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  • Thursday, March 30, 2017 11:51 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Petals in the Dust: The Endangered Indian Girls examines the condition of an endangered class of people living in one of the most populous, culturally and economic vibrant countries: modern India. They come from all walks of life and share only one common trait: they are female.

    A patriarchal mindset, a preference for sons and a deep-seated intolerance has led to the murder of 50 million girls and women in India in the last century. They continue to lose their lives in this century to infanticide, sex-selective abortions, starvation and medical neglect, dowry deaths and brutal gang rapes. The declining female population is also leading to increased crimes against women including trafficking and bride buying. By 2020 there will be 20 percent more men than women.

    The film explores the cultural origins of this vast genocidal crime and includes the voices of activists and gender experts. By profiling the unimaginable stories of brave survivors, viewers enter the chilling realities girls and women are currently enduring, NOW, providing a sense of urgency in helping to change status quo.


  • Thursday, March 30, 2017 11:44 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    First Lady Melania Trump and Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Thomas A. Shannon will present the 2017 Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Award to a group of extraordinary women from around the on March 29th at the U.S. Department of State.

    The Secretary of State’s International Women of Courage Award annually recognizes women around the globe who have demonstrated exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for peace, justice, human rights, gender equality, and women’s empowerment, often at great personal risk. Since the inception of this award in 2007, the Department of State has honored over 100 women from more than 60 different countries.

    The 2017 awardees are:

    • Sharmin Akter, Activist Against Early/ Forced Marriage, Bangladesh
    • Malebogo Molefhe, Human Rights Activist, Botswana
    • Natalia Ponce de Leon, President, Natalia Ponce de Leon Foundation, Colombia
    • Rebecca Kabugho, Political and Social Activist, Democratic Republic of Congo
    • Jannat Al Ghezi, Deputy Director of The Organization of Women’s Freedom in Iraq, Iraq
    • Major Aichatou Ousmane Issaka, Deputy Director of Social Work at the Military Hospital of Niamey, Niger
    • Veronica Simogun, Director and Founder, Family for Change Association, Papua New Guinea
    • Cindy Arlette Contreras Bautista, Lawyer and Founder of Not One Woman Less, Peru
    • Sandya Eknelygoda, Human Rights Activist, Sri Lanka
    • Sister Carolin Tahhan Fachakh, Member, Daughters of Mary Help of Christians (F.M.A.), Syria
    • Saadet Ozkan, Educator and Gender Activist, Turkey
    • Nguyen Ngoc Nhu Quynh, Blogger and Environmental Activist, Vietnam
    • Fadia Najib Thabet, Human Rights Activist, Yemen

    Full biographies and photos are available here.

    On April 1, the honorees will travel to cities across the United States to engage with the American people through an International Visitor Leadership Program. They will visit Atlanta, Denver, Des Moines, Minneapolis, New York, Pensacola, Pittsburgh, Portland, San Diego, and Tampa on their individual programs. The women will reconvene in Los Angeles to reflect on their visit and discuss ways to work together to improve the lives of women and girls around the world.

    Use #WomenOfCourage for news and updates about this year’s award.

    For more information on these events, contact Maryum Saifee at

  • Wednesday, January 06, 2016 9:10 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    By Rebecca Ruiz from


    These are just a few examples of the groundswell of support for gender equality. There are no signs of the momentum slowing, but it can be difficult to know which efforts to prioritize.

    To help focus your attention, we've chosen seven ways to support women in 2016:

    1. Include all women.

    Feminism lives up to its promise of equality when those who practice it understand how race, class, religion, education, sexuality and other factors affect a woman's experience in the world.

    On too many occasions, well-meaning activists have fought for equality without considering how their efforts might not help or even further marginalize certain women. A white, straight woman working a corporate job, for example, can fight for equality in the workplace, but that's likely to mean something entirely different to a low-income, queer woman of color making an hourly wage.

    2. Hear all women.

    Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina raised a complicated question this year: Can you champion women but not the policies that arguably lead to greater equality and autonomy?

