Observance of International Women’s Day at the United Nations

This morning, Friday March 6, an event marking the observance of International Women’s Day at the United Nations HQ, New York was held. Women rallied under the banner “I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights. The Event was moderated by Sade Baderinwa, WABC News. The programme for the events …

The webcast of the event can be seen here. Do listen to Secretary General’s address to those present. “Gender inequality is the overwhelming injustice of our age and the biggest human rights challenge we face…” Read more It was a joy for me to hear Alexandria Villaseñor, a 14 year old climate activist speak from inside the United Nations. She sat for 65 Fridays outside the UN. She is the Gretta Thunberg of New York! Leymah Gbowee, Nobel Peace Laureate speaks about the reality. Who is your star?

Colleagues waiting for the event to commence

UN Women launched a book entitled ‘Gender equality: Women’s rights in review 25 years after Beijing.’ It marks the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the Beijing Platform for Action, as well as the first time that progress on the implementation of the Platform is reviewed in light of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Publication in full

On 4 March, UNICEF launched A New Era for Girls: Taking stock of 25 years of progress, a joint report with Plan International and UN Women that reviews progress, and lack of, for girls since the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. The report supports the goals of Generation Equality, a multi-partner platform and campaign led by UN Women, Governments of France and Mexico and civil society that aims to accelerate progress for girls’ and women’s empowerment.

While girls’ lives are better today than they were 25 years ago, progress remains uneven, particularly across regions. The report notes that the number of out-of-school girls has dropped by 79 million in the last two decades. Yet, violence against women and girls is still common. An astonishing 1 in every 20 girls aged 15-19 – around 13 million – has experienced rape in their lifetimes, one of the most violent forms of sexual abuse women and girls can suffer.

The report also points to concerning negative trends for girls in nutrition and health, concerns about poor mental health, and that girls remain at high risk of sexually transmitted infections, including HIV. Additional findings include:

  • The adolescent birth rate has declined from 60 births per 1,000 girls aged 15-19 to 44 births per 1,000 girls aged 15-19.
  • The proportion of young women who were married as children has declined globally from 1 in 4 to approximately 1 in 5.
  • The prevalence of overweight among girls aged 5-19 has nearly doubled from 9 per cent to 17 per cent.
  • Globally, 970,000 adolescent girls aged 10-19 years are living with HIV today compared to 740,000 in 1995, a 31 per cent increase.
Read the report

In the context of the 25-year review of the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action, the EDVAW Platform is launching a publication to present its contribution to the implementation of the BPA and to providing unified responses to the challenges to women’s rights to a life free from violence and discrimination.

There are seven UN and regional independent women’s human rights expert mechanisms mandated to address discrimination and gender based violence against women and girls. All of these mechanisms are entrusted with monitoring and supporting the implementation of States’ commitments under the global and regional women’s human rights frameworks, including the Beijing Platform of Action, the 2030 Agenda, and UN and regional instruments on women’s rights.

The expert mechanisms support and complement each other in these efforts for implementation through a dynamic and complex relationship, under the Platform of independent expert mechanisms on discrimination and violence against women – EDVAW Platform.

Click here to read the publication.

Another publication launched today by UNDP is ‘Tackling Social Norms: A game changer for gender inequalities’ questioning pervasive bias and prejudice against women held by both men and women worldwide. The results indicate that almost 90% of men/women globally are biased against women. Read more HERE with links in French and Spanish

All of these publications are directly and explicitly related to our position papers and ministries. Explore them with the position papers in one hand and your strategic plan in the other. Happy International Women’s Day!

CSW64 to address procedural issues on Monday March 9 – otherwise ALL events cancelled.

Update to CSW64 Advisory

Dear representatives registered for CSW64,

In light of the current concerns regarding coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at an informal meeting held this morning, 2 March, Member States decided that the sixty-fourth session of the Commission will convene on 9 March, at 10.00 a.m., for a procedural meeting that will include opening statements followed by the adoption of the draft Political Declaration and action on any other draft resolutions. The session will then suspend until further notification.  

