• Sunday, August 31, 2014
  • A program of IPS Inter Press Service supported by the Dutch MDG3 Fund


    Political and Economic Turmoil Threaten Women’s Progress

    03 Feb 2012

    Executive Director of UN Women Michelle Bachelet

    By Mathilde Bagneres

    UNITED NATIONS, Feb 2, 2012 (IPS) – As UN Women celebrated its first birthday, its executive director Michelle Bachelet stressed that political upheveal and shrinking budgets are no excuse to push back the hard-won gains made by the women’s movement globally.

    “My top priority for 2012 will be to make a renewed push for women’s economic empowerment and political participation,” Bachelet said at UN Women’s one-year anniversary press conference Thursday.

    Formally known as the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, UN Women was established to accelerate progress on meeting women and girls’ needs worldwide. Created by the U.N. General Assembly in July 2010, it became operational on Jan. 1, 2011.

    Its six priorities are advancing women’s political participation and leadership; improving women’s economic empowerment; ending violence against women and girls; expanding the role of women in peace talks, peace building, and recovery; making budgets and plans benefit women and men equally; and increasing coordination and accountability across the U.N. system for gender equality. More »

    War Survivors: Body Politics and Isis-Women’s International Cross Cultural Exchange

    05 Sep 2011

    Isis-WICCE activities in the community livelihood projects in Soroti and Pader.

    By Wendy Harcourt*

    It is hard to recall that just a couple of decades ago rape as a weapon of war was an unspeakable subject. The appalling violations of women and children during wartime were hidden from view. Millions of women bore the brutality, humiliation, pain debilitating physical and psychological scars with no support and too often complete rejection of their community.

    Unfortunately rape in war continues but it is no longer silenced. It is upfront as one of the gravest rights abuses now punishable by criminal courts. In 2008 the UN Resolution 1820 (2008), stated that “rape and other forms of sexual violence can constitute war crimes, crimes against humanity or a constitutive act with respect to genocide”.  The resolution calls not only for monitoring and prosecution of warring factions but also for a crackdown on peacekeepers who exploit women and children during times of conflict. More »

    Building the Tools for Accelerated Implementation

    26 Oct 2010

    Anne Marie Goetz

    Anne Marie Goetz, Chief Advisor, Governance Peace and Security - UNIFEM (part of UN Women). Credit Paula Fray/IPS

    Anne Marie Goetz*

    NEW YORK: It is not a secret that implementation of the important United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 has been disappointing.

    Principled assertions of women’s right to participate in peace processes, or the importance of addressing their needs in recovery processes and of halting the use of sexual violence have not been matched by significant change.

    Since 1990 only eight peace agreements have included sexual violence among the “prohibited acts” that would constitute a ceasefire violation, and only about 5 percent of post-conflict spending targets women-specific areas. More »

    Female Factor Key to Human Rights

    26 Oct 2010

    Private Linda Mensah patrols the city of Buchanan with the Ghanaian Battalion of the United Nations Mission in Liberia.

    Private Linda Mensah patrols the city of Buchanan with the Ghanaian Battalion of the United Nations Mission in Liberia.

    By Fatima Asmal

    DURBAN, Oct 26, 2010 (IPS) – Gender training for peacekeeping operations “is not something you do for two weeks before you go for deployment,” says Florence Butegwa, UNIFEM representative to the African Union (AU) and U.N. Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).

    The growing international recognition of the value of female peacekeepers has spurred efforts by the AU, with support from UNIFEM, to increase the number of women in its peacekeeping operations.

