For more information visit English: UN Women Website; X: @un_women Facebook: @unwomen Instagram: @unwomen LinkedIn: @un -women TikTok: @unwomen ESPAÑOL. X: @onumujeres Facebook: @onumujeres Instagram: @onumujeres LinkedIn: @onumujeres FRANÇAIS X: @onufemmes Facebook: @onufemmes Instagram: @onufemmes
The GSIJP Office has 16 templates prepared to raise awareness of the different types of violence that is occuring across the ‘Good Shepherd World.’ Our 16 days campaign is a conbination of calling for an end to all violence against girls and women, while standing with and demaning change to facilitate the ending of violence. Watch out for for social media posts on X (Twitter), Facebook and Instagram. The global theme of this year’s 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence is “Invest to prevent violence against women and girls.” Let us UNITE in demanding an end to all forms of violence against girls and women! #16DaysOfActivism#NoExcuse
The 67th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW 67) officially ended at 6.00 am approx on March 18th, 2023 with a successfully negotiated CSW67 Agreed Conclusion. (Advanced Unedited Version) When edited int will also be in French and Spanish. These agreed conclusions are a lengthy document (32 pages) but a significant document with regard to the theme of the session: ‘Innovation and Technological Change and Education in the Digital Era for the Empowerment of Women and Girls.’
Negotiations were long, tedious, and challenging but the outcome hails a new moment of hope to harness the possibilities held in technological advancement to usher in gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls in the digital era. You can gain some insight into the dynamics of the Commission in the UN TV Webcast of the 17th Session on the Commission. Engaging within the multilateral system is indeed challenging and demands endless listening and patience with the process. This CSW 67 demonstrated multilateralism at its best. It necessitates a constructive spirit throughout and always demands cooperation and collaboration in the interest of the common good. Some groups had to let go of issues important to them in furthering women’s human rights in the interest of the whole. As I watched through a glass window for a few hours I could not help but identify a spirit of patience and commitment to the process without knowing what the issue or the exchange of views under negotiations. But there appeared to be decorum and respect toward each other and the body in the process.
Reflections on the agreed consultations are slow to appear. UN Women published a press release on March 18th hailing the document as a game changer. UN Women Executive Director, Sima Bahous, said: “This year’s Agreed Conclusions are game-changing and bring forward our vision of a more equal and connected world for women and girls in all their diversity. It is our job, as we leave here today, to translate them into reality. The ultimate success of these Agreed Conclusions lies beyond their finalization today, in how we will collectively take them forward. They bring us a vision of a more equal world. Let us translate them into reality for all women and girls.”
APNews had a publication on March 18th also highlighting that ‘the “agreed conclusions” document adopted Saturday by the 45-member commission calling for equal quality education for women and girls in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, information and communications technology, and digital literacy so they can thrive in the rapidly changing world.’ This strongly supports the girls’ agenda.
The agreed conclusion ‘reaffirms the 1995 Beijing platform adopted by 189 countries which said for the first time in a U.N. document, that women’s human rights include the right to control and decide “on matters relating to their sexuality, including their sexual and reproductive health, free of discrimination, coercion, and violence.” ‘ Despite the existence of and commitment to the 1995 Beijing Platform – the struggle to uphold women’s rights continues today such that the Secretary-General speaks of ‘pushing back the pushback.’ See Secretary-General’s remarks to the Women’s Civil Society Town Hall [as delivered] on March 13. Some lines that impacted me. Secretary-General said ‘many of the challenges we face today – from conflicts to climate chaos and the cost-of-living crisis – are the result of what is a male-dominated world with a male-dominated culture, taking the key decisions that guide our world. … Gender-based violence online has increased exponentially. Organized campaigns target women politicians, journalists, and activists – a direct attack on women’s representation and on democracy itself.’ the Secretary-General also said ‘In the face of this patriarchal pushback, we must push forward – not just for women and girls, but for all communities and societies.’
