Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

Is The UN Opening Its Doors To Women?

Is The UN Opening Its Doors To Women?

By Andreas von Warburg

The United Nations is not the most hospitable place for women. Only a handful of Under-Secretaries-General and Assistant Secretaries-General are women, while UN female Ambassadors counts less than 18 – the New Zealand Ambassador, Rosemary Banks, being one of the few.

But the Organizations seems now a step closer to a more gender balanced approach to the UN agenda. The High-Level Panel on United Nations Reform has proposed the creation of the full-fledged agency for women. “The message is clear,” the report of the High-Level Panel reads. “While the UN remains a key actor in supporting countries to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment, there is a strong sense that the UN system’s contribution has been incoherent, under-resourced and fragmented.”

As of now, women’s issues – from development to human rights, from social justice to empowerment at the political level – are entrusted to two entities in particular: the United Nations Fund for Women (UNIFEM), controlled by UNDP, and the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women (OSAGI), part of the Secretariat and headed by an Assistant Secretary-General. Other offices in the Department of Social and Economic Affairs and agencies like the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and UNAIDS also deal extensively with women’s issues.

Now, the High-Level Panel, formed by Secretary-General Kofi Annan earlier this year to address imbalances and set up a plan for the future of the Organization, is proposing the creation of an enhanced, dynamic and independent policy, advocacy and operational agency for women’s empowerment and gender equality, to be headed by an Under-Secretary-General. “This entity should mobilize forces of change at the global level and inspire enhanced results at the country level,” the report reads. “The promotion of gender equality must remain the mandate of all UN entities.”

“If implemented and funded as recommended, the new organization will begin to correct over six decades of UN neglect and indifference toward women,” said Stephen Lewis, the United Nations Special Envoy for HIV/AIDS in Africa, and a long-standing advocate for a new agency “to replace the UN’s weak women’s machinery.”

The panel recommended that the new women’s entity must be fully and ambitiously funded. “We agree whole-heartedly,” commented Lewis. “To make up for lost time and turn rhetoric into reality, the new organization will need a budget of $1 billion.”

Last week, Kofi Annan has once again recognized the importance of the empowerment of women. “The world is starting to grasp that there is no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of women and girls,” he said during the celebrations for the 60th anniversary of the Commission on the Status of Women. “Study after study has taught us that no other policy is as likely to raise economic productivity, or to reduce infant and maternal mortality. No other policy is as sure to improve nutrition and promote health – including the prevention of HIV/AIDS. No other policy is as powerful in increasing the chances of education for the next generation.”

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Binoy Kampmark: The Major Questions Doctrine: The US Supreme Court Blunts The EPA
The US Supreme Court has been frantically busy of late, striking down law and legislation with an almost crazed, ideological enthusiasm. Gun laws have been invalidated; Roe v Wade and constitutional abortion rights, confined to history. And now, the Environmental Protection Agency has been clipped of its powers in a 6-3 decision.
The June 30 decision of West Virginia v Environmental Protection Agency was something of a shadow boxing act... More>>


Ian Powell: Are we happy living in Handy's Age of Unreason?

On 19 June the Sunday Star Times published my column on the relationship between the Labour government’s stewardship of Aotearoa New Zealand’s health system and the outcome of the next general election expected to be around September-October 2023: Is the health system an electoral sword of Damocles for Labour... More>>


The First Attack On The Independents: Albanese Hobbles The Crossbench
It did not take long for the new Australian Labor government to flex its muscle foolishly in response to the large crossbench of independents and small party members of Parliament. Despite promising a new age of transparency and accountability after the election of May 21, one of the first notable acts of the Albanese government was to attack the very people who gave voice to that movement. Dangerously, old party rule, however slim, is again found boneheaded and wanting... More>>


Dunne Speaks: Roe V. Wade Blindsides National

Momentum is everything in politics, but it is very fragile. There are times when unexpected actions can produce big shifts and changes in the political landscape. In 2017, for example, the Labour Party appeared headed for another hefty defeat in that year’s election until the abrupt decision of its then leader to step aside just weeks before the election. That decision changed the political landscape and set in train the events which led to Labour being anointed by New Zealand First to form a coalition government just a few weeks later... More>>

Digitl: Infrastructure Commission wants digital strategy
Earlier this month Te Waihanga, New Zealand’s infrastructure commission, tabled its first Infrastructure Strategy: Rautaki Hanganga o Aotearoa. Te Waihanga describes its document as a road map for a thriving New Zealand... More>>


Binoy Kampmark: Leaking For Roe V Wade
The US Supreme Court Chief Justice was furious. For the first time in history, the raw judicial process of one of the most powerful, and opaque arms of government, had been exposed via media – at least in preliminary form. It resembled, in no negligible way, the publication by WikiLeaks of various drafts of the Trans-Pacific Partnership... More>>