Encyclopedia of Women in Today's World <a class="ref page" href="/reference/womentoday#the-multimedia-encyclopedia-of-women-in-todays-world-2013">The Multimedia Encyclopedia of Women in Today's World</a>

Encyclopedia of Women in Today's World The Multimedia Encyclopedia of Women in Today's World

Encyclopedias

Edited by: Mary Zeiss Stange, Carol K. Oyster & Jane E. Sloan

Abstract

The Encyclopedia of Women in Today’s World looks at women today and delves into contexts of being female in the 21st century. The scope of the Encyclopedia focuses on women's status starting approximately in the year 2000 and going forward. From A-to-Z, this work covers the spectrum of defining women in the contemporary world. Signed entries (with cross-references and recommended readings) cover the full range of issues in contemporary women’s studies, with volumes including information relevant to the following academic disciplinary contexts: arts and media; business and economics; criminal justice; education; family studies; health; media; military; politics; science and technology; sports; religion; and women in different cultures and countries.

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  • Reader's Guide
  • Entries A-Z
  • Subject Index
  • Front Matter
  • Back Matter
    • Activism in Theory and Practice
    • Arts
    • Business, Commerce, and Economics
    • Countries
    • Education
    • Environment
    • Government/Law and Justice
    • Health: Mental and Physical
    • Media/Popular Culture
    • Religion
    • Science and Technology
    • Sports and Recreation
    • Sexualities
    • War and Conflict
    • Women's Lives
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      About the Editors

      Mary Zeiss Stange, General Editor, is Professor of Women's Studies and Religion at Skidmore College, where for nine years she served as director of the Women's (now Gender) Studies Program. Her work is broadly interdisciplinary, with current emphases on the intersections among gender and environmental studies, social and environmental justice, and global ecofeminism. Her books include Woman the Hunter (1997), Gun Women: Firearms and Feminism in Contemporary America (with Carol K. Oyster, 2000), Heart Shots: Women Write about Hunting (2003), and Hard Grass: Life on the Crazy Woman Bison Ranch (2010). She edited Stackpole Books’ “Sisters of the Hunt” series of reprints of classic women's outdoor writing, and is the author of numerous scholarly articles and review essays, for publications ranging from the Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion, the Women's Studies Quarterly and the Women's Review of Books to the Journal of Law, Economics & Policy, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and Liberty Magazine. She is a contributing writer for USA Today's Op-Ed page. She earned a B.A. in English Literature, and M.A. and Ph.D. in Religion and Culture Studies, all from Syracuse University.

      Carol K. Oyster, General Editor, is Professor of Psychology and Director of the Institute for Ethnic and Racial Studies at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. Her work focuses on gender and racial stereotypes, and attitudes toward societally marginalized groups. Her books include Gun Women: Firearms and Feminism in Contemporary America (with Mary Zeiss Stange, 2000), Groups: A User's Guide (2000), and Introduction to Research: A Guide for the Health Science Profesional (with W.P. Hanten and L.A. Llorens, 1987). Other works include “Whose Death Is It, Anyway?” (in N. Bauer-Maglin and D. Perry [editors], Final Acts: Death, Dying and the Choices We Make, 2010) and “Social Insecurity: A Cautionary Tale” (in N. Bauer-Maglin and A. Radosh [editors], and Women Confronting Retirement: A Nontraditional Guide, 2003). Oyster earned her B.A. in Psychology from UCLA, an M.A. in Counseling Psychology from Loyola Marymount University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Social Psychology from the University of Delaware.

      Jane Sloan, Multimedia Editor, is the Media Librarian at Rutgers University Libraries in New Brunswick, New Jersey, and former Women's Studies Librarian at Rutgers, and Cinema-Television Librarian at the University of Southern California. She is the author of several cinema studies reference books on Robert Bresson, Alfred Hitchcock, and most recently Reel Women, on contemporary feature films about women. She was the recipient of the Award for Significant Achievement in Woman's Studies Librarianship, from the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) Women's Studies Section (WSS) in 2008.

      Introduction

      The close of the first decade of the 21st century is an ideal time to reflect on the status of women in today's world. Women's situation in virtually every conceivable arena—from poetry to politics, education to economy—changed more dramatically in the last 100 years than in the preceding 1,000. And, especially since the turn of the millennium, as the pace of new technologies and new information continues to accelerate, so too has the apparent speed of that social and cultural evolution. It is therefore an apt historical moment to mark progress made in so many areas, while at the same time pondering the complex challenges that accompany change, and bearing in mind that change is not always or invariably for the better. This, in a nutshell, is what The Multimedia Encyclopedia of Women in Today's World is all about.

      When we commenced this project, we immediately became aware of its unavoidably vast scope. How does one (or, in our case, two) begin to identify which issues are of greatest import to over half the world's population? Who should appropriately be singled out, in terms of their accomplishments, as the most significant women on the planet? How might a reference work capture the myriad realities of what it means to experience life as a female in genuinely global terms: across lines of nationality, class, race and ethnicity, ability, religion, sexual orientation, gender expression, age, politics … to name just some of the considerations we had constantly to bear in mind?

      Our assignment, for this initial edition of the encyclopedia in four print volumes and online, was to identify roughly a thousand entries, with a one million-word limit for the resulting text. As daunting as this may sound, we quickly understood that while this encyclopedia could do considerably more than merely scratch the surface it would not be possible to cover everything about women in today's world. Nor, indeed, would it be desirable to attempt it. Any reference work that claimed complete comprehensiveness on this subject would immediately, and rightly, be suspect.

      We knew there would be some gaps in the areas these volumes cover, many of which will be filled in the two successive updated online editions, consisting of an additional 500 entries and another half-million words, that we project over the next two years. We have, in this initial four-volume offering, done our best to include what we believe to be the essentials. And we are confident that anything this encyclopedia of women in today's world may lack in terms of completeness is more than made up for by its overall coherence and consistency of purpose.

      A few words about its purpose, as we general editors envision it: In terms of its audience, we see this work, like any good encyclopedia, more as a starting point, than as an end in itself. That is, whether those who consult this work are simply casual readers looking for some reliable information on a particular subject, or students or scholars commencing research for some specific project, we intend that the entries here will not simply provide reliable information, but will also spur further reflection and provide the essential guidance as to where to look next for more specialized or refined information. You might say that, as its structure evolved, in global terms this encyclopedia is conceived more as a map or an itinerary than as a travelogue.

      Additionally, while it is intended to be useful for a variety of audiences, there is one in particular that deserves special mention here: the community of feminist and women's and gender studies scholars. Our approximately 400 contributors are, overwhelmingly, members of that community, here in the United States and around the world.

      We are aware that its critics charge that scholarship grounded in feminism is tainted by political and other biases. However, we also recognize that just as the global women's movement is primarily responsible for the positive changes that have occurred for women and girls over the past century, so too the “academic wing” of that movement-women's and, more recently, gender studies-provides the best lens through which to chart and analyze those changes. Feminist analysis is today acknowledged to be a fundamental critical tool across the academic disciplines.

      Throughout the process of assigning and editing entries, we have emphasized fair and balanced presentation as a fundamental requirement, no matter how controversial a given topic might be. Entries that leaned too far in any political or theoretical direction suggesting bias-including that for which only the hackneyed phrase “political correctness” suffices-were not included.

      We are pleased to say that The Multimedia Encyclopedia of Women in Today's World represents the genuine depth and diversity of current scholarship by and about women, and is the most comprehensive reference work available on women worldwide that is firmly grounded in women's and gender studies.

      How the Encyclopedia Was Created: Goals

      We drew our inspiration for the overarching goals of this encyclopedia from its title, and these goals are threefold.

      First, this encyclopedia is about women in today's world. While the ever-expanding disciplines of gender studies, LGBTQ studies and queer theory all afford ample opportunity for addressing the lives and experiences of men, those subjects fall outside the purview of this work, except to the extent that information about men is necessary to illustrate or illuminate some relevant aspect of women's reality. Hence, for example, the entries on the social construction of masculinity and the Roman Catholic priesthood, while superficially male-centered, are included here to serve the larger goal of comprehending some specific facets of women's lives.

      Second, our goal is to focus on women in today's world. The emphasis throughout is consistently contemporary and, in spirit, future-oriented. Of course, any definition of “today” is bound to be to some extent arbitrary, but our guiding principle was to concentrate on the world post-2000. While we realize this excludes some iconic issues and individuals in women's studies, our aim here is to create a unique resource, containing information that is as current and forward-looking as we could make it, and which cannot readily be found in one place elsewhere. Such historical information as is necessary to an adequate understanding of any entry's subject is, naturally, included. But we kept this as much as possible to a minimum, as readers searching for deeper history of subjects like the 19th-century women's suffrage movement or educational opportunities available to women in medieval Europe have plenty of other places to look. Our focus is on the issues, ideas, and people that will extend and expand our understanding of women's progress into the future.

      Our third goal, and in some ways the most challenging to achieve, has been to focus on women in today's world. In a sense, in global terms, there are so many facets to women and their lives that only an encyclopedia could hope to begin to capture them all. Yet, at every step along the way of aiming for a truly global perspective and content, we were reminded of how much ground there is (quite literally) to cover, and how impossible it would be to cover it all. We therefore identified 15 broad thematic categories that we felt would, with reasonable inclusiveness, organize this work as a resource on today's women in global terms.

      We shall turn to the category list (Reader's Guide) presently, but first must note one other question we had to address early on, regarding how to approach the subject of women in today's world. That question was, simply put, which women do we want to feature? Standard reference works on women invariably include entries devoted to individual women: their lives, discoveries, accomplishments, places in history. While we appreciate its utility, we determined from the start to eschew this “great women” approach. This was, in part, because there are so many prominent, high-achieving women out there around the world these days that any attempt to include them all would be doomed to futility. But, more fundamentally, as scholars and as feminists we wanted to steer clear of the distaff version of the “great man” approach, which must necessarily entail setting some sort of standards for what constitutes “greatness” in the first place-standards which are clearly impossible when one is thinking in global terms, and which tend to default to the patriarchal “conquering hero” model which we intended to avoid at all costs.

      This is not say readers won't find some conventionally “great women” here: heads of state, corporate CEOs, entertainers, scientific innovators, power-brokers and Nobel laureates. Failing to include such extraordinary, and often internationally celebrated, women would weaken our goal of accurately representing women's status in the world today. But for every household name, there are two or three others who will be, while no less remarkable in their accomplishments, unfamiliar to most persons who consult this encyclopedia.

      We call the entries on all the women we have included “Signal Biographies,” to suggest that their life stories exemplify some particular aspects of the range of women's experience. We trust that in reading these women's stories in light of one another—for example, Harvard University President Drew Gilpin Faust and Nepalese education activist Stella Tamang, or Serbian human rights activist Stanislavka Stasa Zajovic and V-Day founder Eve Ensler—readers will come to appreciate the depth and breadth of the ways in which some truly great women are changing the world in which we all live. In keeping with our emphasis on women in the world of today, all but a very small handful of the women whose lives are included as Signal Biographies in this work are still alive and active.

      The Organization of the Encyclopedia

      Once we determined our overall goals and objectives for this project, our next task was to figure out the most effective way to organize its content. As mentioned above, we wanted to create a unique resource, containing an array of information about women not available in one unified source elsewhere. After playing around with a variety of categorical combinations, we lit upon the following as the best overall structure for organizing our material for the encyclopedia's Reader's Guide:

      • Activism in Theory and Practice
      • Arts
      • Business/Commerce/Economy
      • Countries
      • Education
      • Environment
      • Government/Law and Justice
      • Health: Mental and Physical
      • Media and Popular Culture
      • Religion
      • Science and Technology
      • Sports and Recreation
      • Sexualities
      • War and Conflict
      • Women's Lives

      Each category contains several different types of entries. But descriptions of theories, organizations, women's social, political or cultural problems, and the roles they assume are not enough. We accompany these entries with the biographies of some of the remarkable women who have developed the theories, worked in or run those organizations, sought to solve those problems and lived those roles.

      Granted, our strategy has created some strange bedfellows: Where else could Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Dolly Parton and Lady Gaga comfortably occupy the spotlight together under the category “Arts”? Or legendary White House correspondent Helen Thomas share a press pass with supermodel-turned-interviewer Tyra Banks? Or, on a somewhat darker note perhaps, Iraq war heroine Tammy Duckworth march with Abu Ghraib's Lynndie England and Algerian terrorist/freedom fighter (and, subsequently, senator) Zohra Drif-Bitat. But what may, to the casual observer, look like serendipity we prefer to think of as an illustration of the astonishing variety of women's lives, on every level.

      As to the categories that make up the Reader's Guide: While the guide is arranged alphabetically, the categories are organized thematically, and in many ways their themes necessarily overlap. Nonetheless, those themes can be broadly summarized as follows:

      Activism in Theory and Practice. Having historically been largely excluded from access both to power and to resources, women have been forced to identify and create their own strategies for change. Both in theory and in practice (and the necessary relationship between the two is complex and often subtle), women have been in the forefront of the creation and development of groups for the protection children's rights and family rights, animal rights and nature rights; movements for and against reproductive freedom; and, of course, for women's rights, under a variety of banners both liberal and conservative. Women have worked together to create groups as diverse as RAWA (the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan), MADRE in Latin America, the Tibetan Women's Association, and the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. The lives of women like Native rights activists Winona LaDuke and Wilma Mankiller, disability rights activist Simi Linton, human rights activist Shirin Ebadi and women's rights activist Engy Ayman Ghozlan illustrate the interconnection of efforts worldwide to conquer inequality, as well as the theories underpinning those efforts.

      Arts. As recently as a generation ago, when literary anthologies and art history texts featured at best the occasional token female, and the worlds of theater, dance and cinema were totally under male control, the bitter joke in feminist circles was that “Anonymous” must have been a woman. Not only have feminist arts historians and literary scholars done superb work of rediscovering a tradition of women's artistry, women are today among the prime movers in the shaping of contemporary arts. Because of—and explicitly in resistance to—the conventional association of “women's arts” with “lower” art forms, we have included in this category a broad array of women's artistic production, comprehending rock and hip-hop as well as classical music, romance novels along with the work of Pulitzer-and Nobel-prize honorees, feminist filmmaking and Bollywood, urban architecture and landscape design.

      Business, Commerce, and Economics. Women increasingly participate in the institutions that have traditionally been the bastions of male power. Women run small and large companies, multinational corporations and sports organizations. They work in offices and laboratories. They design clothing and model the designs on the catwalk. Women are also, however, the largest unpaid-and underpaid-workforce in the world. The entries in this section highlight both women's positive advances across the fields of business and commerce, and also the long way they have yet to go. In the latter regard, we paid particular attention to contemporary efforts to raise the standard of living of women and girls, and their access to financial and other resources, in developing nations-ranging from Grameen Bank of Bangladesh to UNIFEM to women's thrift cooperatives and the Association for Women's Rights in Development.

      Countries. This article category significantly gathers together up to date information about the current state of women's affairs on a country-by-country basis, arranged by continent and/or hemisphere. While each entry is an invaluable resource in its own right, taken together these entries also provide an international, intercultural platform for the comparative and cross-cultural thrust of this encyclopedia.

      Education. Feminist historian Gerda Lerner has argued that the educational disadvantaging of women and girls has historically been the primary reason for their subordination. In this category we bring together comprehensive information regarding efforts, worldwide, to counteract that disadvantaging, in initiatives like UNICEF's “Girl-friendly Schools” program, the Global Campaign for Education, No Child Left Behind and the Campaign for Female Education in Africa. We pay attention as well to the roles women play in education at all levels, in institutional and alternative contexts. And we mark the achievements of scholar-administrators like U.S. university president Shirley Ann Jackson, and Brazilian indigenous educator Adir Casaro Nascimento.

      Environment. Ecofeminism, and the environmental activism it engendered, from the Green Belt movement in Africa and India's Chipko, to diverse movements for environmental protection ranging from Love Canal to the antinuclear protests in the United Kingdom: all have been the products of women's grassroots energy. This owes in no small part to the fact that, whether the environmental crisis takes the form of drought or disease or toxic waste, women and their children are invariably most directly affected. Women like Val Plumwood, Wangari Maathai, and Vandana Shiva have therefore devoted their lives both to theorizing about, and activism for the protection of, the rights and interests both of endangered people and endangered places.

      Government/Law and Justice. Women today run countries as well as companies; they head political parties as well as social justice action movements. This broad category attempts to give a flavor of the manifold import of women's political activity today, and the extensive range of issues confronting political activists and agenda-setters. It also comprehends the increasing role women play in framing legislation-yet with a critical eye to the fact that when it comes to laws surrounding their own reproductive health and behavior, control of that legislation still too frequently rests in the hands of men. This category takes up, as well, the role that violence plays in women's lives, in regard to such worldwide facts as rape and domestic violence on the one hand, and to their own capacity for violence on the other. Women serve as police officers, attorneys judges, and prison guards. Sometimes the crime perpetrators they arrest, prosecute, convict, and guard are also women.

      Health: Mental and Physical. The biology of their bodies creates a unique set of life experiences for women. Women's lives are affected by such universal health issues as cancer, heart disease and-particularly in the developing world as well as in poor communities in the United States and other developed nations-HIV/AIDS. Yet evidence shows that, up until recently, in virtually every area medical research has failed adequately to include women, either as researchers or as subjects. The complex realities of sex, sexuality, and reproduction shape the contours of women's mental as well as physical health. Pressures on girls and women to focus on body image and beauty are associated with increases in eating disorders and cosmetic surgery. Such pioneering women's health reformers as Somali anti-FGM activist Waris Dirie, Dutch abortion rights activist Rebecca Gomperts, and former U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders are profiled in this category.

      Media/Popular Culture. Some of today's women gain celebrity for discovering cures or creating art, others for breaking athletic records or bringing peace to hitherto war-torn countries or managing media empires or producing cutting-edge journalism. In our increasingly image-obsessed age, some women are famous simply for being famous. And beyond fame and celebrity, popular culture presents a potpourri of images, ideas, ideals and role models which shape the possibilities of self-perception available to girls and women for better and for worse. The entries in this category run the gamut from Barbie dolls and Dora the Explorer to Ms. magazine and Our Bodies, Ourselves; from baby beauty pageants to pornography, slasher movies to soap operas, reality television to roller derby.

      Religion. Perhaps no aspect of human social or cultural life worldwide has had a greater impact on the lives of women and girls than religion. The ways in which religious ideas and ideals about the female/feminine shape the expectations of and possibilities afforded to women are portrayed in these entries across religious and national boundaries. We pay significant attention, as well, to feminist resistance to patriarchal religion in a variety of contexts, to the changing landscape of marriage and ministry, and to the role religions play in shaping public policy relating to sexual and reproductive behavior. The signal biographies in this category include Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori and Amina Wadud, and religious renegades like Sonia Johnson and Starhawk.

      Science and Technology. This category suggests the many ways in which women are entering scientific and technological fields formerly closed to them- from aerospace exploration to astronomy, engineering to earth science-and transforming those fields in the process. It also includes several entries exploring 21st-century technological realities as various as sexting, Internet dating, computer gaming and cyber-stalking, and their potential impact on women and girls.

      Sports and Recreation. Women play tennis and soccer, they excel at golf and figure skating, they lift weights and run marathons, they hunt and ride in rodeos. A post-Title IX generation of girls has grown up experiencing exercise and sports participation as normal components of their education. Some have gone on to careers in coaching or as referees. The entries in this category point to the breadth of women's sports participation, which is borne out by such biographies as those of figure skater Kim Yu-Na, golfer Annika Sörenstam, race-car driver Danica Patrick, boxer Laila Ali, and Olympic shooter Kim Rhode.

      Sexualities. This category of entries takes up the increasingly complex discourses surrounding sexuality and sexual orientation, LGBTQ theory and activism, and queer theory. Some entries depict how in certain cultural contexts, tolerance of diverse gender identity and expression is institutionalized. Others portray the institutionalization of discrimination based on these same factors.

      War and Conflict. Women invariably suffer disproportionately in conflict zones, both in terms of being victimized by the hardships that all people experience in wartime and, more especially, in being treated by turns as instruments of and/or as spoils of war by enemy combatants. Women at the same time serve in the militaries of several of the world's nations, in some contexts seeing combat, and suffering from its aftereffects. Women also figure as very active participants in terrorist and insurgent movements around the world.

      Women's Lives. Finally, there are certain social and cultural features of women's lives which are intimately tied to institutionally defined social roles among humans in general, and among women in particular. Issues of aging and discrimination are universal. For many, heterosexual marriage, motherhood, divorce and widowhood are pivotal concerns. Lesbians’ loves and lives revolve around other women, sometimes generating hatred or violent reactions from society at large. To marry or not, whether or not to bear children are for some women matters of choice, while for others the “choice” is dictated by biology or by other people-sometimes without the affected woman's consent, or even her knowledge. Parenthood is for some a solitary journey, perhaps chosen but sometimes involuntary. Women are mistresses and mail-order brides, Quinceañeras and prom queens, nannies and homemakers, “helicopter parents” and “soccer moms.”

      This brief summary of our organizational themes can at best suggest the virtually inexhaustible range of material available to our contributors. We trust that, reading one category of entries against another, users of this reference work will make their own further connections among our original 15: indeed, we very much encourage them to!

      One final dimension of this encyclopedia that must be noted is that it is quite intentionally a work still in progress. The process of putting together this initial offering, available simultaneously in four print volumes and online, was itself a lesson in how much work there remains to be done. Our approximately 400 contributors, representing dozens of nationalities based in educational institutions and working as independent scholars on five continents, have amassed an astounding amount of information about women in today's world. But there is, needless to say, more ground yet to cover.

      Hence, in a very real sense, our end in this project is also our beginning. We are already hard at work on the first of two online supplements of this encyclopedia, to be published in 2012 and 2013. Each will contain another 250 entries, adding a total of 500 more entries and approximately a half-million more words, to amplify and supplement the content of these first four volumes.

      Therefore, while as its General Editors we are both proud of what we have accomplished here, we are equally pleased to say that, in a very real sense, the best is yet to come.

      Multimedia Edition

      This electronic edition of The Multimedia Encyclopedia of Women in Today's World marks a milestone in reference development with the inclusion of some 99 video clips from news agencies that were researched by Multimedia Editor Jane Sloan to illustrate key articles and themes within the work. Reflecting what life is like for women around the world, the multimedia clips work with the text articles, ranging from the topics of abortion in Poland to women's political status in Yemen. Moreover, the several hundred four-color photographs and captions complement the articles as well, yielding a multifaceted presentation.

      Acknowledgments

      This encyclopedia is the result of the combined efforts of a number of people without whom the project could not have been completed. We wish, first of all, to thank Rolf Janke, Publisher, and Jim Brace-Thompson, Senior Editor, of SAGE Publications for their vision in creating this encyclopedia and for their continuing enthusiasm. We owe Multimedia Editor Jane Sloan a wealth of gratitude for her skillful and thoughtful selection of the multimedia components which complement and enhance the written words here. We are grateful to Geoff Golson, President and Editor of Golson Media, for inviting us to edit the encyclopedia and for his patience, organization, and support throughout the process. Sue Moskowitz, Golson Media's Director of Author Management, has been amazing in her ability to recruit and manage a cadre of writers whose diversity and expertise have contributed so richly to the finished product. Thanks as well to Senior Layout Editor Mary Jo Scibetta. Finally, we wish to thank the SAGE production team.

      In addition, Mary Zeiss Stange is grateful for Skid-more College's support of her work on this project, in the form of funding travel and research assistance. My special thanks to the students in the fall 2009 Women's Studies Senior Seminar, for their brainstorming and constructive suggestions about potential headwords, and more especially to my 2009/2010 research assistant Arielle Kouffman for her energy and many creative insights. During summer 2010, Alexis Shenfil Smart brought a “Millennial” perspective and a global awareness to our continuing work: The forthcoming online supplements of this encyclopedia will owe much of their international depth and topical variety to her invariably savvy discoveries and suggestions. As always, my appreciation for Carol Oyster's good humor, sharp intellect, and willingness, from time to time, to yield the social scientific passive voice to my editorial pen.

      Carol Oyster would like to thank her colleague, Mary Zeiss Stange, for continuing our previous collaboration by asking me to join her in this project. Coming from complementary academic disciplines, our joint efforts have once again resulted in a product of which I am very proud. I would also like to express my most profound gratitude to my daughter, Katherine, for her patience in allowing me to prattle on endlessly about the project, for contributing a number of the headwords that appear in the work that reflect both her generation's perspective and her own successful progress in her medical education, and for making me proud in too many other ways to express.

