Thursday, 28 February 2013

UN Women Co-Sponsored Events during the 57th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women, 4 – 15 March 2013

There's a headline that ought to get the blog readership into the millions: egotistic local theatre critic gives opinion on international talking shop's forum. And being the kind of person who doesn't do politics - in the sense that I regard even the most selfish MSP as being unutterably corrupted merely by their proximity to power, this really will be something...

However, the 57th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW57) will meet at the UN Headquarters in New York from 4 to 15 March 2013, with the priority theme: “Elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls.”  

My interest inevitably comes about because there has been a raft of performances that explore feminism in the past year - and old favourite festival Ladyfest is popping up this month in Glasgow. 

The press release starts off with some statistics which give me nightmares. 

"It is estimated that up to seven in ten women globally will be beaten, raped, abused, or mutilated in their lifetimes.Violence against women is universal, and is prevalent in all countries and all settings. A gross human rights violation, it fractures families and communities and hampers development, also costing countries billions of dollars annually in healthcare costs and lost productivity."

Well, forgive me if I find the last fact less than compelling. Once a human right is being violated, I don't need to be told it ought to be fixed because of its impact on the global economy. In fact, if it costs more billions of dollars to fix, that would be okay. But onto the statistics that are shocking. 

"Even though more than 125 countries have specific laws that penalize domestic violence, a historic number, 603 million women still live in countries where domestic violence is still not a crime."

Scotland had an Act in 2011 that addressed this problem, providing the first statutory definition of domestic abuse (in the context of harassment interdicts, legal fact fans). But Rhoda Grant, the MSP who introduced the Bill, admitted that it was not enough - it fails to see domestic violence as part of systematic oppression.

"The UN Security Council now recognizes sexual violence as a deliberate tactic of war."

"The Commission is informed by the recommendations made in the Secretary-General’s reports:  Prevention of violence against women and girls and Multisectoral services and responses for women and girls subjected to violence.  During the meeting, UN Women will call on Member States to strengthen global norms and standards and increase political commitment and action to end such violence against women and girls. UN Women events during the Commission will highlight that it is possible to end this pandemic through determined leadership for prevention, protection and provision of services for survivors, as outlined in the 16 Step Policy Agenda and showcased inCOMMIT, a global initiative launched by UN Women which calls on leaders to reaffirm their commitment through concrete national action."

The only real negative is that the series of events include the launch of that song they've made as their theme tune.

I am putting up the rest of the release below - it's worth having a look at the scope and scale of the conference. There's a few biographical details (including Beth Blatt, who wrote the lyrics to their song. I said that the song was written by men - and I think the tune was written by a man - but I am apologising to her for my dislike of the project. I am just being an aesthetic snob).

The bottom of the page lists the corporate supporters. That is where my sardonic snipes would usually appear. But for once, I am even going to let a banker get past without a sneer.

Press Conference with UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet, 
4 March, 2.00 - 2.45 p.m., Dag Hammarskjöld Auditorium [Live webcast]

UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet will speak at several official and side events:
  • Introductory Statement, Opening Session of the Commission on the Status of Women, 4 March, 10.00 a.m. - 1.00 p.m., General Assembly Hall [Live webcast]
  • Press Conference, 4 March, 2.00 - 2.45 p.m., Dag Hammarskjold Library Auditorium [Live webcast]
  • High-Level Francophone Consultations on Violence against Women and Girls, 4 March, 6:30 - 7:45 p.m., NLB Conference Room 2 [Live Webcast]
  • Parliamentary Strategies for Tackling Violence against Women and Girls, co-organized with the Inter-Parliamentary Union, 5 March, 10.00 - 11.00 a.m., NLB ECOSOC Chamber
  • UN Heads of Agencies discuss Violence against Women and Girls, 5 March, 1.15 - 2.30 p.m., NLB Conference Room 2 [ By invitation only]
  • High-Level Task Force for ICPD, 5 March, 3.15 - 4.15 p.m., 730 Third Ave at 45th St.
  • High-level Event to conclude the COMMIT Initiative, 5 March, 6.30 - 8.00 p.m., German House [By invitation only]
  • Reclaiming Public Spaces for the Empowerment of Women and Girls, 7 March, 1.15 – 2.15 p.m., NLB Conference Room 2
  • Stop Violence: Girls at the Frontline of Prevention, 7 March, 2.15 – 2.45 p.m.,NLB Conference Room 7
  • Too Young to Wed: Working Together to Address Child Marriage, 7 March, 2.30 - 4.30p.m., Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium
  • Critical Services Commitment by UN Agencies, 7 March, 6.30 - 7.45 p.m., NLB Conference Room B
  • UN Observance of International Women’s Day 2013 “A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women”, 8 March, 10.00 a.m. - 12 p.m., NLB Conference Room 2 [Live webcast]
  • Violence against Women with Disabilities, 8 March, 1.15 – 2.30 p.m.,  NLB Conference Room 7
  • Gender-motivated Killings of Women, including femicide, 8 March, 3.00 - 4.15 p.m., Dag Hammarskjöld Library Auditorium
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY: UN Observance of International Women’s Day 2013 “A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women,” 8 March, 10.00 a.m. – 12.00 p.m., 
NLB Conference Room 2 [Live webcast]. The One Woman song will be launched at the event.

