Globalization, Human Rights & Security

Women make up a majority of the world’s poor; more than half of immigrants, refugees and casualties of armed conflicts; and they are often the first to feel the brunt of economic, political, environmental and humanitarian crises. At the same time, women are essential partners for promoting conflict resolution, reducing extremism and promoting post-conflict reconstruction and sustainable development. However, governments and international organizations often overlook the significant contributions and vital perspectives of women and girls, thereby undermining effective security policies and peace-building initiatives. Human rights advocates and security experts are calling for more efforts to invest in women, implement gender-sensitive laws and policies and ensure that women are included at decision-making tables. Explore the resources listed below, including Related Categories links, or use the Keyword Search for more information.

The Impact of the Global Recession

April 17, 2009 posted by Shyama Venkateswar The Gender Policy Group at Columbia University’s School for International and Public Affairs organized a lively panel discussion on “Gender, Jobs and This Recession” on Monday, April 13, 2009. I was invited to speak on the panel along with Sylvia Ann Hewlett, Melinda Wolfe, Subha Barry and Heidi Brown. Here are the main points that I addressed: The current economic crisis is unprecedented in terms of its global reach and impact; here’s what the current economic crisis looks like within the United States.

  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that current unemployment stands at 13.2 million.
  • 5.1 million jobs have been lost since December 2007.
  • The subprime lending crisis has particularly hit hard women and people of color because of predatory lending practices. NCRW’s research has shown that African American and Latina women borrowers are most likely to receive sub-prime loans at every income level. Women are 32% more likely than men to receive subprime mortgages.
  • In the financial sector, men’s unemployment in Feb was 6.9% while for women it was 6.6%
  • There have been increased reports of women who were secondary breadwinners in their households having to now become primary wage earner because of layoffs.

At the international level, the picture remains pretty grim as well:


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Keeping Women on the Economic Agenda

Last night I attended a dynamic panel hosted by Legal Momentum on Women’s Economic Equality: The Next Frontier in Women’s Rights.  The brilliant panelists duked it out, discussing the current economic situation, its impact on women, and in what directions we should be heading. 


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Gains and Gaps: A Look at the World's Women

GAINS AND GAPS: A LOOK AT THE WORLD'S WOMEN

(March 2006) Over the past decade, United Nations agencies have tracked women’s progress in critical areas identified by the 1995 United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing . In 2000, the Re:Gender, formerly National Council for Research on Women, produced a report which, through statistics, mirrored these areas and provided a snapshot of the current status of women in the world. In Spring 2006, the organization released a report that presents another snapshot, five years later – Gains and Gaps: A Look at the World's Women.

We express profound gratitude to the institutions that provided funding for this report.

We especially thank the Lead Sponsor, UBS, for its encouragement and generous financial support from the early stages of the project through its completion.

Teaser: 

Over the past decade, United Nations agencies have tracked women’s progress in critical areas identified by the 1995 United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing . In 2000, Re:Gender, formerly National Council for Research on Women, produced a report which, through statistics, mirrored these areas and provided a snapshot of the current status of women in the world. In Spring 2006, we released a report that presents another snapshot, five years later – Gains and Gaps: A Look at the World's Women.

Cover Image: 

New Film—Not Yet Rain—Tells the Stories of Women Who Have Sought Abortion Care

March 11, 2009 posted by Kyla Bender-Baird Yesterday, the fantastic international reproductive rights organization, IPAS contacted the Council, announcing the launch of an important new film: Not Yet Rain.  Here’s the scoop:


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Who Cares?

March 2, 2009 posted by admin The 53rd Commission on the Status of Women meetings start today at UN Headquarters in New York and will run until the 13th of March.  This year, the theme of the CSW is “The equal sharing of responsibilities between women and men, including caregiving in the context of HIV/AIDS.” During this year’s events, I will have the privilege of working with the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development’s (UNRISD) Gender and Development Programme. The Gender and Development Programme at UNRISD has been working on the Political and Social Economy of Care as one of its main research themes for several years now. [One of my favorite gender and development researchers, Maxine Molyneux, wrote the first paper in the series, titled Mothers at the Service of the State.]  As part of the project, UNRISD led gender experts from around the world in an exploration of care issues, with research conducted in eight countries drawn from four different regions.  Within its comparative approach, the project focused on the gender composition and dynamics of the multiple institutions of care – households and families, states, markets, and the not-for-profit sector – and their effects on poverty and social rights of citizenship.