      Mary Zeiss Stange
      Carol K. Oyster General Editors

      Reader's Guide

      List of Articles

      List of Contributors

      Abatsis McHenry, Kristen, University of Massachusetts, Boston

      Ackerman, Alissa, University of California, Merced

      Adams, Jennifer, DePauw University

      Adams, Tony, Northeastern Illinois University

      Addison, Michelle, Newcastle University

      Adney, Karley, University of Wisconsin, Marathon County

      Agüera Cabo, Mercè, University of Girona

      Alcalde, M. Cristina, University of Kentucky

      Alexandre, Chandra, Institute of Transpersonal Psychology

      Alexy, Allison, Lafayette College

      Allison, Jill, Memorial University of Newfoundland & Labrador

      Almond, Amanda, Connecticut College

      Altinay, Rustem Ertug, Bogazici University

      Anderson, Kristin, University of Houston, Downtown

      Anstey, Erica, University of South Florida

      Anthony, Deborah, University of Illinois at Springfield

      Anuik, Jonathan, Lakehead University, Orillia

      Appelbaum, Jenna, New York University

      Aseltine, Elyshia, University of Texas at Austin

      Atay, Ahmet, University of Louisville

      Avishai, Orit, Fordham University

      Bagilhole, Barbara, Loughborough University

      Bagwell, Dana, Independent Scholar

      Baker, Carrie, Berry College

      Baker, Nancy, Sam Houston State University

      Baker, Vanessa, Bowling Green State University

      Bakirci, Kadriye, Istanbul Technical University

      Barlow, Constance, University of Calgary

      Barnard, Sarah, Loughborough University

      Barnes, Rebecca, University of Derby

      Barr, Elissa, University of North Florida

      Barrett, Hazel, Coventry University

      Bassett, Deborah, University of Washington

      Bassett, Molly H., Georgia State University

      Basu, Pratyusha, University of South Florida

      Baxandall, Rosalyn, State University of New York, Old Westbury

      Bello, Barbara, University of Milano

      Bello y Villarino, José-Miguel, Independent Scholar

      Bent, Emily, National University of Ireland, Galway

      Berry, Bonnie, Social Problems Research Group

      Bilous, Adriane, Fordham University

      Bittarello, Maria, John Cabot University

      Block, Marcelline, Princeton University

      Bogstad, Janice, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

      Bond, Cynthia, Loyola Marymount University

      Borck, Cathy, The Graduate Center, The City University of, New York

      Boros, Claudine, Touro College

      Bos, Angela, College of Wooster

      Boslaugh, Sarah, Washington University

      Bouclin, Suzanne, McGill University

      Bowles, Emily, Lawrence University

      Bowles, Ryan, University of California, Santa Barbara

      Boyers, Robert, Skidmore College

      Brännlund, Emma, National University of Ireland, Galway

      Braun, Yvonne, University of Oregon

      Bray, Una, Skidmore College

      Brigley Thompson, Zoe, University of Northampton

      Brown, Carl, East Tennessee State University

      Browne, Kath, University of Brighton

      Brunson, Jan, Bowdoin College

      Bueskens, Petra, Deakin University

      Burkett, Jennifer, University of Southern Mississippi

      Buscher, Austin, Claremont Graduate University

      Buss, Candice, University of North Carolina, Greensboro

      Calarco, Jr., Paul, Hudson Valley Community College

      Canelo, Kayla, California State University, Stanislaus

      Carter, Daryl, East Tennessee State University

      Cermele, Jill, Drew University

      Cerven, Christine, University of California, San Diego

      Chen, Ya-chen, Clark University

      Choubey, Asha, M.J.P. Rohilkhand University

      Chrisler, Joan, Connecticut College

      Churcher, Kalen, Niagara University

      Coelho, Maria, University of Minho

      Cokely, Carrie, Curry College

      Comerford, Lynn, California State University, East Bay

      Cornelius Smith, Erika, Purdue University

      Coulter, Myrl, Independent Scholar

      Crain, Crystallee, California Institute of Integral Studies

      Crutcher, Emily, University of California, Santa Barbara

      Cruz, Gemma, DePaul University

      Cunningham, Carolyn, Boston College

      Currans, Elizabeth, The College of William and Mary

      Cutts, Qiana, Argosy University Atlanta

      Daprano, Corinne, University of Dayton

      Dasgupta, Arundhati, University of Lethbridge

      Davari, Dordaneh, Rutgers University

      Davey, Gareth, Hong Kong Shue Yan University

      Davidson, Cait, Independent Scholar

      Davidson, Deborah, York University

      Davis, Corrie, Kennesaw State University

      de la Porte, Susan, University of KwaZulu-Natal

      DeHaas, Jocelyn, Eastern Washington University

      Del Moral Garrido, Marian, Universidad de Granada

      DeLap, Alpha, University of Washington

      Desnoyers-Colas, Elizabeth, Armstrong Atlantic State University

      Dethloff, Heather, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary

      Deutsch, James, Smithsonian Institution

      DeWan, Jennifer, Independent Scholar

      Dewey, Susan, Indiana University, Bloomington

      Dicken, Virginia, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale

      Diduch, Amy McCormick, Mary Baldwin College

      Doll, Yvonne, U.S. Army Command and General Sta- College

      Donohue, Stacey, Central Oregon Community College

      Dowsett, Julie, York University

      Drew, Patricia, California State University, East Bay

      Duffy, Donna, University of North Carolina, Greensboro

      Duprat-Kushtanina, Veronika, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales

      Duquaine-Watson, Jillian, University of Texas at Dallas

      Eagleman, Andrea, Indiana University

      Edmonds, Regina, Assumption College

      Edy, Carolyn, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

      Eileraas, Karina, University of California, Los Angeles

      Elkind, Perrin, University of California, Berkeley

      Enszer, Julie, University of Maryland

      Etaugh, Claire, Bradley University

      Fackler, Jennifer, University of Houston

      Fahs, Breanne, Arizona State University

      Fairclough, Kirsty, University of Salford

      Farkas, Zita, Independent Scholar

      Farrell, Annemarie, Ithaca College

      Federer, Lisa, University of California, Los Angeles

      Finn, Melissa, York University

      Fischer, Clara, Trinity College Dublin

      Fitzgerald, Monica, Saint Mary's College of California

      Fleetwood, Jennifer, University of Kent

      Floyd, Nancy, Georgia State University

      Flynn, Johnny P., Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

      Ford, Elyssa, Arizona State University

      Fornengo, Graziella, University of Turin

      Foster, Stephenie, Legacy

      Fountain, Kim, Independent Scholar

      Fumia, Doreen, Ryerson University

      Furia, Stacie, Northland College

      Galman, Sally, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

      Garner, Karen, State University of New York, Empire State College

      Gatrell, Caroline, Lancaster University

      Gillentine, Andy, University of Miami

      Good, Deirdre, The General Theological Seminary

      Gordon-Dseagu, Vanessa, University College London

      Gosztyla, Shell, State University of New York, Albany

      Gotlib, Anna, State University of New York, Binghamton

      Gott, K. C., East Tennessee State University

      Grady, Marilyn, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

      Graetz, Naomi, Ben Gurion University of the Negev

      Graney, Katherine, Skidmore College

      Gregg, Elizabeth, Jacksonville University

      Groeneveld, Elizabeth, University of Guelph

      Gunnison, Elaine, Seattle University

      Gustafson, Diana, Memorial University

      Halasz, Judith, State University of New York, New Paltz

      Hant, Myrna, University of California, Los Angeles, Center for, the Study of Women

      Hardy, Kate, Queen Mary, University of London

      Harris, Sian, Newcastle University

      Hayden, Sara, University of Montana

      Hayes, Brittany, City University of New York

      Heilbrunn, Sarah, California Polytechnic State University

      Heitner, Keri, University of Phoenix

      Helgren, Jennifer, University of the Pacific

      Henderson, Heike, Boise State University

      Hern, Warren, University of Colorado Health, Sciences Center

      Hernandez, Marcia, University of the Pacific

      Herrera, Cristina, California State University, Fresno

      Hidalgo, Danielle, University of California, Santa Barbara

      Hilarides, Bridget, Reed College

      Hill, Emily, University of North Dakota

      Hinze, Susan, Case Western Reserve University

      Hirani, Vasant, Royal Free and University College London

      Hixon, Amy, University of KwaZulu-Natal

      Holcomb, Briavel, Rutgers University

      Hopkins, Jason, University of California, Santa Barbara

      Horn Sheeler, Kristina, Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis

      Horsley, William, Reed College

      Houlihan, Meggan A., Ball State University

      Huang, Yu-ling, State University of New York, Binghamton

      Hung, Li-Ching, Overseas Chinese University

      Huntoon, Alishia, Oregon Institute of Technology

      Hurst, Rachel, St. Francis Xavier University

      Husain, Jonelle, Mississippi State University

      Ignagni, Sandra, York University

      Jacobsen, Joyce, Wesleyan University

      Jaffer, Jennifer, Independent Scholar

      Jamal, Judy, Columbia University

      Janssen, Diederik, Independent Scholar

      Johnson, Phylis, Southern Illinois University

      Johnson, Carolyn, Columbia University Teachers College

      Johnson, Helen, University of Queensland

      Jones, Meredith, University of Technology, Sydney

      Jones, Rita, Lehigh University

      Kaell, Hillary, Harvard University

      Kahl, Mary, State University of New York, New Paltz

      Kain, Edward, Southwestern University

      Kalmbach, Hilary, University of Oxford

      Kane, Jennifer, University of North Florida

      Kaptan, Senem, Sabanci University

      Karakurt, Gunnur, Texas Tech University

      Kaul, Nitasha, University of Westminster

      Kaur, Mandeep, University of Texas, Austin

      Kaur, Jasmeet, Independent Scholar

      Keifer-Boyd, Karen, Pennsylvania State University

      Keith, Tina, Pathways Community Behavioral Healthcare

      Keller, Jessalynn, University of Texas at Austin

      Keller, Mary, University of Wyoming

      Kelley, Kate S., University of Missouri

      Kelly, Kimberly, Mississippi State University

      Kermani, Zohreh, Harvard University

      Khan, Farida, University of Wisconsin, Parkside

      Khoja-Moolji, Shenila, Harvard University

      Klein, Jessica, Adelphi University

      Knight, Wanda, Pennsylvania State University

      Koh, Adeline, Richard Stockton College

      Kohlman, Marla, Kenyon College

      Koncikowski, Jeanette, State University of New York, Bualo

      Koppelman, Constance, State University of New York, Stonybrook

      Krehbiel Keefe, Susi, Brown University

      Kreitler, Katy Nicole, University of San Francisco

      Kretzschmar, Uta, Chemnitz University of Technology

      Kronenfeld, Jennie, Arizona State University

      Kuehl, Rebecca, University of Minnesota

      Kwan, Samantha, University of Houston

      La Monica, Nancy, York University

      Lai, Suat Yan, University of Malaya

      Lans, Alexander, College of Wooster

      Lee, Jason, University of North Florida

      Leitz, Lisa, Hendrix College

      LeSavoy, Barbara, State University of New York, Brockport

      Letherby, Gayle, Plymouth University

      Leyser, Ophra, Haskell Indian Nations University

      Liberman, Rachael, University of Colorado at Boulder

      Little, Christopher, University of Toronto

      Lizzio, Celene, Harvard University

      Logsdon-Conradsen, Susan, Berry College

      Love, Bettina, Northern Kentucky University

      Lumsden, Rachel, The Graduate Center, The City University, of New York

      Lyons, Courtney, Baylor University

      Maatita, Florence, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville

      MacLean, Vicky, Middle Tennessee State University

      Madonia, Heather, College of Wooster

      Madsen, Susan, Utah Valley University

      Maetala, Ruth, Ministry for Women Youth and, Children Affairs

      Maina, Julie, Roanoke College

      Malzac, Julien, Université de Toulouse

      Mann, Carol, University of London

      Manning, Jimmie, Northern Kentucky University

      Mansfield, Katherine Cumings, University of Texas at Austin

      Marsh, Patricia, University of Central Missouri

      Mayhead, Molly, Western Oregon University

      McCarthy, Ashling, University of KwaZulu Natal

      McKelley, Ryan, University of Wisconsin, La Crosse

      McIntosh, Heather, Northern Illinois University

      Mendick, Heather Goldsmiths, University of London

      Merriman, Katherine, Harvard Divinity School

      Meyer, Doug, The Graduate Center, The City University, of New York

      Mignon, Sylvia, University of Massachusetts, Boston

      Mills, Shirley, University of Texas-Pan American

      Mizumura, Ayako, University of Kansas

      Mlinarevic, Gorana, University of Sarajevo

      Moghadam, Valentine, Purdue University

      Morales Villena, Amalia, Universidad de Granada

      More, Alison, St. Bonaventure University

      Moreau, Marie-Pierre, University of Bedfordshire

      Moreno, Gerardo, Northeastern Illinois University

      Mortenson, Joani, University of British Columbia, Okanagan

      Movileanu, Angela, University of Siena

      Mupotsa, Danai, Monash University

      Murray, Dara, Rutgers University

      Narasimhan, Vasantha, Skidmore College

      Nario-Redmond, Michelle, Hiram College

      Nash, Catherine, Brock University

      Newman, Matthew, Arizona State University

      Ní Mhórdha, Máire, University of St. Andrews, Scotland

      Nichols, Tracy, University of North Carolina at Greensboro

      Nix-Stevenson, Dara, University of North Carolina at Greensboro

      Noyola, Sonia, University of Texas at Austin

      O'Brien Hallstein, D. Lynn, Boston University

      Ochoa Rodríguez, M. Delores, Universidad de Granada

      Okopny, Cara, University of Maryland

      O'Leary, Pamela, Independent Scholar

      Oleson, Kathy, Reed College

      Ortbals, Candice, Pepperdine University

      Oxford, Connie, State University of New York, Plattsburgh

      Pabón López, María, Indiana University School of Law

      Pamonag, Febe, Western Illinois University

      Pankake, Anita M., University of Texas-Pan American

      Pantea, Maria-Carmen, Babes Bolyai University

      Parenti, Brittany, Northwestern University

      Parsons, Jacqueline, St. Mary's University

      Patel, Priti, Southern Africa Litigation Centre

      Patterson, Natasha, Simon Fraser University

      Pease-Hernandez, Christine, Slippery Rock University

      Pfeiffer, Alice, Independent Scholar

      Plant, Rebecca, University of California, San Diego

      Plec, Emily, Western Oregon University

      Polacek, Kelly Myer, Independent Scholar

      Policek, Nicoletta, University of Lincoln

      Poloni-Staudinger, Lori, Northern Arizona University

      Poltera, Jacqui, University of Western Sydney

      Predoi-Cross, Adriana, University of Lethbridge

      Purdy, Elizabeth Rholetter, Independent Scholar

      Raimist, Rachel, University of Alabama

      Ramalho, Tania, State University of New York, Oswego

      Rangil, Viviana, Skidmore College

      Reed, Jennifer, California State University, Long Beach

      Reger, Mark, Limestone College

      Reid Boyd, Elizabeth, Edith Cowan University

      Reviere, Rebecca, Howard University

      Reynaga-Abiko, Geneva, University of California, Merced

      Rholetter, Wylene, Auburn University

      Richards, Judy, Newcastle University

      Richman, Alice, UNC Gillings School of Global, Public Health

      Richter, Nicole, Wright State University

      Ricordeau, Gwénola, Université Lille 1

      Riley, Jeannette, University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth

      Rittenhofer, Iris, Århus University

      Rodgers, Julie, National University of Ireland, Maynooth

      Rodriguez, Jenny, University of Strathclyde

      Rodriguez Medela, Juan, University of Granada

      Röhner, Jessica, TU Chemnitz

      Rose, Jennifer, Connecticut College

      Roth-Johnson, Danielle, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

      Rowley, Sarah, Indiana University

      Royce, Tracy, University of California, Santa Barbara

      Ruminski, Elesha, Frostburg State University

      Ruspini, Elisabetta, University of Milano, Bicocca

      Salina, Doreen, Northwestern University

      Sanders, Sara, University of California, San Diego

      Sanford, Kimberly, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

      Sardadvar, Karin, University of Vienna

      Sauer, Michelle, University of North Dakota

      Scheckler, Rebecca, Radford University

      Schuster, Paulette, Hebrew University

      Schütz, Astrid, Chemnitz University of Technology

      Selen Artan, Zeynep, The Graduate Center, The City University of, New York

      Shankar, Janki, University of Calgary

      Shearer, Christine, University of California, Santa Barbara

      Shearman, Mary, Simon Fraser University

      Shelton, Nicola, University College of London

      Shouse Tourino, Christina, Saint John's University

      Siddique, Julie, The Graduate Center, The City University of, New York

      Simic, Olivera, University of Melbourne, Australia

      Simpson, Roona, University of Edinburgh

      Singh, Shweta, Loyola University Chicago

      Singh, Parminder, Independent Scholar

      Sippy, Jessica, Southern Illinois University, Carbondale

      Smanick, Abbey, College of Wooster

      Smith, Cary, Mississippi State University

      Smith Koslowski, Alison, University of Edinburgh

      Soliday, Elizabeth, Washington State University, Vancouver

      Solovieva, Olga, Union College

      Souder, Donna, Colorado State University, Pueblo

      Stackman, Valerie, Howard University

      Stange, Mary Zeiss, Skidmore College

      Steegstra, Marijke, Radboud University Nijmegen

      Steiner, Linda, University of Maryland

      Stephenson, Carolyn, University of Hawaii at Manoa

      Stettner, Shannon, York University

      Steyn, Petrus, Stellenbosch University

      Stiles, Erin, University of Nevada, Reno

      Strentzsch, Julie, St. Mary's University

      Struve, Jennifer, Towson University

      Sulik, Gayle, Texas Woman's University

      Tallis, Vicci, Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa

      Talukdar, Jaita, Loyola University, New Orleans

      Tayeb, Lamia, High Institute of Human Sciences in Tunis

      Taylor, Yvette, Newcastle University

      Teetzel, Sarah, University of Manitoba

      Thacker, Devon, Colorado University, Boulder

      Thomas, Sue, Pacific Institute for Research and, Evaluation

      Thomas, Valorie, Pomona College

      Thompson, Phyllis, East Tennessee State University

      Throop, Liz, Georgia State University

      Thrower, Leesha, Northern Kentucky University

      Thurston, Wilfreda, University of Calgary

      Tolley-Stokes, Rebecca, East Tennessee State University

      Tolstokrova, Alissa, International School for Equal, Opportunities

      Tosolt, Brandelyn, Northern Kentucky University

      Treitler, Vilna, City University of New York

      Trevino, Marcella Bush, Barry University

      Turner, Bryan, The Graduate Center, The City University of, New York

      Vallance, Denise, York University

      van den Hoonaard, Deborah, St. Thomas University

      van der Tuin, Iris, Utrecht University

      Vancour, Michele, Southern Connecticut State University

      Varnum, Charis, Columbia University

      Versace, Jaimee, Connecticut College

      Vieitez-Cerdeño, Soledad, Universidad de Granada

      Vijeyarasa, Ramona, University of New South Wales

      Wadhwa, Vandana, Boston University

      Wall, Jessica, Indiana University Bloomington

      Walters-Kramer, Lori, Independent Scholar

      Wayne, Tiffany, Independent Scholar

      Weaving, Charlene, St. Francis Xavier University

      Weida, Stacy, Indiana University

      Werhun, Cherie, University of Winnipeg

      Whatley, Jonathan, Independent Scholar

      White, Katie, University of Maryland, College Park

      Whiteside, Erin, Penn State University

      Wies, Jennifer, Eastern Kentucky University

      Wilhelm, Brenda, Mesa State College

      Williams, Hettie, Monmouth University

      Williams, Joyce, Middle Tennessee State University

      Wing, Adrien, University of Iowa Law School

      Winter, M. Corrine, St. Ambrose University

      Wolff, Kristina, University of Maine, Farmington

      Wolford, Karen, State University of New York, Oswego

      Wright Miller, Gill, Denison University

      Wyatt-Nichol, Heather, University of Baltimore

      Yanus, Alixandra, High Point University

      Young Barstow, Eliza, Harvard University

      Zagura, Michelle, State University of New York, Albany

      Zamir, Sara, Ben-Gurion University, Eilat

      Zárecká, Petra, Masaryk University

      Ziegler, Sianna, Reed College

      Šnidaršic Šagar, Sabina, University of Primorska, Koper

      Chronology of Women in Today's World

      2000

      The United Nations Security Council passes Resolution 1325, reaffirming the vulnerability of women and children in conflict areas around the world and calling for greater female participation in cease-fire and peace negotiations.

      The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approves the controversial RU 486 drug (mifepristone) known as the abortion pill, giving American women access to a noninvasive abortion that had been available in some countries for over a decade.

      Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) becomes the first former First Lady in American history to serve in the United States Senate.

      Stanford professor Condoleezza Rice becomes the first African American female National Security Advisor in American history.

      Tarja Halonen, a long-time member of the Finnish Parliament, is elected president of Finland.

      By presidential decree, Egypt creates the National Council for Women. Many feminists claim it does not go far enough in addressing inherent gender inequities in Egyptian society.

      Indian American author Jhumpa Lahiri wins the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for Interpreter of Maladies, the tale of an Indian American family vacationing in India while their marriage slowly crumbles.

      Writer Stacy Schiff wins the Pulitzer Prize for Biography/Autobiography for Vera (Mrs. Vladimir Nabokov), which follows the 52-year marriage of the Russian American novelist and his wife.

      Paying homage to When I Lived in Modern Times, the Orange Prize for the best English-language novel of the year written by a woman is awarded to British writer Linda Grant.

      American actress Julia Roberts wins the Best Actress Academy Award for playing the title role in Erin Brockovich, a film about a financially struggling mother and environmental activist challenging a polluting conglomerate in court.

      American actress Marcia Gay Harden wins an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for Pollock in which she plays artist Lee Krasner, the wife who subsumes her career to what she sees as the greater talents of her husband, artist Jackson Pollock.

      Sally Ride, the first American woman to travel in space, begins spearheading NASA's EarthKam, an Internet-based project that provides interactive access to space shots for middle schoolers. She subsequently founds Sally Ride Science, a program designed to support greater female involvement in science and mathematics.

      For the first time in the history of the Olympics, female athletes compete in as many events as males.

      Czech-American Martina Navratilova is in-ducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame.

      Marla Runyan, who is classified as legally blind, wins her first title at the USA Track and Field Championships.

      Australian track and field Olympian Marjorie Jackson-Nelson, who won every Australian event she entered between 1950 and 1954, is inducted into the International Women's Sports Hall of Fame.

      Chris Carver, four-time Olympic Coach of the Year, is honored for her career in coaching synchronized swimmers by being inducted into the International Women's Sports Hall of Fame.

      Three-time American Olympic synchronized swimmer Tracie Lehuanani Ruiz-Conforto is inducted into the International Women's Sports Hall of Fame.

      Considered one of the greatest freestyle swimmers of all time, American Olympian Shirley Babashoff, the winner of eight gold medals in team events, is inducted into the International Women's Sports Hall of Fame.

      At the age of 55, Diana Hoff becomes the second woman and the oldest on record to row across the Atlantic Ocean.

      Under the leadership of Winsome McIntosh, the Founding Circle of Rachel's Network, named after Rachel Carson, the author of the environment-themed The Silent Spring (1962), begins putting together a “good ol’ girls’ network” to improve the environment and empower women.

      The Guerilla Girls, a group of radical feminist artists, establish the Guerilla Girls BroadBand Website as a focal point for activists involved in issues of justice.

      In Stenberg v. Carhart, the U.S. Supreme Court strikes down a Nebraska law banning intact dilation as a method of late-term abortion because it makes no exception for when maternal health is threatened.

      In U.S. v. Morrison, which involves the alleged rape of a female student at Virginia Polytechnic Institute, the U.S. Supreme Court determines that the Violence against Women Act of 1994 is unconstitutional because Congress cannot use powers granted them under the Interstate Commerce Clause or the enforcement clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to provide civil remedies for gender-related crimes.

      In Reeves v. Sanderson Plumbing, the U.S. Supreme Court holds that victims of gender discrimination are not always required to produce direct evidence of discrimination to prove their claims.

      Dora the Explorer is added to the Nick Jr. television schedule, chronicling the adventures of a young Latina whose quests to discover the world while helping others becomes a hit with both male and female preschoolers. In addition to serving as a role model for Hispanic girls, the series also teaches basic Spanish to young viewers.

      Former jockey Julie Krone becomes the first woman in American history to be inducted into the Thoroughbred Racing Hall of Fame. Seven years earlier, Krone had made history by becoming the first female jockey to win the Triple Crown.

      At the age of 90, Doris “Granny D.” Haddock crosses America on foot to bring public attention to the need for campaign finance reform.

      Texas homemaker Andrea Yates is found guilty of drowning her five young children in a bathtub.

      2001

      On September 11, four commercial jetliners are hijacked by al-Qaeda terrorists to be used in two attacks on New York's World Trade Center and one on the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., causing nearly 3,000 deaths. The fourth attack is averted when passengers rush their attackers, resulting in the deaths of everyone on board when the plane crashes in Shanks-ville, Pennsylvania.

      In Ferguson v. City of Charleston, the U.S. Supreme Court decides that a South Carolina hospital's actions in forcing pregnant women to undergo substance testing and reporting the results to the police violate constitutional protections against warrantless searches.

      In Pollard v. E.I. Dupont Nemours Company, the U.S. Supreme Court holds that “front pay,” which is awarded to victims of gender discrimination, who successfully challenge discriminatory behavior under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, is not subject to the damage caps placed on compensatory awards.

      In Nguyen v. INS, the Supreme Court of the United States upholds the constitutionality of a law requiring children born out of wedlock to American fathers living abroad to prove paternity by the age of 18 to claim citizenship, even though such children born to American mothers living abroad become citizens automatically.

      Economics professor Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is elected president of the Philippines.

      Megawati Sukarnoputri, the daughter of President Sukarno, who led Indonesia into independence, becomes the first female president of Indonesia.

      Marjorie Jackson-Nelson, an Olympian in track and field, is elected Governor of South Australia.

      Rwanda passes minor women's rights legislation in an effort to improve the lives of women and children.

      In the United States, Maine joins other states in providing legal protection for breastfeeding mothers.

      In February during a 90-day 1,717-mile trip, American explorer Ann Bancroft and Norwegian explorer Liv Arnesen become the first women to cross Antarctica on skis. Bancroft had earned the distinction of being the first woman to cross the North Pole in 1986. After leading an all-female team across the South Pole in 1996, she became the first woman in history to have crossed both the North and South Poles.

      Halle Berry becomes the first African American woman in history to win the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in Monster's Ball, a dark drama about the romance between an African American woman and a racist prison guard.

      American actress Jennifer Connelly wins the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Alicia Nash in A Beautiful Mind, which is based on the life of mathematician John Nash and his descent into madness after becoming a cryptologist.

      Australian writer Kate Grenville wins the prestigious Orange award for the best English-language novel written by a woman for The Idea of Perfection, the tale of Harley Savage, an awkward and eccentric quilter afraid to love after the unexpected death of her husband.

      Chinese-American skater Michelle Kwan wins her fourth straight U.S. Figure Skating Championship.

      Tennis players Venus and Serena Williams become the first sisters to face off against one another in the Grand Slam final of the U.S. Open.

      Five-time gold medalist for the United States, speed skater Bonnie Blair is inducted into the International Women's Sports Hall of Fame. Blair, who is one of the most honored athletes in American Olympic history, also has one bronze medal. She held the record for most Olympic medals won by an American until 2010, when the record was broken by male speed skater Apolo Ohno.

      Hungarian gymnast Agnes Keleti-Biro, who has won 10 Olympic medals, is inducted into the International Women's Sports Hall of Fame.

      Four-time American gold medalist and swimmer Janet Evans, who is best remembered for her unorthodox windmill stroke, is inducted into the International Women's Sports Hall of Fame.

      Noted African American figure skater and coach Mabel Fairbanks is inducted into the International Women's Sports Hall of Fame in the coaching category. Because of segregation, Fairbanks was shut out of many ice shows in the 1940s and 1950s. She responded by forming her own ice shows and touring the world.

      Three-time American Olympic synchronized swimmer Tracie Lehuanni Ruiz-Conforto is named Synchronized Swimmer of the Century by the International Swimming Hall of Fame.

      American Venus Williams shuts out Justine Henin of Belgium in the women's singles series at Wimbledon.

      2002

      Females 17 years of age and over are granted suffrage rights in Timor-Leste.

      In the United States, the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) is extended to provide coverage to unborn children who require medical procedures.

      The Association for Women's Rights in Development (AWID), an international group committed to promoting women's rights from a global perspective, celebrates its 20th anniversary.

      Olympians Jill Bakken and Vonetta Flowers become the first American women to win Gold Medals in bobsledding. Flowers is also the first Black athlete from any country to win a Gold Medal in a Winter Olympics competition. The two women are chosen to carry the flag into the Closing Ceremony.

      The first time the women's skeleton competition is included in the Winter Olympics, Tristan Gale carries home the Gold Medal for the United States.

      Playwright Susan-Lori Parks becomes the first African American woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in homage to her play, Topdog/Underdog in which she chronicles the struggles of two brothers named after President Abraham Lincoln and his assassin, John Wilkes Booth.

      Writer Diane McWhorter wins the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction for Carry Me Home: Birmingham, Alabama, The Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution.

      American writer Ann Patchett wins the Orange Award for best English-language novel written by a woman, for Bel Canto: A Novel, which follows the intricate relationships of a group of terrorists and their hostages.

      After placing fourth in the women's short program, ice skater Sarah Hughes engineers an upset and wins the Gold Medal for Women's Ice Skating by landing seven triple jumps in Salt Lake City, Utah.

      British ice dancer Jayne Torvill, who along with partner Christopher Dean became the highest-scoring ice dancers in Olympic history in 1984 after producing a routine based on Ravel's Bolero, is inducted into the International Women's Sports Hall of Fame.

      Four-time Australian Olympian in track and field, Betty Cuthbert is inducted into the International Women's Sports Hall of Fame.

      American Olympian Valerie Brisco is inducted into the International Women's Sports Hall of Fame. In 1984, she became the first Olympian to win gold in both the 200-and 400-meter track and field events and won an additional gold medal in 1988.

      Temple University fencing coach, Nikki Tomlinson Franke, an African American, is inducted into the International Women's Sports Hall of Fame.

      American tennis player Venus Williams beats fellow American Lindsay Davenport to claim victory in the women's singles at Wimbledon.

      Australian actress Nicole Kidman wins the Academy Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of British feminist writer Virginia Woolf in The Hours.

      In Athens, Greece, the Deste Center for Contemporary Arts honors the work of contemporary female artists with the Fusion Cuisine International Exhibit.

      2003

      In Oman, women 21 years of age and over win the right to vote.

      California Democratic Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi becomes the first female Democratic Minority Leader in the history of the United States House of Representatives.

      Career politician Micheline Calmy-Rey of Switzerland becomes the Swiss head of state by virtue of her position on the Federal Council. She subsequently heads the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.

      Valeria Ciavatta of the Popular Alliance of Democrats becomes one of two Captain Regents of San Marino.

      Nino Burjanadze, an international law professor, becomes the Acting President of Georgia, a former Soviet republic.

      Fiji passes the Family Leave Bill, recognizing the fact that women contribute to households in non-financial ways and stating that divorced women have property rights based on those contributions.

      The Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the cost of partner violence in the United States exceeds more than $5.8 billion annually.

      Female literacy surpasses that of males for the first time in the United Arab Emirates, and women now are the student majority at the university level.

      A female is elected to the national legislature in Qatar, becoming the first woman to win election through universal suffrage in the Gulf Cooperation Council, which also includes Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates.

      Iranian lawyer Shirin Ebadi wins the Nobel Peace Prize for her human rights works, which focuses particularly on protecting the rights of women, children, and refugees.

      The United States Congress passes the Partial-Birth Ban Abortion Act, banning late-terms abortions performed by intact dilation, without including an exception for protecting maternal health.