UN Women organized, co-sponsored or supported side events [Please note seating is very limited for all events; RSVPs are needed]
  • High-Level Francophone Consultations on Violence against Women and Girls, co-organized with the Permanent Mission of Gabon and the International Organization of La Francophonie,4 March, 6.30 - 7.45 p.m., NLB Conference Room 2 [Live Webcast]
  • Parliamentary Strategies for Tackling Violence against Women and Girls, co-organized with the Inter-Parliamentary Union, 5 March, 10.00 a.m. - 5.30 p.m., NLB ECOSOC Chamber
  • Knowledge Gateway on Women’s Economic Empowerment, 6 March, 3.00 - 4.15 p.m., NLB Conference Room B
  • Sexual Violence—Forms, Consequences and Interventions, co-organized with UNFPA, OHCHR, 5 March, 11.30 a.m. - 12.45 p.m., NLB Conference Room B
  • UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women Civil Society Session: Looking beyond 2015—Visualizing a coordinated framework to end violence against women, 6 March, 6.30 - 7.45 p.m., NLB Conference Room 7
  • Achieving Gender Justice: The Case for Reparations, co-organized with the Permanent Mission of Finland, International Criminal Court, and Global Action to Prevent War and Armed Conflict, 7 March, 1.15 - 2.30 p.m., NLB Conference Room D
  • Too Young to Wed: Working Together to Address Child Marriage. Co-organized by the Permanent Missions of Bangladesh, Canada and Malawi. UN is a supporting partner with IPU, UNF, UNFPA, UNICEF, WHO, Afri-Dev, Family Care International, Girls Not Brides, Partnership for Maternal Newborn & Child Health, World Vision, and YWCA Too Young to Wed, 7 March, 2.30 - 4.30 p.m., Dag Hammarskjold Library Auditorium
  • Reclaiming Public Spaces for the Empowerment of Women and Girls, co-organized with  UN-Habitat, 7 March, 1.15 - 2.45 p.m., NLB Conference Room 2
  • Stop the Violence: Girls at the Frontline of Prevention, co-organized with the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, 7 March, 1.15 - 2.45 p.m., NLB Conference Room 7 [ Live Webcast]
  • Critical Services Commitment by UN Agencies, with the Permanent Mission of Australia and UNFPA, 7 March, 6.30-7.45 p.m., NLB Conference Room B
  •  Global magnitude, health impacts and health sector response to violence against women, co-organized with the Permanent Missions of Norway and Zambia, and WHO, 8 March, 11.30 a.m. - 1.00 p.m., NLB Conference Room D
  • Why do men use violence and how do we stop it, co-organized with the Permanent Mission of Sweden, UNDP, UNFPA, UNV, WHO, and Partners for Prevention, 8 March, 1.15 - 2.30 p.m.,  NLB Conference Room 6
  • Implicit stereotypes, explicit solutions: Over-coming gender-based discrimination in the Workplace, co-organized wit with the Permanent Mission of Australia, 8 March, 1.15 -2.45 p.m., NLB Conference Room 2
  • Violence against Women with Disabilities, co-organized with the Permanent Missions of Australia, Bulgaria, El Salvador, Jordan,  New Zealand, Peru, UNICEF, International Disability Alliance, Women Enabled, International Network of Women with Disabilities, Plan, and Human Rights Watch, 8 March, 1.15 - 2.30 p.m., NLB Conference Room 7
  • Gender-motivated killings of women, convened by the Special Rapporteur on Violence against women and co-organized with OHCHR, 8 March, 3.00 - 6.00 p.m., Dag Hammarskjöld Auditorium Library
  • Addressing Violence Against Women in Latin America and the Caribbean: From Data to Action, co-organized with the Permanent Missions of El Salvador and Peru, Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO); UNiTE Campaign, and the Global Women's Institute at George Washington University, 11 March, 11.30 a.m. - 12.45 p.m., NLB Conference Room D
  • Domestic Workers Count, Too: Ensuring Protection, Upholding Rights, co-organized with the Permanent Mission of the Philippines and ITUC,  11 March, 1.15 - 2.30 p.m., NLB Conference Room D
  • Guidelines to Measure Violence against Women, co-organized with the UN Statistics Division,   12 March, 1.15 - 2.45 p.m., NLB Conference Room 2 [ Live Webcast]
Related Links:

