As we prepare to celebrate International Women’s Day again, here are four suggestions for learning more and becoming engaged with the international women’s agenda.
- The theme of International Women’s Day 2008 is Investing in Women and Girls and has an intense focus on financing for gender equality at the country level. For more UN information about this day, see www.un.org/womenwatch/feature/iwd/ .
- The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is one of the functional commissions of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and holds its annual session in New York from February 25 through March 7, 2008. Its priority theme this year is Financing for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. To read more about the CSW, see www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/csw/52sess.htm
- International human rights norms and standards must be implemented at the national level. The Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) regulates many women’s rights. The CEDAW Committee is responsible for monitoring how each State Party has complied with and implemented the obligations of the treaty. This is done by examining the government’s report to the Committee which is due every four years. Sometimes, NGOs give “shadow reports” commenting on the claims of their government.
Is your country a State Party to the CEDAW Convention? A list can be found at www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/cedaw/states.htm . Is there a specific women’s issue you would like to see addressed in your country’s next report or that your government was asked to redress after review of its previous report? One way to advocate for that is getting in touch with other NGOs in your country so as to share information and strategize together of how to bring that issue to the fore.
- The UN Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking (UN.GIFT) was launched by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and several UN partners in 2007 to bring governments, the private sector, academia, civil society and the media together ”to combat a practice that is viewed as modern-day slavery.” In February 2008, an important meeting about human trafficking was held Vienna, Austria, bringing together some 1,400 participants from 116 countries, including some trafficking victims. Read more here.
The forum challenged businesses to take slave-made products off the shelves and develop new technology to monitor human trafficking routes. What does this mean for RSCJ? Know the products you are buying, how they were made and by whom. Alert other members of the Society about companies that practice trafficking for labor exploitation. Support companies that openly make known their just labor policies.
Cecile Meijer rscj,