      In a Nevada state law case, Department of Human Resources v. Hobbs, the Supreme Court holds that Americans are allowed to use the federal courts to bring suit for violations of the federal Family Leave Medical Act of 1993, which provides for unpaid parental leave when families are having or adopting a child or when employees or family members are experiencing serious illnesses.

      Egypt enacts a restrictive law that makes it more difficult for all nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), including those that support women's rights, to obtain official recognition. The law is later deemed unconstitutional.

      The Iraqi Coalition Provisional Authority reinstates Sharià family laws and reestablishes religious courts but reverses itself the following year.

      The African Union adopts the Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa, calling for all member countries to cease discriminating against women and guarantee the protection of their rights.

      South Africa-born actress Charlize Theron wins the Academy Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of Daytona Beach prostitute and serial killer Aileen Wuornos in the film Monster.

      Actress Renée Zellweger wins the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award for her portrayal of Ruby Thewes in the Civil War drama Cold Mountain.

      American writer Valerie Martin wins the Orange Award for best English-language fiction written by a female for Property: A Novel, which takes place in New Orleans in the 1830s.

      After 58 years of males-only competition, Swedish golfer Annika Sörenstam joins the PGA tour.

      African American track and field athlete Jackie Joyner-Kersee is inducted into the International Women's Sports Hall of Fame. She won gold for the United States in both 1988 and 1992, becoming one of the most celebrated female athletes in American history.

      Australian Heather McKay, who is often cited as the greatest female squash player of all time, is inducted into the International Women's Sports Hall of Fame.

      Chinese diver Min Gao who won gold medals in 1988 and 1992 is inducted into the International Women's Sports Hall of Fame.

      Golfing coach Linda Vollstedt is inducted into the International Women's Sports Hall of Fame.

      Financial reports reveal that British author J.K. Rowling, creator of the Harry Potter novels about a boy attending a school of witchcraft and wizardry, is now richer than the Queen of England. Rowling is the only author in the history of the world to become a billionaire from the proceeds of her writing.

      When the Williams sisters face off in the women's singles championship series at Wimbledon, Serena claims victory over her elder sister Venus.

      2004

      Educator and activist Gertrude Ibengwe Mongella of Tanzania is named President of the Parliament of the African Union.

      Luisa Diogo becomes Prime Minister of Mozambique.

      Former exile Baleka Mbete becomes Speaker of the National Assembly of South Africa.

      In Pennsylvania State Police v. Suders, the U.S. Supreme Court determines that employers may not defend charges of gender discrimination filed under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by claiming they have taken action to prevent further misbehavior in cases where plaintiffs have been forced to vacate their jobs to avoid hostile environment sexual harassment.

      Noted primatologist Jane Goodall wins the Nierenberg Prize for Science in the Public Interest for her work with chimpanzees and her dedication to improving the lives of animals. She is also invested as a Dame in her native Britain.

      The Turkish-centered Women's Human Rights group holds a regional conference in Malta to address the violation of the sexual and bodily rights of women.

      American biologist Linda B. Buck wins the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for her work on the olfactory system.

      Austrian playwright and novelist Elfriede Jelinek wins the Nobel Prize for Literature. One of her best known works is The Piano Teacher (1988).

      Jamaican British writer Andrea Levy wins the Orange Award for best English-language fiction written by a female for Small Island, which is set in World War II London and Jamaica.

      Kenyan activist and parliamentarian Wangari Muta Maathai wins the Nobel Peace Prize for her work with the environment and women's rights. She is the first African woman to win this prize.

      Writer Anne Applebaum wins the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction for Gulag: A History, a chronicling of Soviet labor camps under Joseph Stalin.

      The Unborn Victims of Violence Act holds convicted murders liable for the deaths of both a pregnant woman and her unborn child.

      Women participate in the first democratic elections in the history of Afghanistan.

      In Morocco, the national legislature enacts major reforms to Islamic family codes, expanding the rights of wives and mothers.

      In the United States, opponents defeat the Freedom of Choice Act, which would have provided additional protection for abortion rights.

      Italian-born Sonia Gandhi stuns her adopted home of India when she brings the Gandhi dynasty to an end by refusing to become Prime Minister several years after the death of her husband, Rajiv Gandhi, a member of the Gandhi family that had ruled India since the 1940s.

      The most destructive tsunami in the history of the world occurs in the Indian Ocean in December, creating massive waves with energy levels equal to 23,000 Hiroshima-type atomic bombs. In its wake, 150,000 people are dead or missing and millions are left without homes. For years afterward, women and children were disproportionately affected by the aftermath.

      American actress Hilary Swank wins the Academy Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of Maggie Fitzgerald, a female boxer.

      Australian actress Cate Blanchett wins the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award for her role as Hollywood film legend Katharine Hepburn in The Aviator, which is based on the life of notorious recluse Howard Hughes.

      University of Texas women's track and field coach Beverly Kearney is inducted into the International Women's Sports Hall of Fame.

      Brazilian tennis player Maria Esther Bueno is inducted into the International Women's Sports Hall of Fame. Her record includes 19 Grand Slam titles, 11 women's doubles titles, and one mixed double title.

      American swimmer Nancy Hogshead Makar, who won three gold medals and one silver medal in freestyle swimming in 1984, is inducted into the International Women's Sports Hall of Fame.

      Maria Sharapova of Russia holds off American Serena Williams to win the women's singles title at Wimbledon.

      2005

      Hurricane Katrina strikes the Gulf Coast of the United States in August, causing structurally unsound levees to flood 80 percent of New Orleans. The flooding results in major destruction to the people, property, and infrastructure of the city. Many of the poorest residents, who are predominately African American, are stranded at the Superdome, where they have fled for safety, without food, water, medicine, and other basic necessities.

      Kuwait finally grants female suffrage, but because of existing suffrage laws, it is limited to those who have been citizens for 20 years.

      Social activist Michaëlle Jean, who was born in Haiti, becomes the first black Governor General of Canada. In this capacity, she serves as a representative of the Queen of England, who appoints the Governor General in consultation with the Canadian Prime Minister.

      In Jackson v. Birmingham Board of Education, the Supreme Court upholds rights guaranteed under Title IX of the Education Amendments that ban disciplinary action against anyone bringing charges of sex discrimination, including those not being directly discriminated against.

      Angela Merkel becomes the first woman in the history of Germany to be elected as Chancellor. That same year, Forbes names her as the most powerful woman in the world for the fourth time.

      Maria do Carmo Trovoada Silveira becomes Prime Minister of the island nation of São Tomé and Principe.

      After serving as National Security Advisor, Condoleezza Rice becomes the first African American female to serve as Secretary of State. Her nomination is controversial because of her association with the George W. Bush administration's preemptive actions in Iraq.

      Feminists in Afghanistan hold demonstrations demanding that the constitutional rights of women be expanded.

      Turkish officials launch a media campaign designed to combat honor killings.

      Iraq passes a new constitution guaranteeing equal rights, but in practice women continue to face discrimination in the public and private realms.

      Algeria reforms its Family Code leading to a major spike in divorce rates. Feminists claim the reforms serve to impoverish women and children.

      While males in Saudi Arabia are allowed to vote in local elections for the first time, women continue to be denied the right of suffrage. Officials claim it is because segregated voting booths, which are required by religious law, are unavailable.

      South Africa limits the practice of “virginity testing” of young girls, which has resurfaced in response to rising rates of HIV/AIDS.

      American writer Marilynne Robinson wins the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for Gilead, the story of a dying minister writing letters to his young son to provide him with a written memory in lieu of being a physical presence in his life.

      British author J. K. Rowling and illustrator Mary GrandPré win the Quill Award for Book of the Year for Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, the sixth book in the phenomenally successful series about the boy wizard and his friends. They also win in the Children's Chapter Book/Middle Grade category.

      Elizabeth Kostova wins the Debut Author of the Year prize at the Quill Awards for The Historian, which blends history, folklore, and fiction.

      Ann Brashares wins the Quill Award for best Young Adult/Teen book of the year for Girls in Pants: The Third Summer of the Sisterhood, which follows the hugely successful Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2001) and Second Summer of the Sisterhood (2003).

      Sue Monk Kidd wins the Quill Award for Best Fiction book of the year for The Mermaid Chair, which tells the story of a woman in her 40s falling in love with a Benedictine monk while facing a life crisis.

      Debbie Macomber wins the Quill Award for Best Romance of the year for 44 Cranberry Point, a contemporary romantic mystery.

      Television chef Rachael Ray wins the Quill Award for Best Cookbook of the year for Rachael Ray's 30-Minute Get Real Meals: Eat Healthy Without Going to Extremes.

      The Division for the Advancement of Women and the Commission on the Status of Women conduct an assessment of the 10-year impact of the Beijing Platform for Action.

      American actress Reese Witherspoon wins the Academy Award for her portrayal of country music legend June Carter Cash in Walk the Line.

      British actress Rachel Weisz wins the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award for the role of Tessa Quayle in The Constant Gardner, the tale of a man seeking answers in the brutal murder of his wife.

      American writer Lionel (née Margaret Ann) Shriver wins the Orange Award for best English-language novel for We Need to Talk About Kevin, which is written from the perspective of the mother of a boy who perpetrates a fictional school shooting.

      With a record of 880 wins, University of Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summitt becomes the coach with the most wins in the history of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

      British yachtswoman Ellen MacArthur breaks a world record for solo circumnavigation of the globe, traveling more than 27,000 miles in less than 72 days.

      Ice skater Katarina Witt, who won gold medals for East Germany in 1984 and 1988, is inducted into the International Women's Sports Hall of Fame.

      Cleveland Cavaliers basketball coach Lusia Harris-Stewart is inducted into the International Women's Sports Hall of Fame. In 1976, she became the first female to ever score in a game of women's Olympic basketball.

      Softball coach Marjorie Wright is inducted into the International Women's Sports Hall of Fame.

      When two Americans face off in the women's singles showdown at Wimbledon, Venus Williams wins over Lindsay Davenport.

      The Danica Phelps’ Wake exhibit opens at New York's Zach Feuer Gallery, depicting daily female routines that include a morning shower.

      2006

      The women of the United Arab Emirates are granted nominal suffrage, but because the national legislature is appointed rather than elected, women essentially remain disenfranchised.

      According to the rotation on the Federal Council, Doris Leuthard becomes President of Switzerland.

      Michelle Bachelet, a moderate Socialist, becomes Chile's first female president and brings the number of current female heads of state to 11.

      As President of Liberia, economist Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf becomes the first woman to be elected head of state in any African country.

      Fatoumata Jahumpa-Ceesay becomes the Speaker of the Gambian National Assembly.

      Republican Sarah Palin becomes the first female governor of the State of Alaska.

      Katie Couric becomes the first solo female anchor of a broadcast network evening news show.

      Attorney Haya Rashed Al Khalifa of Bahrain is selected as the first Muslim woman to serve as President of the United Nations General Assembly.

      The Pakistani national legislature approves the Protection of Women's Rights Bill, which is designed to overturn the Hudood Ordinance of 1979 that had been enacted under military rule, resulting in an epidemic of rape and other crimes against women.

      Effa Manley, who co-owned the Negro League team, the Newark Eagles, with her husband in the 1930s and 1940s, becomes the first woman elected to the American Baseball Hall of Fame.

      British actress Helen Mirren wins the Academy Award for Best Actress for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen.

      American singer/actress Jennifer Hudson wins the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award for her portrayal of Effie White in Dreamgirls, becoming the third African American actress to win in this category. Previous female African American winners were Hattie McDaniel for Gone With the Wind (1939) and Whoopi Goldberg for Ghost (1990).

      Native American novelist Louise Erdrich wins the Scott O'Dell Award in historical fiction for The Game of Silence about the life of young Omakayas of the Chippewa tribe.

      American poet Claudia Emerson wins the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for Late Wife, a series of poems about a woman's journey through divorce, recovery, and remarriage.

      Australian American writer Geraldine Brooks wins the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for her novel March, which tells the story of Louisa May Alcott's March family from the perspective of the father of the four girls featured in Little Women and its sequels, Little Men and Jo's Boys.

      Historian Caroline Elkins wins the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction for Imperial Reckoning: The Untold Story of Britain's Gulag in Kenya, which examines the truth behind Britain's colonization of Kenya and the ethnic cleansing that took place as the British sought to subdue the Mau Mau.

      British writer Zadie Smith wins the Orange Award for best English-language fiction written by a woman for On Beauty, which deals with ethnic and cultural differences in the United States and Great Britain. One reviewer remarks that it is “a transatlantic comic saga.”

      Julie Powell wins the Quill Award's Debut Author of the Year recognition for Julie and Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen. It is made into the movie Julie and Julia, starring Meryl Streep and Amy Adams in 2009.

      Laura Joffe Numeroff wins the award for Best Children's Illustrated Book for If You Give a Pig a Party at this year's Quill Awards.

      Best-selling author Janet Evanovich wins the Quill Award for Best Mystery/Suspense/Thriller of the year for Twelve Sharp, the 12th book in the series about bounty hunter Stephanie Plum.

      African American poet Maya Angelou wins the Quill Award for Best Poetry of the Year for Amazing Peace: A Christmas Poem.

      Diana Gabaldon wins the Best Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror book of the year at the Quill Awards for A Breath of Snow and Ashes, which features time travelers of the American Revolution era.

      Television chef Rachael Ray wins the Quill Award for Best Cookbook of the Year for Rachael Ray 365: No Repeats: A Year of Deliciously Different Dinners.

      Charmed, a television show about three sister witches living in San Francisco, becomes the longest-running television show in American history with all female leads. It debuted in 1998.

      At the age of 16, high school student Michelle Wie ranks second among female golf players.

      American swimmer Diana Nyad is inducted into the International Women's Sports Hall of Fame. Almost three decades earlier Nyad broke the record for the longest swim by either sex, swimming 102.5 miles from the Bahamas to the Florida coast.

      Basketball coach C. Vivian Stringer is inducted into the International Women's Sports Hall of Fame.

      Australian swimmer Shane Gould is inducted into the International Women's Sports Hall of Fame. She was the first swimmer in Olympic history to win three gold medals in world record time, and she is the only person of either sex to have simultaneously held every freestyle record from 100 meters to 1,500 meters.

      Amélie Mauresmo of France defeats Justine Henin of Belgium to claim victory at the women's singles at Wimbledon.

      Following an appeal that led to a second trial, Texas homemaker Andrea Yates is found not guilty of drowning her five young children in a bathtub by reason of insanity.

      2007

      Democrat Nancy Pelosi, a congresswoman from California, becomes the first female Speaker of the House of Representatives in the history of the United States.

      Philanthropist Pratibha Patil is elected the first female president of Indonesia.

      Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, the wife of former president Néstor Kirchner, is elected President of Argentina.

      Educator Dalia Itzik becomes Acting President of Israel.

      Jurist Nino Burjanadze becomes Acting President of Georgia, a former part of the Soviet Union.

      The U.S. Supreme Court upholds the constitutionality of the Partial-Birth Ban Abortion Act, dismissing arguments from some critics that it is vague and places an undue burden on a woman's constitutional access to abortion.

      In its 371st year as an American institution of higher learning, Harvard University finally chooses a female president, Catherine Drew Gilpin Faust. She is the fifth woman in American history to lead an Ivy League school.

      After steadily dropping in the years following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the number of women in the Russian Parliament begins to rise, surpassing the number of seats held during the Communist era.

      In Kuwait, the national legislature opens debate on the expansion of women's rights.

      Biochemist and astronaut Peggy Whitson becomes the first woman in history to serve as commander for the International Space Station.

      Iranian British writer Doris May Lessing becomes the oldest person in history to win the Nobel Prize for Literature. Her best-known works include The Grass Is Singing and The Golden Notebook.

      American poet Natasha Trethewey wins the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for Native Guard, a series of poems that connect the author's own multiracial history to the broader history of the American South.

      Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngoz Adichie, who divides her time between her native country and the United States, wins the prestigious Orange Award for best English-language novel written by a female for Half of a Yellow Sun, which follows the travails of two couples caught up in attempts to create an independent nation amid ongoing strife between Christians and Muslims.

      French actress Marion Cotillard becomes the second actress in history to win the Best Actress Academy Award for a non-English-speaking role, playing legendary French singer Edith Piaf in La Vie en Rose, roughly translated as “The Beautiful Life.”

      British actress Tilda Swinton wins the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award for her portrayal of Karen Crowder in Michael Clayton, a George Clooney vehicle about business corruption,

      Wimbledon officials announce that henceforth prize money for female athletes will equal that of males.

      Moroccan Olympian Nawal El Moutawakel, a member of the International Women's Sports Hall of Fame, is named Minister of Sports in the Prime Minister's cabinet.

      Moroccan hurdler Nawal El Moutawakel, who in 1984 became the first African-born Muslim female Olympian, is named to the International Women's Sports Hall of Fame.

      American tennis player Venus Williams defeats Marion Bartoli of France to win the women's singles at Wimbledon.

      Romance writer Nora Roberts carries home the award for Book of the Year for Angels Fall at the Quill Awards, voted on by the public via the Internet.

      Diane Settterfield is honored as the Debut Author of the Year by the Quill Awards for The Thirteenth Tale, a gothic suspense novel.

      Actress Sissy Spacek is honored for Best Audio Book by the Quill Awards for her reading of the Harper Lee classic, To Kill a Mockingbird.

      The Quill Award for Best Adult/Teen book goes to Patricia McCormick for Sold, a novel about a young girl tricked and sold into prostitution in Nepal.

      Laura Lippman wins the Quill Award for Best Mystery/Suspense Thriller for What the Dead Know in which one of two sisters kidnapped as children returns as an adult to reclaim her identity.

      2008

      The United Nations Development Fund for Women launches the Say No to Violence Against Women initiative to combat violence worldwide.

      New York senator and former First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) becomes the first woman in the history of the United States to win a presidential primary when she claims victory in the New Hampshire primary and becomes the first female to be considered a viable candidate for the office of President of the United States.

      Attorney Evaline Widmer-Schlumpf becomes a member of the Federal Council, which serves as Switzerland's head of state.

      Baleka Mbete is passed over as a presidential successor when the current president is forced to resign. She becomes Deputy President instead of becoming South Africa's first female president.

      Guatemala passes new legislation designed to prohibit the practice of femicide, gender-related murders.

      A new Nicaraguan abortion law criminalizes abortion even in cases of rape, incest, or dangers to maternal health and bans physicians from treating pregnant women with cancer, human immunodeficiency virus and acquired immune deficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS), malaria, and cardiac diseases.

      French virologist Françoise Barré-Sinoussi wins the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, which she shares with her colleague, Luc Montaginier, for their discovery that HIV produces AIDS.

      The United Nations Security Council passes Resolution 1820, reaffirming its commitment to ending violence against women of the world.

      The Internet site Women on the Web (wowo wow. com), a daily mixture of conversation and advice, is launched by Lesley Stahl, Peggy Noonan, Liz Smith, Joni Evans, Mary Wells, Sheila Nevins, Joan Juliet Buck, Whoopi Goldberg, Julia Reed, Joan Ganz Cooney, Judith Martin, Candice Bergen, Lily Tomlin, Jane Wagner, Cynthia McFadden, and Marlo Thomas.

      Responsibility for the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women is transferred to the Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva, Switzerland. The committee is responsible for overseeing compliance with the United Nations program implemented in 1981.

      Narrated by Morgan Freeman and produced by the Campaign for Female Education (CAMFED), Where the Water Meets the Sky is released, chronicling the true stories of 23 Zambian women who have benefitted from CAMFED's efforts to use education as a tool for breaking the cycle of poverty.

      The National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C., launches Clara-, an interactive database of more than 18,000 female visual artists.

      British actress Kate Winslet wins the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in The Reader, a drama set in post-World War II Germany.

      Spanish actress Penélope Cruz wins the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award for her role in Vicky Cristina Barcelona, a romantic drama about two women traveling in Spain.

      British writer Rose Tremain wins the Orange Award for best English-language novel written by a woman for The Road Home about a poor Russian immigrant trying to eke out a living in London while sending money home.

      Chinese American writer Maxine Hong Kingston wins the National Book Award Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.

      Japanese professional golfer Hisako “Chako” Higuchi, who was the first Asian-born golfer of either sex to win a major championship, is inducted into the International Women's Sports Hall of Fame.

      Hassiba Boulmerka, a runner and the first Algerian to win an Olympic medal, is inducted into the International Women's Sports Hall of Fame.

      University of Southern California at Los Angeles softball coach Sue Enquist is inducted into the International Women's Sports Hall of Fame.

      American gymnast Shannon Miller, who has seven Olympic medals, is inducted into the International Women's Sports Hall of Fame.

      Evelin Stermitz founds artfem.tv, an Internet television site, dedicated to showcasing women artists from around the world.

      Traveling on board Soyuz TMA-12 as a guest of the Russian government, South Korean astronaut Yi So-Yeon becomes the third woman in the world to be her country's first space traveler.

      Running for Vice President of the United States, Alaskan governor Sarah Palin becomes the first woman to represent the Republican ticket.

      When tennis-playing sisters Venus and Serena Williams face off in the women's singles event at Wimbledon, Venus wins her fifth Wimbledon title.

      American race car driver Danica Patrick wins the Indy Japan 300 and becomes the first woman in history to win an Indy Car race.

      2009

      Barack Obama, the newly inaugurated Democratic President of the United States, revokes the Republican-initiated global gag rule, which withheld funding to any NGO that provided or advocated abortion as a method of family planning in foreign countries, and restores American support of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

      President Barack Obama signs the Fair Pay Restoration Act into law. The law, which is named after Lily Ledbetter, who brought wage-discrimination charges against Goodyear, changes the time an employee is allowed to bring suit against an employer from 180 days after the first discriminatory paycheck was received to 180 days from the date on which the last paycheck from that employer was received.

      Michelle Obama becomes the first African American First Lady in American history.

      Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) becomes the first former First Lady to become a member of a presidential cabinet when she is selected as Secretary of State.

      Sonya Sotomayor becomes the first Hispanic American and the third female to be appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

      Jóhanna SigurÐardóttir, the prime minister of Iceland, becomes the first openly lesbian head of state in modern times.

      Career politician Dalia Grybauskaité is elected President of Lithuania.

      Rose Francine Rogombé, a former secretary of state for the Advancement of Women and Human Rights, becomes Acting President of Gabon.

      Forbes magazine names German Chancellor Angela Merkel as the World's Most Powerful Woman for the fourth year running.

      The Falkland Islands, a British territory also claimed by Argentina, grants female suffrage.

      The Mexican national legislature decriminalizes first-trimester abortions. In response, several states pass new antiabortion laws. Nepal liberalizes its abortion laws, making the procedure more accessible.

      Indonesia passes new legislation making adultery punishable by stoning to death.

      Bahrain enacts Sunni Family Law, which is intended to improve the legal status of women. Feminists point out that the reforms do not apply to non-Sunni women.

      The world is outraged when Afghanistan passes a restrictive law that allows husbands to withhold food and sustenance from wives who refuse to comply with sexual demands. The law also grants full guardianship of children to fathers and grandfathers and requires that wives obtain permission from husbands to work.

      Taliban gunmen kill Afghani feminist Sitara Achakzai outside her own home in response to her fight for women's rights.

      In the Congo, women launch a campaign to achieve justice for rape victims.

      The Inter-American Court of Human Rights holds the Mexican government responsible for the deaths of three women killed in 2001, stating that the government had failed to go far enough in eradicating the practice of “femicide,” murders motivated by gender hatred.

      American political scientist Elinor Ostrom wins the Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for her work on economic governance.

      Romanian German writer and humanitarian Herta Müller wins the Nobel Prize for Literature for producing novels such as Everything I Possess I Carry With Me, a tale of life under a repressive Communist regime.

      Australian American biologist and biochemist Elizabeth H. Blackburn wins the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine, which she shares with Carol Greider and Jack W. Szostak, for her work on DNA and cell division. Her work has enormous implications for the study of fungal infections and cancer.

      American molecular biologist Carolyn (Carol) Widney Greider wins the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, sharing the award with her former boss, Elizabeth Blackmurn, for work on chromosomes.

      After grossing more than $4.47 billion, Warner Brothers announces that the Harry Potter film series, based on the novels about a boy wizard by British author J. K. Rowling, have become the highest grossing series in the history of film.

      Israeli crystallographer Ada E. Yonath wins the Nobel Prize for Chemistry for her work on the structure of the ribosome. She is the first Israeli woman to win a Nobel Prize and the first Middle Eastern woman to win a Nobel Prize in the science fields.

      The Stupak-Pitts Amendment to the Affordable Health Care for American Act passes the House of Representatives but falters in the Senate. The amendment would have placed major restrictions on public and private insurance coverage of abortions.

      Actress Sandra Bullock wins the Best Actress Academy Award for her portrayal of Leigh Anne Tuohy, a White mother who adopts African American future professional football player Michael Oher.

      American comedienne Mo'Nique wins the Best Supporting Actress Academy Award for her portrayal of an abusive mother in Precious, based on the novel Push by Sapphire. Mo'Nique is the fourth African American female to win in this category.

      University of Tennessee Women's Basketball Coach Pat Summitt cements her place in women's sports history by claiming her 1,000th win.

      2010

      On January 21, a 7.0-magnitude earthquake strikes Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. The epicenter strikes 16 miles from the capital city of Port-au-Prince, leading to an estimated 200,000 deaths.

      On February 12, Amy Bishop Anderson, an assistant biology professor at the University of Alabama-Huntsville who had been denied tenure, opens fire during a faculty meeting, killing three faculty members and wounding three others.

      On February 27, an 8.8-magnitude earthquake strikes Chile, leaving an estimated death toll of just under 500 and triggering tsunami warnings as far away as Hawaii and Japan.

      More than half a century after the end of World War II, female pilots are belatedly honored for their service to the United States when they receive Congressional Gold Medals.

      Running for election on a platform that promotes anti-crime measures and free trade, Laura Chinchilla is elected the first female president of Costa Rica.

      Ecuador passes major reforms, upholding gender equality and providing penalties and enforcement for gender discrimination.

      The Dominican Republic ratifies a new constitution that provides for gender equality and pledges support for eradicating all forms of gender discrimination.

      Bolivia's newly ratified constitution mandates “equal conditions between men and women.”

      In Bolivia, President Evo Morales achieves parity in his cabinet, appointing 10 males and 10 females to ministerial positions.

      Director Kathryn Bigelow becomes the first American woman to win an Academy Award for Best Director. Her movie, The Hurt Locker, which is about an elite American bomb squad operating in Iraq, also beats out Avatar, directed by her ex-husband James Cameron of Titanic fame, for Best Picture.

      UNIFEM, the United Nations Development Fund for Women, announces that globally six out of every ten women are physically or sexually violated over the course of their lives.

      A study released by the World Health Organization reveals that partner violence is pervasive throughout the world, ranging from 15 percent in urban areas of Japan to 71 percent in rural Ethiopia.

      Working under the auspices of UNICEF, the United Nations Adolescent Girls Task Force announces that it has accelerated its efforts to protect the human rights of adolescent girls in developing counties, particularly those between the ages of 10 and 14.

      Doris “Granny D.” Haddock, the nonagenarian who walked across the United States to arouse the public about the need for campaign finance reform in 2000, is dead at the age of 100.

      NBC's Universal Sports chooses Olympian alpine skier Lindsay Vonn as its Female Athlete of the Decade.

      Yu-Na Kim of South Korea wins the Gold Medal in Women's Figure Skating at the Winter Olympics.

      Martina Sablikova of the Czech Republic wins the first Olympic gold medal in speed skating for her country.

      Canadian hockey players shut out the United States in gold medal battles between both male and female teams in the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, Canada.

      Upon winning her 12th Grand Slam Championship, Serena Williams ties tennis legend Billie Jean King for the most wins by a female athlete.

      Oprah Winfrey and Discovery Communications launch the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) designed to provide entertainment, information, and inspiration to the American public.

      Elena Kagan is sworn in as the 112th justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. She is fourth female justice, and eighth Jewish justice.

      Elizabeth Rholetter Purdy Independent Scholar
    • Glossary

      Abortion

      The termination of a pregnancy either involuntarily (miscarriage) or voluntarily as a result of medical or surgical procedures or the administration of drugs. Voluntary terminations are most likely to occur in cases where pregnancies are unwanted because of rape, incest, fetal abnormality, or endangerment to maternal health, or through family-planning decisions.