The meeting reiterated the Secretary-General’s strong recommendation that capital-based delegations and other stakeholders refrain from travelling to UN Headquarters. No general debate will take place and all side events planned by Member States and the UN system in conjunction with CSW64 will be cancelled.  

Best regards,
UN Women

2 March 2020

It is with a heavy heart that we have to share this regretful news with you.

Following the announcement by the UN Secretary-General on the coronavirus threat sent on Friday, 28 February, and the 64th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW64) briefing held on 2 March, the NGO Committee on the Status of Women, New York (NGO CSW/NY) Executive Committee has decided to cancel all NGO CSW64 Forum events due to the current threat posed by the coronavirus as per recommendations by the UN Secretary-General, UN Women and the World Health Organization (WHO).

NGO CSW64 Forum events that must be cancelled include: the Consultation Day, Reception, Conversation Circles Space, Artisan Fair, Rally, advocacy trainings, caucuses and all 550 Parallel Events scheduled through our office.

Reimbursements will be given for all events. Please be advised that as it may take up to 4-6 weeks to process everyone’s reimbursement, we ask for your patience in the process. Further instructions will be sent separately to those who have purchased event tickets or venue spaces.

The only refunds we will not be able to honor will be for any ads purchased. Handbooks are in the process of being printed and will be mailed out to those who purchased an ad. Your ad will be available on the NGO CSW/NY website and will be highlighted through our social media channels.

A formal letter by the NGO CSW/NY stating the reason for cancellation to be helpful with hotel and/or airline reimbursements is attached.

We were heartened by the power of women to mobilize at the critical moment! Within 48 hours, we had over 50,000 individuals raising their voices regarding the CSW64. No CSW without NGO CSW and no NGO CSW without women of the world!

The following tweets give some flavour of the discussion on March 2nd

Day of the Girl – October 11 preceded by 11 Days of Action

Thank you Religious of the Good Shepherd Philippines-Japan for whom everyday is Day of the Girl
Read the story below!

“Kasi nasabi niya sa mga kapatid at mother niya na siya ay inabuso ng tatay nila.”

***
This story is part of the series we are featuring this month for the International Day of the Girl. Girls play an important part in changing our families, communities, nation, and the world. Making sure that girls enjoy their rights and are protected from harm is one of the priorities of the Religious of the Shepherd in the Philippines.

***
Ate B has been a Good Shepherd lay mission partner for 20 years. As a social worker, she handles abuse cases, mostly of teenagers. When asked about the bravest girl she has journeyed with, she thinks of Lisa* and her journey towards healing.

*Name has been changed for confidentiality

Ate B met Lisa 5 years ago. She was referred to one of Good Shepherd’s residences because she was manifesting destructive behavior. She lived a financially comfortable life and her needs were well-provided. However, she chose to hang out with her group of friends who were into vices like smoking and drinking.

With RGS, Lisa bravely journeyed through her abusive past. Her biological father sexually abused her, and she decided to keep it from her mother and siblings because she was afraid that it would cause conflict within her family. This was the reason why she didn’t like going home and preferred to stay with her friends. During her stay in the RGS, she eventually mustered the courage to tell the truth to her family.

Why did Ate B consider Lisa to be the bravest? “Sa akin siya iyong bravest kasi nasabi niya sa mga kapatid at mother niya na siya ay inabuso ng tatay nila (For me she’s the bravest because she was able to tell her siblings and mother that their father sexually abused her).”

The journey to healing didn’t come instantly for Lisa and her family. Stains from Lisa’s past abuse still surrounds their family. Trust towards her father is still an issue that they are slowly dealing with. In this case, healing has so far been a difficult journey, as Lisa was harmed by one of people who should have been protecting her.

Despite all the challenges she has faced, Liza is now a young woman, pursuing her dreams.
Ate B stressed the importance of being present as parent. In the many cases she has handled, parents are either absent, or they may be physically present but are not receptive to the needs of their children, especially teenagers.

#DayOfTheGirl
#GirlForceUnscriptedUnstoppable

“Kahit hindi ko naiintindihan si Mama, pero love ko pa rin siya, eh.”

