What is Generation Equality?

If you have been following social media over the few week you may have seen graphics and references to Generation Equality.

Generation Equality is the name of a process that will strive to give new impetus and a final push towards full implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. This was a ground-breaking vision and framework for Gender Equality, that came from the 4th World Conference on Women held in Beijing in 1995. It is quoted many times in our postion papers. The subtitle for Generation Equality is ‘Realizing Women’s Rights for an Equal Future.’ Generation Equality Forum will be a global public conversation demanding urgent action and accountability for gender equality and the empowerment of girls and women. Generation Equality will celebrate the power of women’s rights activism, feminist solidarity and youth leadership to achieve transformative change. It is a global gathering for gender equality, convened by UN Women and co-chaired by France and Mexico, with the leadership and partnership of civil society. The Forum will kick-off in Mexico City, Mexico, on 7-8 May 2020 and culminate in Paris, France, on 7-10 July 2020. A website for Generation Equality Forum is coming soon!

Here are two Powerpoints that will help explain the the process – Civil Society Deck and UN Women’s Gender Equality Deck They are easy to follow and may help you to understand the process. It is partly within the United Nations with the Commission on the Status of Women and partly outside the United Nations with the meetings in Mexico and Paris

The Commission on the Status of Women, 64th Session (CSW64) will take place from March 9 – 20, 2020 in New York at the United Nations Headquarters. The CSW will review how the 12 Critical areas have been implemented. These findings will flow into the Forum in Mexico and Paris, culminating in a High Level Event on the opening of the General Assembly, 75th Session in September 2020.

Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action

Already two of the United Nations Regional Commissions have had their meetings, one in the Economic Commission for Europe, Geneva, October 29th and 30th which was preceded by a Civil Society Day on Monday October 28th. Mirjam Beike, our representative in Geneva attended the three days. The UN ECE website has posted an article covering the meetings on the 29th and 30th.

Donatus Lili attended the UN Regional meeting for Africa, October 28 – 31st, 2019 which was hosted in the African Union Center in Addis Ababa. Donatus was a panelist at a side event on ‘Faith Based engagement in Africa.’ Here is a press release “Governments must deliver on the promises made to women in Beijing 25 years ago

Donatus Lili on left hand side of picture in white
Donatus sharing on Faith Based Engagement in Africa. She focused on Poverty Eradication, Social Protection and Social Services.

Gertrude Mongella , from Tanzania, a leading advocate for women’s empowerment and rights was Secretary General of the 4th World Conference on Women in Beijing 1995. Gertrude attended the session in Addis Ababa where Donatus had the privilege of meeting her and having her photograph. Donatus’s participation in the conference was made possible by FEMNET – The African Women’s Development and Communication Network.

Donatus Lili with Gertrude Mongella

The global conversation on girls and women is centered around 6 themes which seek to bring together the 12 critical areas of the Beijing Platform. It is hoped that this will stimulate new intersectional thinking on how all issues are interrelated and connected one to another. The 6 cross cutting themes are: (i) Inclusive development, shared prosperity and decent work; (ii) Poverty Eradication, social protection and social services; (iii) Freedom from violence, stigma and stereotypes; (iv) Participation, accountability and gender-responsive institutions; (v) Peaceful and inclusive societies and (vi) Environmental conservation, protection and rehabilitation. Discussion on these themes has started at the regional level and will be part of the CSW 64 discussion. It is hoped to generate an Action Coalitions on some agreed topics which will be decided in Mexico and celebrated in Paris. You can get a overview of how the discussion went in this document It is divided into the 6 themes and covers the 12 critical areas from the African perspective.

A moment of voting!

The planned regional conference in Latin America and the Caribbean had to be cancelled due to political unrest in Chile. It has been rescheduled for the end of January 2020. Erika Sanchez had done an amount of preparation towards attending and 6 sisters and mission partners were registered. Unfortunately, Erika will not be able to attend in January due to other commitments. The conference for UN ESCWA in Beirut has been re-located to Amman, Jordan, again, because of political tensions in the region. It will take place on November 28th. See the Agenda On the same weekend, November 27 – 29 the regional conference for Asia Pacific will take place in Bangkok. See Website for information.

2020 is a year of anniversaries for the United Nations. The Beijing Conference is only one of them celebrating 25 years. The United Nations is celebrating its 75th birthday amid a lot of tension including some fractures of multilaterialism. On November 20, the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) is celebrating 30 years. Only a few weeks ago the historic Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security celebrated 20 years. It was first adopted on October 2020. The Resolution addressed the disproportionate and unique impact of armed conflict on women; recognized the under-valued and under-utilized contributions women make to conflict prevention, peacekeeping, conflict resolution, and peace-building. It also stressed the importance of women’s equal and full participation as active agents in peace and security.

2020, is also the 75th anniversary of the Commission for Social Development  and the 25th anniversary of the Copenhagen Declaration on Social Development. 2020 is a crucial year for the accelerated realization of inclusive societies and reducing inequalities everywhere for people of all ages. UN Women celebrates its 10th anniversary and the Sustainable Development Goals are 5 years into being realized. All the various agenda overlap and yet inching our way towards realization continues to be a felt struggle especially for girls and women on all levels. Gender Equality, Women’s Human Rights, Women’s participation remain unrealized. The catch phrase of UNICEF for the 30 years anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child is ‘For Every Child Every Right’. If this happened maybe we would be on the way to say ‘For Every Girl Every Right’ and that ‘For Every Woman Every Right’ would be a reality.