      Affirmative Action

      Programs first initiated as part of President Lyndon Johnson's Great Society initiative in the 1960s as a means of remedying social inequities. For women, this has often meant quotas that stipulate a certain percentage of jobs, promotions, contracts, educational opportunities, and so forth, be reserved for females.

      African-Trypanosomiasis (Sleeping Sickness)

      Indigenous to Africa, it is spread by tsetse flies infected with the trypanosome brucei rhodesiense parasite. Symptoms include redness and soreness around the infected area, fever, severe headaches, irritability, extreme fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, skin rashes, and aching muscles. In latter stages, it can produce confusion, personality changes, and various neurological problems. If left untreated, it can prove fatal.

      AIDS

      Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) is the most advanced stage of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). It occurs when extreme loss of CD4 cells leaves a person's immune system open to deadly infections, resulting in cancers, debilitating illnesses, brain and central nervous system damage, and extensive weight loss. While there is no cure for AIDS, effective treatment therapies have slowed the progression of the disease and slashed the number of fatalities originally associated with an AIDS diagnosis.

      Alimony

      Payment rendered as support to a former spouse, most often a former wife. The amount is generally based on income and lifestyles of involved parties. In some cases, alimony payments are allotted only on a temporary basis. In others, they continue until one of the former spouses dies or the recipient remarries. Since alimony laws are generated at lower-government levels, there may be vast differences in the administration of alimony within a single country.

      Animal Contact Diseases

      Animal contact diseases are transmitted to humans by contact with infected animals. While these diseases may be contracted in public settings such as fairs, farm tours, and petting zoos, most cases occur in extremely poor countries where animals fail to receive proper attention and nutrition and where poverty and malnutrition make populations more susceptible to disease. The most common animal contact disease is rabies.

      Anorexia Nervosa

      An eating disorder that may cause a person to starve herself/himself to death as a result of becoming obsessively afraid of being perceived as fat. The individual's definition of “fat” and self-perception of their size may have no basis in reality. The vast majority of sufferers are female, and the disease is particularly prevalent among young girls who are overly concerned with appearance and determined to fit into acceptable norms.

      Assisted Reproductive Technology

      The process by which eggs and sperm are fertilized in a laboratory setting to prepare them for eventual implantation in the womb of a prospective mother.

      Beauty Myth in Advertising

      Based on the concept first defined in Naomi Wolf's 1991 publication, Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women, which argues that impossible images of beauty perpetrated by advertisers have led to an epidemic of eating disorders among young women. These women (and sometimes men) try to remake themselves in the likeness of ultrathin models or celebrities who are vastly different from the female norm. The most common forms of eating disorders are anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and compulsive overeating.

      Beijing Conference on Women

      Held in Beijing, China, and sponsored by the Commission on the Status of Women, the 1995 world conference led to major reforms in laws around the world as countries attempted to improve the lives of women and remove barriers to their achieving legal, if not social, equality. Compliance with the Beijing Platform for Action is still being closely monitored.

      Beijing Platform for Action

      Developed during the landmark Beijing Conference on Women of 1995, signatory countries that have committed to raising the status of women continue to implement reforms in 12 key areas: women and poverty, education and training of women, women and health, violence against women, women and armed conflict, women and the economy, women in power and decision making, institutional mechanisms for the advancement of women, human rights of women, women and the media, women and the environment, and the girl-child.

      Bioethics

      The interdisciplinary study of the moral and ethical implications of medical and biological advances. For feminists, bioethics has involved organized protest of human rights violations occurring in the name of medical research, such as those conducted in Nazi Germany in the 1940s and the effect of withholding treatment from African American males with syphilis in Tuskegee, Alabama, during the Great Depression. Bioethical training has become mandatory for many health professionals.

      Birth Control

      Methods of avoiding pregnancy by preventing the fertilization of a female's eggs by male sperm. Methods generally involve the use of male condoms to reduce the chance of sperm coming into contact with eggs, hormonal therapies such as the birth control pill or the Depo-Provera shot that reduces the chance of eggs being fertilized by preventing ovulation, medical and barrier devices such as the intrauterine device (IUD) and the diaphragm that prevent contact between sperm and eggs, fertility awareness that allows couples to abstain from intercourse during fertile periods, and sterilization procedures such as tubal ligations (female) and vasectomies (males) that render individuals infertile.

      Bisexuality

      Physical attraction to one's own sex as well as to the opposite sex. Bisexuality is distinct from heterosexuality, in which individuals are attracted only to the opposite sex, and from homosexuality, the sexual orientation in which individuals are attracted only to members of their own sex.

      Bulimia Nervosa

      An eating disorder that causes a person to engage in binge-and-purge episodes designed to ensure that ingested food does not turn into fat. The sufferer may produce this effect by inducing vomiting or taking laxatives. Most bulimics are young females consumed with reaching a highly individualized perception of the “ideal female.”

      Chastity

      Generally, the term chastity refers to the state of sexual abstention. For women, it has historically meant that they were expected to enter into marriage in a virginal state because women who had experienced sexual intercourse were considered “spoiled goods.” In Today's world, females may choose to be chaste, eschewing sexual intercourse without marriage for moral or personal reasons, or chastity may be forced upon them in countries, where even the suspicion of being unchaste can result in imprisonment or death by stoning.

      Child Abuse

      Physical, psychological, or emotional mistreatment that negatively affects the well-being of minors. Experts often classify child abuse into emotional abuse consisting of humiliation, bullying, limited contact, or rejection; neglect in which a caregiver fails to meet a child's basic needs; and physical abuse that ranges from intentional harm to overzealous punishment. Child abuse in any form may lead to troubled social relationships, low self-esteem, and the inability to control or express emotions.

      Child Custody

      A legally binding determination governing which parent obtains physical and legal control over minors when parents are separated or divorced or when a parent cannot care for a child because of death, physical or mental incapacitation, or being deemed unfit. In contemporary times, many parents share physical support, with children dividing their time between both parents. In some cases, a child may become a ward of the state and be placed in foster care or be put up for adoption. In some countries governed by Islamic law, fathers are automatically given custody of children, even though small children may remain with their mothers for stipulated periods.

      Child Support

      Payments made to a custodial parent by a noncustodial parent that are designed to help cover basic costs involved in childrearing. When parents share custody, child support may be paid by a former spouse to the parent with the lower income. Child support generally ceases when a child reaches maturity, gets married, or joins the military, although some parents may continue to support children who are attending college at the time they reach maturity status.

      Childbirth

      The act of giving birth, which is generally considered routine in industrialized nations where women and their newborns have access to highly trained medical professionals and sophisticated medical technologies. In developing countries, however, it may be life-threatening because women do not always have access to even basic care during pregnancy and delivery.

      Childcare

      Arrangements for caring for minors during the temporary absence of a parent or guardian. It may be provided informally by relatives, friends, neighbors, or at-home providers, or it may be offered by trained professionals operating licensed facilities that are required to meet health and safety standards established by governing bodies. Some countries offer government-subsidized facilities. In developed nations, child or “early” care has evolved into preparation for formalized education in public or private schools.

      Clitoridectomy

      A form of female genital mutilation often performed as a rite of passage in African countries, despite governmental bans on the practice. It consists of the surgical removal of the clitoris and all or part of the labia and may be carried out by individuals without medical training on girls as young as 2 years of age. Females who have undergone clitoridectomies may no longer be able to reach orgasm, and many experience lifelong health problems.

      Compulsive Overeating

      An eating disorder defined by an individual's addiction to food. It has been hypothesized that sufferers eat to cope with daily stresses and fill perceived voids in their lives.

      Contraceptives

      See Birth Control.

      Cougar

      An older woman who pursues relationships with younger men, generally males in their 20s.

      Customary Killings

      See Honor Killings.

      Dengue Fever

      A viral disease spread by mosquitoes in tropical and subtropical regions of Africa, Asia, South and Central America, and Australia. Symptoms include sudden high fevers, rashes, headaches, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and joint and muscle aches. No specific treatment exists, but fevers and aches are treated with Tylenol. Aspirin is contraindicated.

      Diarrhea, Bacterial

      Bacterial diarrhea occurs in the small intestine as a result of ingesting food or water infected with campylobacter jejuni bacteria. Symptoms include abdominal cramps, fever, and watery or bloody diarrhea. The condition is particularly prevalent in poor, rural areas of developing countries where people lack stable access to potable water and basic sanitation. It always poses a risk of dehydration, particularly in small children or those with fragile immune systems.

      Diarrhea, Protozoal

      A viral infection caused by consuming food or water infected with giardia lamblia. Unlike the sudden onset of bacterial diarrhea, protozoal diarrhea has an incubation period of 10 to 14 days after ingesting the infected nutrient. Symptoms also include fever and nausea, and treatment involves an antibiotic regimen. In poor developing countries with limited access to healthcare, the condition can be life threatening because of the risk of dehydration, particularly in small children and those whose immune systems are already impaired.

      Dilation and Curettage

      A medical procedure used as a diagnostic, and occasionally as a remedial, tool in cases of abnormal menstrual bleeding or after an incomplete miscarriage. During the procedure, the uterus is temporarily enlarged so that it can be scraped for the purposes of taking tissue samples for testing. When it is used as a method of abortion, instruments are inserted to scrape the fetus and surrounding tissue away from the uterus.

      Dilation and Extraction

      Sometimes referred to as D & X, Intact D & X, Intrauterine Cranial Decompression, or Partial Birth Abortion, dilation and extraction is an abortion method used to extract fetuses after the 21st week of gestation. A laminaria is inserted into the vagina to cause the cervix to dilate and the water to break within three days. At that time, the fetus is removed vaginally.

      Divorce

      The legal dissolution of a marriage in any society, but laws concerning that dissolution and arrangements for child custody and division of property vary greatly according to both civil and religious customs.

      Domestic Labor

      Employment in the home or service industry that is characterized by drudgery, long hours, and little pay. Many domestics, who work in homes or care-related service jobs, are filled by foreign-born women who are forced to leave their families at home in order to eke out an income sufficient to support themselves and send remittances home to support their families.

      Domestic Violence

      Violent patterns of behavior that are directed toward a spouse or partner, consisting of physical attacks, coercion, threats, intimidation, isolation, and emotional, sexual, or economic abuse. Violence against other members of a household is generally classified according to other categories, such as child or elder abuse.

      Ecofeminism

      The application of feminism to environmental issues, which is based on the notion that environmental abuse disproportionally affects women and children, particularly those who are poor, nonwhite, or living in the global south.

      Electoral Quotas

      The practice of requiring that a stipulated percentage of legislative seats be reserved for women and/or minorities. Many countries now designate seats that can be filled only by women, while others recruit women into political office through party quotas that require that a certain portion of a party ticket be female.

      Empty Nest Syndrome

      The condition in which women who have devoted their lives to mothering become lonely, grief stricken, and depressed once all of their children have left home. Divorce rates rise among couples experiencing the empty nest syndrome because of a real or perceived lack of commonalities.

      Epidural

      A frequently used method of dulling pain during childbirth by inserting medication into the spinal column.

      Ethnic Cleansing

      According to a United Nations commission, it is “the planned deliberate removal from a specific territory, persons of a particular ethnic group by force or intimidation, in order to render that area ethnically homogenous.” Crimes classified under the broad category of ethnic cleansing include murder, torture, rape, and displacement.

      Ethnicity

      Based on the Greek word ethnos meaning tribe or nation, ethnicity connotes shared traditions and cultures.

      Family Law

      The branch of law that deals with family issues such as adoption of children, child custody and visitation rights, alimony and child support, divorce, and inheritance. Family courts are often created specifically to deal with these issues.

      Family Leave

      Guaranteed and protected time away from a job to allow employees to care for a newborn or adopted child or a family member with a serious illness. It may be either paid or unpaid.

      Family Planning

      The practice of consciously planning if and when to have children. This decision is carried out through the use of birth control methods that vary in effectiveness.

      Female Clustering

      The tendency of females to cluster in jobs, such as teaching and nursing, that use the nurturing skills common among females. Female-dominated fields tend to be lower paying and have less status attached to them than those fields in which males dominate.

      Female Genital Cutting

      See Female Genital Mutilation.

      Female Genital Mutilation

      The removal of all or parts of external female genitalia for cultural or religious purposes. The practice, which is generally performed on African females ranging in age from infancy to 15 years, can immediately result in severe bleeding and urinary difficulties. Later in life, it interferes with sexual fulfillment and can cause miscarriage, delivery complications, or deaths of newborns.

      Femicide

      The murder of females carried out as a hate crime or as the result of cultural practices that allow males to govern the lives and/or the so-called morality of female family members. The African HIV/AIDS epidemic that has victimized women and “honor killings” are often cited as examples.

      Femininity

      Traits generally associated with being female. There has been much debate about whether such traits are the result of biology (nature) or socialization (nurture).

      Feminization of Poverty

      A term coined in the 1970s by sociologist Diana Pearce to describe the concentration of women, particularly those heading up single-parent households, in impoverished segments of societies around the globe. Children who live with impoverished mothers often lack the basic necessities of life.

      Fertility Drugs

      Drugs used to increase the likelihood of becoming pregnant. The use of such drugs may increase the likelihood of multiple births.

      Fertility Rate, Total

      The average rate at which a female gives birth over the course of her childbearing years. Women in highly developed countries tend to have considerably fewer children than those living in poor developing countries, and many countries now have population growth rates so low that they do not reproduce themselves.

      Food Security

      The ability of a country to grow or import safe and nutritious food supplies that satisfy its needs and to provide population-wide access to those supplies.

      Front Pay

      Used in cases where plaintiffs have brought successful lawsuits against former employers, it is monetary compensation intended to replace lost income between the time a judgment is handed down and reinstatement or in lieu of reinstatement. It is not subject to damage caps.

      Gay

      Although in common usage the term is used to describe homosexual males, the word also encompasses lesbians, women who are sexually attracted to their own sex.

      Gay Rights

      Legal recognition of the right of homosexuals to be treated equally and without prejudice in society and in courts of law.

      Gazf

      Used in Islamic countries such as Pakistan to connote false accusations of zina, which is generally defined as having sexual intercourse outside marriage.

      Gender

      According to contemporary usage, the term is used to describe the cultural and social aspects of being male and female to make them distinct from the biological descriptions of male and female.

      Gender Development Index

      A statistical measurement used by the United Nations to qualify the differences in the quality of life between males and females in countries around the world.

      Gender Discrimination

      The practice of denying equal opportunity to one sex to the advantage of the other. Since women are more likely than men to be discriminated against, the term is often used synonymously with sexism. It is most often used to explain limited opportunities in employment. The fact that most countries have banned the practice in theory has not prevented the actual discrimination of women globally.

      Gender Gap

      The measurable differences in the ways that men and women cast their votes in democratic elections. In the United States, this means that in recent decades women are more likely to vote for Democratic candidates than Republican candidates because of the Democratic Party's general support for women's issues.

      Gender Sensitive

      Awareness of the social differences between males and females and using that knowledge to develop policies designed to mitigate inequalities that arise.

      Gestational Diabetes Mellitus

      A condition that can occur in pregnant women due to the development of glucose intolerance. It is generally treated with diet, but some cases require the use of insulin. It usually disappears after the pregnancy ends, but there is concern that mothers who have experienced gestational diabetes mellitus may be more susceptible to developing Type 2 diabetes.

      Global South

      The countries of Africa, Central and Latin America, and parts of Asia. These developing nations are generally the poorest in the world, and the lives of their many residents are constantly threatened by political, social, and economic upheaval.

      Globalization

      The process of integrating the economic, social, and cultural characteristics of the countries of the world. It is most often used to describe worldwide economic interdependence. Many feminist scholars argue that the process has been detrimental to women since it has led to a marked increase in political instability and violence against women.

      Guerrilla Warfare

      The process by which independent or semi-independent forces attack or harass enemies, and sometimes civilians, by sniping, surprise raids, sabotage, and the like. Guerrilla groups contribute to political instability in many parts of the world, and women and children are their most vulnerable victims. In some cases, rape has become a weapon of war for guerrilla soldiers.

      Head Scarves

      A piece of clothing that traditional Muslim women wear to cover all or part of the head to indicate compliance with the commandments of Allah. In some countries, women are forbidden by law to venture outside their homes without these coverings. In non-Muslim countries, head scarves are worn for a variety of reasons that range from decoration to use by chemotherapy patients.

      Heavily Indebted Poor Countries

      A group of 41 countries that have low per capita incomes and high foreign debts that interfere with commitment to social welfare programs. Countries that qualify for this status are eligible for financial-assistance packages from the World Bank and other creditors.

      Hepatitis A

      An infection contracted by contact with the hepatitis A virus (HAV), which may occur through ingesting fecally contaminated food or water. Unlike more serious forms of hepatitis, hepatitis A is not chronic, and patients generally recover in one or two weeks. A vaccination is available.

      Hepatitis C

      An infection that may result in chronic liver disease, cirrhosis, or liver cancer that is caused by coming into contact with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) through contaminated blood. It is of particular concern to current and former drug users; some recipients of clotting factor concentrates, blood transfusions, or solid organ transplants; persons with HIV/AIDS; healthcare workers; and babies born to mothers with HCV.

      Hepatitis E

      A nonchronic disease of the liver caused by contact with the hepatitis E virus (HEV) in fecally contaminated food or water. It is common in poor countries that lack access to safe drinking water and proper sanitation. There is no vaccination for the disease.

      Heterosexual

      One who is exclusively sexually attracted to members of the opposite sex.

      HIV

      The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) occurs when an infected immune systems fails to fulfill its intended role because white blood cells known as CD4 have begun producing thousands of immune-attacking viral copies. HIV is most often transmitted through unprotected vaginal or anal sex, blood transfusions, needle sharing, and mother-to-child transmissions during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding. It may also be spread through oral sex, or rarely through accidental needle pricks as health workers deal with infected persons. In its most advanced stage, HIV results in AIDS.

      Homosexual

      One who is exclusively sexually attracted to members of one's own sex.

      Honor Killings

      The murder of female family members by males bent on reclaiming the family honor in response to real or perceived moral infractions, particularly those concerning participating in sex outside of marriage. They are most common in the Middle East and southern Asia.

      Human Poverty Index

      A measurement used by the United Nations to indicate the quality of life in a given country based on life expectancy, childhood malnutrition, literacy, and access to healthcare and potable water.

      Human Trafficking

      The practice of removing individuals from their homelands by kidnapping, enticement, or coercion and forcing them to work in foreign countries. Most of the victims are women and children, and many are forced into prostitution or enslaved by their so-called employers.

      Hysterectomy

      The process of surgically removing the uterus and sometimes the cervix, ovaries, or fallopian tubes, rendering a female infertile. It is generally a response to cancer, fibroid growth, severe endometriosis, or a prolapsed uterus.

      In Vitro Fertilization

      Type of fertility assistance in which eggs are removed from a woman's uterus and fertilized by sperm in a petri dish. The sperm may come from a woman's partner or from a donor. The fertilized eggs may be implanted in the uterus of an egg donor or in a surrogate if the woman is unable to maintain a pregnancy. They may also be frozen for future use.

      Infant Mortality Rate

      The number of deaths among children under 1 year of age that occur in a given country in comparison to every 1,000 live births that occur annually. It is one of the strongest quality of life indicators, and the poorest countries predictably have the highest infant mortality rates.

      Infibulation

      The most dangerous, extensive, and invasive form of female genital mutilation, consisting of removing the clitoris and all or part of the labia before stitching up the vagina so that only a small opening is left to allow for the release of urine and menstrual flow. Even though the practice is banned throughout Africa today, in some countries, the majority of females continue to be subjected to this practice, which is often performed by individuals with no medical training.

      Inheritance Rights

      The rights of individuals to take possession of property handed down to them through wills or legal procedures resulting from the death of someone. In many Islamic countries, women, including widows, are allowed to inherit only a portion of what males inherit because of the assumptions that males are responsible for extended families, and that females are looked after by males. In some countries, females have inheritance rights in theory, but those rights are limited in practice.

      Intersex

      An individual who has physical characteristics of more than one sex, resulting from a congenital and atypical combination of sex-determining chromosomes.

      Intrauterine Device

      A birth control device that prevents pregnancy by the insertion of a plastic or metal barrier formed into a coil, loop, triangle, or T-shape.

      Islamic Feminism

      Feminism that promotes women's rights and social justice as understood and derived from the Qur'an.

      Lassa Fever

      An acute viral illness caused by contact with the lassa virus, which is spread by infected rodents. It is endemic to areas of western Africa, where it has sometimes caused epidemics, resulting in widespread morbidity and death.

      Leptospirosis

      A disease resulting from exposure to leptospira bacteria due to contact with water contaminated by the urine of infected animals. It may be accompanied by high fevers, severe headaches, chills, muscle aches, and vomiting, or there may be no symptoms at all. Untreated cases may lead to kidney disease, meningitis, liver failure, or respiratory distress. It is most common in areas with limited access to safe water supplies.

      Lesbian

      Named after Sappho, the Poetess of Lesbo, the term is used to describe women who are sexually attracted to their own sex.

      Literacy

      Refers to the ability to read and write. The most common measure of literacy is the percentage of individuals over the age of 15 who meet this requirement in relation to the total population of the relevant age group. Differences in male and female literacy are a major indicator of the social status of women within a given country.

      Machismo

      Spanish word indicating an exaggerated sense of masculinity that is generally accompanied by the tendency to dominate females.

      Malaria

      A serious and recurrent infection endemic to many developing countries that is caused by exposure to certain mosquitoes appearing in tropical climates. Symptoms include chills, fever, and an enlarged spleen.

      Marginalization

      The process of being forced outside the mainstream of society to be treated as less important than those classified as the “norm.” Feminists contend that throughout history women have been marginalized, and their rights have been subsumed to those of men.

      Marriage, Forced

      Marital unions that are instigated by parents or guardians without the consent of both parties involved in the union. In many countries, child-brides are required to marry men in their 40s or 50s who may already have several wives.

      Masculinity

      Characteristics associated with the male gender that often connote strength, power, and independence.

      Maternal Mortality

      The death of a pregnant woman or a death that occurs within 42 days of the termination of a pregnancy from pregnancy-related causes. Maternal death rates, which are a major quality-of-life indicator, are based on the number of relevant deaths in relation to every 100,000 live births that occur during the designated period.

      Matriarchy

      A social system in which the female is head of the family and/or social groups such as clans or tribes. Under matriarchal inheritance laws, property is handed down through a mother's family rather than the more typical system in which property remains in the hands of a father's family. Even in societies where inheritance is matriarchal, society may operate according to patriarchal dictates.

      Meningococcal Meningitis

      A bacterial infection that affects the thin lining surrounding the brain and spinal cord. It is spread through contact with a person with the disease. While it occurs throughout the world, it is most common in what has been identified as the meningitis belt of sub-Saharan Africa. Half of all untreated cases end in death. Vaccines are available, including a new one that specifically targets the African strain.

      Mifepristone

      Also known as the “abortion pill” or RU-486, mifepristone, which is sold under the brand name Mifeprex, is an abortion-inducing drug used in conjunction with misoprostol to precipitate abortions in cases where a woman is less than eight weeks pregnant. After the mifepristone is taken, the cervix dilates and causes a miscarriage within hours.

      Millennials

      Also referred to as the “millennial generation,” millennials are individuals born in the decades between 1980 and 2000.

      Millennium Development Goals The eight goals initiated by the United Nations at the beginning of the 21st century with the intention of improving the quality of life around the globe. They target areas such as poverty, education, and HIV/AIDS, and they have proved particularly beneficial to women and children, who have been the most common victims of poverty and marginalization.

      Missing Women

      Phrase coined by Indian humanitarian and economist Amartya Sen to explain the phenomenon that millions of women have been denied existence in countries of Asia because of sex-selective abortion, infanticide, or death by malnutrition.

      Mommy Track

      A career track in which mothers may choose to advance at a slower than normal pace in order to spend more time with their families by participating in flexible work hours, job sharing, telecommuting, or working out of their homes.

      Mommy Wars

      The controversial current debate over whether mothers who choose to stay at home with their children have sold out the women of the Second Wave, who revived the women's movement in the 1960s and 1970s.

      Natural Childbirth

      A method in which a woman experiences childbirth without the aid of drugs. In most cases, the woman and her birthing coach, generally her husband or partner, have attended classes that prepare them for the event by learning breathing exercises and methods of focusing pain outside the body.

      Nongovernmental Organizations (NGOs)

      Voluntary groups of citizens who unite at local, state, national, and international levels to form nonprofit agencies designed to promote particular interests and provide information and support for relevant parties. Even though they are not affiliated with any government, such NGOs must be licensed in order to operate.

      Ovulation

      The point at which the egg is released from the ovary in response to hormone signals, preparing the egg for fertilization by a male sperm. This generally occurs about two weeks after the beginning of the last menstrual cycle.

      Partial-Birth Abortion

      See Dilation and Extraction.

      Patriarchy

      A social system founded on the premise that males are superior physically and intellectually and should, therefore, have authority over females and children. In modern society, most countries have instituted constitutional and legal measures to address the inequities caused by patriarchy, but religious and cultural inequities continue to favor males over females.

      Perestroika

      The political and economic system instituted in the Soviet Union in the 1980s by Mikhail Gorbachev that employed decentralization and restructuring to bring about a less restrictive system of government and the ultimate dissolution of the Soviet Union.

      Plague

      A highly contagious and often fatal illness that is contracted by coming into contact with the Yersinia pestis bacterium. It is most often transmitted to humans by fleas that have become infected through contact with infected rodents, particularly rats. Symptoms include chills, fever, vomiting, and diarrhea.

      Postpartum Depression

      A type of depression that is particular to the post-partum period. While it is common for new mothers to feel some depression as hormone levels drop, this condition is marked by prolonged feelings of sadness and inadequacy accompanied by crying and insomnia. Celebrities such as Brooke Shields and Marie Osmond have done much to bring this condition into public awareness.

      Poverty Level

      The point at which an individual lacks sufficient income to obtain basic necessities of life such as food, shelter, clothing, and medical care. Each country establishes its own poverty level relative to its overall standard of living. In developing countries, international organizations and donor countries play a significant role in narrowing the gap in global poverty levels.

      Poverty Reduction

      Policies and programs designed to reduce the number of individuals who lack access to basic life necessities and address the reasons for that status from economic, political, social, and human rights perspectives.

      Postnatal Care

      Healthcare provided to new mothers for a period of up to six weeks to ensure that there are no complications following delivery. Maternal mortality tends to be much higher in countries where few women receive postnatal care as opposed to those in industrialized nations where virtually all women receive such care.

      Prenatal Care

      Healthcare that pregnant women receive on a regular basis to monitor their health and the development of the growing fetus. Instances of pregnancy complications and fetal malformation are more common in developing countries where routine pre-natal care is less common.

      Property Rights

      The right of individuals to own and inherit property in their own names. While most nations of the world have addressed inequities inherent in patriarchal systems that banned married women from owning property, many Islamic countries continue to adhere to the principle that males have greater familial obligations and are more deserving of property than females.

      Rabies

      A viral infection transmitted through direct or indirect contact with infected wild animals, particularly by bats and raccoons. If left untreated, it can lead to brain inflammation, confusion, seizures, paralysis, coma, and even death. Treatment includes a regimen of Rabies Immunoglobulin shots and antibiotics. The rabies vaccine is recommended only for individuals who regularly come in contact with wild animals.

      Reproductive Health

      The condition in which all parts of the human body connected to sexual activity and reproduction are functioning properly and receiving medical assistance when necessary.

      Reproductive Rights

      The right of all individuals to have access to information about family planning and birth control methods of choice. For women, it also means the right to receive proper care during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period.

      Rift Valley Fever

      A potentially lethal viral zoonosis transmitted to humans through contact with the blood or organs of infected animals or by ingesting food products derived from infected animals. It can also be spread by bites from fleas that have come in contact with infected animals. Early in the 21st century, outbreaks occurred in Kenya and Somalia.

      Schistosomiasis

      Also known as bilharzia, it is a parasitic disease that is transmitted by trematode flatworms found in freshwater snails. The parasite has the capability of penetrating human skin when individuals enter water containing infected snails. Depending on the type, it can lead to damage to the urinary or intestinal systems. It occurs in developing countries where residents lack sustained access to safe water and improved sanitation.