***
This story is part of the series we are featuring this month for the International Day of the Girl. Girls play an important part in changing our families, communities, nation, and the world. Making sure that girls enjoy their rights and achieve their full potential is one of the priorities of the Religious of the Shepherd in the Philippines.

***
This is Michelle, one of Good Shepherd’s lay mission partners. She works at the Center for Overseas Workers (COW) and has been with RGS for 14 years. The COW office responds to one our priority issues: forced migration. This is the story of Tanya*, a 15 year-old girl, whom Michelle considers as one of the bravest girls she has ever met.

*Name has been changed for confidentiality

It was 2006 when Michelle met Tanya. Being a child of an overseas Filipino worker, it was never easy for Tanya. This resulted to her manifesting destructive behavior, to show that she’s not okay with her mother’s absence. She hated her mother. And, to make matters worse, she did not trust her. This damaged their relationship, to the point that Tanya even felt that her mother never loved her.

When Michelle was asked why she thought of Tanya to be brave, she attributed this to her journey of acceptance and hope. In the midst of uncertainties, Tanya often mentioned that, “Kahit hindi ko naiintindihan si Mama, pero love ko pa rin siya (Even though I don’t understand my mother, I still love her).” Tanya also believed that she could surpass all the challenges that she was facing during that time.

Healing was not an easy process for Tanya, but she eventually reconciled with her mother. Honesty through open communication helped their relationship get better.

Tanya now has her own family, and has also taken her mother in, to live with them.

***
Michelle pointed out during the interview that good communication is very important. Working with OFWs for the past 14 years has made her realize that communication is a double-edged sword. It can make or break family relationships. Thus, during the pre-departure orientation seminars that they conduct at COW, the value of effective communication with the family that the OFW will be leaving behind in the Philippines is highlighted. Open and honest communication helps families better understand the situation of their loved ones abroad.

#DayOfTheGirl
#GirlForceUnscriptedUnstoppable

READ the full story in Global Sisters Report
This is an example of Day of the Girl every day in Good Shepherd around the world

The ‘Marrakech Compact’ was adopted December 2018 – Reflection by Donatus Lili

You may well ask what is the ‘Marrakech Compact’? It is the new name for the Global Compact for Safe Orderly and Regular Migration adopted in Marrakesh, Morocco on 10 and 11 December, 2018 and again adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on 19 December, 2018 following a vote.

donatusThe Congregation was represented by Cecilie Kern, (right) from the GSIJP Office in New York, and myself Donatus Lili, the NGO Regional Designate for RIMOA.

The conference was preceded by side events organized by Civil Society Organizations and  Member States in conjunction with the United Nations. I attended 3 side events at Palmeraie Golf Palace in Marrakech, the official  venue for the adoption of the Global Compact on Migration. (GCM)

In the open discussion following one of the panels, I asked the representative of the donatus 2government of Sri Lanka, what recommendations he would make to governments in the Middle East on developing effective policies and measures to protect migrants’ rights with regard to religious tolerance as persons of African origin have been denied right to practice religion and obliged to wear the Muslim attire.  Further some women domestic workers are subjected to sexual exploitation by employers, endure  harsh working conditions, and only receive minimal salaries.

The response indicated that countries of origin need to teach migrants about their rights, in particular with regard to salaries and ensure that they know how to get help if needed during transits, or in the destination country.

The two days intergovernmental conference consisted of  statements by countries in support of the Global Compact on Migration and two dialogues (i) Promoting action on the commitments of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration and (ii) Partnerships and innovative initiatives for the way forward.

Of the 193 UN Member States, 164 were present in Marakesh for the  adoption the Compact. Members expressed dissatisfaction and stated that while the compact is non- binding it highlights the obligation of every member state to formulate strategies and policies towards facilitating safe, orderly and regular migration.  The compact is a framework, a blueprint.

His Excellency, Antonio Guterres, Secretary General of the UN, in his opening statement challenged some myths and false information concerning the Global Compact for Migration and highlighted the need for everyone on the move to obtain formal authorization and that human dignity and human rights must be respected and upheld irrespective of status   To deny this – to vilify any group of people – is the road to dehumanization and horror.  Societies are stronger, more resilient and enriched, not threatened, by diversity.  Every member, every group, must feel valued as such and simultaneously feel they belong to the society as a whole. This is the way to counter the current groundswell of racism and xenophobia.

donatus 4

Ms Ellen Johnson Sirleaf the former president of Liberia and Chair of the High-Level Panel on International Migration in Africa delivered a key note on December 11, 2018. I had the honor of meeting her after the session.

