Raechel Mathews is from YWCA Australia (YWCA NSW). Raechel shares the events of day 2 at CSW 2013. She represents the young women of her community and the movement at CSW 2013
Earlier today I attended, as a NGO observer, ‘Parliamentary strategies for tackling violence against women and girls’ jointly hosted by UN Women and the Inter-Parliamentary union (IPU) at the United Nations.
Following a welcome from Mr A Radi, the President of the IPU, Michelle Bachelet, Executive Director of UN Women, delivered another passionate statement to the Gover
nment delegates and Parliamentarians regarding the elimination of violence against women. She stated that this CSW 2013 is a ‘tipping point in history…never before has there been so much public support for eliminating violence against women’. She also spoke with a sense of urgency about the end to impunity; deeper social transformation; gender equality and the importance of reviewing and strengthening laws.
She suggested four ways to further help prevent and end violence against women: 1) passing legislation that criminalizes violence – only two thirds of countries have any legislation to prosecute perpetrators of violence; 2) Parliaments’ responsibility to monitor and implement existing and new legislation; 3) Parliamentarians’ personal role in raising society’s increased awareness of violence against women 4) The parliamentary function of budget-setting and budget approval.
In particular, I loved that she challenged parliamentarians to put their money where their mouth is, by saying:
‘A law is potent only if it has the financial and human resources required for its implementation. These financial requirements must be reflected in budget allocations’
She closed with an incredibly forthright call to action which I hope the delegates in the room considered seriously: ‘Parliamentarians by definition are there to serve the public good and citizens – you were elected to serve ALL citizens. I call on you to never forget that the women and girls you serve – indeed, all humanity – place hope and trust in you. Deeds always count more than words and I count on your passion and commitment for us TOGETHER to bring an end to the history of violence.’
For the remainder of the day, there were panel testimonials from representatives from Mali, Portugal, Zambia Burkina Faso, Mexico, Bolivia and the UK around their challenge and motivations to eliminate violence against women and girls. The UK presentation was a standout for me, about women’s political representation in the media; using past UK Ministers dubbed ‘Babes’, US Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Australia’s Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, as examples where in the public eye, women’s emotions and fashion choices grab more news headlines, far above their policies and political views. The session concluded with ‘Future Strategies for parliaments to end violence against women’ to identify priorities for parliaments to support progress. Broadly, the agreement was around:
- Working on changing social and cultural norms and attitudes
- Amending discriminatory legislation
- Promoting respect for women’s rights
- Mainstreaming gender in parliament
It was great to attend the event and get a more global view of the challenges still remaining in the fight to eliminate violence against women. However, once these two weeks have concluded, the time for talk will be over. It’s time for action!
Filed under: Leadership