Partnership Against Violence and Harassment of Girls
South Africa in partnership with Women'sNet, University of the
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Now available the new Network Newsletter no 25 'Gender and the justice system'
MP's Exchange Scheme. Val Davey and Helen Jackson have both participated in the exchange scheme for MP's from East and Central Africa. You can read more about their experiences on their return visits to Malawi and Zambia here:
Also see: Hansard Report
Professor Liz Kelly from the Child and Women Abuse Studies Unit, London Metropolitan University reports back from the 47th session of CSW.
‘I attended the first week of the CSW in New York to make a presentation in the side event organised by the Women's National Commission - the event was billed 'You Can't Beat a Woman: High and low tech ways of combating violence against Women to provide a link the two themes for this years' CSW - violence and IT.
This was the first time I have been at any UN event on women, and making sense of what was going on, the various processes was a demanding task in itself! Luckily the UK NGO delegation was very well organised and briefed by WNC - meeting every morning and then again with the official delegation in the evening. There was also a slightly unreal atmosphere, since the CSW was taking place in the same building as the briefings from weapons inspectors and the Security Council before the war against Iraq began. There were hundreds of TV cameras and reporters, few of whom had any interest in the worlds' women.
Annette Lawson opened the presentations on the work of the Women's Aid Federation, England (WAFE), including the groundbreaking Womenspeak, an online consultation between survivors of domestic violence and women parliamentarians organised by the Hansard Society in 2001, and a capacity building link between WAFE and the shelter federation in Russia. The second presentation was by the Mother's Union, presented by Abigail Tukulu from South Africa. She discussed the role of faith based groups in tackling gender violence more generally and talked about a workbook the Mother's Union have developed which addresses all forms of violence against women and forms the basis for empowering group work in many countries. My presentation focused on the work CWASU has done with the British Council, international seminars, consultancy work, resource directories and briefing documents.
The discussion in the workshop was wide-ranging, with issues being raised about how to make men accountable for violence to the practice of self-defence for women and girls - which many participants were unaware of. The official delegation for the UK later told us that they were extremely impressed by the workshop - the presentations, the attendance and especially that it was full of practical ideas which were not limited to the UK.
process and outcomes
This is a very rare outcome, and has only happened once before in a meeting dealing with HIV/AIDS. It reveals the extent to which the seeming international consensus on violence against women is not as deep as it appears, that there are fault lines between states and between states and NGOs of prostitution and sexual exploitation.
Given the focus on trafficking it is bizarre that the term 'forced prostitution' was used since this is not the language in the Convention on Organised Crime, agreed in Palermo in 2000.
women connects to all aspects of women and girls' lives and long-standing
disagreements about women's status and gender equality get played out
in these contexts. The inability of the UN to maintain its own definition
of gender violence (which unfortunately conflates forms of violence
with the contexts they occur in) and its vision to eliminate it remains
a stumbling block.