have reached the target of 30 per cent women in national parliaments."
He also cited the need to treat gender equality as an explicit goal of democracy-building, not as an "add-on,"stating that experience shows that democratic ideals of inclusiveness, accountability and transparency cannot be achieved without laws, policies, measures and practices that address inequalities.
The UN is more involved in democracy-building than ever before, Mr. Ban pointed out. Many UN departments, funds and programmes have expanded their democracy programming, and the establishment of UN Women has added "another strong actor"to the arena.
"Across the constellations of entities and activity, we need a stronger gender perspective going forward. Our responsibility is to ensure that our democracy assistance is gender responsive."
Helen Clark, the Administrator of the UN Development Programme (UNDP), told the gathering that democratic governance cannot be fully achieved without the full participation and inclusion of women.
"Without the full participation of women in decision-making processes and debates about policy priorities and options, issues of great importance to women will either be neglected, or the way in which they are addressed will be sub-optimal and uninformed by women's perspectives,"she stated.
Helping countries to strengthen their democratic institutions is an important aspect of the work of UNDP, which is the UN system's lead provider of technical assistance to elections. From 2008 to 2010 alone, it provided electoral assistance to 64 countries and territories, and it is currently working with more than 120 countries on public administration reform and/or strengthening governance.
"To be judged successful, all this work must contribute to empowering women and pursuing gender equality," said Miss Clark. "We need to see more women elected, voting, involved in participatory processes generally, and well represented in public administrations."
She noted that there are a number of proven ways to increase women's voice and participation in decision-making, including implementing quotas or reserved seat systems, and ensuring that women know how election processes work and about campaign methods and financing.
Some 50 countries have now legislated for quotas in electoral and political party laws, and hundreds of political parties have adopted quotas as a voluntary measure.
"Quotas are the single, most effective, and quickest measure for increasing the numbers of women in elected office," the UN development chief stated.
6. The Male Privilege Checklist
The Male Privilege Checklist
Barry Deutsch, Alas! A Blog, 15 September 2004
REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION
This list is based on the memorable article, Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack, by American feminist and anti-racist activist Peggy McIntosh. These are but a few examples of the privilege which male people have.
On a daily basis as a male person…
1. My odds of being hired for a job, when competing against female applicants,
are probably skewed in my favor. The more prestigious the job, the larger the
odds are skewed.
2. If I fail in my job or career, I can feel sure this won't be seen as a black mark
against my entire sex's capabilities.
3. I am far less likely to face sexual harassment at work than my female co-
4. If I do the same task as a woman, and if the measurement is at all subjective,
chances are people will think I did a better job.
5. If I choose not to have children, my masculinity will not be called into question.
6. If I have children and a career, no one will think I'm selfish for not staying at
7. My elected representatives are mostly people of my own sex. The more
prestigious and powerful the elected position, the more this is true.
8. When I ask to see "the person in charge," odds are I will face a person of my
own sex. The higher-up in the organization the person is, the surer I can be.
9. As a child, chances are I was encouraged to be more active and outgoing than
10. As a child, chances are I got more teacher attention than girls who raised
their hands just as often.
11. If I'm careless with my financial affairs it won't be attributed to my sex.
12. If I'm careless with my driving it won't be attributed to my sex.
13. Even if I sleep with a lot of women, there is no chance that I will be seriously
labeled a "slut," nor is there any male counterpart to "slut-bashing."
14. I do not have to worry about the message my wardrobe sends about my
sexual availability or my gender conformity.
15. My clothing is typically less expensive and better-constructed than women's
clothing for the same social status. While I have fewer options, my clothes will
probably fit better than a woman's without tailoring.
16. The grooming regimen expected of me is relatively cheap and consumes little
17. If I'm not conventionally attractive, the disadvantages are relatively small and
easy to ignore.
18. I can be loud with no fear of being called a shrew. I can be aggressive with
no fear of being called a bitch.
19. I can be confident that the ordinary language of day-to-day existence will
always include my sex. "All men are created equal," mailman, chairman,
20. My ability to make important decisions and my capability in general will never
be questioned depending on what time of the month it is.
21. I will never be expected to change my name upon marriage or questioned if I
don't change my name.
