UN Women Celebrates Launch

bacheletunwomen.jpgOn 24 February 2011, the United Nations’ celebrated the historic launch of UN Women, its newest organization, with a full evening of remarks, music, and film in the United Nations General Assembly Hall. UN Women, formally known as the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, builds on a strong foundation by merging four previous UN agencies and offices: the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), the Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW), the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues, and the UN International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (UN-INSTRAW). Read more...

As Population Hits 7 Billion, UNFPA Focuses on Youth

By: Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, Executive Director of UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund

EDBabatunde.jpgThis year, world population will hit 7 billion. With this major milestone occurring in my first year as Executive Director of UNFPA, I have an interesting and unique opportunity in leading the organization’s priorities.

One major focus will be today’s large generation of young people. There are an estimated 1.8 billion adolescents and youth aged 10 to 24, accounting for nearly a quarter of the planet's population. Just below 90 per cent of them live in developing countries and that proportion will increase during the next 20 years. They want freedom, participation and dignity and their decisions will define the future. Read more...

Giving UN Women a Chance: The Need for Full Funding

Yesterday, Madeleine Bunting, a columnist for the Guardian who writes on a wide range of subjects including women's issues and social change, wrote about the UN's new agency for women, UN Women. In her blog for the Poverty Matters Blog, she mentions that although world leaders have been vocal about the importance of women's empowerment, they need to demonstrate their commitment by agreeing to properly fund UN Women, which before it's official start is already likely to be under-funded and under-resourced. Read more...

New Report Examines the Rights of Girls

biag_report_cover.jpgA new report, released by Plan International, examines the rights of girls throughout their childhood, adolescence and as young women. The Because I am a Girl: The State of the World's Girls 2010 - Digital and Urban Frontiers report looks at the prospects and perils facing girls on two of the 21st century's fastest growing areas - the boom in city populations and the explosion of IT and communication technology. Read more...

Tell US Senators: Let’s End Discrimination against Women NOW!

By: Joanna Hoffman, Program Associate at Women Deliver

Twenty-one years have passed since the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) was adopted in 1979 by the United Nations General Assembly. This development was largely due to the efforts of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), which has worked to develop a number of critical declarations focusing on the human rights of women. The text of the Convention was initially drafted by working groups within the Commission and through a working group of the General Assembly from 1977-1979. Since then, 186 of 193 countries have ratified CEDAW. Only seven have not, including the United States, Sudan, Somalia, Iran, and three small Pacific Island nations (Nauru, Palau and Tonga). Next Thursday, November 18th, a hearing will be held in the US Senate on the importance of ratifying CEDAW.

Click through to learn: What is CEDAW?; Why should the US ratify CEDAW?; and What you can do right now!

New UN Report: The State of World Population 2010

Effective peace-building requires women’s active participation, according to the The State of World Population 2010, published this past Wednesday by the United Nations Population Fund. The report’s release coincides with the anniversary of United Nations Security Council resolution 1325, a pivotal commitment to ending the abuse and marginalization of women in conflict and in peace-building initiatives.

Celebrate Solutions: Increasing Women’s Access to Mobile Technology Worldwide

By: Mariko Rasmussen, Program Assistant at Women Deliver Bolivia_Cell_Phone_Mom.jpg

Imagine a woman home alone and going into premature childbirth. She feels helpless and scared, and begins to bleed. Now imagine this woman has a mobile phone. She feels connected and more secure, knowing help is a text or phone call away. And if she had had access to a phone during her pregnancy, prenatal text messages could have prepared her for such an emergency. It is no surprise that increasing the use of mobile phones among women is a key strategy to reducing maternal and newborn mortality, and one of the five technologies that Women Deliver is championing to reach MDG5. Read more...

Former Chilean President Bachelet to Head New UN Women’s Agency

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today appointed former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet to head United Nations Women (UN Women), a newly created entity to oversee all of the world body’s programs aimed at promoting women’s rights and full participation in global affairs.

10 Ways to Celebrate International Year of Youth

Today, August 12, 2010, is International Youth Day. Its a day to celebrate the power of young people to make positive change for their communities, countries, and the world. Even bigger, today kicks off the International Year of Youth. There are lots of ways you can get involved over the next few months, and year. Click through to read 10 actions you can take right now...