    Nigeria is leading the way in terms of African women’s presence in the deployment of peacekeeping forces, and is hoping to increase numbers in line with the global effort launched just over a year ago to raise the proportion of women in United Nations Police (UNPOL) peacekeeping operations to 20 percent by 2014. More »

    Rape Is Not Adultery

    26 Oct 2010

    Darfuri refugee: a national coalition is seeking to reform Sudan's law governing rape to empower women to seek justice for sexual violence. Credit: HDPTCAR/Wikicommons

    Darfuri refugee: a national coalition is seeking to reform Sudan's law governing rape to empower women to seek justice for sexual violence. Credit: HDPTCAR/Wikicommons

    By Reem Abbas

    KHARTOUM, Oct 26, 2010 (IPS) – Women in the Sudanese region of Darfur have been raped with impunity since the start of the conflict there in 2003. Now a campaign to reform the rape law is gaining momentum in the country, promoted by Alliance 149, a national coalition born in late 2009.

    Under Article 149 – the portion of the Sudanese Criminal Code of 1991 which pertains to rape – the crime is defined as “zina”, intercourse between a man and a woman who are not married to one another, without consent. More »

    Women Warriors Take the Offensive in War Zones

    26 Oct 2010

    By Thalif Deen

    UNITED NATIONS, Oct 25, 2010 (IPS) – The world’s traditional peacemakers – a title long conferred on women – may be undergoing a gradual transformation.

    The growing number of female suicide bombers in Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Palestine, and until recently Sri Lanka, and women combatants in Nepal and El Salvador, are challenging the long-held view that only men take up arms in war zones.

    A weeklong debate on the role of women in peace and security, beginning Monday, coincides with the 10th anniversary of a landmark Security Council resolution (1325) calling for a key role for women in peacemaking, peacebuilding and peacekeeping operations. More »

    An Opportunity to Say Never Again

    25 Oct 2010

    Gender activists in the DRC hope to make gender-based violence an election issue. / Credit: UNIFEM

    Gender activists in the DRC hope to make gender-based violence an election issue. / Credit: UNIFEM

    By Baudry Aluma

    SOUTH KIVU, DR Congo, Oct 25, 2010 (IPS) – Civil society in the DRC’s eastern province of South Kivu is determined that meaningful action will follow from the publication of the U.N.’s Mapping Project, a report detailing some of the most serious human rights violations by state and non-state actors in the DRC between 1993 and 2003.

    Armed conflict during this period was accompanied by the systematic and widespread use of rape and sexual assault. As part of a terror campaign, combatants committed public rapes, gang rapes, forced incest, sexual mutilation, disembowelling, genital mutilation and cannibalism against the civilian population. More »

    Widows Struggle to Put Life Back Together Again

    25 Oct 2010

    In peace, women bear a heavy load in looking for jobs and tending to their families. / Credit:Adithya Alles/IPS

    In peace, women bear a heavy load in looking for jobs and tending to their families. / Credit:Adithya Alles/IPS

    By Adithya Alles

    COLOMBO, Oct 25, 2010 (IPS) – Having to take care of eight teenage children is not an easy task for 70-year-old Yamunadevi (not her real name).

    But these youngsters are her grandchildren, orphaned by Sri Lanka’s civil war of more than two decades. “I have no option. I have to take care of them, otherwise they don’t have anyone else,” said Yamunadevi, who hails from Alampiddi, Mullaithivu district in the north. More »

    India’s Female Peacekeepers Inspire Liberian Girls

    25 Oct 2010

    Indian peacekeepers drilling in Liberia. / Credit: Christopher Herwig/UN Photo

    Indian peacekeepers drilling in Liberia. / Credit: Christopher Herwig/UN Photo

    By Tamasin Ford and Sonnie Morris*

    MONROVIA, Oct 24, 2010 (IPS) – It is break time at the Victory Chapel School in Congo Town. Children dressed in their royal blue uniforms with bright yellow and white trim fight to get under the shade of the only mango tree in the yard. It is the start of the dry season and the scorching sun will soon be almost unbearable to stand in.

    This small school, on the outskirts of Liberia’s capital, Monrovia, is much like any other in the city until you see what stands beside it. More than a hundred female peacekeepers patrol the grounds of a big white fenced compound, the first all-female unit of UN police in history. More »