I was alarmed and sad hearing one woman leader after another, from president to member of parliament alike witnessing to the harassment that they personally experienced while engaging in political leadership. Ireland and The Irish Consortium on Gender-Based Violence (ICGBV) hosted an event entitled GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE AND TECHNOLOGY: RISKS, OPPORTUNITIES, CHALLENGES on 06 Mar, 11:30 AM – 12:45 PM. Here is a clip of one woman parliamentarian speaking of the violence she experienced.
Global Sisters Report published their article on Friday, March 24. This is from the perspective of Catholic Sisters and their experience of CSW 67 including Winifred Doherty. The reporter Chris Herlinger quoted from the Good Shepherd Statement to the Commission “Technology has opened the door to perpetrators through a screen that exposes women, girls, and children to all types of harm, even within the home. Technology has facilitated the rapid global expansion of human trafficking as a criminal industry, which has increased the demand for women and girls as objects of exploitation, prostitution, and violence.”
Public Services International headed their piece ‘Mission Accomplished! The Struggle Continues.’ Rosa Pavanelli, Public Services International, General Secretary stated, “The Agreed Conclusions this year reflect tensions around the multilateral system. ‘We witnessed rhetoric based on the respect for universal human rights and international human rights’ law that was difficult to translate into concrete dimensions of the role the State as its fundamental actor and guarantor, while the preponderance of the private sector and the multi-stakeholder approach gained traction as dominant actors in a world at the hands of market and capital forces. There is no doubt that the digital era and the advances of science and technology challenge us to continue fighting for the commons and public goods as the only backers of equality for humanity as opposed to their for-profit use and corporate capture.’ This captures the already some of the content in our written statement to CSW 67. French and Spanish
Another interesting take on CSW 67 is from Pat Black, a member of Soroptimist International from Scotland whom I had to pleasure to meet again this year at CSW 67 in the long hours of waiting for the Agreed Conclusions. I was not as dedicated at Pat – I went home at 11.30 p.m. Read
This CSW 67 was characterized by over two hundred side events and seven hundred parallel events. We at the GSIJP Office were very proud of our parallel event entitled ‘Girls and Women Impact the Digital Revolution’ where girls from Latin America, Africa, and Asia Pacific addressed the issue with knowledge and determination. We heard of diverse experiences in accessing digital platforms both for educational and social use. We also heard about experiences of online abuse and the efforts to become empowered and create safe spaces for all girls users. Girls were strong in advocating for access, saying it is a human rights issue. Congratulations to all panelists – ‘Girls’ Rights are Human Rights.’
The process reviewing the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) each year is called the High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF). This year the HLPF starts on July 5th and ends on July 15th. Four days are given to thematic review of specific SDGs and three days to country reports – Voluntary National Reviews (VNR). A new website has been launched and it is user friendly. Unfortunately it is only in English. Website it is easy to navigate. These are the pages for the HLPF 2022; The Program; and Details of each day. Five SDGs are being reviewed this year
o Partnerships (SDG 17SDG 4, 5, 12, 14 and 15.) 5 July 3.00 PM – 6.00 PM, EDT o Quality education (SDG 4) 6 July 9.00 AM – 12.00 PM, EDT o Gender equality (SDG 5) 7 July 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM,EDT o Life below water (SDG 14) 7 July 3.00 PM – 6.00 PM, EDT o Life on land (SDG 15) 11, July 9.00 AM – 12.00 PM, EDT
For questions that will provide a panel focus on each SDG See. All sessions will be webcast live on UN Web TV.
The VNRs commence on Monday July 13th. 45 Countries will provide country reports. The list of countries as in the letter of the President of ECOSOC in October 2021 is as follows: Andorra*, Argentina**, Belarus*, Botswana*, Cameroon*, Comoros*, Côte d’Ivoire*, Djibouti, Dominica, Equatorial Guinea, El Salvador*, Eritrea, Eswatini*, Ethiopia*, Gabon, Gambia*, Ghana*, Greece*, Grenada, Guinea-Bissau, Italy*, Jamaica*, Jordan*, Kazakhstan*, Latvia*, Lesotho*, Liberia*, Luxembourg*, Malawi*, Mali*, Montenegro*, the Netherlands*, Pakistan*, the Philippines**, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal*, Somalia, Sri Lanka*, Sudan*, Suriname, Switzerland**, Togo***, Tuvalu, United Arab Emirates*, Uruguay*** (Note: Countries with one asterisk * are second timers, those with two asterisks ** are third timers, those with three asterisks *** are presenting for the fourth time, while those without asterisks are presenting for the first time).
