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 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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VIOLENCE FORUM: Beyond Firewood

December 19, 2008 posted by Shyama Venkateswar

An op-ed just came across our desk that we wanted to share, as part of this week's Violence Forum here at TRD.  In a Boston Globe op-ed this week, Liv Ullmann, reminds us of the violence suffered by refugees in Darfur, Nepal, and Kenya.  Writes Ullmann:

For thousands of these impoverished women and girls, gathering firewood is more than a vital chore - it is often a matter of life and death. By doing what many of us achieve by simply turning on a stove, refugee women and girls regularly fall victim to rape, assault, theft, exploitation, and even murder... It's high time we get "beyond firewood" and explore alternative fuels and cutting-edge energy technologies, such as clean-burning fuels, fuel-efficient stoves, and solar cookers, Ullmann says.  We need to reduce women’s vulnerability to violence by investing in alternative sources of fuel that do not require women to travel long distances to collect firewood. 


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VIOLENCE FORUM: Things to do Now to Stop Violence against Women

December 16, 2008 posted by admin If Vice-President-elect Joe Biden called me up seeking my input on how to build support for initiatives to end violence against women, I’d first thank him for wanting to hear from a young American woman, and a survivor of abuse, because it’s often women’s lack of political voice that enables violence to continue.  Acknowledging Biden’s longtime advocacy on this issue, most notably, his drafting of the Violence Against Women Act (1994), I’d say, Joe, if you want to build support for this important law, and make sure it truly is the “greatest breakthrough in civil rights for women in nearly two decades” (NOW), it’s time to break through the military code of silence surrounding servicewomen survivors of sexual assault, and realize that to really end violence towards women, we must end war.  As we celebrated the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights this week, People magazine released the story of three enlisted women who were brutally murdered at Ft. Bragg, NC.  One in three women who join the US military will be sexually assaulted or raped by men in the military.  And in Iraq the Army may be covering up the rape and murder of dozens of women soldiers. 


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VIOLENCE FORUM: Enemies Within: Silence and Wartime Rape at Home and Abroad

December 16, 2008 posted by admin What does a skills training center for women in Sierra Leone, a village in Rwanda and an entire district in the Democratic Republic of Congo have in common? At each location, you are likely to find that the majority -- in some cases nearly all -- of the women and girls have been raped. What do women in these African countries have in common with women in the United States military? Silence and Inaction. A recent article reported that more than 37 women GIs in Iraq have experienced sexual violence at the hands of their own comrades: “The women…have reported poor medical treatment, lack of counseling and incomplete criminal investigations by military officials. Some say they were threatened with punishment after reporting assaults.”


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Rape as a War Crime and Women’s Human Rights: Dear Joe…

December 16, 2008 posted by Linda Basch Last week marked the 60th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. As we continue to celebrate this important milestone this month, we pause to reflect on the violence that women and girls continue to endure inside our nation and around the world. Sadly, its prevalence continues unabated and cuts across race, class, geography, education and income levels. Women's rights are human rights, but the full import of this is yet to be fully realized.


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NEXT GENERATION FORUM--Looking Past the U.S. Borders in the Next Four Years

December 8, 2008 posted by admin

Kyla Bender-Baird: What message would you like to send to Hillary Clinton, our next likely Secretary of State?  


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Burning Questions at the AWID Conference

December 3, 2008 posted by admin We're pleased to bring you a report from the AWID conference in South Africa last month, from Sande Smith, Director of Public Education at the Global Fund for Women.  If you've attended a conference or event that you'd like to share with us, please email us at ncrw@regender.org. And now, here's Sande! During this, my first Association of Women’s Rights in Development forum,  I heeded the advice of colleagues on how to manage the conference without falling prey to overwhelm. And to their advice, I added my own insight: follow a thread.


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