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FAST FACT: New Trends Exposed in Modern Day Slavery

February 19, 2009 posted by Kyla Bender-Baird According to the U.S. State Department, 800,000 people were trafficked across national borders in 2006. This figure escalates into the millions when including victims trafficked within national borders.   A recently released report by the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime delves deeper into this troubling phenomenon:

Global Report on Trafficking in Persons (data from 155 countries)

--Most common form of human trafficking is sexual exploitation (79%) followed by forced labor (18%)


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THE GLOBAL TRACK: India--Land of Malls and Ragpickers

February 11, 2009 posted by Shyama Venkateswar

 
 

[caption id="" align="alignright" width="298" caption="Photograph: Deshakalyan Chowdhury"]Photograph: Deshakalyan Chowdhury[/caption]

I was recently in Calcutta, India, my place of birth, home to where my mother, a sibling, old friends, and sweet memories still reside. This is my other “home” where I try to get to every year to renew and regenerate myself, and recharge from the stresses of a running a two working parents’ nuclear household in frenetic New York City. My trip last month came after a two year gap; I felt the familiar overwhelming desire to be there, to be a part of the sights and sounds of an India that were at once familiar and yet distant to me. Having left almost 23 years ago to move to the US, I have a unique insider-outsider vantage point. I was born and brought up there; I know things instinctively – all the cultural puzzles, contradictions, nuances of language, wordplay and verbal cues, body language, subtle things - that only a native-born can ever know. But, having been away long enough, and trained in and working in a field where critical inquiry is required, I can no longer accept without questioning the status and daily conditions of millions of people living in absolute poverty, what Collier refers to as The Bottom Billion. Even as India’s economy grows steadily at about 8% a year, there are entire communities of people, some 300 million of them, who live under a $1 a day without regular access to food, water, housing, livelihoods, reproductive healthcare or education. Malnutrition in children under five is at a staggering 45%.

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GIRLS FORUM: Navigating Girlhood to Womanhood from New Moon’s Nancy Gruver

February 5, 2009 posted by admin We asked activists and scholars in the girl’s rights movement to draft a letter to President Obama, outlining their Girls Agenda for 2009.  Here’s what Nancy Gruver, founder and CEO of New Moon Magazine had to say: Dear President Obama: As Malia and Sasha’s proud father I don’t need to tell you how having daughters can give you new eyes on the world.  My daughters, Mavis and Nia, are adults now.  But it feels like just last week that they were ten years old and I was worrying about how to help them navigate the treacherous journey from girlhood to womanhood.  We started New Moon Girls magazine together to give girls a place to express themselves and make the world better. I believe you agree that growing up should mean increasing opportunities as well as responsibilities for our daughters.  It should mean increasing respect and rewards for their intelligence, creativity, and skills.  It should mean they have access to equal education and healthcare, including effective pregnancy prevention.  It should mean they have the freedom to walk down the street or go on a date without worrying they might be attacked just because they are female.


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Post-Inauguration Reflections from the Council's Director of Diversity and Inclusion

January 22, 2009 posted by Delores M. Walters First impressions 1. Seeing the panoramic aerial view via TV satellite of the crowd of millions taken from a vantage I wouldn’t have seen if I were there. 2. Watching the man who would be our next president walk through the corridor to the ceremonial. As he walked, a self-contained smile on his face, his composure maintained as always – his stillness was almost Buddha-like. 3. After such absorption on my part, the man emerged from the shadows to an uproar in the room. What impressed me though was that when the room erupted, I realized that the women responsible for the uproar did not look at all like Barack … or me for that matter. The space at Caroline’s was not really very diverse in terms of race, ethnicity, gender, class or even age. Despite that fact, this audience of mostly White and younger, middle aged women represented for me the millions of voters who were the reason for Barack’s victory – and ours!   4. Art, Music & Solemnity: Aretha’s soul-stirring singing of America touched me because it represented countless Blacks who now felt that this was their song too – as Americans for the first time.  Another miracle.


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NEW YEAR'S FORUM: A Conversation with Kavita

January 6, 2009 posted by  Linda Basch As we start off with our New Year’s Resolutions for the nation, I begin with an inspiring conversation I recently had with Kavita Ramdas, President and CEO of the Global Fund for Women. We were musing about the future, particularly with regard to women’s human rights at this optimistic moment for the country, with a new administration about to take charge in Washington. But as Kavita pointed out, as we begin to look forward, we also need to be self reflective as a nation. We need to develop a sense of collective responsibility. A number of problems have grown up over the past several years that we can’t sweep away, that we must address as a country and hold ourselves accountable for. I couldn’t agree more. I love conversations that are as wide-ranging as this one was.  We covered a lot of ground.  Some highlights:  As someone who works on global women's rights, Kavita hopes that the new administration will place a high priority on advancing women's rights worldwide. This can only be achieved by the US decreasing its emphasis on militarism and violence as the primary means to resolve conflict and re-focusing its efforts away from the so called "war on terror" towards efforts to eradicate global poverty, inequality, and injustice. Yet, she insisted, that much of the US's ability to achieve such results globally will depend on the choices it makes inside its own borders. So, I asked Kavita what she would like to see in terms of change right here at home….


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