Keynote Address on the State of the World – HLPF July 17, 2017

Sec GenThe second part of the HLPF (High Level Political Forum) the High Level Ministerial Meeting began on Monday July 17th.  UN Secretary General António Guterres delivered a STATEMENT  on his understanding of the State of the World.  Mixed picture, deficit of trust, the need to find more legal avenues for migrants, financing development, and foresee what is coming.  Secretary General concluded  “And I think that looking at this Assembly, one can only be enthusiastic about the fact that there is a very strong commitment not only to the implementation of the agenda but a very strong affirmation of support to multilateral governance as the way to lead the 2030 Agenda respecting the leadership of member states but recognising that only working together we can rebuild the trust that is needed and we can make the Agenda 2030 that factor that brings the fair globalisation the world needs in the present times.”

This was followed by Jeffery Sachs with a key note address to the Member States. Access the  WEBCAST marker 34.45 to hear for yourself.  He started with the good news “the world output this year will be estimated by the World Bank at 127 trillion dollars – that is 17,000.00 dollars for every man, women and child on the planet.  If you prefer to read Meeting Coverage at the UN provides you that  opportunity.

“Despite the extraordinary wealth in the world, 1 billion people still struggled to survive every day, he said.  In the United States, the coal, oil and gas lobby had contributed $100 million in the election cycle.  “That is why we pulled out of our Climate Agreement,” he added, emphasizing that the world was witnessing the “corruption of our future”.”

Some of the forces referred to are directly responsible for the loss of life of Women Human Rights Defenders.  This fact was recognized in an action during week one.  A Press Release  names some of the women and provides background.  I was excited to see Dorothy Stang, a Sister of Notre Dame De Namur on the list.  She was murdered in 2005   SEE for more information

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Thanks to the Women Major Group for all they organized and prepared during this HLPF 2017.  The graphics are priceless, their statements clear and focused and more importantly on target.  10 Priorities for the Ministerial Declaration of HLPF 2017

Women’s Spirituality – Pioneering and Transforming

 

???????????????????????????????Yesterday March 18th I had the privilege to moderate a panel entitled ‘Women’s Spirituality – Pioneering and Transforming’  This was a well attended event demonstrating clear interest in spirituality. It was hosted by the Society of Catholic Medical Missionaries,  aka, Medical Mission Sisters. Celine Paramundayil is their representative to the United Nations.  The event was co-sponsored by 11 other organizations.

The panelists were Miriam Therese Winter, Medical Mission Sister and Sr. Cristine Schenk, Congregations of St Joseph. Click here for the flyer for the event and bios of the speakers

???????????????????????????????Christine gave a historical context  – women in patriarchal households within the socio-political-spiritual-religious-prophetic tradition of the times of Jesus who was himself betrayed by his own political-religious institutions.  Christina then focused on the development of women’s leadership in the Graeco-Roman world, free woman, slave woman, freed woman, widows,  the house church and small business networks.

Miriam Therese in her presentation reviewed some concepts – ???????????????????????????????religion, spirituality, theology … calling for a paradigm of unity. Faith is something deeper than belief.  Faith is in the gut, in the imagination.  ‘I believe’ is patriarchal – tells us who God is. Reflections rooted in the real world, the world of now and the world of science demonstrates chaos, an evolution of consciousness and connection.  We are part of all that exists – not over and above but from within and of.  The chaos of the beginnings had an inherent capacity to organize itself.  We have the power to effect change by intentionality.  We don’t wipe out difference or impose a new order but in chaos there is a hint of the quantum reality.

The presentations were followed by lively discussion including a passionate call from a young woman for young women to engage and culminating with the following question ‘How have this same conversation with Member States present – Spirit transforming leadership into the future?’

 

Catherine Prendergast 2Catherine Prendergast, Daughters of Charity thanked the Medical Mission Sisters, Co-sponsors, panelists and participants, and brought the event to closure.

VIVAT are blessed to have a ‘camera person.’  I say a special word of thanks to Zelia Cordeiro. Great photographs!   You can enjoy them HERE

A Program that Works – NILS – Australia

Caroline Price, Mission, People and Culture Team, Australia shares the following story which was on commercial television last night about the No Interest Loans (NILS) program.

The program began in the early 1980s when the Sisters gave seed funding to start it.  Now it is a program worth millions of dollars and has the support of one of the national Banks and the Government.

Video Link Here      Congratulations Good Shepherd and NILS!

Concrete practical steps towards ending poverty!  ‘Fair and affordable finance and services’ and the last words from the commentator ‘A terrific caring service.’

Profits and Poverty: the economics of forced labour.

Profits and PovertyA new report from the ILO investigates the underlying factors that drive forced labour, of which a major one is illegal profits.  Figures will include a breakdown of profits by area of forced labour and by region. Per capita profits are highest in commercial sexual exploitation, which can be explained by the demand for such services and the prices clients ar willing to pay, and low capital investment and by the low operating costs associated with this activity.  Read more in  English    Spanish   French

How is forced labour defined?   A definition of forced labour enshrined in the ILO’s Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (29) adopted in 1930 reads ‘the definition encompasses all forms of work or service, whether formal or informal, legal or illegal. Forced labour also requires an element of coercion (“menace of penalty”) to distinguish it from labour exploitation more broadly. The free and informed consent of workers throughout the labour relationship is another important element of the definition. Convention No 29 requires member States to make forced labour a penal offense; hence the exaction of forced labour is not a minor labour law violation but a criminal act. As such, it is closely related to the concept of human trafficking as defined by the UN Protocol of 2000 to Prevent, suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children, Supplementing the United Nations Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime. The Protocol makes trafficking in persona a criminal offence. All exploitative purposes of trafficking are covered by the ILO’s Forced Labour definition with the exception of trafficking for the purpose of the removal of organs. (page 3) 

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