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Conscience. 2002 Spring; 23(1):15-7, 42.During the UN Beijing Plus 5 conference in March 2000, both Catholics and Muslims were well represented at the proceedings. The progressive network included both religious and secular nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), including: the Latin American and Caribbean Women's Health Network, the Girls' Power Initiative of Nigeria, Catholics for a Free Choice, the Albanian Family Planning Association, and the Ecumenical Women 2000+. On the other hand, the conservative network consisted of both religious and secular NGOs, including: the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, the World Family Policy Forum at Brigham Young University, the National Right to Life Committee, Concerned Women for America, the National Institute of Womanhood, Global Helping Advance Women and Children, and United Families International. It is noted that tensions between the conservative and progressive camps at the UN are always palpable and each camp regularly monitors the other's activities. A propensity on both sides to objectify the moral status of their opponents was also detected.
VIVRE AUTREMENT. 1994 Oct; (Spec No):3.In November 1994 in Senegal, Dakar will host the regional conference on women. Its purpose is to develop a common action plan that Africa will present in Beijing. Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and governments have already been preparing for this meeting. This conference had been organized by a series of meetings continent-wide, where governments and NGOs clarified their positions on the 3 themes: equality, development, and peace. The Ministry of Women and the Family has the task of preparing the Senegalese viewpoint of the operation. Senegalese authorities want to make the meeting in Dakar a success. They have decided to have expositions, cultural displays, a women's business forum, a village restaurant where representatives from each country will get to know the culinary wealth of other countries, and a gala event. Everyone is ready to discuss equality, women's access to decision making structures (especially in the education sector), and better distribution of income between the sexes. NGOs do not intend to sit back and do nothing at the conference, but intend to influence the editing of the action plan. Many women's and health-based NGOs are rising up against the gaps of the action plan which only consider women's biological and physical aspects but not their mental and psychological aspects. Participants should consider the disastrous effects of sexual abuse and early marriages. Are governments ready to reform their laws which tend to discriminate against women and institutionalize their low status? Do they have the political will to check the conservative forces, such as those that spoke out against women in the final report of the forum in Tunisia? The number of women in powerful posts in Africa is growing. They can certainly advance things more rapidly than in the recent past. Women at Dakar should work together to address conflicts in Africa. Women should insist that women participate in all peace negotiations.