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The "war on terror", and withdrawing American charity: Some consequences for poor Muslim women in Kolkata, India.
Meridians: Feminism, Race, Transnationalism. 2004; 4(1):137-167.While I cannot establish conclusive links between connected events, several pertinent questions have, for me, pointed to tentative but disturbing conclusions. The thrust of this paper comments on the disjuncture between American claims to “liberate” the Muslim woman in its “war on terror,” and the actual consequences for “real” people when political agendas underlie such rhetoric—even for private donor agencies working in the developing world. In the account that follows, I describe briefly some of AAES’s programs, with a focus on their programs for women; its achievements; my own involvement as a CSC “sponsor” of a young girl in the basti; and developments after the events of September 11, 2001. (excerpt)
Contraception. 2006 May; 73(5):443-444.Steroid hormonal contraceptives, including oral contraceptives, injectables and implants, are highly effective and widely used. These contraceptives have important health benefits, including contraceptive and noncontraceptive benefits, and some health risks. For most women, the health benefits of use clearly exceed the health risks. Questions have been raised regarding the association between use of one particular hormonal contraceptive, depot medroxyprogesterone acetate (DMPA) and the risk of bone loss. In response, WHO convened a consultation in Geneva, on June 20-21, 2005, to assess current evidence on the relationship between the use of steroid hormonal contraceptives and bone health. (excerpt)
Lancet. 2006 Apr 8; 367(9517):1137.Francisco Songane, a former Mozambican health minister who took over as Director of the new Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health on Feb 1, 2006, is a man with a mission. His goal is to capitalise on emerging political will--after years of neglect by the international community-- to reduce the unacceptably high toll of 11 million women, infants, and children under the age of 5 years who die every year from largely preventable diseases. "Children are dying and mothers are dying", he told The Lancet. "It is not normal to die in childbirth. It is not normal to die as a newborn", he says, commenting that in some countries, such as Mozambique, many women do not name their children for the first month because so many babies die. "We have to change that kind of fatalism. We cannot accept that people who make up two thirds of the world's population are dying silently without anyone helping", Songane asserts. (excerpt)
Dialectical Anthropology. 2004; 28(3-4):261-287.It is now impossible to view the AIDS pandemic solely from the vantage point of its health ramifications. Like a tornado wreaking havoc to everything in its path, AIDS has also torn the social, economic and political fabric of several societies to shreds. In January, 2000, while speaking at the UN Security Council Session, James Wolfensohn, President of the World Bank, stated: "Many of us used to think of AIDS as a health issue. We were wrong... nothing we have seen is a greater challenge to the peace and stability of African societies (and much of the world) than the epidemic of AIDS... we face a major development crisis, and more than that, a security crisis." Four years and more than eight million deaths later, an equally passionate and resolute Kofi Annan, the UN Secretary General, spoke to the BBC and describe AIDS as "a real weapon of mass destruction" and bemoaned the world's relative inaction to combat this pandemic as "callousness that one would not have expected in the 21st century"... for which history would judge us all "harshly, very harshly.". (excerpt)
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)
Human Rights Quarterly. 2006 Feb; 28(1):148-185.More than ten years ago, feminist legal theorists drew attention to some of the pervasive gender biases within the systems of international law. This paper will investigate whether anything has changed in the day to day activities of the human rights treaty bodies that might be interpreted as a response to the feminist critiques. This paper will argue that although much work still needs to be done, the gender mainstreaming efforts of the treaty bodies are having a relevant and positive impact that can be seen in the dialogues with state parties. (author's)
Maturitas. 2004 May 28; 48(1):39-49.The aims were to compare menopausal age and the use of oral contraceptives (OC) and hormonal replacement therapy (HRT) between the 32 populations of the WHO MONICA Project, representing 20 different countries. Using a uniform protocol, age at menopause and the use of OC and HRT was recorded in a random sample of 25-64 year-old women attending the final MONICA population cardiovascular risk factor survey between 1989 and 1997. A total of 39,120 women were included. There were wide variations between the populations in the use of OC and HRT. The use of OC varied between 0 and 52% in pre-menopausal women aged 35-44 years, Central and East Europe and North America having the lowest and West Europe and Australasia the highest prevalence rates. Among post-menopausal women between 45 and 64 years, the prevalence of HRT use varied from 0 to 42%. In general, the use of HRT was high in Western and Northern Europe, North America and Australasia and low in Central, Eastern and Southern Europe and China. With the exception of Canada (45 years), the mean age at menopause differed only little (ranging from 48 to 50 years) between the populations. The use of OC and HRT varies markedly between populations, in general following a regional pattern. Whereas, the prevalence rates are mostly similar within a country, there are remarkable differences even between neighbouring countries, reflecting nation-specific medical practice and public attitudes that are not necessarily based on scientific evidence. (author's)
Female circumcision, AIDS discrimination to be monitored - Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women.