Chi Yvonne Leina (Cameroon)
An award-winning Cameroonian journalist and women's rights advocate, Chi Yvonne Leina is the founder and coordinator of Gender Danger, a grassroots women`s organization that is fighting to end the practice of breast ironing in Cameroon. She will be attending CSW this year as a World Pulse correspondent and on behalf of her own media centre for Cameroonian women. She hopes to raise awareness and create partnerships to help her NGO expand its work to prevent breast ironing in Cameroon. “I would like to see greater collaboration between different stakeholders to put an end to heart-wrenching practices like Breast Ironing, female genital mutilation, widowhood rituals, intimate partner violence, etc. It would be wonderful to have follow-up and support of grassroots initiatives that are working to end these practices.” To read Leina’s first-hand account of the practice of breast ironing as part of UN Women’s “In the Words of…” series, click here.

May Louise Mooka (Australia)
For May Louise Mooka, it all began with her desire to be more than just a number.  She wanted to step beyond being just a statistic of domestic violence, and help others do the same. She is of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage from Queensland, Australia. As a Community Liaison Officer, she works with 50 indigenous communities to assist in sustainable and culturally appropriate service-delivery and to build relationships with local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. “For me this is my way of contributing back to my communities the knowledge and information that I have gained.  If I had had this knowledge when I was in my relationship then I would've ended it sooner and escaped years of violence” she says.

Tim Shand (South Africa) 
A decade ago, Tim Shand’s life changed when he started working as a Rape Crisis Centre volunteer. Today, as the Director of International Programmes for the Sonke Gender Justice Network in South Africa, a UN Trust Fund-supported project, he continues to be motivated by the challenge of advancing women’s rights by working with the many passionate gender justice advocates and leaders within the African continent. His job involves working with individuals, NGOs, Governments and UN agencies across the region to strengthen research, programmes and policies to engage men in challenging gender inequality, and preventing HIV and gender-based violence. “Many men, like myself, seek ways to challenge this violence because of how it damages the lives of the women we care so deeply about, and also casts all men as potential perpetrators. In order to prevent violence against women it is therefore essential to work with men, together with women, to challenge the social norms that can perpetuate gender-based violence.”

Shimreichon Luithau-Erni (India)
Shimreichon’s motivation comes from the people, the people she meets and works with every day. She is inspired by the indigenous women who work at the grassroots levels, who in spite of the many hardships they face, remain constant—a constant force that nurtures families, the environment, and maintains peace and cohesion in the community. Originally from the Northeastern part of India, she is a member of the tribal grassroots women's organization - Tangkhul Shanao Long - and a founding member of Asia Indigenous Women's Network and Naga Women's Union in Manipur, India. She is currently the programme coordinator of the Indigenous Women Programme of Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact in Thailand and works to   strengthen women's participation in customary governance institutions to address the issue of violence against women and girls funded by the UNTF. She says “indigenous women’s resilience encourages me and at the same time their vulnerability makes me want to work more …to advocate for their rights to their lands, environment and livelihoods resources”.