    Fiorina, for example, has said she wants women to live they life they choose, yet she also opposes abortion and federal paid leave.

    While one might disagree with Fiorina's solutions to many of the problems women face, it's important to take her views seriously — and, in general, those of women whose politics don't align with traditional feminism. Like Fiorina, they may think deeply about what it means to empower women, and that is worth discussing.

    Achieving gender equality will be impossible if we can't listen to all women who care about these issues.

    3. Fight for reproductive rights.

    Next spring the Supreme Court will hear its first abortion case in a decade.

    Research shows, however, that women's lives are greatly improved, particularly in terms of education and income, when they can control their reproductive health.

    4. Press for paid family leave.

    While many nations are proud to give new mothers get paid leave, the United States is the only industrialized country in the world without a law guaranteeing that benefit. Only 12% of workers have access to paid leave through their employer. Federal law providing 12-weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave covers just 59% of workers.

    But research shows that when women have access to paid leave, they remain in the workforce and may even earn more.

    5. Insist on equal pay.

    You've probably heard the stat before: On average, American women make $0.79 for every dollar a white man earns. Most women of color make even less. In the UK, the mean average pay gap is 14%.

    The numbers are striking, but the pay gap isn't as simple as it seems.

    Women typically make less than men for a number of reasons. They face pressure to reduce their hours or quit the workforce once they become parents. They are concentrated in traditionally feminine jobs like nursing, teaching and childcare, which often pay substantially less than fields dominated by men.

    You can start making a difference by raising awareness of the issue, asking for greater workplace transparency on pay and, if you're a manager, ensuring that male and female employees with the same qualifications and experience are compensated equally.

    6. Champion LGBT equality.

    Discrimination and bias has far-reaching consequences even if you don't identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. A workplace, for example, that's hostile to people of different sexual and gender identities isn't a fair or equal one.

    Even though gay and lesbian couples won the right to same-sex marriage this summer, they still don't have legal protection from discrimination in many states across the country.

    Fighting for LGBT equality, in the U.S. and abroad, makes it possible for the movement to help allwomen.

    7. Embrace the words "feminist" and "feminism."

    Feminism remains a dirty word in many quarters. But simply put, the movement is about equality of opportunity.

    Each time you embrace the label and demonstrate its meaning and potential, you make it easier for others to do so as well.

    If you need inspiration, just watch this video of Malala, a Pakistani activist for girl's rights, explaining how she came to embrace the word feminist.

    Read the entire article at

  • Monday, January 04, 2016 12:42 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    By Catherine Russell and William R. Brownfield from

    After being violently raped by her neighbor in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Marie* didn't think she had many options. She was only 14 years old, and the rapist was a powerful person who would likely be immune from justice.

    He and his family continued to threaten Marie, and she considered ending her own life. Instead, she turned to a U.S.-funded legal clinic run by the American Bar Association's Rule of Law Initiative, where survivors of sexual and gender-based violence are given legal aid and psychological support.

    Marie received counseling to help her cope with the trauma of the rape. With the clinic's assistance, she pressed charges against her neighbor, moving forward even after the state prosecutor requested the matter be resolved "outside the courts." The perpetrator was put on trial and found guilty.

    More of this kind of justice is desperately needed in countries and communities plagued with conflict, lawlessness, and sexual and gender-based violence. Often women and girls are the targets of rape, sexual slavery, and human trafficking, but boys and men can also be victims.

    It is hard to overstate the long-term impact this type of violence wreaks on both individuals and communities. The individual survivors of sexual and gender-based violence, no matter who they are, are physically and emotionally scarred in traumatic ways that can last a lifetime.

    Today, the Accountability Initiative is strengthening the promise of justice in the Central African Republic (CAR), the DRC, and Liberia. In the DRC, the State Department is building on the momentum of President Kabila's recent appointment of a special advisor on sexual violence and on successful global investments in sexual and gender-based violence programming -- such as the U.S.-funded project that helped Marie -- by improving criminal case documentation and management processes in the eastern provinces. 