UN Chronicle. 1990 Jun; 27(2): p..The eradication of female circumcision and avoidance of discrimination against women victims of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) were the subjects of two general recommendations adopted at the ninth annual session of States Parties to the 1979 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. The 100 States Parties were asked to report to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women-the 23-member body which monitors compliance with the instrument-on measures taken to eliminate female circumcision which, it stated, has "serious health and other consequences for women and children". (excerpt)
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights now also speaks to children - children's book. [La Declaración Universal de Derechos Humanos ahora al alcance de los niños en un libro infantil]
UN Chronicle. 1990 Jun; 27(2): p..The historic document, celebrated as a major UN achievement, was adopted by the UN General Assembly on 10 December 1948. It declares that all human beings "are born free and equal in dignity and rights" and goes on to specify in its 30 articles specific areas of freedom. In December 1989, the Assembly went on to adopt a 54-article Convention on the Rights of the Child. Mr. Roth has worked long and hard to help spread the message of the Declaration around the world. First inspired to work on the document when he was an art student in London in 1977, it took him two years to complete a set of 60 x 80 centimetre prints, derived from woodcuts which the artist carved in reverse images on wooden blocks. The linocut prints of these works, embossed on handmade paper, were purchased by the United Nations and subsequently exhibited in the UN Headquarters lobby in New York beginning in December 1982. Additional sets were acquired for both the UN Centre in Vienna and Geneva Headquarters. (excerpt)
Equality for women highlighted at Economic and Social Council; ninety-nine texts adopted on a wide spectrum of issues - includes details of Council action.
UN Chronicle. 1990 Sep; 27(3): p..A wide range of texts aimed at promoting women's rights throughout the world was adopted by the Economic and Social Council at its first regular session of 1990, held from 1 to 25 May in New York. Prominent among them was a set of recommendations and conclusions resulting from a recent UN evaluation, five years after the adoption of the Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women at the World Conference held in Kenya in 1985. Its general conclusion: progress in achieving equality for women had either slowed down or stopped. Declaring that "immediate steps should be taken to remove the most serious obstacles" to the Strategies and that the pace of its implementation should be improved in the crucial last decade of the twentieth century, the Council unanimously adopted resolution 1990/15 setting out recommendations and conclusions. (excerpt)
How the world sees the 1980s - excerpts from General Assembly Declaration - Special section - future of the global economy: challenges of the 90s.
UN Chronicle. 1990 Sep; 27(3): p..Reaching a common view of the 1980s that all countries could live with was as crucial as the formulation of possible remedial action in the 1990s, it was generally felt. The following are excerpts from the Declaration which resulted from this process: In the 1980s, progress in developed and developing countries has been uneven. The decade was marked by an increasing gap between those groups of countries, as well as by relatively slow growth and large global financial and trade imbalances. Developed market-oriented countries have succeeded to a large extent in controlling inflation and in maintaining sustained, though modest, growth. (excerpt)
Target: 30 percent of leadership positions to women by 1995 - United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.
