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Ending global poverty begins with women’s rights

Ending violence against women must be top priority for UN Women: women’s rights campaigners

Ending violence against women must be top priority for UN Women: women’s rights campaigners

February 24, 2011

The Blueprint for UN Women outlines the role UN Women should play in the view of 100 civil society organizations working in 75 countries on women’s human rights, gender equality and social justice.  

Commissioned by Oxfam and VSO UK, the survey sends a clear message that UN Women must deliver on its promise and work with governments to ensure accountability for delivering rights equality and development for their women.

“UN Women is a great opportunity to change the status quo on women’s rights," said Robert Fox, executive director of Oxfam Canada. "The message hundreds of activists are telling UN Women is loud and clear: reach out to women and help empower them to change their lives. Without aligning its work with the needs and priorities of women at country level, especially in rural areas, it‘s unlikely the agency will achieve its mission.

“UN Women needs to stand out from the traditional ways of operating to have impact on the ground by leaving the UN’s comfort zone of doing business as usual,” he added.

Eighty-four per cent of respondents said rural women were the group in most need of targeted approach. The report outlines that disabled and uneducated women also need urgent attention.

Women’s rights advocate identified other priorities for UN Women, which are closely linked to eradicating all forms of violence against women. These included ensuring women’s access to decision making at all levels (42 per cent), delivering reliable justice systems for women (41 per cent) and addressing the economic empowerment of women (41 per cent).

VSO Chief Executive Officer Marg Mayne said UN Women offered a once in a lifetime opportunity to deliver real change for women everywhere, and especially the world’s most disadvantaged and impoverished women.

“The UN so far has largely failed women in the developing world. Seventy per cent of people living in poverty are women, 60 per cent of people living with HIV in sub-Sahara Africa are women and girls, and violence against women continues to be at alarming levels," she said. 

"The Blueprint for UN Women clearly lays out a direction for UN Women from the people that know best and are working on the ground to deliver change for women in developing countries. UN Women needs to act on the report, but it also requires funding at levels not previously seen in order to deliver. As UN Women is officially launched tomorrow, it is still awaiting a funding commitment from both the US and UK governments. Having received just 1 per cent of the UN’s budget to date – it is at risk of failing before it has even begun.”  

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