      Security Moms

      Term coined by politician Joe Biden to identify post-September 11 mothers whose main concern is the safety of their children in a world rife with violence and terrorism.

      Sexual Harassment

      Behaviors that constitute unwanted sexual advances or demands for sexual favors or any action of a sexual nature that creates a hostile working or learning environment. While sexual harassment of males by females does occur, most victims of sexual harassment are female. Many countries have passed laws that make employers liable if they know sexual harassment is occurring and take insufficient steps to stop it.

      Sexual Tourism

      The practice of traveling to another country for the express purpose of having sex with prostitutes, particularly with child prostitutes. Many children and adult women engaged in the sexual tourism industry have been taken forcibly from their home countries or tricked into thinking they were being given legitimate jobs in their adopted countries.

      Sexually Transmitted Diseases

      A set of 20 types of diseases that are transmitted through sexual contact with an infected partner. The most common of these diseases are herpes, syphilis, gonorrhea, and HIV/AIDS. Sexually active individuals, particularly those who are not involved in monogamous relationships, are encouraged to use condoms during sexual intercourse, since other forms of birth control do not protect against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

      Social Welfare

      Organized assistance provided to citizens by the government as a means of ensuring a basic standard of living and promoting quality of life. Social welfare states generally develop a wide spectrum of programs designed to address the needs of particular groups, such as those providing financial assistance to the poor and elderly or to mothers of young children.

      Sonogram

      A diagnostic tool used to determine the gestational age of a fetus and identify potential problems such as ectopic pregnancies and multiple births. It is also used to determine the sex of an unborn infant.

      Sterilization

      The process of rendering someone infertile. The most common forms of female sterilization are tubal ligations and hysterectomies, while vasectomies are the most common form for males. All of these methods are considered permanent.

      Suction Aspiration

      A method of first-trimester abortion in which the fetus and placenta are suctioned away from the uterus using a suction device connected to a cannula. It may be used in conjunction with abortion-producing drugs.

      Sustainable Development

      Commonly defined according to a definition originating with the Brundtland Commission in 1987, it is “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” In practice, this means promoting environmental responsibility so that nations can support themselves without exhausting or irrevocably damaging essential resources such as rainforests and rivers that affect future generations.

      Transgender

      Identifying with a sexual identity that does not conform to one's biological sex. Transsexuals may see themselves as being born into the wrong body, and some choose to have themselves surgically transformed into the other sex. They are not always sexually attracted to the same sex, as are homosexuals.

      Transitional Democracies

      Generally refers to the former Communist nations that began the process of democratization after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. Women in transitional democracies initially lost ground after the fall of Communism, but they are now in the process of recovering that lost status.

      Tubal Ligation

      A voluntary process in which a female undergoes sterilization by having her fallopian tubes blocked to prevent eggs from being fertilized during sexual intercourse.

      Typhoid Fever

      Sometimes referred to as enteric fever, it is an acute and highly infectious disease that is caused by coming into contact with the salmonella typhi bacillus through ingesting food and water that have been contaminated by a carrier, who may not be actively suffering from the disease. Symptoms include high fevers, headaches, coughing, intestinal hemorrhaging, and spotty skin. In contemporary times, only those who live in countries that do not provide stable access to clean water and proper sanitation are vulnerable to the disease.

      Vasectomy

      The voluntary process in which a male's sperm-carrying tubes are cut, tied, or cauterized to remove the possibility of their being able to fertilize an egg.

      Vectorborne Diseases

      A disease transmitted to humans or animals by a vector, such as a mosquito or tick. Anyone living in a hot and humid climate is more susceptible than others to contracting such diseases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that half of the world's population is infected, but residents of developing countries are at particular risk.

      Veil

      A variety of head coverings worn by Muslim women according to the principle of hijab, which states that women appearing in public must be dressed modestly. Veils may cover only the head and/or face, or they may extend to other parts of the body.

      Violence Against Women

      Any violent act directed toward the female sex that leads to physical, emotional, or sexual harm or suffering. Examples of gender-related violence include but are not limited to rape, sexual intimidation or abuse, trafficking, forced and child marriages, deprivations of liberty, and honor killings.

      Virginity Testing

      The practice of exposing young African girls to various tests to determine whether or not they are sexually active. In the past, it was intended to coerce girls into remaining virginal before marriage. It has been resumed in contemporary times as a means of HIV/AIDS prevention. Because the virginity tests are highly inefficient and intrusive, many young girls are humiliated, and some are falsely accused of being sexually active.

      Wage Gap

      The statistical difference between male and female earnings, which is prevalent throughout the world. The wage gap is indicative of lower female salaries, clustering in female-dominated occupations, and greater limitations on job opportunities and advancement for females, particularly for mothers in the workplace.

      Water Contact Diseases

      Diseases contracted through swimming or wading in freshwater sources such as lakes or rivers that have been contaminated by feces infected with pathological microorganisms. Such diseases are common in developing countries where safe drinking water and basic sanitation is not always easily obtainable.

      Waterborne Diseases

      Diseases that result from drinking water that has been contaminated by human or animal feces containing infected microorganisms. Examples include cholera, dengue fever, and schistosomiasis, all of which are common in developing countries with poor access to safe drinking water.

      XX Chromosome

      The genetic marker or chromsome that produces females. Female eggs are only capable of producing X chromosomes.

      XY Chromosome

      The genetic marker that produces males. The male sperm is capable of carrying either the X or Y chromosome, and contrary to historical belief and the actions of kings who divorced their wives or had them killed for not producing sons, it is the sperm rather than the egg that determines the sex of a fetus.

      Zina

      Used in Islamic nations such as Pakistan to describe sex outside of marriage. It includes both premarital sex and adultery. Because male guardians have the right to oversee the morality of female charges, women can be imprisoned or even stoned to death on unsubstantiated accusations of zina.

      Elizabeth Rholetter Purdy Independent Scholar

      Resource Guide

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      Gatrell, Caroline J. Hard Labour: The Sociology of Parenthood. Maidenhead, UK: Open University Press, 2005.
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      Guerrilla Girls, Inc. Bitches, Bimbos, and Ballbreakers: The Guerrilla Girls Illustrated Guide to Female Stereotypes. New York: Penguin, 2003.
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      Hafner, Katie. Where Wizards Stay Up Late: The Origins of the Internet. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1998.
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      Horsey, Kirsty and Hazel Biggs Human Fertilisation and Embryology: Reproducing Regulation. New York: Routledge-Cavendish, 2007.
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      Journals
      • Advancing Women in Leadership Journal
      • Affilia: Journal of Women and Social Work
      • American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse
      • American Journal of Public Health
      • Archives of Women's Mental Health
      • Berkeley Journal of Gender, Law & Justice
      • Bridges: A Jewish Feminist Journal
      • British Journal of Industrial Relations
      • Camera Obscura
      • Canadian Journal of Women and the Law
      • Contemporary Women's Writing
      • Corvy Women Writers on the Web Journal
      • Differences: A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies
      • European Journal of Women's Studies
      • Family Planning Perspectives
      • Feminism & Nonviolence Studies Journal
      • Feminism & Psychology
      • Feminist Collections
      • Feminist Economics
      • Feminist Theory
      • Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies
      • Gender, Technology and Development
      • Gender and Development
      • Gender & Society
      • GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies
      • Hypathia
      • Indian Journal of Gender Studies
      • International Journal of Social Welfare
      • International Journal of the Legal Profession
      • Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes
      • Journal of Contemporary Ethnography
      • Journal of Economic Literature
      • Journal of Feminist Legal Studies
      • Journal of Gang Research
      • Journal of Gender Issues
      • Journal of International Women's Studies
      • Journal of Police Science and Administration
      • Journal of Policy Analysis and Management
      • Journal of Popular Culture
      • Journal of Social Distress and the Homeless
      • Journal of South Asia Women Studies
      • Journal of Women and Minorities in Science and Engineering
      • Journal of Women in Culture and Society
      • Journal of Women's Health
      • Journal of Women's History
      • Ms. Magazine
      • Scandinavian Journal of Infectious Disease
      • Social Science Quarterly
      • Violence Against Women
      • Womanist Theory and Research
      • Women & Performance
      Internet

      About-Face

      http://www.about-face.org

      Abuse Aware

      http://abuseawarecom

      Advancing Women

      http://www.advancingwomen.org

      African Women's Development Fund

      http://www.awdf.org

      AGORA: Women in Science

      http://www.agora.forwomeninscience.com

      All Women Count

      http://www.allwomencount.net

      American Association of University Women

      http://www.aauw.org

      American Business Women's Association

      http://www.abwa.org

      American Women

      http://lcweb2.loc.gov/ammem/awhhtml

      Association for Women's Rights in Development

      http://www.awid.org

      Bridge—Mainstreaming Gender Equality

      http://www.bridge.ids.ac.uk

      Campaign for Female Education

      http://www.camfed.org

      Catholics for Choice

      http://www.catholicsforchoice.org

      Center for Gender & Refugee Studies

      http://cgrs.uchastings.edu

      Center for Women's Global Leadership

      http://www.cwgl.rutgers.edu

      CHANGE: Center for Health and Gender Equity

      http://www.genderhealth.org

      CODEPINK

      http://www.codepink4peace.org

      Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women

      http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/cedaw

      Council of Women World Leaders

      http://www.cwwl.org

      Digital Women

      http://www.digital-women.com

      Dykes on Bikes

      http://www.dykesonbikes.org

      EMILY's List

      http://www.emilyslist.org

      ENAWA: European and North American WomenAction

      http://www.enawa.org

      Ending Violence against Women and Girls

      http://www.unfpa.org/swp/2000/english/ch03.html

      Equality Now

      http://www.equalitynow.org/english

      FaithTrust Institute

      http://www.faithtrustinstitute.org

      Family Research Council

      http://www.frc.org

      Feminism and Women's Studies

      http://feminism.eserver.org

      Feminist Majority Foundation

      http://feministorg

      Feminists for Life

      http://www.feministsforlife.org

      Forum for African Women Educationalists

      http://www.fawe.org

      Gender Equity in Sports

      http://bailiwick.lib.uiowa.edu/ge

      Gender Policy Review

      http://gender-policy.tripod.com/journal

      General Union of Palestinian Women

      http://www.gupw.net

      Girl Geeks

      http://www.girlgeeks.org

      Girls Inc.

      http://www.girlsinc.org

      Global Fund for Women

      http://www.globalfundforwomen.org

      Global Peace Initiative for Women

      http://www.gpiw.org

      Global Sister: The Global Women's Movement

      http://www.globalsister.org

      Granny Peace Brigade

      http://www.grannypeacebrigade.org

      Green Belt Movement

      http://www.greenbeltmovement.org

      Guerrilla Girls

      http://www.guerrillagirls.com

      Human Rights Campaign

      http://www.hrc.org

      Independent Women's Forum

      http://www.iwf.org

      Institute for Women's Policy Research

      http://www.iwpr.org/index.cfm

      International Center for Research on Women

      http://www.icrw.org

      International Center for Transitional Justice

      http://www.ictj.org

      International Museum of Women

      http://www.imow.org

      International Planned Parenthood Federation

      http://www.ippf.org

      International Women's Day

      http://www.internationalwomensday.com

      International Women's Development Agency

      http://www.iwda.org.au/au

      International Women's Health Coalition

      http://www.iwhc.org

      International Women's Rights Action Watch

      http://www1.umn.edu

      League of Women Voters

      http://www.lwv.org

      The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center

      http://www.gaycenter.org

      MADRE

      http://www.madre.org

      Million Mom March

      http://www.millionmommarch.org

      Minerva Center

      http://www.minervacenter.com

      Mothers Against Drunk Driving

      http://www.madd.org

      Ms. Foundation for Women

      http://www.ms.foundation.org

      NARAL

      http://www.naral.org

      National Center for Lesbian Rights

      http://www.nclrights.org

      National Center on Women and Aging

      http://www.heller.brandeis.edu/national/ind.html

      National Council for Research on Women

      http://www.ncrw.org

      National Council of Women's Organizations

      http://www.womensorganizations.org

      National First Ladies’ Library

      http://www.firstladies.org

      National Organization for Women

      http://www.now.org

      National Partnership for Women & Families

      http://www.nationalpartnership.org

      National Women's Law Center

      http://www.nwlc.org

      National Women's Political Caucus

      http://www.nwpc.org

      National Women's Studies Association

      http://www.nwsa.org

      9to5

      http://www.9to5.org

      Nobel Women's Initiative

      http://www.nobelwomensinitiative.org

      Online Women's Business Center

      http://www.onlinewbc.gov

      Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq

      http://www.equalityiniraq.com

      Our Bodies Ourselves: Information on Women's Health & Sexuality

      http://www.ourbodiesourselves.org

      Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays

      http://www.pflag.org

      Rachel's Network

      http://www.rachelsnetwork.org

      Radical Women

      http://www.radicalwomen.org

      Refugee Women's Network

      http://www.riwn.org

      Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan

      http://www.rawa.org

      Self Employed Women's Association

      http://www.sewa.org

      The Sister Fund

      http://www.sisterfund.org

      Sisterhood Is Global Institute

      http://sigiorg

      STEM Coalition

      http://nstacommunities.org/stemedcoalition

      Stop Family Violence

      http://www.stopfamilyviolence.org

      Take Back the Night

      http://www.takebackthenight.org

      Third Wave Foundation

      http://www.thirdwavefoundation.org

      Tibetan Women's Association

      http://www.tibetanwomen.org/

      Title IX

      http://www.titleix.info

      United Nations Development Fund for Women

      http://www.unifem.org

      United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women

      http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw

      United Nations Womenwatch

      http://www.un.org/womenwatch

      U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

      http://www.eeoc.gov

      U.S. Office of Global Women's Issues

      http://www.state.gov/s/gwi

      V-Day: A Global Movement to End Violence Against Women and Girls Worldwide

      http://www.vday.org

      White House Council on Women and Girls

      http://www.whitehouse.gov/administration/eop/cwg

      WidowNet

      http://www.fortnet.org

      Women Employed

      http://www.womenemployed.org/index.jsp

      Women in Black

      http://www.womeninblack.org

      Women in Farm Economy

      http://www.worldfooddayusa.org

      Women for Afghan Women

      http://www.womenforafghanwomen.org

      Women for Women International

      http://www.womenforwomen.org

      Women Leaders Online

      http://www.wlo.org

      Women Make Movies

      http://www.wmm.com

      Women Online Worldwide

      http://www.wowwomen.com

      Women Without Borders

      http://www.women-without-borders.org

      Women's Aid

      http://www.womensaid.ie

      Women's Environment and Development Organization

      http://www.wedo.org

      Women's Institute for Freedom of the Press

      http://www.wifp.org

      Women's International League for Peace and Freedom

      http://www.wilpf.org

      Women's National Democratic Club

      http://www.democraticwoman.org

      Women's Ordination Conference

      http://www.womensordination.org

      Women's Organization of Iran

      http://fis-iran.org/en/women/organization

      Women's Policy, Inc.

      http://www.womenspolicy.org

      Young Women's Project

      http://www.youngwomensproject.org

      Appendix: Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action

      The United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women

      Beijing, China – September 1995

      Action for Equality, Development and Peace

      Editors’ Note: The Fourth World Conference on Women, resulting in the Beijing Declaration, is the most recent worldwide call for the empowerment of women. In 2010, plans were underway for a Fifth Wold Conference on Women.

      © United Nations, 1995. Reproduced with permission.

      Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action

      The Fourth World Conference on Women,

      Having met in Beijing from 4 to 15 September 1995,

      1. Adopts the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, which are annexed to the present resolution;

      2. Recommends to the General Assembly of the United Nations at its fiftieth session that it endorse the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action as adopted by the Conference.

      ∗ Adopted at the 16th plenary meeting, on 15 September 1995; for the discussion, see chapter V.

      Annex I: Beijing Declaration

      1. We, the Governments participating in the Fourth World Conference on Women,

      2. Gathered here in Beijing in September 1995, the year of the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the United Nations,

      3. Determined to advance the goals of equality, development and peace for all women everywhere in the interest of all humanity,

      4. Acknowledging the voices of all women everywhere and taking note of the diversity of women and their roles and circumstances, honouring the women who paved the way and inspired by the hope present in the world's youth,

      5. Recognize that the status of women has advanced in some important respects in the past decade but that progress has been uneven, inequalities between women and men have persisted and major obstacles remain, with serious consequences for the well-being of all people,

      6. Also recognize that this situation is exacerbated by the increasing poverty that is affecting the lives of the majority of the world's people, in particular women and children, with origins in both the national and international domains,

      7. Dedicate ourselves unreservedly to addressing these constraints and obstacles and thus enhancing further the advancement and empowerment of women all over the world, and agree that this requires urgent action in the spirit of determination, hope, cooperation and solidarity, now and to carry us forward into the next century.

      We reaffirm our commitment to:

      8. The equal rights and inherent human dignity of women and men and other purposes and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other international human rights instruments, in particular the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, as well as the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women and the Declaration on the Right to Development;

      9. Ensure the full implementation of the human rights of women and of the girl child as an inalienable, integral and indivisible part of all human rights and fundamental freedoms;

      10. Build on consensus and progress made at previous United Nations conferences and summits-on women in Nairobi in 1985, on children in New York in 1990, on environment and development in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, on human rights in Vienna in 1993, on population and development in Cairo in 1994 and on social development in Copenhagen in 1995 with the objective of achieving equality, development and peace;

      11. Achieve the full and effective implementation of the Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women;

      12. The empowerment and advancement of women, including the right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion and belief, thus contributing to the moral, ethical, spiritual and intellectual needs of women and men, individually or in community with others and thereby guaranteeing them the possibility of realizing their full potential in society and shaping their lives in accordance with their own aspirations.

      We are convinced that:

      13. Women's empowerment and their full participation on the basis of equality in all spheres of society, including participation in the decision-making process and access to power, are fundamental for the achievement of equality, development and peace;

      14. Women's rights are human rights;

      15. Equal rights, opportunities and access to resources, equal sharing of responsibilities for the family by men and women, and a harmonious partnership between them are critical to their well-being and that of their families as well as to the consolidation of democracy;

      16. Eradication of poverty based on sustained economic growth, social development, environmental protection and social justice requires the involvement of women in economic and social development, equal opportunities and the full and equal participation of women and men as agents and beneficiaries of people-centred sustainable development;

      17. The explicit recognition and reaffirmation of the right of all women to control all aspects of their health, in particular their own fertility, is basic to their empowerment;

      18. Local, national, regional and global peace is attainable and is inextricably linked with the advancement of women, who are a fundamental force for leadership, conflict resolution and the promotion of lasting peace at all levels;

      19. It is essential to design, implement and monitor, with the full participation of women, effective, efficient and mutually reinforcing gender-sensitive policies and programmes, including development policies and programmes, at all levels that will foster the empowerment and advancement of women;

      20. The participation and contribution of all actors of civil society, particularly women's groups and networks and other non-governmental organizations and community-based organizations, with full respect for their autonomy, in cooperation with Governments, are important to the effective implementation and follow-up of the Platform for Action;

      21. The implementation of the Platform for Action requires commitment from Governments and the international community. By making national and international commitments for action, including those made at the Conference, Governments and the international community recognize the need to take priority action for the empowerment and advancement of women.

      We are determined to:

      22. Intensify efforts and actions to achieve the goals of the Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women by the end of this century;

      23. Ensure the full enjoyment by women and the girl child of all human rights and fundamental freedoms and take effective action against violations of these rights and freedoms;

      24. Take all necessary measures to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women and the girl child and remove all obstacles to gender equality and the advancement and empowerment of women;

      25. Encourage men to participate fully in all actions towards equality;

      26. Promote women's economic independence, including employment, and eradicate the persistent and increasing burden of poverty on women by addressing the structural causes of poverty through changes in economic structures, ensuring equal access for all women, including those in rural areas, as vital development agents, to productive resources, opportunities and public services;

      27. Promote people-centred sustainable development, including sustained economic growth, through the provision of basic education, life-long education, literacy and training, and primary health care for girls and women;

      28. Take positive steps to ensure peace for the advancement of women and, recognizing the leading role that women have played in the peace movement, work actively towards general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control, and support negotiations on the conclusion, without delay, of a universal and multilaterally and effectively verifiable comprehensive nuclear-test-ban treaty which contributes to nuclear disarmament and the prevention of the proliferation of nuclear weapons in all its aspects;

      29. Prevent and eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls;

      30. Ensure equal access to and equal treatment of women and men in education and health care and enhance women's sexual and reproductive health as well as education;

      31. Promote and protect all human rights of women and girls;

      32. Intensify efforts to ensure equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all women and girls who face multiple barriers to their empowerment and advancement because of such factors as their race, age, language, ethnicity, culture, religion, or disability, or because they are indigenous people;

      33. Ensure respect for international law, including humanitarian law, in order to protect women and girls in particular;

      34. Develop the fullest potential of girls and women of all ages, ensure their full and equal participation in building a better world for all and enhance their role in the development process.

      We are determined to:

      35. Ensure women's equal access to economic resources, including land, credit, science and technology, vocational training, information, communication and markets, as a means to further the advancement and empowerment of women and girls, including through the enhancement of their capacities to enjoy the benefits of equal access to these resources, inter alia, by means of international cooperation;

      36. Ensure the success of the Platform for Action, which will require a strong commitment on the part of Governments, international organizations and institutions at all levels. We are deeply convinced that economic development, social development and environmental protection are interdependent and mutually reinforcing components of sustainable development, which is the framework for our efforts to achieve a higher quality of life for all people. Equitable social development that recognizes empowering the poor, particularly women living in poverty, to utilize environmental resources sustainably is a necessary foundation for sustainable development. We also recognize that broad-based and sustained economic growth in the context of sustainable development is necessary to sustain social development and social justice. The success of the Platform for Action will also require adequate mobilization of resources at the national and international levels as well as new and additional resources to the developing countries from all available funding mechanisms, including multilateral, bilateral and private sources for the advancement of women; financial resources to strengthen the capacity of national, subregional, regional and international institutions; a commitment to equal rights, equal responsibilities and equal opportunities and to the equal participation of women and men in all national, regional and international bodies and policy-making processes; and the establishment or strengthening of mechanisms at all levels for accountability to the world's women;

      37. Ensure also the success of the Platform for Action in countries with economies in transition, which will require continued international cooperation and assistance;

      38. We hereby adopt and commit ourselves as Governments to implement the following Platform for Action, ensuring that a gender perspective is reflected in all our policies and programmes. We urge the United Nations system, regional and international financial institutions, other relevant regional and international institutions and all women and men, as well as non-governmental organizations, with full respect for their autonomy, and all sectors of civil society, in cooperation with Governments, to fully commit themselves and contribute to the implementation of this Platform for Action.

      Annex II: Platform for Action

      Contents

      Chapter Paragraphs

      • MISSION STATEMENT
      • GLOBAL FRAMEWORK
      • CRITICAL AREAS OF CONCERN
      • STRATEGIC OBJECTIVES AND ACTIONS
        • Women and poverty
        • Education and training of women
        • Women and health
        • Violence against women
        • Women and armed conflict
        • Women and the economy
        • Women in power and decision-making
        • Institutional mechanisms for the advancement of women
        • Human rights of women
        • Women and the media
        • Women and the environment
        • The girl child
      • INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENTS
        • National level
        • Subregional/regional level
        • International level
      • FINANCIAL ARRANGEMENTS
        • National level
        • Regional level
        • International level

      Chapter I

      MISSION STATEMENT

      1. The Platform for Action is an agenda for women's empowerment. It aims at accelerating the implementation of the Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women 1 and at removing all the obstacles to women's active participation in all spheres of public and private life through a full and equal share in economic, social, cultural and political decision-making. This means that the principle of shared power and responsibility should be established between women and men at home, in the workplace and in the wider national and international communities. Equality between women and men is a matter of human rights and a condition for social justice and is also a necessary and fundamental prerequisite for equality, development and peace. A transformed partnership based on equality between women and men is a condition for people-centred sustainable development. A sustained and long-term commitment is essential, so that women and men can work together for themselves, for their children and for society to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century.

      2. The Platform for Action reaffirms the fundamental principle set forth in the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, 2 adopted by the World Conference on Human Rights, that the human rights of women and of the girl child are an inalienable, integral and indivisible part of universal human rights. As an agenda for action, the Platform seeks to promote and protect the full enjoyment of all human rights and the fundamental freedoms of all women throughout their life cycle.

      3. The Platform for Action emphasizes that women share common concerns that can be addressed only by working together and in partnership with men towards the common goal of gender∗ equality around the world. It respects and values the full diversity of women's situations and conditions and recognizes that some women face particular barriers to their empowerment.

      4. The Platform for Action requires immediate and concerted action by all to create a peaceful, just and humane world based on human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the principle of equality for all people of all ages and from all walks of life, and to this end, recognizes that broad-based and sustained economic growth in the context of sustainable development is necessary to sustain social development and social justice.

      5. The success of the Platform for Action will require a strong commitment on the part of Governments, international organizations and institutions at all levels. It will also require adequate mobilization of resources at the national and international levels as well as new and additional resources to the developing countries from all available funding mechanisms, including multilateral, bilateral and private sources for the advancement of women; financial resources to strengthen the capacity of national, subregional, regional and international institutions; a commitment to equal rights, equal responsibilities and equal opportunities and to the equal participation of women and men in all national, regional and international bodies and policy-making processes; and the establishment or strengthening of mechanisms at all levels for accountability to the world's women.

      ∗ For the commonly understood meaning of the term “gender”, see annex IV to the present report.

      Chapter II: Global Framework

      6. The Fourth World Conference on Women is taking place as the world stands poised on the threshold of a new millennium.

      7. The Platform for Action upholds the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women 3 and builds upon the Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women, as well as relevant resolutions adopted by the Economic and Social Council and the General Assembly. The formulation of the Platform for Action is aimed at establishing a basic group of priority actions that should be carried out during the next five years.

      8. The Platform for Action recognizes the importance of the agreements reached at the World Summit for Children, the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, the World Conference on Human Rights, the International Conference on Population and Development and the World Summit for Social Development, which set out specific approaches and commitments to fostering sustainable development and international cooperation and to strengthening the role of the United Nations to that end. Similarly, the Global Conference on the Sustainable Development of Small Island Developing States, the International Conference on Nutrition, the International Conference on Primary Health Care and the World Conference on Education for All have addressed the various facets of development and human rights, within their specific perspectives, paying significant attention to the role of women and girls. In addition, the International Year for the World's Indigenous People, 4 the International Year of the Family, 5 the United Nations Year for Tolerance, 6 the Geneva Declaration for Rural Women, 7 and the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women 8 have also emphasized the issues of women's empowerment and equality.

      9. The objective of the Platform for Action, which is in full conformity with the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations and international law, is the empowerment of all women. The full realization of all human rights and fundamental freedoms of all women is essential for the empowerment of women. While the significance of national and regional particularities and various historical, cultural and religious backgrounds must be borne in mind, it is the duty of States, regardless of their political, economic and cultural systems, to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms. 9 The implementation of this Platform, including through national laws and the formulation of strategies, policies, programmes and development priorities, is the sovereign responsibility of each State, in conformity with all human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the significance of and full respect for various religious and ethical values, cultural backgrounds and philosophical convictions of individuals and their communities should contribute to the full enjoyment by women of their human rights in order to achieve equality, development and peace.

      10. Since the World Conference to Review and Appraise the Achievements of the United Nations Decade for Women: Equality, Development and Peace, held at Nairobi in 1985, and the adoption of the Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women, the world has experienced profound political, economic, social and cultural changes, which have had both positive and negative effects on women. The World Conference on Human Rights recognized that the human rights of women and the girl child are an inalienable, integral and indivisible part of universal human rights. The full and equal participation of women in political, civil, economic, social and cultural life at the national, regional and international levels, and the eradication of all forms of discrimination on the grounds of sex are priority objectives of the international community. The World Conference on Human Rights reaffirmed the solemn commitment of all States to fulfil their obligations to promote universal respect for, and observance and protection of, all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, other instruments related to human rights and international law. The universal nature of these rights and freedoms is beyond question.

      11. The end of the cold war has resulted in international changes and diminished competition between the super-Powers. The threat of a global armed conflict has diminished, while international relations have improved and prospects for peace among nations have increased. Although the threat of global conflict has been reduced, wars of aggression, armed conflicts, colonial or other forms of alien domination and foreign occupation, civil wars, and terrorism continue to plague many parts of the world. Grave violations of the human rights of women occur, particularly in times of armed conflict, and include murder, torture, systematic rape, forced pregnancy and forced abortion, in particular under policies of ethnic cleansing.