UN Chronicle. 1990 Jun; 27(2): p..A target of 30 per cent of leadership positions to be held by women by 1995 in Governments, political parties, trade unions, professional and other representative groups was recommended by the Commission on the Status of Women at its 34th session. On average, only 3.5 per cent of national ministerial posts were held by women in 1987, according to a UN study. The recommendation was among 22 texts adopted by the body, many of them aimed at accelerating the implementation of the 1985 Nairobi Forward-Looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women. Thirteen drafts recommended action by the Commission's parent body, the UN Economic and Social Council. (excerpt)
UN Chronicle. 1987 Feb; 24: p..The General Assembly on 4 December called on Member States to approve, as a matter of priority, effective measures to implement the Forward-looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women, adopted in July 1985 at the Nairobi Conference on the United Nations Decade for Women (1976-1985). The measures, it stated, should include establishment or strengthening of appropriate mechanisms for the advancement of women and for implementation of the Strategies, in order to ensure the full integration of women in the political, economic, social and cultural life of their countries. The Assembly acted by adopting resolution 41/110 on the role of women in society without a vote. Governments and intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations were asked to pay due attention to the role of women in society "in all its interrelated aspects - as mothers, as participants in the economic development process and as participants in public life". (excerpt)
UN Chronicle. 1987 Aug; 24: p..Reducing by half the rates of infant and child deaths by the year 2000 was among the targets set for the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) by its 41-member Executive Board at its 1987 session. The Board, in endorsing the programme objectives of its 1986-1990 medium-term plan, asked the Fund to give continued priority in both rural and urban areas to the "Child Survival and Development Revolution"--an initiative undertaken by UNICEF in 1983--through such measures as child immunization, oral rehydration therapy and diarrhoeal management, promotion of breast-feeding, improved nutrition and health education, and birth-spacing. The Fund should "work towards the retention of the child and its needs on the political agenda'. Special attention should be given to actions directed against the "causal roots of child and infant mortality'. Basic services should be stressed and child survival and development activities should be integrated into primary health care systems. (excerpt)
Economic and Social Council considers issues relating to human rights, women, drugs, homeless, southern Africa.
UN Chronicle. 1986 Aug; 23: p..Action by the 54-member Economic and Social Council at its first regular session of 1986 concerned a wide range of issues, including human rights, illicit drug traffic, the homeless, the status of women, crime control, racial discrimination, population, youth and the disabled. Particular situations relating to southern Africa, the Middle East and other areas of the world were also the focus of Council attention. The Council, in adopting 43 resolutions and 35 decisions during its four-week session (New York, 28 April-23 May), also reviewed matters relating to the International Year of Peace, being observed during 1986. Debate on some human rights situations and issues concerning southern Africa, including transnational corporations (TNCs) and mercenaries, resulted in votes reflecting opposing views. The Council condemmed collaboration by TNCs with South Africa in the nuclear, military and economic fields, and the increased recruitment, financing, training, assembly, transit and use of mercenaries to destabilize and overthrow certain African Governments. (excerpt)
UN Chronicle. 1986 Apr; 23: p..So begins a special report, Within Human Reach: A Future for Africa's Children, prepared by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). According to UNICEF, neglect of the human costs of the African crisis has obscured a full understanding of the "scenario for disaster' that has been unfolding on that continent over the past two decades. "In its day-to-day work in the continent, UNICEF is faced with the maluntrition and ill health which claim the lives of nearly 4 million African children each and every year--even when there is no drought, no famine, no camps, no epidemics, and no media coverage', states UNICEF Executive Director James P. Grant in a preface to the report. "This is the "silent emergency' which, exacerbated by war and drought, has suddenly become the "loud emergency' of which all the world has heard'. However, adds Mr. Grant, "the first priority for action is to protect the lives and the normal growth of children. In times of emergency, the immediate, human argument for "children first' is an obvious one. But there is also a longer-term and more hard-headed case to be made. For there is a profound connection between the mental and physical development of the children and the social and economic development of their nations.' (excerpt)
From silent spring to vocal vanguard - women's role in the global environmental movement - includes related articles.
