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The 41st session of the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) will be taking place at the United Nations in New York City, commencing on the 30th of June. CEDAW, an international human rights treaty for women, was first adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1979. Since then, 185 nation states have become party to it, including Afghanistan, Chile, China, Iraq, and the Congo. Although the United States of America has not yet ratified the treaty, this has not prevented it from becoming one of the most highly ratified international human rights conventions.

During the upcoming 41st session, the CEDAW committee will review the reports submitted by Iceland, Finland, Lithuania, Nigeria, Slovakia, Tanzania, the United Kingdom, and Yemen. The Committee, upon considering the reports, will also present recommendations for each government and, under the statutes of the Optional Protocol to CEDAW, may further investigate into any countries whose reports they find inadequate due to contradictory or additional information.

The full text of the convention can be found at the International Women’s Rights Action Watch website, which also has good information about how NGOs can participate. Want a historical perspective? Consider ordering and reading “The Circle of Empowerment“, edited by Hanna Beate Schopp-Schilling.

To date, governments which have yet to ratify include Iran, Somalia, Sudan, and the United States of America.

The Women of the ELCA‘s 7th Annual Triennial Gathering is set this year to be in Salt Lake City, Utah, from July 10-13. The theme, “Come to the Waters,” references the renewal and committment Christians experience in their baptism. With keynote speaker and author Sister Joan Chittister , upper-Manhattan Lutheran pastor Heidi Neumark speaking, and workshops on important social issues such as racism, activism, and politics, the gathering looks to be a faithful blend of personal spirituality and public action.

EW encourages the Women of the ELCA to go even further, and take up a strong interest in women’s rights on an international scale. While we applaud the good things the organization is already doing, we hope to see more of an investment in international activism around women’s and human rights. Are there any EW members out there heading to “Come to the Waters”? Take your knowledge and passion with you as you head to Salt Lake City!

The Women, Faith, and Development Alliance is launching their Breakthrough Summit this Sunday, April 13, in a move to end global poverty.  EW applauds many things about this historic alliance, such as a large networking event for faith-based women’s groups, the summit being open to the public, and free registration.  Obviously, getting lots of people together to make a gender-based statement against poverty from a(n inter)faith-based perspective is something EW can get behind! 

We do, however, wonder what purpose this summit will achieve.  The most we can find is that different organizations will be announcing their committments to support women and girls in the fight against poverty–and that’s great–but where are our Christian denominations in this picture?  Why isn’t the summit being broadcast over the internet?  EW is eager to learn where this alliance will go, and what documents will be put forth in response to the summit. 

Below is the European Union response to the CSW agreed conclusions. It is good that some form of disappointment has been placed on the record. I recommend reading it as they explain their position and stick up for the big picture that was once again lost in politicking… we will keep our ears open here for further implications.

EU Statement on the Agreed Conclusions: Financing for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. 52nd session of CSW – UN Commission on the Status of Women

Mr. Chairman,

I am taking the floor in order to explain the basis upon which the European Union has been able to join consensus today on the Agreed Conclusions entitled “Financing for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women”.

The European Union attaches great importance to accelerated achievement of the goal of gender equality and the empowerment of women. We believe that availability of necessary human and financial resources for the empowerment of women and the commitment for adequate funding identified and mobilized from all sources and across all sectors to achieve the goals of gender equality and the empowerment of women have to be made and fully met. The European Union also believes that remaining obstacles and challenges need to be exceeded effectively and in a holistic manner and therefore also through reinforcing national efforts to promote gender equality and women’s rights in reaching the goals and objectives of gender equality and empowerment of women, laid down in the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the Beijing follow-up process.

The Priority Theme of 52nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women “Financing for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women” has, in the view of the European Union, not been aptly addressed. Read the rest of this entry »

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