Agnes Leina (Kenya)Agnes works to bring change in the lives of pastoral communities, especially the women of these communities in Kenya and other countries of East Africa. Through her work with Il'laramatak Community Concerns, and as the gender representative of the IPACC - Indigenous Peoples of Africa Coordinating Committee, she focuses on changing the status of the pastoralist women starting with young girls, and nurturing them through education as the leaders and preservers for tomorrow. Violence against women and girls including Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) hampers their progress, and Agnes was part of the national working group that lobbied for laws that today outlaw FGM in Kenya. The struggle is far from over against these harmful traditional practices. She says “pastoralist women still suffer from Female Genital Mutilation and all forms of violence against their bodies and souls…we should urge men to join the fight against gender and sexual violence. Time is of essence, more and more pastoralist women in Kenya need to be represented in the UN processes.”

Susannah Sirkin (USA)
Susannah Sirkin is a senior advisor for Physicians for Human Rights, which works with partners in conflict zones to build a network of first responders—including police, lawyers, doctors and nurses and judges—trained to support survivors of sexual violence. "It inspires me to see how, when these responders come to understand the harm that sexual violence does to women and men, families, and their communities, these professionals become deeply engaged in efforts to not only treat survivors but to document their injuries and promote accountability for the perpetrators," she says. She believes that only when the social, economic, legal, and political conditions that facilitate sexual violence are seriously and systematically addressed will we start to see a reduction in this violence. "We need to finally solve this scourge, not only to assure hundreds of thousands of survivors that they will get the treatment and justice they deserve, but to offer a brighter future to the next generation – a future where a woman’s body is not a battlefield." Susannah’s organization is supported by the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women.

Annie Banda (Malawi)  
“I am part of them, living positively, I understand what their needs are better and faster than someone who is not HIV+. I have a passion for the HIV+ people especially women and girls. I feel good when I see that their lives have improved I feel very good and want to reach more and more of them,” says Annie, the National Coordinator of the Coalition of women living with HIV and AIDS in Malawi. The Coalition is a grantee of the UN Trust Fund to end Violence against Women for the project “Leveraging Strategies of Positive Action towards Reducing Violence against Women living with HIV.

Elizabeth Gbah (Liberia)
A target group that is not often considered vulnerable and an issue that is not often talked about, drives Elizabeth Gbah. “Women receiving higher education in Liberia is increasing gradually and the students are from diverse backgrounds, including poor and rural communities. These students with no economic status normally are denied access to opportunities like scholarships…transactional sex or “Sex for Grades” has been normalized where an instructor will sexually harass female students and nothing is done about it,” she says. Elizabeth is a part of ActionAid Liberia, which is working around the Safe Cities Initiative with a focus on young female students and their safety and mobility. ActionAid is working to change the status quo, through a project on Access to Justice and Support for Survivors of violence against women and girls in South-Eastern Liberia.  ActionAid is supported by the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women (UNTF).

Marthe Muhawenimana, Rwanda
Marte Muhawenimana works for the rights of indigenous women in Rwanda. She has been overseeing  gender and education efforts for the Communauté des Potiers du Rwanda (COPORWA). She has worked to increase the participation of indigenous women in the management of public goods and in peace processes. Ms. Muhawenimana has also been part of education monitoring efforts for Batwa girls of Rwanda, in order to develop strategies for advocacy and lobbying.

ONE Woman Song artists:

Debi Nova (Costa Rica/USA) 
Debi Nova is a Costa Rican singer-songwriter and dancer from Escazú, Costa Rica who resides in Los Angeles, California. Nova has sung on various projects from jazz artist Boney James to rapper Q-Tip to Sérgio Mendes and of the Black Eyed Peas. Her single CD, "One Rhythm," has an English version, Spanish version and six mixes.

Yuna (Malaysia)
Yuna is a Malaysian singer who wrote her first English song at 19 after viewing a YouTube clip of a Feist show. Performing while she attended law school, Yuna wrote mostly in English, but her Malay material proved more successful - her biggest hit, "Dan Sebenarnya," racked up millions of hits on YouTube and won a Malaysian people's choice award for best song. Yuna signed with the Fader imprint in early 2011 and quickly released her Decorate EP. In 2011, SPIN featured Yuna in their Buzzcatcher piece, “Eight Bands You Need to Hear Now.” Yuna was also a finalist in the “Best New Band in the World” competition and the show aired live on MTV’s HD Screen in New York’s legendary Times Square and was also streamed live worldwide on In 2012, Yuna released “Live Your Life.” The first single from that album – also called “Live Your Life” - was produced by Pharrell Williams and its music video premiered on MTV2 and was featured on the homepage of