UN Creates Single New Agency to Deal with Rights of Women Called UN Women

The United Nations General Assembly resolution to establish "UN Women" was agreed to on 30 June and formally adopted by the General Assembly on Friday, 2 July. The UN previously had four separate entities dedicated to women’s issues which will be combined in the new single entity focused on gender equality and the empowerment of women: the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), the Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW), the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW), and the Office of the Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women (OSAGI).

Rage for Justice Motivates Young People

By Joanne Omang

WASHINGTON, June 9 – Cell phone networks, edu-tainment, basketball teams, at least one kidney and great helpings of courage in the face of threats and even murder are bringing young people to the cutting edge of political change for women worldwide, a Women Deliver 2010 panel discussion demonstrated today.

Sarah Nkhoma of Malawi told the 3,000 conference participants that organizing university students to speak realistically about HIV/AIDS risks and sexual behavior earned her an arrest and a severe beating that left her hospitalized. “People don’t want to deal with the fact that young people have sex,” she said. “They owe me a kidney.”  more...

New Report Quantifies Gender Inequities in World Economies

The World Bank Group has released a new report aimed at rectifying some of the worst inequities faced by women around the world. The report Women, Business and the Law, attempts to quantify the legal barriers faced by women in opening and operating a business or in participating in the labor force. The report's headline finding is unsettling: out of 128 economies around the world, only 20 have equal rights for women and men in 9 areas measured by the report.

UN Agencies Issue Joint Statement on Adolescent Girls

Adolescent-girl.jpgEarlier this month, six UN agencies issued a joint statement that called for accelerated efforts to fulfill the human rights of marginalized adolescent girls. The statement, issued during the Commission on the Status of Women, sends a strong message that the UN and its partner organizations believe empowering adolescent girls can bring about desired changes in the world.

Afghan Women Blogging Their Stories

Through distance learning with U.S. volunteers, Afghan women are learning writing skills and filling a blog with their thoughts about love, politics and family, according to an article in Womens eNews:

In more than 100 entries about love, politics and a variety of other topics, Roya, Seeta and a small group of other Afghan women are able to express themselves freely, something women like them cannot always do.

Arab Women Issue Call to Heads of State

On the 30th anniversary of the adoption by the United Nations General Assembly of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the regional Coalition for “Equality without reservation” launched a call to Heads of State of Arab countries to promote the equality and citizenship of Arab women.

Let’s Put an End to Gender-Based Violence

It’s time, right? Gender-based violence (GBV) can pervade a woman’s entire life cycle, beginning with selective abortion of a female fetus to female genital mutilation/cutting to intimate partner violence. GBV is usually perpetrated by men against women and girls, and it can take many forms – sexual abuse, physical violence, emotional or psychological abuse, verbal abuse, economic abuse or beatings during pregnancy. GBV jeopardizes a woman’s health and well-being and detracts from her reproductive health.

Women Deliver: A Global Conference To End Maternal Deaths

Women Deliver, a landmark global conference, will be held in Washington DC on June 7-9, 2010 to halt the needless deaths of over 500,000 girls and women who die every year during pregnancy and childbirth, and the four million newborn babies. These tragic deaths are a major contributor to poverty around the world, and can be easily prevented with effective, low-cost investments.

Restrictive Abortion Laws Account for Maternal Deaths

New York – Increased contraceptive use has led to fewer abortions worldwide, but deaths from unsafe abortion remain a severe problem, killing 70,000 women a year, according to a major global survey from the Guttmacher Institute.

Thousands of Indian Women Dying in Childbirth

Lucknow, India - Tens of thousands of Indian women and girls are dying during pregnancy and childbirth, despite government programs guaranteeing free obstetric health care, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a newly released report.

Maternal Health is a Human Right

In a fantastic op-ed in the Boston Globe, Mary Robinson and Alicia Yamin, advisory council members of the International Initiative on Maternal Mortality and Human Rights, discuss the issue of preventable maternal deaths as a violation of women's rights.

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