UN Chronicle. 1997 Fall; 34(3): p..Since 1962, when American author Rachel Carson alerted the world to the dangers of pesticide poisoning in her ground-breaking book "Silent Spring", women have played a vital role in the global environmental movement. In 1988, the World Commission on Environment and Development, headed by Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland, published its report, "Our Common Future", linking the environmental crisis to unsustainable development and financial practices that were worsening the North-South gap, with women making up a majority of the world's poor and illiterate. The United Nations Development Programme has defined sustainable development as development that not only generates economic growth, but distributes its benefits equitably, that regenerates the environment rather than destroying it, and that empowers people rather than marginalizing them. It is development that gives priority to the poor, enlarging their choices and opportunities and providing for their participation in decisions that affect their lives. (excerpt)
UN Chronicle. 1990 Dec; 27(4): p..An estimated 8 to 10 million people globally will contract the human immuno-deficiency virus (HIV) that causes the acquired immuno-deficiency syndrome (AIDS) in the next 10 years, a new study by the World Health Organization (WHO) predicts. That figure marks a significant and alarming rise of 2 million more people than WHO's projections last year. Equally dramatic are statistics showing that HIV is spreading fast among women and children in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. An estimated 3 million women will develop AIDS in the 1990s and at least 80 per cent are in sub-Saharan Africa, WHO suggested. By the end of 1992, there will be 1 million HIV-infected children born to these women. AIDS will become the leading cause of death of women aged 20 to 40 in some cities of central Africa. "It's obvious that HIV infection is continuing to spread very rapidly in parts of the world like central Africa, where AIDS is having a devastating impact on individual countries", said Dr. Michael H. Merson, Director of WHO's Global Programme on AIDS (GPA), in a recent interview. (excerpt)
UN Chronicle. 1997 Summer; 34(2): p..Aloisia Woergetter of Austria, Chairperson of the Open-ended Working Group on the Elaboration of a draft Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, announced on 21 March that the Working Group had reached agreement on the inclusion of an enquiry procedure in the draft optional protocol, which would enable the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women to request State parties to the protocol to explain and remedy complaints about serious violations of women's rights. A large majority of participating Governments was in favour of the optional protocol and for the procedures to be followed. She described that as "remarkable", noting that such support had not been thought possible in the past. The optional protocol would greatly strengthen the Convention and allow individual women to actually complain about violations of their rights before the United Nations. "I think, we can easily say that we are, at the moment, the most successful optional protocol drafting group." The group hoped that it could finish its work next year. (excerpt)
Violence against women: ringing the alarm to awake the conscience of society - includes related article on famous athletes' panel discussion of domestic violence - Fourth World Conference on Women - Cover story.
UN Chronicle. 1995 Jun; 32(2): p..Women have also been the victims of the ethnic, religious, communal and political conflicts which have marked the end of the cold war. According to a European Union fact-finding team, 20,000 women were raped in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the first months of the war in the former Yugoslavia. Many women abused in wars are from the most marginalized and vulnerable sectors of society, such as indigenous, refugee or displaced women. Yet, most women who are terrorized and assaulted during wars take no active part in the conflict. And the participation of women in decision-making for the resolution of these wars is lower than in any other area. The Secretary-General has therefore concluded in a recent report that women must be given "more say in decisions related to war or peace; reconciliation or violence, which would allow them to contribute to preventing such tragedies rather than becoming their victims". (excerpt)
Adding a gender dimension to economic decision-making - includes related article on economic aspects of women's unpaid work - Fourth World Conference on Women - Cover Story.
