June 20 – Preparation for The Commission on the Status of Women – 56th Session February 27 – March 9, 2012

The theme for the Commission on the Status of Women, February 27 – March 9, 2012 is ‘The empowerment of rural women and their role in poverty and hunger eradication, development and current challenges.’  A preparatory expert panel on the priority theme was held during the fifty-fifth session of the Commission on Thursday, 24 February 2011.  You can read the various presentations at http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/csw/55sess.htm#panel2012 or view the webcast.  These presentations are entry points into the theme. 
In the Moderator’s summary the following is stated in paragraph No 2 “It is estimated that 70 per cent of the developing world’s 1.4 billion people in extreme poverty live in rural areas.  The large disparities in wellbeing that exist between urban and rural residents throughout the world are a consistent cause of concern.  They affect the opportunities, resources and services available to women and girls in rural areas in significant ways.” 
Paragraph 11 calls for promoting rural women’s equal access to resources and social protection measures. “Providing women with equal access to production resources, assets and markets – in law and in practice – is key to their economic empowerment and to overall rural development and economic growth.  Specific policies to reduce gender inequality in access to all productive resources, including land, financial services, agricultural inputs, technology, education, training and information are needed.  In addition, social protection measures should be developed that take into account rural women’s needs.”
Good Shepherd will be preparing a statement for the Commission over the next few months and I would like to invite you to share your experiences and opinions as to what should be in the statement. One policy that GSIJP Office will be actively promoting towards the empowerment of rural women will be implementation of ‘The Social Protection Floor’ at national level. You can take a first step in supporting this initiative by signing on to the campaign at http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/signature-campaign-social-protection-floor.html   
Can we around the world, present in 72 countries move to take a ‘corporate stance’ on ‘The Social Protection Floor’?  How can you facilitate all the members in your networks to sign on to the campaign?  Signing the campaign is a first step.  The second step is to lobby at national level for the introduction and implementation of ‘The Social Protection Floor’ in your country.  To do so you may need to build your knowledge base about the Social Protection Floor.  What questions do you have about it?  Submit your comments, ideas and suggestions in the space below.

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