Women’s rights and gender equality have been at the heart of the international agenda over the past few years. This intensification of the movement for women’s rights has been driven, in part, by the anniversaries of some of the core international instruments on gender. As such, 2015 marked the 20th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women and of the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the road map for gender equality for the past two decades. The year 2015 also marked the 15th Anniversary and the Global Review of UN Security Council Resolution 1325, the main UN resolution dealing with women’s participation in peace and security and their protection from violence during conflict. These processes coincided with the elaboration of the new global development agenda and Sustainable Developments Goals, placing gender equality at the core of concerns for the next 15 years, through SDG 5.
On 8th December 2015, the White Ribbon Campaign Switzerland (Ruban Blanc – Campagne Suisse) on raising awareness on violence against women held its Annual Conference on the theme “Creating an idea whose time has come – the elimination of violence against women and girls” (“Créer une idée dont le temps est venu – l’élimination de la violence à l’égard des femmes”). The Geneva Centre, represented by Mr. Ricardo Espinosa, Executive Director a.i. and Swiss White Ribbon Ambassador, was invited to join the conference and contribute to the discussion.
The Geneva Centre participates in the International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation
Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is, by definition, all or any procedure whereas female genitalia is altered; it is internationally recognized as a violation of human rights. The practice is deeply rooted into the socio-cultural and religious standings of many nations around the world.
To mark the 20th anniversary of the 4th World Conference on Women “Action for Equality, Development and Peace” (Beijing, 1995), which will be commemorated on the occasion of the 59th session of the Commission on the Status of Women in March 2015 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, a UN Economic Commission for Europe (UN ECE) review meeting took place on 6th and 7th November in Geneva. The meeting addressed key areas of progress and challenges concerning the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action in the UN ECE member States, and discussed ways to strengthen gender equality in the post-2015 development agenda.
The United Nations Population Fund (UNFP) estimates that every year 14 million girls under 18 are married without their consent. The Geneva Centre is launching a project to change this devastating statistic.
She reported that this achievement acknowledges the ways in which Emirati women have been enabled to excel in the workplace, in social and family life, as educators, and as shapers of an evolving global culture. She also emphasised that this finding represents an important opportunity to work towards a stronger and more equal society for all states in the MENA region.
Dr Pierre Sob, an Advisor on Gender Integration at the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, lectures on the massive and systematic discrimination faced by women all over the world, and reflects that there is much work to be done — both legislatively and in terms of cultural norms – before we can speak about gender equality as a reality on the ground.
Geneva Centre Graduate Reem Ahmed Alhasani: “Some people in the UAE don’t know what their rights are, and there is a lot to be done”
“No one in my family has ever worked in diplomacy or human rights; my father is a policeman and most of my family work for petrol companies. I am the first one to want to do something different. My brothers are studying, one of them is in Germany, but they are interested in the private sector while I would like to do something for the public.”