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Paris, France, UNESCO, 2005. 48 p.HIV/AIDS has reached crisis proportions in many parts of the world, particularly in Southern Africa. To curb its spread, political leaders as well as health care and development specialists and practitioners have made concerted efforts to generate awareness and introduce education relating to this disease. Nevertheless, despite the abundance and availability of educational programmes aimed at the general public on HIV/AIDS, people in poor countries are dying faster than ever before, especially in Southern Africa. This puzzle leaves observers asking questions, such as "Why is this happening?", "Why has the infection rate increased?", "Are the educational materials reaching the right people?", "Are they affecting people who are at greatest risk?", "What is missing or wrong with them?", and "Where are the information gaps?". (excerpt)
UN Chronicle. 2003 Dec; 40(4): p..The media, as an important agent of socialization in the modern world, either support or contest cultural conceptions, and have a significant impact on the social construction of gender. The media's effects operate at the level of gender belief systems, affecting individual "beliefs and opinions about males and females, and about the purported qualities of masculinity and femininity". The mass media have been found to play a critical role in maintaining the gender-power imbalance, "passing on dominant, patriarchal/sexist values". But such a situation is not inherent in the nature of media. They can instead be agents of development and progress if guided by clear, socially relevant policies. Their hoped-for positive contribution to women's advancement will only take place in the context of a framework that clearly defines policy objectives, maps out actions and decisions which comprise the particular policy, defines the minimum standards to be met by all participants in the process, and provides mechanisms for assessing progress towards policy objectives. (excerpt)
New York, New York, UNDP, . 4 p.There is also a need for greater insight into why and how men and women enter into sexually-defined spaces and relations. For women, this may have to do with cultural imperatives which place high value on mother-hood and on the continuation of the lineage. Or the reason may have to do with economic imperatives, an inability to survive economically without the support of a man or except by commercial sex work. Or with a desire for the intimacy or companionship which a sexual relationship may give them or with a need for protection, a critical social role that men play. A women-centered analysis of desire and sexuality, of power and its impact, of relations of production and reproduction, of the social construction of kinship and gender, of the value of compassion and solidarity, that is, of the experience of being a woman, all contribute to a better understanding of why, for an individual woman, it may be so very difficult to remain uninfected. (excerpt)
POPULI. 1995 Jan; 22(12):5-7.The Arab Plan of Action for the Advancement of Women to the Year 2005, which will be presented at the September 1995 Beijing Conference, was agreed on by delegates in Amman, Jordan, at the Arab Regional Preparatory Meeting for the Fourth World Conference on Women. The Plan is considered a breakthrough for Arab women's nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), which lobbied for the inclusion of 3 chapters concerned with the environment, violence against women, and communications and media. Priority concerns of Arab women, which are addressed in the Plan, include 1) safeguarding their right to participate in decision-making structures and mechanisms; 2) alleviating their poverty; 3) ensuring equal opportunity at all levels of education; 4) ensuring equal access to health services; 5) strengthening their capabilities to enter the labor market and achieve self-reliance; 6) overcoming the impact on women of war, occupation, and armed conflict, and ensuring their participation in peace negotiations; 7) ensuring their participation in natural resource management and environmental protection; and 8) eliminating violence against women, and effectively utilizing communications channels to bring about changes in women's roles in society and to achieve equality between the sexes. The meeting also called for a follow-up meeting to be held prior to the Beijing Conference and made a declaration of solidarity with Algerian women who are the victims of political violence. The declaration met with some opposition from the Sudanese. Although the role of Islamic fundamentalists in the violence against women was acknowledged, Islam was emphasized as a religion of love, openness, and moderation. The meeting, which was organized by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, the League of Arab States, and the Center for Arab Women for Training and Research, was attended by NGOs, experts, officials, and government delegations from Algeria, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Sudan, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.
POPULATION BULLETIN OF THE UNITED NATIONS. 1989; (27):13-29.This paper review progress over the past 5 years with respect to the 6 recommendations adopted at the International Conference on Population 1984, which specifically address the situation of women. They include: 1) integrating women into development, 2) women's economic participation, 3) education, training, and employment, 4) raising the age at marriage, 5) the active involvement of men in all areas of family responsibility, and 6) the ratification of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. Several important areas potentially relevant to population issues which were omitted from the Conference recommendations are identified and discussed--namely, the situation of women (in particular, older women, women who are the sole supporters of families, and women and migration) and the situation of women in times of severe economic adversity. Finally, progress made with respect to data on women is highlighted, and caution is advised with respect to continued calls for new data. In contrast to the Nairobi Forward-Looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women, the recommendations are noted for implying an almost unresolvable conflict between women's biological and economic roles. However, it is pointed out that the goals of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women for full equality of men and women would require that the same choices be available to both sexes with respect to labor force participation. While it is too soon to have a clear perspective on the pace and direction of change during the past 5 years, the author finds it impossible to be optimistic about current trends because, in too many areas, progress regarding women has either stagnated or moved into reverse gear. The disappointing record is partially attributed to the tendency for policy makers to see the promotion of economic growth through sound economic policy and advancing the status of women as competing rather than complementary goals. (author's)