Countries were Good Shepherd are present are Argentina, El Salvador, and Uruguay in ECLAC; Italy, and The Netherlands in ECE; Pakistan, The Philippines, and Sri Lanka, in ESCAP and Senegal and Sudan in ECA. By clicking on the link below your country flag you can see the messages and reports that have been prepared and uploaded
The Report of the Secretary General on the Progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals has been prepared and posted. This reports contains an analysis of each of the 17 SDGs. Another report was launched on 2 June entitled Sustainable Development Report 2022: A Global Plan to Finance the Sustainable Development Goals. A dashboard with country ranking has been prepared. Find your country ranking and an interactive map The key findings presented at the launch of the report were 1. Peace, diplomacy, and international cooperation are fundamental conditions for the world to progress on the SDGs towards 2030 and beyond. 2. For the second year in a row, the world is no longer making progress on the SDGs. A global plan to finance the SDGs is urgently needed. 3. At mid-point on the way to 2030, policy efforts and commitments supporting the SDGs vary significantly across countries, including among G20 countries. • 2023 Heads of States SDG Summit should be an opportunity to re-commit to this Agenda. 4. Rich countries generate negative international spillovers notably through unsustainable consumption; Europe is taking actions. 5. The COVID-19 pandemic forced data providers to innovate and build new forms of partnerships; these should be leveraged and scaled up to promote SDG impacts by 2030 and beyond. • Science, technological innovations, and data systems can help identify solutions in times of crises and can provide decisive contributions to address the major challenges of our times. These require increased and prolonged investments in statistical capacities, R&D, and education and skills.
The recording of the launch is available on the UNSDSN YouTube channel. There were two international panelists in conversation with the moderator – Ms. Susanna Moorehead, DAC Chair of the OECD and Prof. Jeffrey D. Sachs, President of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN). This was followed by the launch of the report with a PowerPoint presentation. In the last segment Arsène Dansou, Director General of the Debt Management Office, Ministry of Economy and Finance of Bénin and Dr. Simona Marinescu, UN Resident Coordinator Samoa, Cook Islands, Niue, Tokelau shared on promising national experiences.
During the HLPF there will be a number of VNR Labs and Side Event -to date a scheduling of these events has not been posted. You can watch for postings at https://hlpf.un.org/2022
The HLPF will end with a ministerial declaration. This declaration is currently being negotiated. Draft two is available HERE Paragraph 13 reads “We take note with appreciation of the Secretary-General’s report on Progress towards the SDGs. In particular, we note with alarm that years, or even decades, of development progress have been haltered or reversed, due to multiple and widespread impacts of COVID- 19, conflicts and climate change. We are particularly concerned by the rise in extreme poverty, hunger, malnutrition and food insecurity, inequalities, education disruptions, violence against women, unemployment, additional social and economic vulnerabilities affecting in particular those already in the most vulnerable situations, in addition to the increased challenges posed by climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution . We recognize that the multiple and interlinked global crises we are facing are putting the SDGs at great risk and jeopardize the achievement of the 2030 Agenda. We commit to mobilize and accelerate actions for rescuing the SDGs and leave no one behind by to adopting resilient, sustainable, inclusive and low-carbon development pathways for the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda.” The bold print is mine.
UN Women has published “Progress on the Sustainable Development Goals: The Gender Snapshot 2021” This 30 page book provides a good snapshot of the current situation of Gender Equality in relation to each of the SDGs. If you like visuals then you will appreciate the charts and graphs. One interesting one comparing the target with the reality is below. One of our strong advocacy points over the years has been for implementation of Social Protection Floors in line with ILO Recommendation 202. See Article 5 for a definition of Social Protection Floors.