      12. The maintenance of peace and security at the global, regional and local levels, together with the prevention of policies of aggression and ethnic cleansing and the resolution of armed conflict, is crucial for the protection of the human rights of women and girl children, as well as for the elimination of all forms of violence against them and of their use as a weapon of war.

      13. Excessive military expenditures, including global military expenditures and arms trade or trafficking, and investments for arms production and acquisition have reduced the resources available for social development. As a result of the debt burden and other economic difficulties, many developing countries have undertaken structural adjustment policies. Moreover, there are structural adjustment programmes that have been poorly designed and implemented, with resulting detrimental effects on social development. the number of people living in poverty has increased disproportionately in most developing countries, particularly the heavily indebted countries, during the past decade.

      14. In this context, the social dimension of development should be emphasized. Accelerated economic growth, although necessary for social development, does not by itself improve the quality of life of the population. In some cases, conditions can arise which can aggravate social inequality and marginalization. Hence, it is indispensable to search for new alternatives that ensure that all members of society benefit from economic growth based on a holistic approach to all aspects of development: growth, equality between women and men, social justice, conservation and protection of the environment, sustainability, solidarity, participation, peace and respect for human rights.

      15. A worldwide movement towards democratization has opened up the political process in many nations, but the popular participation of women in key decision-making as full and equal partners with men, particularly in politics, has not yet been achieved. South Africa's policy of institutionalized racism apartheid-has been dismantled and a peaceful and democratic transfer of power has occurred. In Central and Eastern Europe the transition to parliamentary democracy has been rapid and has given rise to a variety of experiences, depending on the specific circumstances of each country. While the transition has been mostly peaceful, in some countries this process has been hindered by armed conflict that has resulted in grave violations of human rights.

      16. Widespread economic recession, as well as political instability in some regions, has been responsible for setting back development goals in many countries. This has led to the expansion of unspeakable poverty. Of the more than 1 billion people living in abject poverty, women are an overwhelming majority. The rapid process of change and adjustment in all sectors has also led to increased unemployment and underemployment, with particular impact on women. In many cases, structural adjustment programmes have not been designed to minimize their negative effects on vulnerable and disadvantaged groups or on women, nor have they been designed to assure positive effects on those groups by preventing their marginalization in economic and social activities. The Final Act of the Uruguay Round of multilateral trade negotiations 10 underscored the increasing interdependence of national economies, as well as the importance of trade liberalization and access to open, dynamic markets. There has also been heavy military spending in some regions. Despite increases in official development assistance (ODA) by some countries, ODA has recently declined overall.

      17. Absolute poverty and the feminization of poverty, unemployment, the increasing fragility of the environment, continued violence against women and the widespread exclusion of half of humanity from institutions of power and governance underscore the need to continue the search for development, peace and security and for ways of assuring people-centred sustainable development. The participation and leadership of the half of humanity that is female is essential to the success of that search. Therefore, only a new era of international cooperation among Governments and peoples based on a spirit of partnership, an equitable, international social and economic environment, and a radical transformation of the relationship between women and men to one of full and equal partnership will enable the world to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century.

      18. Recent international economic developments have had in many cases a disproportionate impact on women and children, the majority of whom live in developing countries. For those States that have carried a large burden of foreign debt, structural adjustment programmes and measures, though beneficial in the long term, have led to a reduction in social expenditures, thereby adversely affecting women, particularly in Africa and the least developed countries. This is exacerbated when responsibilities for basic social services have shifted from Governments to women.

      19. Economic recession in many developed and developing countries, as well as ongoing restructuring in countries with economies in transition, have had a disproportionately negative impact on women's employment. Women often have no choice but to take employment that lacks long-term job security or involves dangerous working conditions, to work in unprotected home-based production or to be unemployed. Many women enter the labour market in under-remunerated and undervalued jobs, seeking to improve their household income; others decide to migrate for the same purpose. Without any reduction in their other responsibilities, this has increased the total burden of work for women.

      20. Macro and micro-economic policies and programmes, including structural adjustment, have not always been designed to take account of their impact on women and girl children, especially those living in poverty. Poverty has increased in both absolute and relative terms, and the number of women living in poverty has increased in most regions. There are many urban women living in poverty; however, the plight of women living in rural and remote areas deserves special attention given the stagnation of development in such areas. In developing countries, even those in which national indicators have shown improvement, the majority of rural women continue to live in conditions of economic underdevelopment and social marginalization.

      21. Women are key contributors to the economy and to combating poverty through both remunerated and unremunerated work at home, in the community and in the workplace. Growing numbers of women have achieved economic independence through gainful employment.

      22. One fourth of all households world wide are headed by women and many other households are dependent on female income even where men are present. Female-maintained households are very often among the poorest because of wage discrimination, occupational segregation patterns in the labour market and other gender-based barriers. Family disintegration, population movements between urban and rural areas within countries, international migration, war and internal displacements are factors contributing to the rise of female-headed households.

      23. Recognizing that the achievement and maintenance of peace and security are a precondition for economic and social progress, women are increasingly establishing themselves as central actors in a variety of capacities in the movement of humanity for peace. Their full participation in decision-making, conflict prevention and resolution and all other peace initiatives is essential to the realization of lasting peace.

      24. Religion, spirituality and belief play a central role in the lives of millions of women and men, in the way they live and in the aspirations they have for the future. The right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion is inalienable and must be universally enjoyed. This right includes the freedom to have or to adopt the religion or belief of their choice either individually or in community with others, in public or in private, and to manifest their religion or belief in worship, observance, practice and teaching. In order to realize equality, development and peace, there is a need to respect these rights and freedoms fully. Religion, thought, conscience and belief may, and can, contribute to fulfilling women's and men's moral, ethical and spiritual needs and to realizing their full potential in society. However, it is acknowledged that any form of extremism may have a negative impact on women and can lead to violence and discrimination.

      25. The Fourth World Conference on Women should accelerate the process that formally began in 1975, which was proclaimed International Women's Year by the United Nations General Assembly. The Year was a turning-point in that it put women's issues on the agenda. The United Nations Decade for Women (1976-1985) was a worldwide effort to examine the status and rights of women and to bring women into decision-making at all levels. In 1979, the General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, which entered into force in 1981 and set an international standard for what was meant by equality between women and men. In 1985, the World Conference to Review and Appraise the Achievements of the United Nations Decade for Women: Equality, Development and Peace adopted the Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women, to be implemented by the year 2000. There has been important progress in achieving equality between women and men. Many Governments have enacted legislation to promote equality between women and men and have established national machineries to ensure the mainstreaming of gender perspectives in all spheres of society. International agencies have focused greater attention on women's status and roles.

      26. The growing strength of the non-governmental sector, particularly women's organizations and feminist groups, has become a driving force for change. Non-governmental organizations have played an important advocacy role in advancing legislation or mechanisms to ensure the promotion of women. They have also become catalysts for new approaches to development. Many Governments have increasingly recognized the important role that non-governmental organizations play and the importance of working with them for progress. Yet, in some countries, Governments continue to restrict the ability of non-governmental organizations to operate freely. Women, through non-governmental organizations, have participated in and strongly influenced community, national, regional and global forums and international debates.

      27. Since 1975, knowledge of the status of women and men, respectively, has increased and is contributing to further actions aimed at promoting equality between women and men. In several countries, there have been important changes in the relationships between women and men, especially where there have been major advances in education for women and significant increases in their participation in the paid labour force. The boundaries of the gender division of labour between productive and reproductive roles are gradually being crossed as women have started to enter formerly male-dominated areas of work and men have started to accept greater responsibility for domestic tasks, including child care. However, changes in women's roles have been greater and much more rapid than changes in men's roles. In many countries, the differences between women's and men's achievements and activities are still not recognized as the consequences of socially constructed gender roles rather than immutable biological differences.

      28. Moreover, 10 years after the Nairobi Conference, equality between women and men has still not been achieved. On average, women represent a mere 10 per cent of all elected legislators world wide and in most national and international administrative structures, both public and private, they remain underrepresented. The United Nations is no exception. Fifty years after its creation, the United Nations is continuing to deny itself the benefits of women's leadership by their underrepresentation at decision-making levels within the Secretariat and the specialized agencies.

      29. Women play a critical role in the family. The family is the basic unit of society and as such should be strengthened. It is entitled to receive comprehensive protection and support. In different cultural, political and social systems, various forms of the family exist. The rights, capabilities and responsibilities of family members must be respected. Women make a great contribution to the welfare of the family and to the development of society, which is still not recognized or considered in its full importance. The social significance of maternity, motherhood and the role of parents in the family and in the upbringing of children should be acknowledged. The upbringing of children requires shared responsibility of parents, women and men and society as a whole. Maternity, motherhood, parenting and the role of women in procreation must not be a basis for discrimination nor restrict the full participation of women in society. Recognition should also be given to the important role often played by women in many countries in caring for other members of their family.

      30. While the rate of growth of world population is on the decline, world population is at an all-time high in absolute numbers, with current increments approaching 86 million persons annually. Two other major demographic trends have had profound repercussions on the dependency ratio within families. In many developing countries, 45 to 50 per cent of the population is less than 15 years old, while in industrialized nations both the number and proportion of elderly people are increasing. According to United Nations projections, 72 per cent of the population over 60 years of age will be living in developing countries by the year 2025, and more than half of that population will be women. Care of children, the sick and the elderly is a responsibility that falls disproportionately on women, owing to lack of equality and the unbalanced distribution of remunerated and unremunerated work between women and men.

      31. Many women face particular barriers because of various diverse factors in addition to their gender. Often these diverse factors isolate or marginalize such women. They are, inter alia, denied their human rights, they lack access or are denied access to education and vocational training, employment, housing and economic self-sufficiency and they are excluded from decision-making processes. Such women are often denied the opportunity to contribute to their communities as part of the mainstream.

      32. The past decade has also witnessed a growing recognition of the distinct interests and concerns of indigenous women, whose identity, cultural traditions and forms of social organization enhance and strengthen the communities in which they live. Indigenous women often face barriers both as women and as members of indigenous communities.

      33. In the past 20 years, the world has seen an explosion in the field of communications. With advances in computer technology and satellite and cable television, global access to information continues to increase and expand, creating new opportunities for the participation of women in communications and the mass media and for the dissemination of information about women. However, global communication networks have been used to spread stereotyped and demeaning images of women for narrow commercial and consumerist purposes. Until women participate equally in both the technical and decision-making areas of communications and the mass media, including the arts, they will continue to be misrepresented and awareness of the reality of women's lives will continue to be lacking. The media have a great potential to promote the advancement of women and the equality of women and men by portraying women and men in a non-stereotypical, diverse and balanced manner, and by respecting the dignity and worth of the human person.

      34. The continuing environmental degradation that affects all human lives has often a more direct impact on women. Women's health and their livelihood are threatened by pollution and toxic wastes, large-scale deforestation, desertification, drought and depletion of the soil and of coastal and marine resources, with a rising incidence of environmentally related health problems and even death reported among women and girls. Those most affected are rural and indigenous women, whose livelihood and daily subsistence depends directly on sustainable ecosystems.

      35. Poverty and environmental degradation are closely interrelated. While poverty results in certain kinds of environmental stress, the major cause of the continued deterioration of the global environment is the unsustainable patterns of consumption and production, particularly in industrialized countries, which are a matter of grave concern and aggravate poverty and imbalances.

      36. Global trends have brought profound changes in family survival strategies and structures. Rural to urban migration has increased substantially in all regions. The global urban population is projected to reach 47 per cent of the total population by the year 2000. An estimated 125 million people are migrants, refugees and displaced persons, half of whom live in developing countries. These massive movements of people have profound consequences for family structures and well-being and have unequal consequences for women and men, including in many cases the sexual exploitation of women.

      37. According to World Health Organization (WHO) estimates, by the beginning of 1995 the number of cumulative cases of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) was 4.5 million. An estimated 19.5 million men, women and children have been infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) since it was first diagnosed and it is projected that another 20 million will be infected by the end of the decade. Among new cases, women are twice as likely to be infected as men. In the early stage of the AIDS pandemic, women were not infected in large numbers; however, about 8 million women are now infected. Young women and adolescents are particularly vulnerable. It is estimated that by the year 2000 more than 13 million women will be infected and 4 million women will have died from AIDS-related conditions. In addition, about 250 million new cases of sexually transmitted diseases are estimated to occur every year. The rate of transmission of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS, is increasing at an alarming rate among women and girls, especially in developing countries.

      38. Since 1975, significant knowledge and information have been generated about the status of women and the conditions in which they live. Throughout their entire life cycle, women's daily existence and long-term aspirations are restricted by discriminatory attitudes, unjust social and economic structures, and a lack of resources in most countries that prevent their full and equal participation. In a number of countries, the practice of prenatal sex selection, higher rates of mortality among very young girls and lower rates of school enrolment for girls as compared with boys suggest that son preference is curtailing the access of girl children to food, education and health care and even life itself. Discrimination against women begins at the earliest stages of life and must therefore be addressed from then onwards.

      39. The girl child of today is the woman of tomorrow. The skills, ideas and energy of the girl child are vital for full attainment of the goals of equality, development and peace. For the girl child to develop her full potential she needs to be nurtured in an enabling environment, where her spiritual, intellectual and material needs for survival, protection and development are met and her equal rights safeguarded. If women are to be equal partners with men, in every aspect of life and development, now is the time to recognize the human dignity and worth of the girl child and to ensure the full enjoyment of her human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the rights assured by the Convention on the Rights of the Child, 11 universal ratification of which is strongly urged. Yet there exists worldwide evidence that discrimination and violence against girls begin at the earliest stages of life and continue unabated throughout their lives. They often have less access to nutrition, physical and mental health care and education and enjoy fewer rights, opportunities and benefits of childhood and adolescence than do boys. They are often subjected to various forms of sexual and economic exploitation, paedophilia, forced prostitution and possibly the sale of their organs and tissues, violence and harmful practices such as female infanticide and prenatal sex selection, incest, female genital mutilation and early marriage, including child marriage.

      40. Half the world's population is under the age of 25 and most of the world's youth-more than 85 per cent-live in developing countries. Policy makers must recognize the implications of these demographic factors. Special measures must be taken to ensure that young women have the life skills necessary for active and effective participation in all levels of social, cultural, political and economic leadership. It will be critical for the international community to demonstrate a new commitment to the future-a commitment to inspiring a new generation of women and men to work together for a more just society. This new generation of leaders must accept and promote a world in which every child is free from injustice, oppression and inequality and free to develop her/his own potential. The principle of equality of women and men must therefore be integral to the socialization process.

      Chapter III: Critical Areas of Concern

      41. The advancement of women and the achievement of equality between women and men are a matter of human rights and a condition for social justice and should not be seen in isolation as a women's issue. They are the only way to build a sustainable, just and developed society. Empowerment of women and equality between women and men are prerequisites for achieving political, social, economic, cultural and environmental security among all peoples.

      42. Most of the goals set out in the Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women have not been achieved. Barriers to women's empowerment remain, despite the efforts of Governments, as well as non-governmental organizations and women and men everywhere. Vast political, economic and ecological crises persist in many parts of the world. Among them are wars of aggression, armed conflicts, colonial or other forms of alien domination or foreign occupation, civil wars and terrorism. These situations, combined with systematic or de facto discrimination, violations of and failure to protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms of all women, and their civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights, including the right to development and ingrained prejudicial attitudes towards women and girls are but a few of the impediments encountered since the World Conference to Review and Appraise the Achievements of the United Nations Decade for Women: Equality, Development and Peace, in 1985.

      43. A review of progress since the Nairobi Conference highlights special concerns-areas of particular urgency that stand out as priorities for action. All actors should focus action and resources on the strategic objectives relating to the critical areas of concern which are, necessarily, interrelated, interdependent and of high priority. There is a need for these actors to develop and implement mechanisms of accountability for all the areas of concern.

      44. To this end, Governments, the international community and civil society, including non-governmental organizations and the private sector, are called upon to take strategic action in the following critical areas of concern:

      • The persistent and increasing burden of poverty on women
      • Inequalities and inadequacies in and unequal access to education and training
      • Inequalities and inadequacies in and unequal access to health care and related services
      • Violence against women
      • The effects of armed or other kinds of conflict on women, including those living under foreign occupation
      • Inequality in economic structures and policies, in all forms of productive activities and in access to resources
      • Inequality between men and women in the sharing of power and decision-making at all levels
      • Insufficient mechanisms at all levels to promote the advancement of women
      • Lack of respect for and inadequate promotion and protection of the human rights of women
      • Stereotyping of women and inequality in women's access to and participation in all communication systems, especially in the media
      • Gender inequalities in the management of natural resources and in the safeguarding of the environment
      • Persistent discrimination against and violation of the rights of the girl child
      Chapter IV: Strategic Objectives and Actions

      45. In each critical area of concern, the problem is diagnosed and strategic objectives are proposed with concrete actions to be taken by various actors in order to achieve those objectives. The strategic objectives are derived from the critical areas of concern and specific actions to be taken to achieve them cut across the boundaries of equality, development and peace-the goals of the Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women-and reflect their interdependence. The objectives and actions are interlinked, of high priority and mutually reinforcing. The Platform for Action is intended to improve the situation of all women, without exception, who often face similar barriers, while special attention should be given to groups that are the most disadvantaged.

      46. The Platform for Action recognizes that women face barriers to full equality and advancement because of such factors as their race, age, language, ethnicity, culture, religion or disability, because they are indigenous women or because of other status. Many women encounter specific obstacles related to their family status, particularly as single parents; and to their socio-economic status, including their living conditions in rural, isolated or impoverished areas. Additional barriers also exist for refugee women, other displaced women, including internally displaced women as well as for immigrant women and migrant women, including women migrant workers. Many women are also particularly affected by environmental disasters, serious and infectious diseases and various forms of violence against women.

      A. Women and Poverty

      47. More than 1 billion people in the world today, the great majority of whom are women, live in unacceptable conditions of poverty, mostly in the developing countries. Poverty has various causes, including structural ones. Poverty is a complex, multidimensional problem, with origins in both the national and international domains. The globalization of the world's economy and the deepening interdependence among nations present challenges and opportunities for sustained economic growth and development, as well as risks and uncertainties for the future of the world economy. The uncertain global economic climate has been accompanied by economic restructuring as well as, in a certain number of countries, persistent, unmanageable levels of external debt and structural adjustment programmes. In addition, all types of conflict, displacement of people and environmental degradation have undermined the capacity of Governments to meet the basic needs of their populations. Transformations in the world economy are profoundly changing the parameters of social development in all countries. One significant trend has been the increased poverty of women, the extent of which varies from region to region. The gender disparities in economic power-sharing are also an important contributing factor to the poverty of women. Migration and consequent changes in family structures have placed additional burdens on women, especially those who provide for several dependants. Macroeconomic policies need rethinking and reformulation to address such trends. These policies focus almost exclusively on the formal sector. They also tend to impede the initiatives of women and fail to consider the differential impact on women and men. The application of gender analysis to a wide range of policies and programmes is therefore critical to poverty reduction strategies. In order to eradicate poverty and achieve sustainable development, women and men must participate fully and equally in the formulation of macroeconomic and social policies and strategies for the eradication of poverty. The eradication of poverty cannot be accomplished through anti-poverty programmes alone but will require democratic participation and changes in economic structures in order to ensure access for all women to resources, opportunities and public services. Poverty has various manifestations, including lack of income and productive resources sufficient to ensure a sustainable livelihood; hunger and malnutrition; ill health; limited or lack of access to education and other basic services; increasing morbidity and mortality from illness; homelessness and inadequate housing; unsafe environments; and social discrimination and exclusion. It is also characterized by lack of participation in decision-making and in civil, social and cultural life. It occurs in all countries-as mass poverty in many developing countries and as pockets of poverty amidst wealth in developed countries. Poverty may be caused by an economic recession that results in loss of livelihood or by disaster or conflict. There is also the poverty of low-wage workers and the utter destitution of people who fall outside family support systems, social institutions and safety nets.

      48. In the past decade the number of women living in poverty has increased disproportionately to the number of men, particularly in the developing countries. The feminization of poverty has also recently become a significant problem in the countries with economies in transition as a short-term consequence of the process of political, economic and social transformation. In addition to economic factors, the rigidity of socially ascribed gender roles and women's limited access to power, education, training and productive resources as well as other emerging factors that may lead to insecurity for families are also responsible. The failure to adequately mainstream a gender perspective in all economic analysis and planning and to address the structural causes of poverty is also a contributing factor.

      49. Women contribute to the economy and to combating poverty through both remunerated and unremunerated work at home, in the community and in the workplace. The empowerment of women is a critical factor in the eradication of poverty.

      50. While poverty affects households as a whole, because of the gender division of labour and responsibilities for household welfare, women bear a disproportionate burden, attempting to manage household consumption and production under conditions of increasing scarcity. Poverty is particularly acute for women living in rural households.

      51. Women's poverty is directly related to the absence of economic opportunities and autonomy, lack of access to economic resources, including credit, land ownership and inheritance, lack of access to education and support services and their minimal participation in the decision-making process. Poverty can also force women into situations in which they are vulnerable to sexual exploitation.

      52. In too many countries, social welfare systems do not take sufficient account of the specific conditions of women living in poverty, and there is a tendency to scale back the services provided by such systems. The risk of falling into poverty is greater for women than for men, particularly in old age, where social security systems are based on the principle of continuous remunerated employment. In some cases, women do not fulfil this requirement because of interruptions in their work, due to the unbalanced distribution of remunerated and unremunerated work. Moreover, older women also face greater obstacles to labour-market re-entry.

      53. In many developed countries, where the level of general education and professional training of women and men are similar and where systems of protection against discrimination are available, in some sectors the economic transformations of the past decade have strongly increased either the unemployment of women or the precarious nature of their employment. The proportion of women among the poor has consequently increased. In countries with a high level of school enrolment of girls, those who leave the educational system the earliest, without any qualification, are among the most vulnerable in the labour market.

      54. In countries with economies in transition and in other countries undergoing fundamental political, economic and social transformations, these transformations have often led to a reduction in women's income or to women being deprived of income.

      55. Particularly in developing countries, the productive capacity of women should be increased through access to capital, resources, credit, land, technology, information, technical assistance and training so as to raise their income and improve nutrition, education, health care and status within the household. The release of women's productive potential is pivotal to breaking the cycle of poverty so that women can share fully in the benefits of development and in the products of their own labour.

      56. Sustainable development and economic growth that is both sustained and sustainable are possible only through improving the economic, social, political, legal and cultural status of women. Equitable social development that recognizes empowering the poor, particularly women, to utilize environmental resources sustainably is a necessary foundation for sustainable development.

      57. The success of policies and measures aimed at supporting or strengthening the promotion of gender equality and the improvement of the status of women should be based on the integration of the gender perspective in general policies relating to all spheres of society as well as the implementation of positive measures with adequate institutional and financial support at all levels.

      Strategic objective A.1. Review, adopt and maintain macroeconomic policies and development strategies that address the needs and efforts of women in poverty

      Actions to be taken

      58. By Governments:

      • Review and modify, with the full and equal participation of women, macroeconomic and social policies with a view to achieving the objectives of the Platform for Action;
      • Analyse, from a gender perspective, policies and programmes including those related to macroeconomic stability, structural adjustment, external debt problems, taxation, investments, employment, markets and all relevant sectors of the economy-with respect to their impact on poverty, on inequality and particularly on women; assess their impact on family well-being and conditions and adjust them, as appropriate, to promote more equitable distribution of productive assets, wealth, opportunities, income and services;
      • Pursue and implement sound and stable macroeconomic and sectoral policies that are designed and monitored with the full and equal participation of women, encourage broad-based sustained economic growth, address the structural causes of poverty and are geared towards eradicating poverty and reducing gender-based inequality within the overall framework of achieving people-centred sustainable development;
      • Restructure and target the allocation of public expenditures to promote women's economic opportunities and equal access to productive resources and to address the basic social, educational and health needs of women, particularly those living in poverty;
      • Develop agricultural and fishing sectors, where and as necessary, in order to ensure, as appropriate, household and national food security and food self-sufficiency, by allocating the necessary financial, technical and human resources;
      • Develop policies and programmes to promote equitable distribution of food within the household;
      • Provide adequate safety nets and strengthen State-based and community-based support systems, as an integral part of social policy, in order to enable women living in poverty to withstand adverse economic environments and preserve their livelihood, assets and revenues in times of crisis;
      • Generate economic policies that have a positive impact on the employment and income of women workers in both the formal and informal sectors and adopt specific measures to address women's unemployment, in particular their long-term unemployment;
      • i. Formulate and implement, when necessary, specific economic, social, agricultural and related policies in support of female-headed households;
      • Develop and implement anti-poverty programmes, including employment schemes, that improve access to food for women living in poverty, including through the use of appropriate pricing and distribution mechanisms;
      • Ensure the full realization of the human rights of all women migrants, including women migrant workers, and their protection against violence and exploitation; introduce measures for the empowerment of documented women migrants, including women migrant workers; facilitate the productive employment of documented migrant women through greater recognition of their skills, foreign education and credentials, and facilitate their full integration into the labour force;
      • Introduce measures to integrate or reintegrate women living in poverty and socially marginalized women into productive employment and the economic mainstream; ensure that internally displaced women have full access to economic opportunities and that the qualifications and skills of immigrant and refugee women are recognized;
      • Enable women to obtain affordable housing and access to land by, among other things, removing all obstacles to access, with special emphasis on meeting the needs of women, especially those living in poverty and female heads of household;
      • Formulate and implement policies and programmes that enhance the access of women agricultural and fisheries producers (including subsistence farmers and producers, especially in rural areas) to financial, technical, extension and marketing services; provide access to and control of land, appropriate infrastructure and technology in order to increase women's incomes and promote household food security, especially in rural areas and, where appropriate, encourage the development of producer-owned, market-based cooperatives;
      • Create social security systems wherever they do not exist, or review them with a view to placing individual women and men on an equal footing, at every stage of their lives;
      • Ensure access to free or low-cost legal services, including legal literacy, especially designed to reach women living in poverty;
      • Take particular measures to promote and strengthen policies and programmes for indigenous women with their full participation and respect for their cultural diversity, so that they have opportunities and the possibility of choice in the development process in order to eradicate the poverty that affects them.

      59. By multilateral financial and development institutions, including the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and regional development institutions, and through bilateral development cooperation:

      • In accordance with the commitments made at the World Summit for Social Development, seek to mobilize new and additional financial resources that are both adequate and predictable and mobilized in a way that maximizes the availability of such resources and uses all available funding sources and mechanisms with a view to contributing towards the goal of poverty eradication and targeting women living in poverty;
      • Strengthen analytical capacity in order to more systematically strengthen gender perspectives and integrate them into the design and implementation of lending programmes, including structural adjustment and economic recovery programmes;
      • Find effective development-oriented and durable solutions to external debt problems in order to help them to finance programmes and projects targeted at development, including the advancement of women, inter alia, through the immediate implementation of the terms of debt forgiveness agreed upon in the Paris Club in December 1994, which encompassed debt reduction, including cancellation or other debt relief measures and develop techniques of debt conversion applied to social development programmes and projects in conformity with the priorities of the Platform for Action;
      • Invite the international financial institutions to examine innovative approaches to assisting low-income countries with a high proportion of multilateral debt, with a view to alleviating their debt burden;
      • Ensure that structural adjustment programmes are designed to minimize their negative effects on vulnerable and disadvantaged groups and communities and to assure their positive effects on such groups and communities by preventing their marginalization in economic and social activities and devising measures to ensure that they gain access to and control over economic resources and economic and social activities; take actions to reduce inequality and economic disparity;
      • Review the impact of structural adjustment programmes on social development by means of gender-sensitive social impact assessments and other relevant methods, in order to develop policies to reduce their negative effects and improve their positive impact, ensuring that women do not bear a disproportionate burden of transition costs; complement adjustment lending with enhanced, targeted social development lending;
      • Create an enabling environment that allows women to build and maintain sustainable livelihoods.