Beth Blatt (USA)
Beth Blatt is the lyricist of the One Woman song. She is the founder/CEO of Hope Sings, a for-benefit music organization whose mission is to use the power of song and story to empower, inspire and connect women around the world by supporting various causes. Beth has a broad range of creative and corporate experience in the U.S., Asia, Europe and Latin America. She is an award-winning theatre writer, and her work has been produced off-Broadway, across the U.S. and in Asia. Through Hope Sings, she has created songs for cause partners Kiva, FINCA, ACCION and UN Women, the new United Nations agency. Beth has also written for TV, radio, newspaper and magazines; she has produced television (TV Tokyo), worked in advertising account management (Ogilvy & Mather/NY) and public relations (Magnet Communications). As an actress, she has appeared on stages and screens around the world, including the film Godzilla vs. Biolante. She is a graduate of Dartmouth College, and a member of the Grammys, BMI and the Dramatists Guild.

Ximena Sariñana Rivera (Mexico)
Ximena Sariñana Rivera (born October 29, 1985) is a Grammy-nominated Mexican singer-songwriter and actress. Sariñana's musical career was launched in 2008 with the release of her first studio album Mediocre, an adult contemporary pop-rock/vocal jazz album that has been critically acclaimed and nominated for various awards, including two nominations in the Latin Grammy Awards of 2008.

Private Sector Partners

Andrew Thorburn, Managing Director & CEO, Bank of New Zealand (New Zealand)
Andrew Thorburn became managing director and CEO of BNZ in October 2008. A career banker, Andrew has lived and worked in New Zealand for nearly 20 years across various positions in the New Zealand and Australian banking industries. Prior to joining BNZ, Andrew was head of Retail Banking at NAB since 2005. Beginning his career as an economist at Marac Holdings in Auckland, Andrew has held senior management positions at Commonwealth Bank and at ASB, where he worked for 10 years.

Gianmarco Monsellato, CEO, Taj, Member of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (France) 
Gianmarco Monsellato is the Managing Partner and CEO of Taj, an international tax and law firm in France, member of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited. He led Taj for 8 years and has been re-elected in 2012 for 4 years. He advises leading European, Japanese, Korean and US multinational companies in transfer pricing and international tax strategies.

Dean Cycon, Founder and CEO, Dean’s Beans Organic Coffee (USA) Dean Cycon is the Founder and CEO of Dean’s Beans Organic Coffee Company, an organic, fair trade and kosher coffee roasting operation in Orange, Massachusetts, USA. Dean has over 30 years of development work and activism in indigenous communities, including coffee villages, in Asia, Africa and Latin America. Dean is a co-founder of Coffee Kids (non-profit development group), and of Cooperative Coffees, the world’s first fair trade roaster’s cooperative. Dean has been a Woods Hole Research Fellow, a Senior Fulbright Scholar, and a Yale Law School Visiting Fellow. He created Dean’s Beans to prove that business can promote positive economic, social and environmental change at the third world source, and be profitable at the same time.

Mahesh Dayalal Amalean, Chairman, MAS Holdings (Sri Lanka)Deshamanya Mahesh Amalean is a Sri Lankan business leader and Chairman of MAS Holdings- a foremost Design to Delivery Solution Provider in the world of Apparel and Textile manufacturing. MAS has a global network of design offices, apparel manufacturing plants, fabric mills and component plants which helps the organization provide a unique solution to its customers. He is a member of the Executive Committee of the Joint Apparel Association Forum, and Chairman of the Sri Lanka Institute of Nano Technology, a private-public partnership involved in research in nanotechnology. He was the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Apparel Exporters Association, and served as a member of the National Council for Economic Development and as a Board member of the Task Force for Reconstruction of the Nation following the Tsunami.

Jorge Miguel Samek, Brazilian General Director, Itaipú Binacional (Brazil)Jorge Miguel Samek is an Agronomic Engineer, who graduated from the Federal University of Paraná, Curitiba, Brazil. He is the Director-General for Brazil of ITAIPU Binacional since January 2003. He also holds the interim position of Executive Technical Director of ITAIPU, to which he was appointed in August 2011.

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