22. The decision to hire me will never be based on assumptions about whether or
not I might choose to have a family sometime soon.
23. If I have a wife or live-in girlfriend, chances are we'll divide up household
chores so that she does most of the labor, and in particular the most repetitive
and unrewarding tasks.
24. If I have children with a wife or girlfriend, chances are she'll do most of the
childrearing, and in particular the most dirty, repetitive and unrewarding parts of
25. If I have children with a wife or girlfriend, and it turns out that one of us needs
to make career sacrifices to raise the kids, chances are we'll both assume the
career sacrificed should be hers.
26. Magazines, billboards, television, movies, pornography, and virtually all of
media are filled with images of scantily-clad women intended to appeal to me
sexually. Such images of men exist, but are rarer.
27. In general, I am under much less pressure to be thin than my female
counterparts are. If I am fat, I probably suffer fewer social and economic
consequences for being fat than fat women do.
28. On average, I am not interrupted by women as often as women are
interrupted by men.
29. I have the privilege of being unaware of my male privilege.
7. The Changing Face of Masculinity
Men for Gender Equality|
Special Issue of New Internationalist, 1 July 2011
Gender has always been understood to be about women. But increasing numbers of men are now challenging traditional views of masculinity. They are getting involved in debates about violence, parenting, relationships, and sexuality. They are questioning the stereotypes of what it is to be a man. And most – but not all – are doing it from a feminist perspective. This month's New Internationalist asks men and women around the world about why it is important for men to be involved in work on gender equality.
Some related resources on men and authentic virility:
- The Invisible Partners: How the Male and Female in Each of Us Affects Our Relationships, John Sanford, Paulist Press, 1980.
- Original Unity of Man and Woman, John Paul II, Daughters of St Paul, June 1981.
- Men and Masculinities, SAGE, 1998-2011.
- Two Wings of a Bird: The Equality of Women and Men, Bahá'í International Community, 1999.
- Psychology of Men & Masculinity, APA, 2000-2011.
- Biological Differences Between Men and Women With Respect to Social Stability and Aggression, Judith L. Hand, 2006.
- Journal of Men, Masculinities and Spirituality, Joseph Gelfer, Editor - Monash University, Australia, 2007-2011.
- Shaping the Future: A Proposal to Hasten a Global Paradigm Shift for the Security and Well-being of All Children Everywhere, Judith L. Hand, August 2011.
- Patriarchies of the Past - Masculinities for the Future, Catherine of Siena College, 2011.
- The Masculinity Conspiracy, Joseph Gelfer, CreateSpace, August 2011.
NOTE: Permission has been granted to serialize this ground breaking new book in Mother Pelican. Chapter 1 is reprinted in Page 7 of this issue
8. Men and Women: Allies in Peacebuilding
Peacebuilding and ending violence affect both men and women as victims of gender socialization, so working as allies is essential. Too often, we understand "gender"
as something pertaining only to women when in reality it encompasses
both sexes. Men themselves gain from an allied approach: deconstruction
of gender roles breaks down the gender hierarchies/ stereotypes of masculinities that harm men's interaction with one another and women.
Ultimately, peacebuilding and the deconstruction of gender roles rely on changing the cultures of patriarchical institutions and systems. Both men and women contribute to the maintenance of the status quo, so sustainable approaches necessarily involve both. Allies influence change from within cultural contexts when it would be difficult for either gender alone. Men conforming to hegemonic expressions
of masculinity are often in decision-making positions, and male allies
may have greater access to and understanding of the structures that
contribute to men and women's suffering. Thus, men play an important role through their place in the system of patriarchy.
What does integrating a masculinities perspective in peacebuilding imply?
a masculinities perspective in peacebuilding implies balancing how
gender is discussed. Because inclusivity is key, it is important to
include the needs, rights, interests, and ideas of other marginalized
communities (ethnic, religious, young people, etc.).This also implies a
commitment to changing the dominant idea that masculinity equals dominance, control, and violence.
The discussion should not just focus on women, but pay attention to the socially constructed roles,
relationships, and responsibilities of men and women. At times this
means recognizing that men and women may not have the same initial needs in gender sensitive peacebuilding, and therefore integration implies that gender-sensitive peacebuilding among men be addressed. It's important that men have a safe space to discuss these issues, where that they can speak out and share with other men how they feel in the current system.
