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UNIFEM & Nicole Kidman work to end violence against women

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Nicole Kidman, UNIFEM Goodwill Ambassador

Combating violence against women is what Inés Alberdi, executive director of the U.N. Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), calls the missing goal, because it is not an issue addressed by the U.N.'s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

But it is an issue with a lot of faces, like Joyce, who was raped during the post-election violence in Kenya, and Tanya, who is a survivor of domestic violence in New York City. ... U.N. officials point out that the fight against gender-based violence is making progress on some fronts. "More governments than ever are having violence against women on their agenda," Maria José Alcalá, a senior advisor at UNIFEM, told IPS. Now is a "most historic opportunity" to "change hearts and minds", to overcome "limited political will of many countries" and to stop them declaring violence against women a private matter -- a women's issue -- she added. Monika Manke, Women Fight to Put Violence on Global Agenda, Inter Press Service, 9-18-08

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Human Rights Update: UNIFEM Works for Achievement of the "Missing Goal" -- Ending Violence Against Women

By Richard Power

It is a very simple truth that resonates throughout the spiritual, psychological, social, cultural and political dimensions of human existence -- if you empower women, you strengthen civilization, you open its eyes and heart, you integrate it into the life of the planet, you heal and cultivate, you birth and weave, you protect it and you nurture it, you make it smarter, healthier, stronger, quicker and more intuitive, you enrich it and you disarm it.

Next week, world leaders meet on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). In the run-up, UNIFEM has issued a new report: Progress of the World’s Women 2008/2009, Who Answers to Women? Gender and Accountability. According to UNIFEM, much stronger accountability mechanisms for tracking progress on gender equality are needed in order to meet national and international commitments to women’s rights: accountability to women begins with increasing the number of women in decision-making positions, but it cannot stop there.

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“Good governance needs women, and women need good governance,” said Anne Marie Goetz lead author of the report. “Women have a different perspective on accountability because they often experience accountability failures differently from men. This report argues that good governance needs women’s engagement — just as gender equality requires states that are accountable and capable of delivering on promises of women’s rights.”

Here is an excerpt from Progress of the World’s Women 2008/2009, Who Answers to Women? Gender and Accountability, and a link to the full report.
Key findings and recommendations are:

Multilateral aid and security institutions can do much more to meet their own commitments and standards on gender equality...

Public service delivery that responds to women’s needs is the real litmus test of government accountability. Women continue to face barriers to health, education and agricultural support services...

One form of accountability failure is corruption, and women’s experiences are different from those of men. In developed countries, 30 percent more women than men perceive high levels of corruption in the education system...

Even though in the last decade the number of women parliamentarians at the national level has increased by 8 percent to a global average of 18.4 percent, developing countries will still not reach the “parity zone” of 40–60 percent until 2045...

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Real improvement in women’s access to justice needs gender-based changes in law enforcement and informal justice institutions...

Women are extremely vulnerable to shifting patterns in global markets in the absence of measures that protect them, such as during the recent food crisis, for they not only assume primary responsibility for feeding their families but also contribute as much as 50–80 percent of agricultural labour in Asia and Africa...

To get the full report, Progress of the World’s Women 2008/2009, Who Answers to Women? Gender and Accountability, click here.

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Richard Power writes and speaks on the 21st Century security and sustainability crisis. He is the author of five books. He has also delivered executive intelligence briefings and led professional training in over thirty countries. You can read his (more...)

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UNIFEM & Nicole Kidman work to end violence against women