 

Some personal reflections on the experience:

The Global Compact for Migration (GCM) is extremely new to me. While I had done reading I found it difficult to understand. Through my participation in the side events and presence at the official adoption by UN Members states I have some more clarity.  I was confused when the Secretary General stated, “GCM is non –binding” meaning every state is free to adopt or not.   I would have preferred a binding treaty agreement. On the same note, a non-abiding agreement leaves each state free to develop measures and policies to fulfil the 23 objectives.

Attendance at the conference provided me with the opportunity to meet various NGO’s donatus 7who are engaged in migration policy and grassroots efforts.  Among these was Maria Pia Belloni, Chair, NGO Committee on Migration, in New York and UN Representative, World Organization for Early Childhood Education (OMEP)  See the NGO Committee Website for more information

My view on migration has changed.  I previously discouraged people from migrating but now I will ensure they have the correction information and migrate in a safe way using legal channels.  Statements that I heard indicated that a holistic approach to migration is necessary.  If there are well established frameworks it follows that the process works for all – including the migrant and the host country.

Day 8 of the 11 Days of Action – International Day of the Girl from Latin America at the GSIJP Office

Today at the GSIJP Office we celebrate reflections from Latin America.  Three countries contributed to the Girls Speak Out in the United Nations on October 11.  Columbia shared many photographs

 

 

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and a video which I think contrasts girls living and having childhood experience – school, play, culture and games and another group of girls who are influenced and socialized into a different reality.  Sr Bianca, the  director of the program makes the following observation: “El vídeo enviado en el correo anterior fue iniciativa de las niñas y Adolescentes, desafortunadamente es la realidad que viven en su barrio, ya pueden ver el tipo de música y la forma de bailar a tan temprana edad; este programa existe para tratar de ofrecerles otra a alternativas que dignifiquen su proyecto de vida y prevenir toda clase de abuso.”

 

Translation – “The video sent in the previous email was an initiative of girls and adolescents.  Unfortunately it is a reality that young girls often live in neighborhoods where they are influenced (socialized) into sexualized behaviors through music and dancing at a young age.   The program exists to offer alternative experiences such that girls have an opportunity to experience childhood and their dignity as girls to counter and prevent all kinds of abuse.”  Thank you Sr Bianca for your work and dedication with and for girls.

Read the experience of girls in El Salvador (Spanish Only)

 

 

Preguntas Katherine y Preguntas Keiry y Preguntas Milagro

Read from two more girls Julissa y Lidia  Preguntas y dibujo Julissa y  Dibujo y preguntas LIdia

 

 

 

We have some drawing from girls in Honduras 6 – 10 years expressing what they would like to be when they group up.  We have a doctor, a professor, a swimming instructor,  another doctor,  religious sister and a secretary.  These girls were excited to take part and responded immediately and confidently.

 

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International Day of the Girl (IDG) 11 October 2018

Day-of-the-Girl-2018_social-images-01October 11 is fast approaching and we are on Day 5 of the 11 Days of Action leading up to the celebration.   Join us for a Twitter Chat at 11AM EST led by @GlobalGirlsGLOW to discuss how girls and their allies can act against injustice!  Join the conversation using hashtags #HerStoryCampaign #IDG2018 #generationgirl #11DaysofAction  You can follow on Facebook  at Day of the Girl Summit @DayoftheGirlSummit.  Yesterday October 4th the GSIJP Office featured Indira from the Mahila Documentary.  If you got to Justice Peace page of the website you can see the Facebook and Twitter posts WGG Her Story

Today, Her Story is asking girls and their allies around the world to share a story about a time they or a girl they know took action to challenge injustice. Then share a photo or video of girls in action and tag @GlobalGirlsGlow and @LitWorldSays with #HerStoryCampaign #GenerationGirl.