    The commitment of the United States to working with governments and the international community to raise awareness and end impunity is steadfast. As more people learn of sexual and gender-based violence cases going to court and being adjudicated fairly, their trust in the justice system increases and the hope grows that other survivors will follow a similar roadmap leading to justice. 

    - See more and read the full article at

  • Sunday, November 29, 2015 8:02 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Alexandria, VA – The National Women’s History Museum (NWHM) launched a one-stop interactive center onNovember 2 featuring multiple resources that chronicle the history and crusade by women in the United States for the right to vote.

    Crusade for the Vote: Woman Suffrage Resource Center offers a comprehensive location online for history enthusiasts, educators and curious researchers to learn about the 72-year campaign to gain women equal voting rights. Visitors can access primary, secondary and interactive sources at In addition, listen to experts discuss this significant moment in U.S. history on the Museum’s YouTube page. To watch, click here.

    As attention for the new movie Suffragette shines a spotlight on the efforts of British women to win the right to vote, we are reminded that the campaign in the U.S. was a long and tenuous battle. While the first woman to vote was recorded as early as 1756, women did not earn universal suffrage until 1920. The campaign has been described as the longest, bloodless battle. While some students may be familiar with the stalwarts of the campaign like Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Ida B. Wells and Susan B. Anthony, there are dozens of other women like Emma DeVoe, Josephine Ruffin and others whose stories remain unknown.

    Read more 

  • Monday, November 23, 2015 9:06 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)
    Prevention is the 2015 theme of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women on November 25th and of the UNiTE to End Violence against Women Campaign 16 days call for action - "Orange the World". This year, at the official commemoration at UN Headquarters in New York, the first United Nations Framework on Preventing Violence against Women will be launched and discussed. This document stems from the collaboration of seven UN entities: UN Women, International Labour Organization (ILO), Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and World Health Organization (WHO). The framework develops a common understanding for the UN System, policymakers and other stakeholders on preventing violence against women and provides a theory of change to underpin action.  

    Facts and Figures from the United Nations:

    • 35% of women and girls globally experience some form of physical and or sexual violence in their lifetime with up to seven in ten women facing this abuse in some countries.

    • It is estimated that up to 30 million girls under the age of 15 remain at risk from female genital mutilation ceremony (FGM/C), and more than 130 million girls and women have undergone the procedure worldwide.

    • Worldwide, more than 700 million women alive today were married as children, 250 million of whom were married before the age of 15. Girls who marry before the age of 18 are less likely to complete their education and more likely to experience domestic violence and complications in childbirth.

    • The costs and consequence of violence against women last for generations.

    Learn more about the 16 day worldwide celebration "Orange the World: End Violence Against Women and Girls" here.

  • Sunday, September 28, 2014 10:06 PM | Anonymous

    Emma Watson, British actor and UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, co-hosts a special event for UN Women’s HeForShe campaign.

    The HeForShe campaign is a solidarity movement for gender equality which calls upon men and boys to help end the persisting inequalities faced by women and girls globally.