      60. By national and international non-governmental organizations and women's groups:

      • Mobilize all parties involved in the development process, including academic institutions, non-governmental organizations and grass-roots and women's groups, to improve the effectiveness of anti-poverty programmes directed towards the poorest and most disadvantaged groups of women, such as rural and indigenous women, female heads of household, young women and older women, refugees and migrant women and women with disabilities, recognizing that social development is primarily the responsibility of Governments;
      • Engage in lobbying and establish monitoring mechanisms, as appropriate, and other relevant activities to ensure implementation of the recommendations on poverty eradication outlined in the Platform for Action and aimed at ensuring accountability and transparency from the State and private sectors;
      • Include in their activities women with diverse needs and recognize that youth organizations are increasingly becoming effective partners in development programmes;
      • In cooperation with the government and private sectors, participate in the development of a comprehensive national strategy for improving health, education and social services so that girls and women of all ages living in poverty have full access to such services; seek funding to secure access to services with a gender perspective and to extend those services in order to reach the rural and remote areas that are not covered by government institutions;
      • In cooperation with Governments, employers, other social partners and relevant parties, contribute to the development of education and training and retraining policies to ensure that women can acquire a wide range of skills to meet new demands;
      • Mobilize to protect women's right to full and equal access to economic resources, including the right to inheritance and to ownership of land and other property, credit, natural resources and appropriate

      Strategic objective A.2. Revise laws and administrative practices to ensure women's equal rights and access to economic resources

      Actions to be taken

      61. By Governments:

      • Ensure access to free or low-cost legal services, including legal literacy, especially designed to reach women living in poverty;
      • Undertake legislative and administrative reforms to give women full and equal access to economic resources, including the right to inheritance and to ownership of land and other property, credit, natural resources and appropriate technologies;
      • Consider ratification of Convention No. 169 of the International Labour Organization (ILO) as part of their efforts to promote and protect the rights of indigenous people.

      Strategic objective A.3. Provide women with access to savings and credit mechanisms and institutions

      Actions to be taken

      62. By Governments:

      • Enhance the access of disadvantaged women, including women entrepreneurs, in rural, remote and urban areas to financial services through strengthening links between the formal banks and intermediary lending organizations, including legislative support, training for women and institutional strengthening for intermediary institutions with a view to mobilizing capital for those institutions and increasing the availability of credit;
      • Encourage links between financial institutions and non-governmental organizations and support innovative lending practices, including those that integrate credit with women's services and training and provide credit facilities to rural women.

      63. By commercial banks, specialized financial institutions and the private sector in examining their policies:

      • Use credit and savings methodologies that are effective in reaching women in poverty and innovative in reducing transaction costs and redefining risk;
      • Open special windows for lending to women, including young women, who lack access to traditional sources of collateral;
      • Simplify banking practices, for example by reducing the minimum deposit and other requirements for opening bank accounts;
      • Ensure the participation and joint ownership, where possible, of women clients in the decision-making of institutions providing credit and financial services.

      64. By multilateral and bilateral development cooperation organizations:

      • Support, through the provision of capital and/or resources, financial institutions that serve low-income, small-scale and micro-scale women entrepreneurs and producers, in both the formal and informal sectors.

      65. By Governments and multilateral financial institutions, as appropriate: Support institutions that meet performance standards in reaching large numbers of low-income women and men through capitalization, refinancing and institutional development support in forms that foster self-sufficiency.

      66. By international organizations: Increase funding for programmes and projects designed to promote sustainable and productive entrepreneurial activities for income-generation among disadvantaged women and women living in poverty. Strategic objective A.4. Develop gender-based methodologies and conduct research to address the feminization of poverty

      Actions to be taken

      67. By Governments, intergovernmental organizations, academic and research institutions and the private sector:

      • Develop conceptual and practical methodologies for incorporating gender perspectives into all aspects of economic policy-making, including structural adjustment planning and programmes;
      • Apply these methodologies in conducting gender-impact analyses of all policies and programmes, including structural adjustment programmes, and disseminate the research findings.

      68. By national and international statistical organizations:

      • Collect gender and age-disaggregated data on poverty and all aspects of economic activity and develop qualitative and quantitative statistical indicators to facilitate the assessment of economic performance from a gender perspective;
      • Devise suitable statistical means to recognize and make visible the full extent of the work of women and all their contributions to the national economy, including their contribution in the unremunerated and domestic sectors, and examine the relationship of women's unremunerated work to the incidence of and their vulnerability to poverty.
      B. Education and Training of Women

      69. Education is a human right and an essential tool for achieving the goals of equality, development and peace. Non-discriminatory education benefits both girls and boys and thus ultimately contributes to more equal relationships between women and men. Equality of access to and attainment of educational qualifications is necessary if more women are to become agents of change. Literacy of women is an important key to improving health, nutrition and education in the family and to empowering women to participate in decision-making in society. Investing in formal and non-formal education and training for girls and women, with its exceptionally high social and economic return, has proved to be one of the best means of achieving sustainable development and economic growth that is both sustained and sustainable.

      70. On a regional level, girls and boys have achieved equal access to primary education, except in some parts of Africa, in particular sub-Saharan Africa, and Central Asia, where access to education facilities is still inadequate. Progress has been made in secondary education, where equal access of girls and boys has been achieved in some countries. Enrolment of girls and women in tertiary education has increased considerably. In many countries, private schools have also played an important complementary role in improving access to education at all levels. Yet, more than five years after the World Conference on Education for All (Jomtien, Thailand, 1990) adopted the World Declaration on Education for All and the Framework for Action to Meet Basic Learning Needs, 12 approximately 100 million children, including at least 60 million girls, are without access to primary schooling and more than two thirds of the world's 960 million illiterate adults are women. The high rate of illiteracy prevailing in most developing countries, in particular in sub-Saharan Africa and some Arab States, remains a severe impediment to the advancement of women and to development.

      71. Discrimination in girls’ access to education persists in many areas, owing to customary attitudes, early marriages and pregnancies, inadequate and gender-biased teaching and educational materials, sexual harassment and lack of adequate and physically and otherwise accessible schooling facilities. Girls undertake heavy domestic work at a very early age. Girls and young women are expected to manage both educational and domestic responsibilities, often resulting in poor scholastic performance and early drop-out from the educational system. This has long-lasting consequences for all aspects of women's lives.

      72. Creation of an educational and social environment, in which women and men, girls and boys, are treated equally and encouraged to achieve their full potential, respecting their freedom of thought, conscience, religion and belief, and where educational resources promote non-stereotyped images of women and men, would be effective in the elimination of the causes of discrimination against women and inequalities between women and men.

      73. Women should be enabled to benefit from an ongoing acquisition of knowledge and skills beyond those acquired during youth. This concept of lifelong learning includes knowledge and skills gained in formal education and training, as well as learning that occurs in informal ways, including volunteer activity, unremunerated work and traditional knowledge.

      74. Curricula and teaching materials remain gender-biased to a large degree, and are rarely sensitive to the specific needs of girls and women. This reinforces traditional female and male roles that deny women opportunities for full and equal partnership in society. Lack of gender awareness by educators at all levels strengthens existing inequities between males and females by reinforcing discriminatory tendencies and undermining girls’ self-esteem. The lack of sexual and reproductive health education has a profound impact on women and men.

      75. Science curricula in particular are gender-biased. Science textbooks do not relate to women's and girls’ daily experience and fail to give recognition to women scientists. Girls are often deprived of basic education in mathematics and science and technical training, which provide knowledge they could apply to improve their daily lives and enhance their employment opportunities. Advanced study in science and technology prepares women to take an active role in the technological and industrial development of their countries, thus necessitating a diverse approach to vocational and technical training. Technology is rapidly changing the world and has also affected the developing countries. It is essential that women not only benefit from technology, but also participate in the process from the design to the application, monitoring and evaluation stages.

      76. Access for and retention of girls and women at all levels of education, including the higher level, and all academic areas is one of the factors of their continued progress in professional activities. Nevertheless, it can be noted that girls are still concentrated in a limited number of fields of study.

      77. The mass media are a powerful means of education. As an educational tool the mass media can be an instrument for educators and governmental and non-governmental institutions for the advancement of women and for development. Computerized education and information systems are increasingly becoming an important element in learning and the dissemination of knowledge. Television especially has the greatest impact on young people and, as such, has the ability to shape values, attitudes and perceptions of women and girls in both positive and negative ways. It is therefore essential that educators teach critical judgement and analytical skills.

      78. Resources allocated to education, particularly for girls and women, are in many countries insufficient and in some cases have been further diminished, including in the context of adjustment policies and programmes. Such insufficient resource allocations have a long-term adverse effect on human development, particularly on the development of women.

      79. In addressing unequal access to and inadequate educational opportunities, Governments and other actors should promote an active and visible policy of mainstreaming a gender perspective into all policies and programmes, so that, before decisions are taken, an analysis is made of the effects on women and men, respectively.

      Strategic objective B.1. Ensure equal access to education

      Actions to be taken

      80. By Governments:

      • Advance the goal of equal access to education by taking measures to eliminate discrimination in education at all levels on the basis of gender, race, language, religion, national origin, age or disability, or any other form of discrimination and, as appropriate, consider establishing procedures to address grievances;
      • By the year 2000, provide universal access to basic education and ensure completion of primary education by at least 80 per cent of primary school-age children; close the gender gap in primary and secondary school education by the year 2005; provide universal primary education in all countries before the year 2015;
      • Eliminate gender disparities in access to all areas of tertiary education by ensuring that women have equal access to career development, training, scholarships and fellowships, and by adopting positive action when appropriate;
      • Create a gender-sensitive educational system in order to ensure equal educational and training opportunities and full and equal participation of women in educational administration and policy-and decision-making;
      • Provide-in collaboration with parents, non-governmental organizations, including youth organizations, communities and the private sector-young women with academic and technical training, career planning, leadership and social skills and work experience to prepare them to participate fully in society;
      • Increase enrolment and retention rates of girls by allocating appropriate budgetary resources; by enlisting the support of parents and the community, as well as through campaigns, flexible school schedules, incentives, scholarships and other means to minimize the costs of girls’ education to their families and to facilitate parents’ ability to choose education for the girl child; and by ensuring that the rights of women and girls to freedom of conscience and religion are respected in educational institutions through repealing any discriminatory laws or legislation based on religion, race or culture;
      • Promote an educational setting that eliminates all barriers that impeded the schooling of pregnant adolescents and young mothers, including, as appropriate, affordable and physically accessible childcare facilities and parental education to encourage those who are responsible for the care of their children and siblings during their school years, to return to or continue with and complete schooling;
      • Improve the quality of education and equal opportunities for women and men in terms of access in order to ensure that women of all ages can acquire the knowledge, capacities, aptitudes, skills and ethical values needed to develop and to participate fully under equal conditions in the process of social, economic and political development;
      • Make available non-discriminatory and gender-sensitive professional school counselling and career education programmes to encourage girls to pursue academic and technical curricula in order to widen their future career opportunities;
      • Encourage ratification of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights 13 where they have not already done so.

      Strategic objective B.2. Eradicate illiteracy among women

      Actions to be taken

      81. By Governments, national, regional and international bodies, bilateral and multilateral donors and non-governmental organizations:

      • Reduce the female illiteracy rate to at least half its 1990 level, with emphasis on rural women, migrant, refugee and internally displaced women and women with disabilities;
      • Provide universal access to, and seek to ensure gender equality in the completion of, primary education for girls by the year 2000;
      • Eliminate the gender gap in basic and functional literacy, as recommended in the World Declaration on Education for All (Jomtien);
      • Narrow the disparities between developed and developing countries;
      • Encourage adult and family engagement 8in learning to promote total literacy for all people;
      • Promote, together with literacy, life skills and scientific and technological knowledge and work towards an expansion of the definition of literacy, taking into account current targets and benchmarks.

      Strategic objective B.3. Improve women's access to vocational training, science and technology, and continuing education

      Actions to be taken

      82. By Governments, in cooperation with employers, workers and trade unions, international and non-governmental organizations, including women's and youth organizations, and educational institutions:

      • Develop and implement education, training and retraining policies for women, especially young women and women re-entering the labour market, to provide skills to meet the needs of a changing socio-economic context for improving their employment opportunities;
      • Provide recognition to non-formal educational opportunities for girls and women in the educational system;
      • Provide information to women and girls on the availability and benefits of vocational training, training programmes in science and technology and programmes of continuing education;
      • Design educational and training programmes for women who are unemployed in order to provide them with new knowledge and skills that will enhance and broaden their employment opportunities, including self-employment, and development of their entrepreneurial skills;
      • Diversify vocational and technical training and improve access for and retention of girls and women in education and vocational training in such fields as science, mathematics, engineering, environmental sciences and technology, information technology and high technology, as well as management training;
      • Promote women's central role in food and agricultural research, extension and education programmes;
      • Encourage the adaptation of curricula and teaching materials, encourage a supportive training environment and take positive measures to promote training for the full range of occupational choices of non-traditional careers for women and men, including the development of multidisciplinary courses for science and mathematics teachers to sensitize them to the relevance of science and technology to women's lives;
      • Develop curricula and teaching materials and formulate and take positive measures to ensure women better access to and participation in technical and scientific areas, especially areas where they are not represented or are underrepresented;
      • Develop policies and programmes to encourage women to participate in all apprenticeship programmes;
      • Increase training in technical, managerial, agricultural extension and marketing areas for women in agriculture, fisheries, industry and business, arts and crafts, to increase income-generating opportunities, women's participation in economic decision-making, in particular through women's organizations at the grass-roots level, and their contribution to production, marketing, business, and science and technology;
      • Ensure access to quality education and training at all appropriate levels for adult women with little or no education, for women with disabilities and for documented migrant, refugee and displaced women to improve their work opportunities.

      Strategic objective B.4. Develop non-discriminatory education and training

      Actions to be taken

      83. By Governments, educational authorities and other educational and academic institutions:

      • Elaborate recommendations and develop curricula, textbooks and teaching aids free of gender-based stereotypes for all levels of education, including teacher training, in association with all concerned-publishers, teachers, public authorities and parents’ associations;
      • Develop training programmes and materials for teachers and educators that raise awareness about the status, role and contribution of women and men in the family, as defined in paragraph 29 above, and society; in this context, promote equality, cooperation, mutual respect and shared responsibilities between girls and boys from pre-school level onward and develop, in particular, educational modules to ensure that boys have the skills necessary to take care of their own domestic needs and to share responsibility for their household and for the care of dependants;
      • Develop training programmes and materials for teachers and educators that raise awareness of their own role in the educational process, with a view to providing them with effective strategies for gender-sensitive teaching;
      • Take actions to ensure that female teachers and professors have the same opportunities as and equal status with male teachers and professors, in view of the importance of having female teachers at all levels and in order to attract girls to school and retain them in school;
      • Introduce and promote training in peaceful conflict resolution;
      • Take positive measures to increase the proportion of women gaining access to educational policy-and decision-making, particularly women teachers at all levels of education and in academic disciplines that are traditionally male-dominated, such as the scientific and technological fields;
      • Support and develop gender studies and research at all levels of education, especially at the postgraduate level of academic institutions, and apply them in the development of curricula, including university curricula, textbooks and teaching aids, and in teacher training;
      • Develop leadership training and opportunities for all women to encourage them to take leadership roles both as students and as adults in civil society;
      • Develop appropriate education and information programmes with due respect for multilingualism, particularly in conjunction with the mass media, that make the public, particularly parents, aware of the importance of non-discriminatory education for children and the equal sharing of family responsibilities by girls and boys;
      • Remove legal, regulatory and social barriers, where appropriate, to sexual and reproductive health education within formal education programmes regarding women's health issues;
      • Encourage, with the guidance and support of their parents and in cooperation with educational staff and institutions, the elaboration of educational programmes for girls and boys and the creation of integrated services in order to raise awareness of their responsibilities and to help them to assume those responsibilities, taking into account the importance of such education and services to personal development and self-esteem, as well as the urgent need to avoid unwanted pregnancy, the spread of sexually transmitted diseases, especially HIV/AIDS, and such phenomena as sexual violence and abuse;
      • Provide accessible recreational and sports facilities and establish and strengthen gender-sensitive programmes for girls and women of all ages in education and community institutions and support the advancement of women in all areas of athletics and physical activity, including coaching, training and administration, and as participants at the national, regional and international levels;
      • Recognize and support the right of indigenous women and girls to education and promote a multicultural approach to education that is responsive to the needs, aspirations and cultures of indigenous women, including by developing appropriate education programmes, curricula and teaching aids, to the extent possible in the languages of indigenous people, and by providing for the participation of indigenous women in these processes;
      • Acknowledge and respect the artistic, spiritual and cultural activities of indigenous women;
      • Ensure that gender equality and cultural, religious and other diversity are respected in educational institutions;
      • Promote education, training and relevant information programmes for rural and farming women through the use of affordable and appropriate technologies and the mass media-for example, radio programmes, cassettes and mobile units;
      • Provide non-formal education, especially for rural women, in order to realize their potential with regard to health, micro-enterprise, agriculture and legal rights;
      • Remove all barriers to access to formal education for pregnant adolescents and young mothers, and support the provision of child care and other support services where necessary.

      Strategic objective B.5. Allocate sufficient resources for and monitor the implementation of educational reforms

      Actions to be taken

      84. By Governments:

      • Provide the required budgetary resources to the educational sector, with reallocation within the educational sector to ensure increased funds for basic education, as appropriate;
      • Establish a mechanism at appropriate levels to monitor the implementation of educational reforms and measures in relevant ministries, and establish technical assistance programmes, as appropriate, to address issues raised by the monitoring efforts.

      85. By Governments and, as appropriate, private and public institutions, foundations, research institutes and non-governmental organizations:

      • When necessary, mobilize additional funds from private and public institutions, foundations, research institutes and non-governmental organizations to enable girls and women, as well as boys and men on an equal basis, to complete their education, with particular emphasis on under-served populations;
      • Provide funding for special programmes, such as programmes in mathematics, science and computer technology, to advance opportunities for all girls and women.

      86. By multilateral development institutions, including the World Bank, regional development banks, bilateral donors and foundations:

      • Consider increasing funding for the education and training needs of girls and women as a priority in development assistance programmes;
      • Consider working with recipient Governments to ensure that funding for women's education is maintained or increased in structural adjustment and economic recovery programmes, including lending and stabilization programmes.

      87. By international and intergovernmental organizations, especially the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, at the global level:

      • Contribute to the evaluation of progress achieved, using educational indicators generated by national, regional and international bodies, and urge Governments, in implementing measures, to eliminate differences between women and men and boys and girls with regard to opportunities in education and training and the levels achieved in all fields, particularly in primary and literacy programmes;
      • Provide technical assistance upon request to developing countries to strengthen the capacity to monitor progress in closing the gap between women and men in education, training and research, and in levels of achievement in all fields, particularly basic education and the elimination of illiteracy;
      • Conduct an international campaign promoting the right of women and girls to education;
      • Allocate a substantial percentage of their resources to basic education for women and girls.

      Strategic objective B.6. Promote life-long education and training for girls and women

      Actions to be taken

      88. By Governments, educational institutions and communities:

      • Ensure the availability of a broad range of educational and training programmes that lead to ongoing acquisition by women and girls of the knowledge and skills required for living in, contributing to and benefiting from their communities and nations;
      • Provide support for child care and other services to enable mothers to continue their schooling;
      • Create flexible education, training and retraining programmes for life-long learning that facilitate transitions between women's activities at all stages of their lives.
      C. Women and Health

      ∗ The Holy See expressed a general reservation on this section. The reservation is to be interpreted in terms of the statement made by the representative of the Holy See at the 4th meeting of the Main Committee, on 14 September 1995 (see chap. V of the present report, para. 11).

      89. Women have the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. The enjoyment of this right is vital to their life and well-being and their ability to participate in all areas of public and private life. Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. Women's health involves their emotional, social and physical well-being and is determined by the social, political and economic context of their lives, as well as by biology. However, health and well-being elude the majority of women. A major barrier for women to the achievement of the highest attainable standard of health is inequality, both between men and women and among women in different geographical regions, social classes and indigenous and ethnic groups. In national and international forums, women have emphasized that to attain optimal health throughout the life cycle, equality, including the sharing of family responsibilities, development and peace are necessary conditions.

      90. Women have different and unequal access to and use of basic health resources, including primary health services for the prevention and treatment of childhood diseases, malnutrition, anaemia, diarrhoeal diseases, communicable diseases, malaria and other tropical diseases and tuberculosis, among others. Women also have different and unequal opportunities for the protection, promotion and maintenance of their health. In many developing countries, the lack of emergency obstetric services is also of particular concern. Health policies and programmes often perpetuate gender stereotypes and fail to consider socio-economic disparities and other differences among women and may not fully take account of the lack of autonomy of women regarding their health. Women's health is also affected by gender bias in the health system and by the provision of inadequate and inappropriate medical services to women.

      91. In many countries, especially developing countries, in particular the least developed countries, a decrease in public health spending and, in some cases, structural adjustment, contribute to the deterioration of public health systems. In addition, privatization of health-care systems without appropriate guarantees of universal access to affordable health care further reduces health-care availability. This situation not only directly affects the health of girls and women, but also places disproportionate responsibilities on women, whose multiple roles, including their roles within the family and the community, are often not acknowledged; hence they do not receive the necessary social, psychological and economic support.

      92. Women's right to the enjoyment of the highest standard of health must be secured throughout the whole life cycle in equality with men. Women are affected by many of the same health conditions as men, but women experience them differently. The prevalence among women of poverty and economic dependence, their experience of violence, negative attitudes towards women and girls, racial and other forms of discrimination, the limited power many women have over their sexual and reproductive lives and lack of influence in decision-making are social realities which have an adverse impact on their health. Lack of food and inequitable distribution of food for girls and women in the household, inadequate access to safe water, sanitation facilities and fuel supplies, particularly in rural and poor urban areas, and deficient housing conditions, all overburden women and their families and have a negative effect on their health. Good health is essential to leading a productive and fulfilling life, and the right of all women to control all aspects of their health, in particular their own fertility, is basic to their empowerment.

      93. Discrimination against girls, often resulting from son preference, in access to nutrition and health-care services endangers their current and future health and well-being. Conditions that force girls into early marriage, pregnancy and child-bearing and subject them to harmful practices, such as female genital mutilation, pose grave health risks. Adolescent girls need, but too often do not have, access to necessary health and nutrition services as they mature. Counselling and access to sexual and reproductive health information and services for adolescents are still inadequate or lacking completely, and a young woman's right to privacy, confidentiality, respect and informed consent is often not considered. Adolescent girls are both biologically and psychosocially more vulnerable than boys to sexual abuse, violence and prostitution, and to the consequences of unprotected and premature sexual relations. The trend towards early sexual experience, combined with a lack of information and services, increases the risk of unwanted and too early pregnancy, HIV infection and other sexually transmitted diseases, as well as unsafe abortions. Early child-bearing continues to be an impediment to improvements in the educational, economic and social status of women in all parts of the world. Overall, for young women early marriage and early motherhood can severely curtail educational and employment opportunities and are likely to have a long-term, adverse impact on the quality of their lives and the lives of their children. Young men are often not educated to respect women's self-determination and to share responsibility with women in matters of sexuality and reproduction.

      94. Reproductive health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, in all matters relating to the reproductive system and to its functions and processes. Reproductive health therefore implies that people are able to have a satisfying and safe sex life and that they have the capability to reproduce and the freedom to decide if, when and how often to do so. Implicit in this last condition are the right of men and women to be informed and to have access to safe, effective, affordable and acceptable methods of family planning of their choice, as well as other methods of their choice for regulation of fertility which are not against the law, and the right of access to appropriate health-care services that will enable women to go safely through pregnancy and childbirth and provide couples with the best chance of having a healthy infant. In line with the above definition of reproductive health, reproductive health care is defined as the constellation of methods, techniques and services that contribute to reproductive health and well-being by preventing and solving reproductive health problems. It also includes sexual health, the purpose of which is the enhancement of life and personal relations, and not merely counselling and care related to reproduction and sexually transmitted diseases.

      95. Bearing in mind the above definition, reproductive rights embrace certain human rights that are already recognized in national laws, international human rights documents and other consensus documents. These rights rest on the recognition of the basic right of all couples and individuals to decide freely and responsibly the number, spacing and timing of their children and to have the information and means to do so, and the right to attain the highest standard of sexual and reproductive health. It also includes their right to make decisions concerning reproduction free of discrimination, coercion and violence, as expressed in human rights documents. In the exercise of this right, they should take into account the needs of their living and future children and their responsibilities towards the community. The promotion of the responsible exercise of these rights for all people should be the fundamental basis for government-and community-supported policies and programmes in the area of reproductive health, including family planning. As part of their commitment, full attention should be given to the promotion of mutually respectful and equitable gender relations and particularly to meeting the educational and service needs of adolescents to enable them to deal in a positive and responsible way with their sexuality. Reproductive health eludes many of the world's people because of such factors as: inadequate levels of knowledge about human sexuality and inappropriate or poor-quality reproductive health information and services; the prevalence of high-risk sexual behaviour; discriminatory social practices; negative attitudes towards women and girls; and the limited power many women and girls have over their sexual and reproductive lives. Adolescents are particularly vulnerable because of their lack of information and access to relevant services in most countries. Older women and men have distinct reproductive and sexual health issues which are often inadequately addressed.

      96. The human rights of women include their right to have control over and decide freely and responsibly on matters related to their sexuality, including sexual and reproductive health, free of coercion, discrimination and violence. Equal relationships between women and men in matters of sexual relations and reproduction, including full respect for the integrity of the person, require mutual respect, consent and shared responsibility for sexual behaviour and its consequences.

      97. Further, women are subject to particular health risks due to inadequate responsiveness and lack of services to meet health needs related to sexuality and reproduction. Complications related to pregnancy and childbirth are among the leading causes of mortality and morbidity of women of reproductive age in many parts of the developing world. Similar problems exist to a certain degree in some countries with economies in transition. Unsafe abortions threaten the lives of a large number of women, representing a grave public health problem as it is primarily the poorest and youngest who take the highest risk. Most of these deaths, health problems and injuries are preventable through improved access to adequate health-care services, including safe and effective family planning methods and emergency obstetric care, recognizing the right of women and men to be informed and to have access to safe, effective, affordable and acceptable methods of family planning of their choice, as well as other methods of their choice for regulation of fertility which are not against the law, and the right of access to appropriate health-care services that will enable women to go safely through pregnancy and childbirth and provide couples with the best chance of having a healthy infant. These problems and means should be addressed on the basis of the report of the International Conference on Population and Development, with particular reference to relevant paragraphs of the Programme of Action of the Conference. 14 In most countries, the neglect of women's reproductive rights severely limits their opportunities in public and private life, including opportunities for education and economic and political empowerment. The ability of women to control their own fertility forms an important basis for the enjoyment of other rights. Shared responsibility between women and men in matters related to sexual and reproductive behaviour is also essential to improving women's health.

      98. HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, the transmission of which is sometimes a consequence of sexual violence, are having a devastating effect on women's health, particularly the health of adolescent girls and young women. They often do not have the power to insist on safe and responsible sex practices and have little access to information and services for prevention and treatment. Women, who represent half of all adults newly infected with HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, have emphasized that social vulnerability and the unequal power relationships between women and men are obstacles to safe sex, in their efforts to control the spread of sexually transmitted diseases. The consequences of HIV/AIDS reach beyond women's health to their role as mothers and caregivers and their contribution to the economic support of their families. The social, developmental and health consequences of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases need to be seen from a gender perspective.

      99. Sexual and gender-based violence, including physical and psychological abuse, trafficking in women and girls, and other forms of abuse and sexual exploitation place girls and women at high risk of physical and mental trauma, disease and unwanted pregnancy. Such situations often deter women from using health and other services.

      100. Mental disorders related to marginalization, powerlessness and poverty, along with overwork and stress and the growing incidence of domestic violence as well as substance abuse, are among other health issues of growing concern to women. Women throughout the world, especially young women, are increasing their use of tobacco with serious effects on their health and that of their children. Occupational health issues are also growing in importance, as a large number of women work in low-paid jobs in either the formal or the informal labour market under tedious and unhealthy conditions, and the number is rising. Cancers of the breast and cervix and other cancers of the reproductive system, as well as infertility affect growing numbers of women and may be preventable, or curable, if detected early.