We must find, as quoted by a participant,
a way "to talk about masculinity that distances them a little bit from
actual men and women." In so doing, there must be an acknowledgement
that—though the perception may be that men benefit from inequality—they
are also victims of hegemonic masculinity. Men's Resources International provides these "Beliefs About Men"
What kind of engagement are we looking for and how do we achieve it?
Key characteristics for men and women are listening and interacting respectfully. Women emphasized that they specifically did not want paternalism, but rather collaboration—men joining with an awareness of and openness to women's experiences, as well as the way peacebuilding benefits men. Thus, engagement is not charity, but a mutually constitutive relationship.
Specifically, male allies understand their own privileges and power, and are willing to give them up. That being said, the approach should not treat men as problems or obstacles; rather both male and female allies should work for a positive development approach. We achieve that by advancing positive masculinity rather than reinforcing perspectives that favor hegemonic masculinity.
Patience and dialogue are essential in engagement, and facilitating sustainable interaction and change. On an individual level,
try to understand someone's experiences, what they think, and value,
while on a group level understanding the dynamics within/between
individuals and sub-groups. On a political level,
it is important to engage patriarchal societies and their gender
systems. To facilitate this type of engagement, participants recommended
What are the challenges, opportunities and next steps?
The participants cited a variety of ongoing challenges to integrating a masculinities perspective in peacebuilding:
- Getting men to recognize their privilege and the way that it harms women and themselves
- Combating the early processes of socialization that creates harmful masculinities
- Women's reluctance to include men for fear of being patronized or disempowered
- The tendency among both men and women to conceptualize women's rights as secondary to military movements for issues such as independence.
- Maintaining the effects of any gender-sensitive training and sustaining the relationships between men and women activists
In response to these challenges, they came up with the following opportunities and next steps:
- Clarity of meaning, guidelines, and specific
communication between men and women can help address issues of
paternalism and concerns about the power dynamic. Furthermore, a clear structure facilitates opportunities for all group members to participate.
- Networking and working with other "ally" organizations assists with issues of sustainability
- Similarly, conducting gender-sensitive training in cycles rather than single events also helps with maintaining the movement, along with using social media tools.
- Existing documentation, in addition to writing new documents and pledges offer opportunities for dialogue and serve as tools to demand change
- There are opportunities for men and women to unite to broaden resistance to military action when working together
New Tactics Resources
- Australian Agency for International Development, offers Gender Guidelines:Peace-Building
- Global MenEngage Alliance, a vast range of resources and toolkits
- Global Symposium on Engaging Men and Boys in Achieving Gender Equality (Rio, 2009) wrote an extensive declaration
- GPPAC, members recommend the Western Balkans'10th Cetinje Parliamentary Forum outcome statement as a guiding document for their work and in relating to other stakeholders
- ICRW, Gender Equity and Peacebuilding, Evolving Men: Initial Results from the International Men and Gender Equality Survey, and What Men Have to Do With It: Public Policies to Promote Gender Equality
- IFOR/WPP, reports of the first (1) and second (2) training block of Training of Trainers for male peace activists
- KAFKA/Oxfam, Women and Men: Hand in Hand against Violence (in Arabic here)
- Men's Resources International provided these resources on consciousness-raising processes and male involvement projects.
- UNDP, Gender Approach in Conflict and Post-Conflict Situations
- UNIFEM, Gender and Conflict Analysis and Women Building Peace and Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict-Affected Contexts
- WANEP, Women in Peacebuilding Resource & Training Manual
- WPP, "Together for Transformation-Men, Masculinities and Peacebuilding"
- A Common Future,
Cameroon: men walked in women's high heal shoes in a walkathon that
built on an old saying with a new twist - You can't really understand
another person's experience until you've put on her shoes to know where
- White Ribbon Campaign,
Canada: In the "Walk a Mile in Her Shoes" campaign, men similarly
partook in a walkathon wearing high heels to support of a future without
- The Women's International League for Peace & Freedom's 1325 Literature Repository. It is a space to get information as well as add information for others to learn about what you are doing.
