Monday, 13 April 2015

Our 2015 theme is 'Working together'

‘Working together’our theme for 2015 has to be the foundation of any real attempt to address the epidemic of violence in our society. At the March 5th Council meeting we had an opportunity to reflect on the capacity of faith based organisations to promote a more respectful society with speaker Dr Ree Boddé, Program Director for the Prevention of Violence against Women - an initiative of the Anglican Diocese of Melbourne has been involved in an effective education program that has men and women working together for reform.

International Women’s Day events across Australia through March made reference to the 20th anniversary of the 4th World Conference of Women in Beijing in 1995. The review process reached its peak in New York at the UN Commission on the Status of Women CSW59/Beijing+20 (2015) from 9 to 20 March. Now representatives of Member States, UN entities, and ECOSOC-accredited non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are on their way back to their home countries.

What are the elements of the Beijing Platform for Action from 1995 that remain important today.What progress has been made? Critical area of concern in the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action included 4: Violence against Women. At the Melbourne UN Women Breakfast on March 3rd, Board Member Catherine Walker told the guests that a major problem is still Critical Area 7: Women in power and decision making. Fewer than 20% of parliamentarians worldwide are women, and in our region only 1 in 15 MPs are women. The panel of speakers reflected on situation for women in our region twenty years after the Beijing Conference:In Samoa 70% of women have experienced violence; however next year a number of seats in the Parliament will be reserved for women. At the same event Irene Santiago, Philippines Peace Commission, commented that one sign of progress over the 20 years has been the bringing of women’s voices to the UN Security Council from the time SC Resolution 1325 and now countries are gradually adopting National Action Plans on Women, Peace and Security as Australia and the Philippines have done. 

How to get the idea across? One great example is Emma Watson’s speech on “He For She” and this was subject of a post written by Yvette Wang for the blog to promoting our student event 'My Vote My Voice' now rescheduled for August 10 2015.