20 Ways to Achieve Women’s Empowerment

An event organized by Dianova during the 59th Session on the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW 59), in New York

At the margin of the 59th Session of the Commission on the Status of the Women (CSW 59) held in New York from 9 to 20 March 2015, Dianova organized a parallel event supporting the Beijing Platform for Action +20 Review. The event took place on 17 march 2015 at the United Nations Church Center in cooperation with the General Board of Church and Society of the Methodist Church, IBON International and Freedom from Fistula Foundation.

Dianova Side event: audience Dianova side event: Jeannie Sappa Dianova side event: Danica Bourque Dianova side event: Pascale Laneuville

The main focus of the CSW59 will be on the Beijin Declaration and Platform for Action, evaluation of current challenges in its implementation and ways to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of women.

Dianova Event at the CSW59In line with the Commission’s goals, Dianova and its partners looked into the gaps and progress that have been made in the advancement of women rights and identified 20 top suggestions to move women forward in the Post 2015 development agenda. The panel discussion, moderated by Rev. Liberato Bautista, from the Methodist Church, featured four interventions representing different aspects of women’ Agenda.

Each speaker advanced five concrete suggestions on how to achieve the goals of gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Roma Bhattacherjea, a global expert in International Development & Women Rights shared her expertise in social development in the fields of women, peace and security (WPS), her five proposals are as follows :

1. Roma stressed the need to shifting the current debate from security to peace and focus on the women deficit.

2. Women leadership, participation and representation should be secured in each stage of the peace process.

3. Roma elaborated on the important link between women peace and security with inclusive economy, allowing women’s economic empowerment.

4. Importance of reinforcing the Rule of Law and Justice Sector and women’s access to justice.

5. Lastly, she emphasized the importance of information and communication technologies (ICTs) allowing women to profit from the power of innovation and to connect with the world.

Danica Bourque from Dianova Canada, together with Jeannie Sappa and Pascalle Laneuville presented Dianova’s work with the Inuit

As representatives of the Inuit, an indigenous people inhabiting the Artic and Sub-Artic region in the territory of Nunavik. Jeannie Sappa and Pascalle Laneuville shared first hand views as indigenous representatives on the actual challenges and progress needed to improve women’s life in the Nunavik communities.

1. The first aspect that was highlighted was the urgent need to increase the number of social housing units in Nunavik communities,  in addition, the accessibility, suitability and affordability of housing in general must be improved.

2. in order to reduce criminality in Nunavik communities and to better protect victims, governments and regional organizations should implement culturally and socially adapted programs designed for the assistance and rehabilitation of Inuit sentenced to prison, both while inmates as well as upon release.

3. Education is another very important aspect to be considered to support women in achieving self-realization and economic independence. It is strongly recommended to establish a post-secondary educational institution in Nunavik, such as a college or university.

4. Children and children care are priorities for the Inuit Families. It is suggested that a childcare center be built in every community in order to lessen the number of placements of children in foster care, to promote family harmony, strength and unity, and to restore parenting skills among Inuit men and women.

5. Lastly, the creation of family-healing centers conveying Inuit elder’s knowledge and wisdom would serve both to break the silence that has shrouded the past and present hardships of the Inuit, and to foster dialogue between family and community members

Susan Burton Director, Women’s and Children’s Advocacy – General Board of Church & Society presented the current challenges for women and how to address these challenges

1. She stressed the importance of the access to family planning, giving attention to spacing and timing of pregnancy.

2. Susan highlighted that it is crucial to eradicate sexual and gender-based violence against women and girls.

3.  In doing that, it is essential to engage men and boys as allies and teach new models of healthy masculinity.

4. We must transform cultural messages and practices that perpetuate inequality.

5. A cross-cutting issue that Susan raised is also the need to eliminate poverty that affects and prevent women empowerment.

Maria Theresa Nera-Lauron from IBON international focused her intervention elaborating on the concept of Justice and its implications for women

1. Redistributive Justice. An equitable and democratic redistribution of resources, wealth and opportunities has been a long-standing call of women demanding development justice. It is critical to dismantle the existing system of ownership that channel resources and wealth from developing countries to wealthy countries, from people to corporations and elites.

2. Economic Justice. While more women now participate in paid employment than at any other moment in history, labor markets are still sex-segregated with many rules and policies limiting women’s access to jobs that are low-quality and low-paying. Economic Justice aims to develop economies that enable dignified lives and facilitate employment and livelihoods available to all

3. Social and Gender Justice. Social and Gender Justice aims to eliminate all forms of discrimination, marginalization, exclusion that pervade our communities. It recognizes the need to eliminate patriarchal systems and fundamentalisms, challenge existing social structures and guarantee the human rights of all peoples.

4. Environmental Justice. Global warming is most dramatically affecting women, primarily Indigenous women and women of the Global South, Real environmental justice is founded on women’s demand for an urgent shift towards sustainable consumption and production patterns that prioritizes the wellbeing of women and the planet, not profits.

5. Accountability to People. Accountability to peoples demands democratic and just governments, transparency, and governance that enables people to make informed decisions over their own lives, communities and futures. It necessitates empowering all people, but particularly the most marginalized, to be part of free, prior and informed decision making in all stages of development processes at the local, national, regional and international levels.

The results of the panel and the discussion, that followed, will be further elaborated by the speakers and the moderator and collected in a publication. The common aim is to provide with concrete suggestions and contribution to be taken into consideration for the Beijing+20 revision in 2015 and beyond.