  • Monday, March 31, 2014 3:28 PM | Anonymous
    Catholic church finally weighs in with its usual list of demands, but campaigners sense that the Holy See is losing influence 
    Before the start of the commission on the status of women (CSW) – the annual two-week gathering of member states at the UN to discuss progress towards gender equality and women's empowerment – there was disquiet at the Vatican's apparent silence over the wording of the conference's outcome document. 
    Had the Holy See, which has a seat on the UN as a non-member permanent observer state, and which in 2013 proposed more amendments to the outcome text than any other member, decided to stay out of the discussions this year? Was it quietly influencing the actions of countries with a strong Catholic population without putting its head above water? Would it come into the negotiations late? It appears to have opted for the latter. 
    This week, the Holy See weighed into the discussions with demands to remove from the CSW outcome document references to sex workers, lesbian, gay, transsexual and bisexual rights, and some of the wording around sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) – specifically those related to abortion and sex education. It is also understood to want the document to include explicit references to the importance of the family – and when the Vatican talks about family, it means in the traditional, nuclear sense: a man, woman and their children.
    Although there is no reason to believe these demands will derail the negotiations – the Vatican issued similar statements around SRHR last year, but, after a battle, a strong document still emerged from CSW – the particular reference to the "family" has set off some alarm bells.
    Women's rights campaigners argue that the wording used when talking about family can reinforce gender roles and stereotypes: women as wives, mothers and homemakers. And it can also ignore the diversity of families: single-parent families, child- or female-headed households or same-sex families.
    Campaigners are pushing back, arguing that no more than a single paragraph related to the role of family should be included in the CSW document, and that paragraph should recognise the diversity of families.
    Women's rights campaigners are used to a fight, particularly against the Vatican, other religious groups and more conservative governments. But there is a sense, this year, that the Vatican is beginning to lose some of its influence.
    Shannon Kowalski, director of advocacy and policy at the International Women's Health Coalition, says a positive outcome from a conference of Latin American and Caribbean states, which agreed to strengthen pro-women policies around population and development, has isolated the Holy See from its traditional support base.
    Kowalski says she is unfazed by the Vatican's exhortations on SRHR, but fears trouble could come from another quarter. The EU and the US are unhappy with wording around trade, women's economic justice and climate change.
    "We're starting to see a lot of the traditional north-south debates about trade, about climate change and other issues," she says. "These have more potential to bring negotiations down."
    Other pushbacks are coming from the African bloc of countries, which has once again thrown in a sovereignty clause, which is in effect a get-out-of-jail-free card for governments, allowing them to sign the outcome document, but ignore the bits they don't like – usually the points that could potentially restrict cultural and religious practices. It is understood, though, that South Africa has broken away from the African negotiating group.
    A similar sovereignty paragraph was included in last year's document, but was removed in the end on the condition that references to sex workers and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights were also erased. A similar trade-off is expected this year.
    There is also a battle over references to more funding for women's rights organisations. The UK is understood to be making the case for strong wording on this, in the face of countries – including the US, Russia and the Caribbean states – that want the language watered down.
    There are, of course, plenty of positives in the draft text that is largely agreed upon: a standalone goal on gender equality to be included in the next development goals after 2015; clear references to protection of women and girls from violence, including an end to harmful practices such as female genital mutilation, child marriage and "honour" crimes; protection for women's rights activists in their work and enforcement of the crucial role women play in peace and security negotiations. The outcome document is due to be signed on 21 March.
    Although no one will be complacent, the small signs that those who want to roll back the hard-fought rights of women are beginning to lose some ground will be encouraging for activists. It could mean in future that less time spent arguing over wording will mean more time discussing policy implementation and ensuring governments are held to account, which will be good news for women all over the word.

  • Monday, March 31, 2014 3:13 PM | Anonymous

    By Associated Press, Updated: Thursday, March 20, 9:06 PM

    UNITED NATIONS undefined A year ago, Egyptian politician and women’s rights activist Mervat Tallawy defied the Muslim Brotherhood to spearhead the adoption of a U.N. blueprint to combat violence against women. Now she’s back campaigning against conservatives to ensure that equality for women remains at the top of the U.N. agenda.

    As head of the Egyptian delegation to the two-week meeting of the Commission on the Status of Women, which ends Friday, Tallawy said she has been working hard to prevent any rollback on hard-fought gains including international recognition of women’s reproductive and sexual health and rights.

    “We are saying the gains that we have reached during the 1990s, we should not lose it now, or take a step backwards,” Tallawy said in an interview on Wednesday between negotiating sessions. “Why are we saying so? Because there is a conservative mood in the world, not only the Islamists, the developing countries, but also in the developed countries.”

    Last March, Tallawy, who is a minister and president of the National Council for Women-Egypt, surprised and delighted delegates from more than 130 countries when she ignored the Brotherhood and announced that Egypt would join consensus on a 17-page document that sets global standards for action to prevent and end violence against women.

    This year, the Commission on the Status of Women is focusing on how women and girls have fared in achieving the U.N. Millennium Development Goals adopted by world leaders in 2000 as the 2015 target date approaches undefined and what should be included in new goals expected to be adopted next year.