9. UN Women Progress Report 2011-2012 & Millennia 2015
This is an important report. The United Nations has credibility in promoting gender equality. Michelle Bachelet, former President of Chile and the current Executive Director of UN Women, is well known for her commitment to gender justice worldwide. The document is 164 pages long and provides a wealth of information including a compilation of relevant statistics. Some progress is reported. Much remains to be done. Here we include just two excerpts: the "Foreword from Michelle Bachelet" and the "Ten Recommendations to Make Justice Systems Work for Women."
As the first major UN Women report, this edition of Progress of the World's Women reminds us of the
remarkable advances that have been made over the past century in the quest for gender equality and
women's empowerment. Even within one generation we have witnessed a transformation in women's legal
rights, which means that today, 125 countries have outlawed domestic violence, 115 guarantee equal
property rights and women's voice in decision-making is stronger than ever before. Today, 28 countries have
reached or surpassed the 30 percent mark for women's representation in parliament, putting women in the
driving seat to forge further change.
Progress of the World's Women 2011–2012: In Pursuit of Justice shows that where laws and justice systems
work well, they can provide an essential mechanism for women to realize their human rights. However, it
also underscores the fact that, despite widespread guarantees of equality, the reality for many millions of
women is that justice remains out of reach. The report highlights the practical barriers that
women – particularly the poorest and most excluded – face in negotiating justice systems and the innovative
approaches that governments and civil society are pioneering to overcome them. It explores the ways in
which women are reconciling guarantees of their rights with the realities of living within plural legal systems. And
it highlights the severe challenges that women face in accessing justice in the aftermath of conflict, as well as
the enormous opportunities for change that can emerge in these most difficult times.
I am privileged to be the first Executive Director of UN Women, an agency that was created because of
the growing recognition that women are central to development, peace and security goals and that equality
for woman and girls lies at the heart of achieving the Millennium Development Goals. For UN Women to meet
the expectations that spurred its creation it must inspire all of our partners – including governments, United
Nations agencies and non-governmental organizations – with concrete and replicable examples of how change
happens to expand women's access to justice.
This edition of Progress of the World's Women builds on the work of colleagues across the United Nations
system in highlighting women's part in strengthening the rule of law and outlines a vision for the future
in which women and men, worldwide, can work side-by-side to make gender equality and women's
empowerment a reality.
Michelle Bachelet, Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director, UN Women
Ten Recommendations to Make Justice Systems Work for Women
1. Support women's legal organizations
2. Support one-stop shops and specialized services to reduce attrition in the justice chain
3. Implement gender-sensitive law reform
4. Use quotas to boost the number of women legislators
5. Put women on the front line of law enforcement
6. Train judges and monitor decisions
7. Increase women's access to courts and truth commissions during and after conflict
8. Implement gender-responsive reparations programmes
9. Invest in women's access to justice
10. Put gender equality at the heart of the Millennium Development Goals
To download the report, click here.
Building peace in the minds of men and women
The international conference Millennia2015, "An action plan for women's empowerment" will be organized to present the results of the foresight exercise started in 2008. Benefiting from the patronage of the UNESCO and the support of the International Organization of la Francophonie, Millennia2015 "Women actors of development for the global challenges" has been launched by The Destree Institute and its international partners in 2007.
Millennia2015 - UNESCO International Conference, Paris, 21-22 November 2011
Point of contact: Anna Maria Majlöf
Its international community gathers more than one thousand experts, women and men, decided to strengthen and to promote the empowerment of women, the respect of human rights and of gender equality all over the world. On the occasion of the 54th Commission on the Status of Women (Beijing+15) in March 2010 at the United Nations headquarters in New York, Millennia2015 has also launched an appeal for international digital solidarity in order to work together until 2015, with the aim of building sustainable futures in solidarity for all women in the entire world at the horizon 2025.
About Millennia2015 and the "Liège 2008-Paris 2011-New York 2015" Foresight Process:
- Millennia2015 Foresight Methodology, Marie-Anne Delahaut and Philippe Destatte, Namur, 14 October 2009.
- Millennia2015, its role and its spirit, Eleonora Barbieri Masini, January 2010.
- Millennia2015 Foresight Exercise, Marie-Anne Delahaut, Philippe Destatte and Coumba Sylla, Namur, 8 October 2010.