UN Chronicle. 1995 Jun; 32(2): p..Women hold a meagre 1 per cent of executive positions in the 1,000 largest corporations based outside the United States. The proportion is higher, at 8 per cent, in the 1,000 largest corporations in the United States, but only a handful of women hold the top-most positions, according to a recent study by the UN Secretariat Division for the Advancement of Women. The same is true for the web of powerful global and regional multi-lateral institutions, where "women have been virtually excluded from key decision-making positions and from negotiating roles", as well as national trade policy, where the proportion of women is "insignificant", asserts Secretary-General Boutros Boutros- Ghali in a 1994 report. The result: the proportion of women in economic decision-making is not only "very low", states the report, but also "a gender dimension has been absent from macroeconomic policies and decisions regarding resource distribution, wealth creation and exchange". (excerpt)
Draft declarations against violence approved by Commission - United Nations Commission on the Status of Women - includes related article on the rights of married women.
UN Chronicle. 1993 Jun; 30(2): p..A draft declaration on the elimination of violence against women was unanimously approved by the Commission on the Status of Women at its thirty-seventh session (17-26 March, Vienna). It was among 13 resolutions approved by the 45-member Commission on issues ranging from women's role in development to preparations for the 1995 World Conference on Women. The non-binding declaration, which is to be submitted to the forty-eighth General Assembly for adoption later this year, states that violence against women is an obstacle to the achievement of equality, development and peace--the three main goals of the UN to advance the status of women. It contains a comprehensive definition of violence against women and identifies the responsibilities of States and organizations in applying remedial measures. That definition includes physical and psychological violence within the family, marital rape and female genital mutilation, as well as sexual harassment and intimidation at work and in schools. States are called on not to "invoke any custom, tradition or religious or other consideration" to avoid their obligations to implement the declaration. (excerpt)
Commission gives high priority to monitoring global trends - UN Population Commission meeting, Mar 28-31, 1994 - includes information on preparation of action program to be recommended at the Sep 5-13, 1994 International Conference on Population and Development, Cairo, Egypt.
UN Chronicle. 1994 Jun; 31(2): p..The effect of population growth on the environment, the role and status of women, and the demographic implications of development Policies were among major topics discussed by the Population Commission at its twenty-seventh session (28-31 March, New York). "The most important lesson we have learned is that population growth and other demographic trends can only be affected by investing in people and by promoting equality between women and men", Dr. Nafis Sadik, Executive Director of the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and Secretary-General of the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development, told the 26-member body. In the single text approved during the session, for adoption by the Economic and Social Council, the Commission asked that high priority be given to monitoring world population trends and policies, and to strengthening multilateral technical cooperation to address population concerns. (excerpt)
Equal pay, urban women problems discussed by Commission - UN Commission on the Status of Women, 38th session, Mar 7-18, 1994 - includes news of other developments pertaining to equal pay and equality in marriage.
UN Chronicle. 1994 Jun; 31(2): p..Equal pay for work of equal value, women in urban areas and measures to eradicate violence against women were among the issues dealt with by the Commission on the Status of Women at its thirty-eighth session (7-18 March, New York). Being also the preparatory body for the Fourth world conference on Women in Beijing 1995, the commission's work focused on preparatory activities, in particular the drafting of the Platform for Action. In discussing priority themes--equality, development and peace--established for its thirty-seven through fortieth sessions, the Commission adopted 13 resolutions, many calling on Governments to urgently improve the situations of women around the world. "The road to Beijing must be paved with vision, commitment and a determination to harness the support of Governments to remove the remaining obstacles to the advancement of women", Gertrude Mongella, UN Assistant Secretary-General and Secretary-General of the Fourth World Conference, told the 45-member Commission on 7 March. It has the task of organizing that conclave, which is set for September 1995. (excerpt)
Exploitation of women workers in family enterprises decried - United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women.
UN Chronicle. 1991 Jun; 28(2): p..Women who work in family enterprises without payment are being exploited, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) declared, calling for guaranteed payment, social security and social benefits for them. As it concluded its tenth annual session (21 January-1 February, New York), the Committee also recommended that the value of women's domestic work be added to countries' gross national products. Nations should provide information on disabled women and on measures taken to ensure equal access for them to education, employment, health services and social security. The 23-member watchdog body monitors how countries implement the 1979 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. (excerpt)