    The current goals include promoting gender equality and empowerment of women, cutting extreme poverty by half, ensuring every child has a primary school education, reducing maternal and child mortality, and halting and reversing the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

    The commission produced a proposed seven-page final document, which ballooned to 45 pages with suggested additions from many countries.

    Delegates were still working Thursday night to reduce the text and come up with a final draft. To be approved, it needs all delegates to agree before the conference ends Friday.

    Tallawy said she is in a better position this year because the Muslim Brotherhood, which was “a nightmare” on many fronts including on women’s rights, has been removed from power.

    Compared to last year, she said, extremist conservative positions taken by Iran, Cuba and Russia have softened, “but not totally.”

    This year, Tallawy said, there is also a group of young conservative diplomats “who get together thinking they can change the world.”

    Their inclination in the post-2015 agenda is not to mention gender equality or women’s issues and focus instead on the environment, sustainable development, climate change and other issues, she said.

    The reality is that millions of women are poor, discriminated against, and victims of violence, she said, and the unfinished goals must be carried over into the new goals along with a separate goal on women’s equality and empowerment.

    “We fought hard to get the rights,” Tallawy said. “They got it free.”

    “That’s why a person like me is obliged to stay until the end of the session, so these youngsters will not upside-down the whole situation,” she said.

    Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Monday, February 03, 2014 2:42 PM | Deleted user
    Posted on January 29, 2014 | SFGate | City Insider
    By (Heather Knight)

    Women are finally making some strides in city government. We’ve got four women supervisors and a female assessor, city administrator, fire chief, director of public health and director of the port to name a few. (No woman mayor in more than a quarter century, however. Harumph.)

    But when it comes to San Francisco’s private companies, there’s not much female representation at the top. According to a study last year from UC Davis, women make up just 11.9 percent of San Francisco private companies’ highest-paid executives and just 11.2 percent of their corporate directors. Studies also show that when women are among the leaders, the companies respond better to customers and make more money.

    The city’s Department on the Status of Women wants to remedy the gender inequity, but isn’t going the usual route of mandating changes in the private sector. (A tax on each man hired, perhaps? Save your angry e-mails. We’re joking.) Instead, the department has challenged the city’s large companies to come up with an innovative way to remedy the inequity – and several will share their results at an invitation-only roundtable at SPUR Thursday morning.

    The event has been a long undefined and we do mean, long undefined time coming. After the United States refused to join more than 180 other countries in signing the Human Rights Treaty for Women back in the 1990s, the city stepped in and signed on itself in 1998.

    At first, it concentrated mostly on improving the lot of women in city government but recently expanded its focus to the private sector, as well.

    “City government does better than the private sector in the sense that this is such a priority for us,” said Ann Lehman, the department’s senior gender adviser (now there’s a title!). “If you look across the board at who runs the city departments, we’ve done a fairly decent job. You can always say we could do better, but the numbers are higher for government than they are for the private sector.”

    Last year, the Department on the Status of Women launched a Gender Equity Challenge, and many companies agreed to select one practice to promote gender equity and report back on whether it was successful. Companies that will present their results Thursday include Levi’s, Twitter and AT&T.

    Lehman particularly praised Symantec, a security software maker located on Second Street. It met its own pledge of having the percentage of women in leadership positions and on its board of directors match the 27 percent level of women in the company at large.

    Cecily Joseph, vice president of corporate responsibility at Symantec, said its board found top-notch new female members by tweaking its criteria. For example, it used to require that new members have been CEOs or have reported directly to CEOs, which eliminates most women.

    “It really invigorates us and makes us want to do better,” she said of the city’s challenge. “Companies by their nature are competitive, and when we see what other companies are doing, we think, ‘Oh gosh, we can do that too.’”

    That’s Lehman’s hope.

    “I’d love to see it grow and that it become a little bit of the keeping up with the Jones so that each year companies want to outdo themselves with better programs and better practices and that things begin to change because it just becomes de rigueur that you have to comply with these kinds of social pressures,” she said.

    – Heather Knight
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