Empowering Rural Women: Commission on the Status of Women

27 February 2012
Author: UNFPA

UNITED NATIONS, New York --- Over the next two weeks, the 56th Commission on the Status of Women takes on the challenge of empowering rural women and acknowledging their crucial role in the eradication of hunger and poverty. The Commission is the principal  policy-making body dedicated exclusively to gender equality and the advancement of women worldwide.

Two high profile multimedia events bookend UNFPA’s participation in the weeks activities. The first, on 28 February, is a concert to raise awareness of female genital mutilation/cutting. Held in cooperation with the Permanent Mission of Italy to the United Nations and UNICEF, the event will feature Angelique Kidju - a world renowned singer-songwriter originally from Benin. The second is an exhibition of quilts from around the world to celebrate International Women’s Day.  It opens on 5 March.

Other key events that UNFPA is involved in include the following panel discussions:

28 February, 1:15 – 2:30 pm. Reproductive rights and HIV: Addressing rural women’s needs for empowerment and equality. ( North Lawn Building, Conference Room 3)

Panelists, including Werner Haug, the director of UNFPA’s Technical Division, will speak about the close interconnections between HIV, reproductive health and gender equality, especially in relationship to the realities of rural women.

One of the quilts that will be part of the exhibition: Women are the Fabric.

29 February, 10– 11:15 am. Lessons learned from joint programming on gender equality initiatives, (Conference Room B, North Lawn Building)

Discussion will be based experiences of the Action Learning Programme on Gender Equality that was implemented in three pilot countries and the Violence Against Women programme that was implemented 10 pilot countries.

29 February, 1:00 – 3:00 p.m. Stories of Change: Engaging Men in Gender Equality and Caregiving (UNICEF House)

Using an inter-generational perspective, panelists will present ‘Stories of Change’, highlighting initiatives that have aimed to challenge gender norms. They will also explore the role that men play in fatherhood, caregiving, and gender equality.

29 February, 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. Rural Women’s Health (Church Centre)

Discussion of ways to support the reproductive health issues of rural women, focusing on projects in Uganda, in Papua New Guinea and through the Campaign to End Fistula.

1 March, 12:30 – 2:00 p.m. Girls Grow (Church Centre)

Hosted by the UN Adolescent Girls Task Force, the panel will clarify how empowering rural adolescent girls spurs economic and social growth.  It will explore concrete recommendations from the report, Girls Grow, on improving the lives of rural adolescent girls, who are triply disadvantaged (in terms of location, age and gender).

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