All this will culminate in the Girls Speak Out at the Unites Nations on Thursday October 11 starting at 3.00 p.m. EST.  It will be Webcast Live from the United Nations

Congratulations to Afrida from Indonesia was was in solidarity with Day 4 showing the Mahila Film in the classroom and photographing the class activity and sharing with you all.  And my observations it is a day for girls and boys!  Well done Afrida!

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Helena Moderno (left) from Portugal is doing an internship at the GSIJP Office for 6 weeks and is engaging in the IDG activities particularly the social media part. On the right is Alexis our new staff and the WGG wristband with the slogan ‘Girls’s Rights are Human Rights’

Read the reflections of girls from Myanmar and their experiences of being girls  Khin , Nu and Shwe by clicking on their names.  These experiences will be captured in the Girls Speak Out.

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Nepal

 

Read this great poem from Sanju in Nepal.     Woman Thou Art That Light – Nepal

Congratulations Sr Taskila!

 

 

‘Raising the Needs of the Girl Child’ at the High Level Political Forum on July 12th

WGG HLPF 2018 Side Event Flyer July 12

The Working Group on Girls was honored to be joined by Her Excellency, Ambassador Sima Bahous of the Permanent Mission of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jourdan to the United Nations, to raise the needs of the Girl Child during the first week of the High Level Political Forum .  Her Excellency (center)  was warmly welcomed to the event by the Moderator Deisha, and Laura both Working Group on Girls, Girl Advocates.

IMG_4116 2

Her Excellency highlighted the fact that the SDGs do not exclude the girl child nor is the girl child confined to SDG 5.  In fact, the girl child is impacted for the better by implementation of all the goals but particularly by SDGs 6, 7 and 11,  under review this year.  The education of girls is key to their empowerment and further, girls are change agents in their communities and in society.  They are often affected by social stigma and misunderstanding.  We must never stop advocating for equality and justice.

Winifred Doherty introduced the theme from the perspective of the SDG’s under review.  Read the text Raising the needs of Girls

Panelists included Dr Rimah Salah, Former Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF, who starting by saying that in both peace and war the girl child is subjected to so much.  She lives in the ‘shadow of inequality’  relegated to care taking, cooking, childbearing, collecting firewood and fetching water – the unpaid labour, which is often not regarded as important by the society.   Peace and sustainable development are indivisible elements towards the girl child’s empowerment and well being.    These elements call for innovative and transformative approaches coupled with  social protection and the implementation of her human rights as outlined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).  Girls are not a trivial group.  Migrant, displaced and refugee girls should not be criminalize.  In fact they are agents for peace.

Mavic Cabrera-Balleza, CEO, Global Network of Women Peace Builders, shared with us the names and experiences of girls affected by war and how being engaged in the  “Girl Ambassadors for Peace” program brought healing, voice, empowerment towards leadership and being agents of peace.    Her sharing provided a moment of moving from head to heart and solidarity with girls who are most affected.   Mavic outlined some of the challenges helping girls who are illiterate to know and understand Security Council Resolution 1325.  Can you imagine the pain experienced when a girl child is a discriminated against as a  ‘terrorist widow’?   How promote a narrative of peace?  How change mindset from ‘violence is cool’ to ‘peace is cool’?  How shift the burden from the girl child to the perpetrator?   Techniques include participatory theater and economic empowerment.

Devika Kumar, presented an initiative she undertook following a visit to India and discovering the harsh reality for girls there during their menstruation days caused by lack of opportunities to use and have access to menstrual hygiene products.  In response to this reality Devika created the MAHI project See more here    Here are some statistics about the reality

  • 23% of girls in rural areas drop out of school due to menstruation
  • 53% of school girls were never provided any type of education about menstruation
  • 27% do not have access to pads, tampons, or other management materials

Laura

WGG Girl Advocate Deisha and Laura did a fabulous job – Deisha moderating and Laura responding to the panelists presentations.  Both Advocates recalled their experiences with WGG over the past two years from the ‘Girls Speak Out’ on October 11 to the Commission on the Status of Women and how they have developed and grown – deepening their understanding of the issues that girls face, assuming leadership roles and taking their seats at the table on behalf of all girls.