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres is calling for measures to address a “horrifying global surge in domestic violence” directed towards women and girls, linked to lockdowns imposed by governments responding to the COVID-19 pandemic:
Peace is not just the absence of war. Many women under lockdown for #COVID19 face violence where they should be safest: in their own homes.
Today I appeal for peace in homes around the world.
I urge all governments to put women’s safety first as they respond to the pandemic.
Ms Murad, a 23 year-old Yazidi woman and Nobel Peace Prize nominee who survived trafficking at the hands of ISIL, briefed the UN Security Council in the first-ever session on human trafficking, which was held during the presidency of the United States on December 16. 2016. She described being rounded up with fellow Yazidis in Iraq in 2014, and witnessing as ISIL fighters shot men and boys in cold blood. She was subject to grave abuses at the hands of ISIL fighters, and bought and sold various times.
A relentless advocate for victims, Ms. Murad was recently named one of Time Magazine’s “100 Most Influential People of 2016.” She has met with various heads of state and global leaders to raise the plight of Yazidi victims of trafficking. Her appointment as UN Goodwill Ambassador will mark the first time that a survivor of atrocities is given this distinction. During her Ambassadorship, Nadia will focus on advocacy initiatives and raising awareness around the plight of millions of victims of trafficking in persons, especially refugees, women, and girls.
The appointment ceremony will take place on September 16th, 3.00 – 4.00 p.m. in the Trusteeship Council Chamber, United Nations Headquarters, New York.
The title of this post comes from the last summary point of a well research and informative article by Melissa Farley entitled ‘Very inconvenient truths: sex buyers, sexual coercion, and prostitution-harm-denial.’ The article has a number of headings addressing the various issues that arise when we talk about decriminalizing prostitution and addressing DEMAND which drives prostitution. Taking a holistic approach realizing that prostitution affects all of us and not just those in it is worth considering.
There is another summary point ‘at the root of prostitution, just like other coercive systems, are dehumanization, objectification, sexism, racism, misogyny, lack of empathy/pathological entitlement (pimps and johns), domination, exploitation, and a level of chronic exposure to violence and degradation that destroys the personality and the spirit.’ All of these systems are root causes of the persistence of violence against women. Prostitution is one of these violences.
Another comment that you may wish to explore and determine how to answer is ‘Prostitution cannot be made safe by legalizing or decriminalizing it. Prostitution needs to be completely abolished.’ Read the full article here
‘Mercy Sr. Angela Reed, who represents the Sisters of Mercy and Mercy International Association at the U.N. has conducted extensive research on the issue of sex trafficking in the Philippines and her native Australia.
“There is no quick fix or grand solution for eliminating the exploitation and commodification of people,” she said, stressing that the problem has its roots in poverty and related issues.’ Read the full article here
Sacred Space / A Garden of Dreams presents some reflections on Human Trafficking. To learn more go to this link Learn more about a new initiative SDG Alliance 8.7 – join forces globally to end child labour, forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking. This initiative is launched by the International Labour Organization (ILO).
You might be wondering what SDG and 8.7 mean. SDG is Sustainable Development Goal and 8 is reference to Goal 8 and 7 is a target within the goal. SGD Target 8.7 calls on all to take immediate and effective measures to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking and secure the prohibition and elimination of all forms of child labour as an essential step to achieving decent work for all, full and productive employment and inclusive and sustained economic growth .See the document published on February 12th for more information.
There is a diagram showing the intersectionality of the sustainable development goals in relation to Goal 8 “Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all” and the target 8.7 above.
Trafficking in persons is mentioned three times in the outcome document of CSW60 Paragraph 12 recognizing that trafficking in persons disproportionately affects women and girls. Paragraph 15 Trafficking in persons is listed as violence against women and girls and in the operative paragraph m ensure that the rights and specific needs of women and girls affected and displaced by trafficking in persons, are addressed in national and international plans, strategies and responses…
Minister for Women and the Prevention of Family Violence Fiona Richardson will tomorrow represent Victoria at the United Nations Commission for the Status of Women annual conference.
The conference will help inform the Andrews Labor Government’s response to the Royal Commission into Family Violence, which is due to report on 29 March.
Ms Richardson – alongside Member for Melton Don Nardella and Member for Macedon Mary-Anne Thomas – will join other political leaders from around the world to attend the CSW60 conference on women’s empowerment and global equality at the UN headquarters in New York. READ MORE
Good Shepherd in Australia/New Zealand made a submission to the Royal Commission into Family Violence.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Women and the Prevention of Family Violence Fiona Richardson
“Family violence is a national emergency. I want to see what the rest of the world is doing to prevent violence and improve the status of women so I can bring back their ideas to help Victorian families.”
“The Andrews Labor Government is determined to fix the broken system of family violence and we know this will only be possible if we also address gender inequality and do more to empower women.”
CSW 60 commences on Monday March 14, 2016 at the United Nations Headquarters in NY. The theme of the Commission this year is ‘Women’s empowerment and its link to sustainable development.’ The review theme: ‘The elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls. This is a review of the implementation of the agreed conclusions from the fifty-seventh session of the Commission. All the official event of the Commission will be Webcast live or you can choose to check up later . This link will give you an overview and bring you to the various webcast
The Good Shepherd Statement to the Commission is on the website and listed among the official document of the session. You can access one of the 6 languages into which it is translated HERE. The statement addresses the issue of prostitution and squarely names prostitution as a forms of violence against girls and women. ‘A system of prostitution is “incompatible with the dignity and worth of the human person” as stated in the United Nations Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others (1949).’ The continuance of the system of prostitution undermines both dignity of the person and equality. Prostitution is enabled by a patriarchal system in which it is embedded.
On my way back to NY yesterday I watched two movies Suffragette and I am Malala. Suffragette is the history of ordinary women seeking to get the vote in the latter part of 19th and into the 20th century. We all know the story of Malala and the right of girls to be educated. As I think of these women and girls and the abolitionists of today with regard to ending prostitution or the threats levied against women human rights defenders around the world I wonder if much has changed! This is poignantly seen in the murder of Berta Cáceres from Honduras for her environmental work.
Patriarchy, corporate power and finance are very much interlinked. The continuance of the system of prostitution which undermines both dignity and equality is propagated by commercial interests in sexual exploitation. In fact, under patriarchy, we currently witness systems of commercial exploitation of women and girls being reframed as simply part of the market economy — the commercial sex industry — as if sexual slavery, inequality and gender-based violence are in some way extrinsic to this experience. The promotion of the commercial sex industry serves to legitimize prostitution, which is violence against women and girls.
‘Gender-based discrimination and inequalities, patriarchal structures that promote male sexual domination, and culturally imposed feminine gender stereotypes all contribute to the sexual exploitation of women and girls. These discriminatory attitudes inherently demean women, permitting objectification and commercialization and infringing their rights and dignity. The feminization of poverty and global migration patterns also foster the continuance of the system of prostitution of women and girls, abandoned widows and their daughters being a particularly vulnerable group.’
‘From long experience accompanying women who have been in prostitution, our organizations knows that prostitution is a form of gender-based violence that inflicts severe damage and risks the physical and psychological health of women and girls. It is the exercise of power and control of male access to female bodies from female genital mutilation to child marriage; from domestic violence to reproductive rights. The exchange of money for such access does not eliminate the violence women face in prostitution or the sex trade. We know that prostitution is a lucrative business, mostly controlled by criminal groups, and it is tightly linked to trafficking of women and girls for sexual exploitation. The theoretical separation of the violence of trafficking and the inherent violence of prostitution serves only the criminals and profiteers; they are not separate phenomena. They are inextricably entwined with gender inequality and male dominance and the continued debasement of women.’