      101. With the increase in life expectancy and the growing number of older women, their health concerns require particular attention. The long-term health prospects of women are influenced by changes at menopause, which, in combination with life-long conditions and other factors, such as poor nutrition and lack of physical activity, may increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis. Other diseases of ageing and the interrelationships of ageing and disability among women also need particular attention.

      102. Women, like men, particularly in rural areas and poor urban areas, are increasingly exposed to environmental health hazards owing to environmental catastrophes and degradation. Women have a different susceptibility to various environmental hazards, contaminants and substances and they suffer different consequences from exposure to them.

      103. The quality of women's health care is often deficient in various ways, depending on local circumstances. Women are frequently not treated with respect, nor are they guaranteed privacy and confidentiality, nor do they always receive full information about the options and services available. Furthermore, in some countries, over-medicating of women's life events is common, leading to unnecessary surgical intervention and inappropriate medication.

      104. Statistical data on health are often not systematically collected, disaggregated and analysed by age, sex and socio-economic status and by established demographic criteria used to serve the interests and solve the problems of subgroups, with particular emphasis on the vulnerable and marginalized and other relevant variables. Recent and reliable data on the mortality and morbidity of women and conditions and diseases particularly affecting women are not available in many countries. Relatively little is known about how social and economic factors affect the health of girls and women of all ages, about the provision of health services to girls and women and the patterns of their use of such services, and about the value of disease prevention and health promotion programmes for women. Subjects of importance to women's health have not been adequately researched and women's health research often lacks funding. Medical research, on heart disease, for example, and epidemiological studies in many countries are often based solely on men; they are not gender specific. Clinical trials involving women to establish basic information about dosage, side-effects and effectiveness of drugs, including contraceptives, are noticeably absent and do not always conform to ethical standards for research and testing. Many drug therapy protocols and other medical treatments and interventions administered to women are based on research on men without any investigation and adjustment for gender differences.

      105. In addressing inequalities in health status and unequal access to and inadequate healthcare services between women and men, Governments and other actors should promote an active and visible policy of mainstreaming a gender perspective in all policies and programmes, so that, before decisions are taken, an analysis is made of the effects for women and men, respectively.

      Strategic objective C.1. Increase women's access throughout the life cycle to appropriate, affordable and quality health care, information and related services

      Actions to be taken

      106. By Governments, in collaboration with non-governmental organizations and employers’ and workers’ organizations and with the support of international institutions:

      • Support and implement the commitments made in the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development, as established in the report of that Conference and the Copenhagen Declaration on Social Development and Programme of Action of the World Summit for Social Development 15 and the obligations of States parties under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and other relevant international agreements, to meet the health needs of girls and women of all ages;
      • Reaffirm the right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standards of physical and mental health, protect and promote the attainment of this right for women and girls and incorporate it in national legislation, for example; review existing legislation, including health legislation, as well as policies, where necessary, to reflect a commitment to women's health and to ensure that they meet the changing roles and responsibilities of women wherever they reside;
      • Design and implement, in cooperation with women and community-based organizations, gender-sensitive health programmes, including decentralized health services, that address the needs of women throughout their lives and take into account their multiple roles and responsibilities, the demands on their time, the special needs of rural women and women with disabilities and the diversity of women's needs arising from age and socio-economic and cultural differences, among others; include women, especially local and indigenous women, in the identification and planning of healthcare priorities and programmes; remove all barriers to women's health services and provide a broad range of health-care services;
      • Allow women access to social security systems in equality with men throughout the whole life cycle;
      • Provide more accessible, available and affordable primary health-care services of high quality, including sexual and reproductive health care, which includes family planning information and services, and giving particular attention to maternal and emergency obstetric care, as agreed to in the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development;
      • Redesign health information, services and training for health workers so that they are gender-sensitive and reflect the user's perspectives with regard to interpersonal and communications skills and the user's right to privacy and confidentiality; these services, information and training should be based on a holistic approach;
      • Ensure that all health services and workers conform to human rights and to ethical, professional and gender-sensitive standards in the delivery of women's health services aimed at ensuring responsible, voluntary and informed consent; encourage the development, implementation and dissemination of codes of ethics guided by existing international codes of medical ethics as well as ethical principles that govern other health professionals;
      • Take all appropriate measures to eliminate harmful, medically unnecessary or coercive medical interventions, as well as inappropriate medication and over-medication of women, and ensure that all women are fully informed of their options, including likely benefits and potential side-effects, by properly trained personnel;
      • Strengthen and reorient health services, particularly primary health care, in order to ensure universal access to quality health services for women and girls; reduce ill health and maternal morbidity and achieve world wide the agreed-upon goal of reducing maternal mortality by at least 50 per cent of the 1990 levels by the year 2000 and a further one half by the year 2015; ensure that the necessary services are available at each level of the health system and make reproductive health care accessible, through the primary health-care system, to all individuals of appropriate ages as soon as possible and no later than the year 2015;
      • Recognize and deal with the health impact of unsafe abortion as a major public health concern, as agreed in paragraph 8.25 of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development; 14
      • In the light of paragraph 8.25 of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development, which states: “In no case should abortion be promoted as a method of family planning. All Governments and relevant intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations are urged to strengthen their commitment to women's health, to deal with the health impact of unsafe abortion 16 as a major public health concern and to reduce the recourse to abortion through expanded and improved family-planning services. Prevention of unwanted pregnancies must always be given the highest priority and every attempt should be made to eliminate the need for abortion. Women who have unwanted pregnancies should have ready access to reliable information and compassionate counselling. Any measures or changes related to abortion within the health system can only be determined at the national or local level according to the national legislative process. In circumstances where abortion is not against the law, such abortion should be safe. In all cases, women should have access to quality services for the management of complications arising from abortion. Post-abortion counselling, education and family-planning services should be offered promptly, which will also help to avoid repeat abortions”, consider reviewing laws containing punitive measures against women who have undergone illegal abortions;
      • Give particular attention to the needs of girls, especially the promotion of healthy behaviour, including physical activities; take specific measures for closing the gender gaps in morbidity and mortality where girls are disadvantaged, while achieving internationally approved goals for the reduction of infant and child mortality-specifically, by the year 2000, the reduction of mortality rates of infants and children under five years of age by one third of the 1990 level, or 50 to 70 per 1,000 live births, whichever is less; by the year 2015 an infant mortality rate below 35 per 1,000 live births and an under-five mortality rate below 45 per 1,000;
      • Ensure that girls have continuing access to necessary health and nutrition information and services as they mature, to facilitate a healthful transition from childhood to adulthood;
      • Develop information, programmes and services to assist women to understand and adapt to changes associated with ageing and to address and treat the health needs of older women, paying particular attention to those who are physically or psychologically dependent;
      • Ensure that girls and women of all ages with any form of disability receive supportive services;
      • Formulate special policies, design programmes and enact the legislation necessary to alleviate and eliminate environmental and occupational health hazards associated with work in the home, in the workplace and elsewhere with attention to pregnant and lactating women;
      • Integrate mental health services into primary health-care systems or other appropriate levels, develop supportive programmes and train primary health workers to recognize and care for girls and women of all ages who have experienced any form of violence especially domestic violence, sexual abuse or other abuse resulting from armed and non-armed conflict;
      • Promote public information on the benefits of breast-feeding; examine ways and means of implementing fully the WHO/UNICEF International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes, and enable mothers to breast-feed their infants by providing legal, economic, practical and emotional support;
      • Establish mechanisms to support and involve non-governmental organizations, particularly women's organizations, professional groups and other bodies working to improve the health of girls and women, in government policy-making, programme design, as appropriate, and implementation within the health sector and related sectors at all levels;
      • Support non-governmental organizations working on women's health and help develop networks aimed at improving coordination and collaboration between all sectors that affect health;
      • Rationalize drug procurement and ensure a reliable, continuous supply of high-quality pharmaceutical, contraceptive and other supplies and equipment, using the WHO Model List of Essential Drugs as a guide, and ensure the safety of drugs and devices through national regulatory drug approval processes;
      • Provide improved access to appropriate treatment and rehabilitation services for women substance abusers and their families;
      • Promote and ensure household and national food security, as appropriate, and implement programmes aimed at improving the nutritional status of all girls and women by implementing the commitments made in the Plan of Action on Nutrition of the International Conference on Nutrition, 17 including a reduction world wide of severe and moderate malnutrition among children under the age of five by one half of 1990 levels by the year 2000, giving special attention to the gender gap in nutrition, and a reduction in iron deficiency anaemia in girls and women by one third of the 1990 levels by the year 2000;
      • Ensure the availability of and universal access to safe drinking water and sanitation and put in place effective public distribution systems as soon as possible;
      • Ensure full and equal access to health-care infrastructure and services for indigenous women.

      Strategic objective C.2. Strengthen preventive programmes that promote women's health

      Actions to be taken

      107. By Governments, in cooperation with non-governmental organizations, the mass media, the private sector and relevant international organizations, including United Nations bodies, as appropriate:

      • Give priority to both formal and informal educational programmes that support and enable women to develop self-esteem, acquire knowledge, make decisions on and take responsibility for their own health, achieve mutual respect in matters concerning sexuality and fertility and educate men regarding the importance of women's health and well-being, placing special focus on programmes for both men and women that emphasize the elimination of harmful attitudes and practices, including female genital mutilation, son preference (which results in female infanticide and prenatal sex selection), early marriage, including child marriage, violence against women, sexual exploitation, sexual abuse, which at times is conducive to infection with HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, drug abuse, discrimination against girls and women in food allocation and other harmful attitudes and practices related to the life, health and well-being of women, and recognizing that some of these practices can be violations of human rights and ethical medical principles;
      • Pursue social, human development, education and employment policies to eliminate poverty among women in order to reduce their susceptibility to ill health and to improve their health;
      • Encourage men to share equally in child care and household work and to provide their share of financial support for their families, even if they do not live with them;
      • Reinforce laws, reform institutions and promote norms and practices that eliminate discrimination against women and encourage both women and men to take responsibility for their sexual and reproductive behaviour; ensure full respect for the integrity of the person, take action to ensure the conditions necessary for women to exercise their reproductive rights and eliminate coercive laws and practices;
      • Prepare and disseminate accessible information, through public health campaigns, the media, reliable counselling and the education system, designed to ensure that women and men, particularly young people, can acquire knowledge about their health, especially information on sexuality and reproduction, taking into account the rights of the child to access to information, privacy, confidentiality, respect and informed consent, as well as the responsibilities, rights and duties of parents and legal guardians to provide, in a manner consistent with the evolving capacities of the child, appropriate direction and guidance in the exercise by the child of the rights recognized in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and in conformity with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women; ensure that in all actions concerning children, the best interests of the child are a primary consideration;
      • Create and support programmes in the educational system, in the workplace and in the community to make opportunities to participate in sport, physical activity and recreation available to girls and women of all ages on the same basis as they are made available to men and boys;
      • Recognize the specific needs of adolescents and implement specific appropriate programmes, such as education and information on sexual and reproductive health issues and on sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS, taking into account the rights of the child and the responsibilities, rights and duties of parents as stated in paragraph 107 (e) above;
      • Develop policies that reduce the disproportionate and increasing burden on women who have multiple roles within the family and the community by providing them with adequate support and programmes from health and social services;
      • Adopt regulations to ensure that the working conditions, including remuneration and promotion of women at all levels of the health system, are non-discriminatory and meet fair and professional standards to enable them to work effectively;
      • Ensure that health and nutritional information and training form an integral part of all adult literacy programmes and school curricula from the primary level;
      • Develop and undertake media campaigns and information and educational programmes that inform women and girls of the health and related risks of substance abuse and addiction and pursue strategies and programmes that discourage substance abuse and addiction and promote rehabilitation and recovery;
      • Devise and implement comprehensive and coherent programmes for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis, a condition that predominantly affects women;
      • Establish and/or strengthen programmes and services, including media campaigns, that address the prevention, early detection and treatment of breast, cervical and other cancers of the reproductive system;
      • Reduce environmental hazards that pose a growing threat to health, especially in poor regions and communities; apply a precautionary approach, as agreed to in the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, adopted by the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, 18 and include reporting on women's health risks related to the environment in monitoring the implementation of Agenda 21; 19
      • Create awareness among women, health professionals, policy makers and the general public about the serious but preventable health hazards stemming from tobacco consumption and the need for regulatory and education measures to reduce smoking as important health promotion and disease prevention activities;
      • Ensure that medical school curricula and other health-care training include gender-sensitive, comprehensive and mandatory courses on women's health;
      • Adopt specific preventive measures to protect women, youth and children from any abuse-sexual abuse, exploitation, trafficking and violence, for example-including the formulation and enforcement of laws, and provide legal protection and medical and other assistance.

      Strategic objective C.3. Undertake gender-sensitive initiatives that address sexually transmitted diseases, HIV/AIDS, and sexual and reproductive health issues

      Actions to be taken

      108. By Governments, international bodies including relevant United Nations organizations, bilateral and multilateral donors and non-governmental organizations:

      • Ensure the involvement of women, especially those infected with HIV/AIDS or other sexually transmitted diseases or affected by the HIV/AIDS pandemic, in all decision-making relating to the development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programmes on HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases;
      • Review and amend laws and combat practices, as appropriate, that may contribute to women's susceptibility to HIV infection and other sexually transmitted diseases, including enacting legislation against those socio-cultural practices that contribute to it, and implement legislation, policies and practices to protect women, adolescents and young girls from discrimination related to HIV/AIDS;
      • Encourage all sectors of society, including the public sector, as well as international organizations, to develop compassionate and supportive, non-discriminatory HIV/AIDS-related policies and practices that protect the rights of infected individuals;
      • Recognize the extent of the HIV/AIDS pandemic in their countries, taking particularly into account its impact on women, with a view to ensuring that infected women do not suffer stigmatization and discrimination, including during travel;
      • Develop gender-sensitive multisectoral programmes and strategies to end social subordination of women and girls and to ensure their social and economic empowerment and equality; facilitate promotion of programmes to educate and enable men to assume their responsibilities to prevent HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases;
      • Facilitate the development of community strategies that will protect women of all ages from HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases; provide care and support to infected girls, women and their families and mobilize all parts of the community in response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic to exert pressure on all responsible authorities to respond in a timely, effective, sustainable and gender-sensitive manner;
      • Support and strengthen national capacity to create and improve gender-sensitive policies and programmes on HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, including the provision of resources and facilities to women who find themselves the principal caregivers or economic support for those infected with HIV/AIDS or affected by the pandemic, and the survivors, particularly children and older persons;
      • Provide workshops and specialized education and training to parents, decision makers and opinion leaders at all levels of the community, including religious and traditional authorities, on prevention of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases and on their repercussions on both women and men of all ages;
      • Give all women and health workers all relevant information and education about sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS and pregnancy and the implications for the baby, including breast-feeding;
      • Assist women and their formal and informal organizations to establish and expand effective peer education and outreach programmes and to participate in the design, implementation and monitoring of these programmes;
      • Give full attention to the promotion of mutually respectful and equitable gender relations and, in particular, to meeting the educational and service needs of adolescents to enable them to deal in a positive and responsible way with their sexuality;
      • Design specific programmes for men of all ages and male adolescents, recognizing the parental roles referred to in paragraph 107 (e) above, aimed at providing complete and accurate information on safe and responsible sexual and reproductive behaviour, including voluntary, appropriate and effective male methods for the prevention of HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases through, inter alia, abstinence and condom use;
      • Ensure the provision, through the primary health-care system, of universal access of couples and individuals to appropriate and affordable preventive services with respect to sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS, and expand the provision of counselling and voluntary and confidential diagnostic and treatment services for women; ensure that high-quality condoms as well as drugs for the treatment of sexually transmitted diseases are, where possible, supplied and distributed to health services;
      • Support programmes which acknowledge that the higher risk among women of contracting HIV is linked to high-risk behaviour, including intravenous substance use and substance-influenced unprotected and irresponsible sexual behaviour, and take appropriate preventive measures;
      • Support and expedite action-oriented research on affordable methods, controlled by women, to prevent HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, on strategies empowering women to protect themselves from sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS, and on methods of care, support and treatment of women, ensuring their involvement in all aspects of such research;
      • Support and initiate research which addresses women's needs and situations, including research on HIV infection and other sexually transmitted diseases in women, on women-controlled methods of protection, such as non-spermicidal microbicides, and on male and female risk-taking attitudes and practices.

      Strategic objective C.4. Promote research and disseminate information on women's health

      Actions to be taken

      109. By Governments, the United Nations system, health professions, research institutions, non-governmental organizations, donors, pharmaceutical industries and the mass media, as appropriate:

      • Train researchers and introduce systems that allow for the use of data collected, analysed and disaggregated by, among other factors, sex and age, other established demographic criteria and socio-economic variables, in policy-making, as appropriate, planning, monitoring and evaluation;
      • Promote gender-sensitive and women-centred health research, treatment and technology and link traditional and indigenous knowledge with modern medicine, making information available to women to enable them to make informed and responsible decisions;
      • Increase the number of women in leadership positions in the health professions, including researchers and scientists, to achieve equality at the earliest possible date;
      • Increase financial and other support from all sources for preventive, appropriate biomedical, behavioural, epidemiological and health service research on women's health issues and for research on the social, economic and political causes of women's health problems, and their consequences, including the impact of gender and age inequalities, especially with respect to chronic and non-communicable diseases, particularly cardiovascular diseases and conditions, cancers, reproductive tract infections and injuries, HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, domestic violence, occupational health, disabilities, environmentally related health problems, tropical diseases and health aspects of ageing;
      • Inform women about the factors which increase the risks of developing cancers and infections of the reproductive tract, so that they can make informed decisions about their health;
      • Support and fund social, economic, political and cultural research on how gender-based inequalities affect women's health, including etiology, epidemiology, provision and utilization of services and eventual outcome of treatment;
      • Support health service systems and operations research to strengthen access and improve the quality of service delivery, to ensure appropriate support for women as health-care providers and to examine patterns with respect to the provision of health services to women and use of such services by women;
      • Provide financial and institutional support for research on safe, effective, affordable and acceptable methods and technologies for the reproductive and sexual health of women and men, including more safe, effective, affordable and acceptable methods for the regulation of fertility, including natural family planning for both sexes, methods to protect against HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases and simple and inexpensive methods of diagnosing such diseases, among others; this research needs to be guided at all stages by users and from the perspective of gender, particularly the perspective of women, and should be carried out in strict conformity with internationally accepted legal, ethical, medical and scientific standards for biomedical research;
      • Since unsafe abortion 16 is a major threat to the health and life of women, research to understand and better address the determinants and consequences of induced abortion, including its effects on subsequent fertility, reproductive and mental health and contraceptive practice, should be promoted, as well as research on treatment of complications of abortions and post-abortion care;
      • Acknowledge and encourage beneficial traditional health care, especially that practised by indigenous women, with a view to preserving and incorporating the value of traditional health care in the provision of health services, and support research directed towards achieving this aim;
      • Develop mechanisms to evaluate and disseminate available data and research findings to researchers, policy makers, health professionals and women's groups, among others;
      • Monitor human genome and related genetic research from the perspective of women's health and disseminate information and results of studies conducted in accordance with accepted ethical standards.

      Strategic objective C.5. Increase resources and monitor follow-up for women's health

      Actions to be taken

      110. By Governments at all levels and, where appropriate, in cooperation with non-governmental organizations, especially women's and youth organizations:

      • Increase budgetary allocations for primary health care and social services, with adequate support for secondary and tertiary levels, and give special attention to the reproductive and sexual health of girls and women and give priority to health programmes in rural and poor urban areas;
      • Develop innovative approaches to funding health services through promoting community participation and local financing; increase, where necessary, budgetary allocations for community health centres and community-based programmes and services that address women's specific health needs;
      • Develop local health services, promoting the incorporation of gender-sensitive community-based participation and self-care and specially designed preventive health programmes;
      • Develop goals and time-frames, where appropriate, for improving women's health and for planning, implementing, monitoring and evaluating programmes, based on gender-impact assessments using qualitative and quantitative data disaggregated by sex, age, other established demographic criteria and socio-economic variables;
      • Establish, as appropriate, ministerial and inter-ministerial mechanisms for monitoring the implementation of women's health policy and programme reforms and establish, as appropriate, high-level focal points in national planning authorities responsible for monitoring to ensure that women's health concerns are mainstreamed in all relevant government agencies and programmes.

      111. By Governments, the United Nations and its specialized agencies, international financial institutions, bilateral donors and the private sector, as appropriate:

      • Formulate policies favourable to investment in women's health and, where appropriate, increase allocations for such investment;
      • Provide appropriate material, financial and logistical assistance to youth non-governmental organizations in order to strengthen them to address youth concerns in the area of health, including sexual and reproductive health;
      • Give higher priority to women's health and develop mechanisms for coordinating and implementing the health objectives of the Platform for Action and relevant international agreements to ensure progress.
      D. Violence against Women

      112. Violence against women is an obstacle to the achievement of the objectives of equality, development and peace. Violence against women both violates and impairs or nullifies the enjoyment by women of their human rights and fundamental freedoms. The longstanding failure to protect and promote those rights and freedoms in the case of violence against women is a matter of concern to all States and should be addressed. Knowledge about its causes and consequences, as well as its incidence and measures to combat it, have been greatly expanded since the Nairobi Conference. In all societies, to a greater or lesser degree, women and girls are subjected to physical, sexual and psychological abuse that cuts across lines of income, class and culture. The low social and economic status of women can be both a cause and a consequence of violence against women.

      113. The term “violence against women” means any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life. Accordingly, violence against women encompasses but is not limited to the following:

      • Physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring in the family, including battering, sexual abuse of female children in the household, dowry-related violence, marital rape, female genital mutilation and other traditional practices harmful to women, non-spousal violence and violence related to exploitation;
      • Physical, sexual and psychological violence occurring within the general community, including rape, sexual abuse, sexual harassment and intimidation at work, in educational institutions and elsewhere, trafficking in women and forced prostitution;
      • Physical, sexual and psychological violence perpetrated or condoned by the State, wherever it occurs.

      114. Other acts of violence against women include violation of the human rights of women in situations of armed conflict, in particular murder, systematic rape, sexual slavery and forced pregnancy.

      115. Acts of violence against women also include forced sterilization and forced abortion, coercive/forced use of contraceptives, female infanticide and prenatal sex selection.

      116. Some groups of women, such as women belonging to minority groups, indigenous women, refugee women, women migrants, including women migrant workers, women in poverty living in rural or remote communities, destitute women, women in institutions or in detention, female children, women with disabilities, elderly women, displaced women, repatriated women, women living in poverty and women in situations of armed conflict, foreign occupation, wars of aggression, civil wars, terrorism, including hostage-taking, are also particularly vulnerable to violence.

      117. Acts or threats of violence, whether occurring within the home or in the community, or perpetrated or condoned by the State, instil fear and insecurity in women's lives and are obstacles to the achievement of equality and for development and peace. The fear of violence, including harassment, is a permanent constraint on the mobility of women and limits their access to resources and basic activities. High social, health and economic costs to the individual and society are associated with violence against women. Violence against women is one of the crucial social mechanisms by which women are forced into a subordinate position compared with men. In many cases, violence against women and girls occurs in the family or within the home, where violence is often tolerated. The neglect, physical and sexual abuse, and rape of girl children and women by family members and other members of the household, as well as incidences of spousal and non-spousal abuse, often go unreported and are thus difficult to detect. Even when such violence is reported, there is often a failure to protect victims or punish perpetrators.

      118. Violence against women is a manifestation of the historically unequal power relations between men and women, which have led to domination over and discrimination against women by men and to the prevention of women's full advancement. Violence against women throughout the life cycle derives essentially from cultural patterns, in particular the harmful effects of certain traditional or customary practices and all acts of extremism linked to race, sex, language or religion that perpetuate the lower status accorded to women in the family, the workplace, the community and society. Violence against women is exacerbated by social pressures, notably the shame of denouncing certain acts that have been perpetrated against women; women's lack of access to legal information, aid or protection; the lack of laws that effectively prohibit violence against women; failure to reform existing laws; inadequate efforts on the part of public authorities to promote awareness of and enforce existing laws; and the absence of educational and other means to address the causes and consequences of violence. Images in the media of violence against women, in particular those that depict rape or sexual slavery as well as the use of women and girls as sex objects, including pornography, are factors contributing to the continued prevalence of such violence, adversely influencing the community at large, in particular children and young people.

      119. Developing a holistic and multidisciplinary approach to the challenging task of promoting families, communities and States that are free of violence against women is necessary and achievable. Equality, partnership between women and men and respect for human dignity must permeate all stages of the socialization process. Educational systems should promote self-respect, mutual respect, and cooperation between women and men.

      120. The absence of adequate gender-disaggregated data and statistics on the incidence of violence makes the elaboration of programmes and monitoring of changes difficult. Lack of or inadequate documentation and research on domestic violence, sexual harassment and violence against women and girls in private and in public, including the workplace, impede efforts to design specific intervention strategies. Experience in a number of countries shows that women and men can be mobilized to overcome violence in all its forms and that effective public measures can be taken to address both the causes and the consequences of violence. Men's groups mobilizing against gender violence are necessary allies for change.

      121. Women may be vulnerable to violence perpetrated by persons in positions of authority in both conflict and non-conflict situations. Training of all officials in humanitarian and human rights law and the punishment of perpetrators of violent acts against women would help to ensure that such violence does not take place at the hands of public officials in whom women should be able to place trust, including police and prison officials and security forces.

      122. The effective suppression of trafficking in women and girls for the sex trade is a matter of pressing international concern. Implementation of the 1949 Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others, 20 as well as other relevant instruments, needs to be reviewed and strengthened. The use of women in international prostitution and trafficking networks has become a major focus of international organized crime. The Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on violence against women, who has explored these acts as an additional cause of the violation of the human rights and fundamental freedoms of women and girls, is invited to address, within her mandate and as a matter of urgency, the issue of international trafficking for the purposes of the sex trade, as well as the issues of forced prostitution, rape, sexual abuse and sex tourism. Women and girls who are victims of this international trade are at an increased risk of further violence, as well as unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted infection, including infection with HIV/AIDS.

      123. In addressing violence against women, Governments and other actors should promote an active and visible policy of mainstreaming a gender perspective in all policies and programmes so that before decisions are taken an analysis may be made of their effects on women and men, respectively.

      Strategic objective D.1. Take integrated measures to prevent and eliminate violence against women

      Actions to be taken

      124. By Governments:

      • Condemn violence against women and refrain from invoking any custom, tradition or religious consideration to avoid their obligations with respect to its elimination as set out in the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women;
      • Refrain from engaging in violence against women and exercise due diligence to prevent, investigate and, in accordance with national legislation, punish acts of violence against women, whether those acts are perpetrated by the State or by private persons;
      • Enact and/or reinforce penal, civil, labour and administrative sanctions in domestic legislation to punish and redress the wrongs done to women and girls who are subjected to any form of violence, whether in the home, the workplace, the community or society;
      • Adopt and/or implement and periodically review and analyse legislation to ensure its effectiveness in eliminating violence against women, emphasizing the prevention of violence and the prosecution of offenders; take measures to ensure the protection of women subjected to violence, access to just and effective remedies, including compensation and indemnification and healing of victims, and rehabilitation of perpetrators;
      • Work actively to ratify and/or implement international human rights norms and instruments as they relate to violence against women, including those contained in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 21 the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 13 the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 13 and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment; 22
      • Implement the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, taking into account general recommendation 19, adopted by the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women at its eleventh session; 23
      • Promote an active and visible policy of mainstreaming a gender perspective in all policies and programmes related to violence against women; actively encourage, support and implement measures and programmes aimed at increasing the knowledge and understanding of the causes, consequences and mechanisms of violence against women among those responsible for implementing these policies, such as law enforcement officers, police personnel and judicial, medical and social workers, as well as those who deal with minority, migration and refugee issues, and develop strategies to ensure that the revictimization of women victims of violence does not occur because of gender-insensitive laws or judicial or enforcement practices;
      • Provide women who are subjected to violence with access to the mechanisms of justice and, as provided for by national legislation, to just and effective remedies for the harm they have suffered and inform women of their rights in seeking redress through such mechanisms;
      • Enact and enforce legislation against the perpetrators of practices and acts of violence against women, such as female genital mutilation, female infanticide, prenatal sex selection and dowry-related violence, and give vigorous support to the efforts of non-governmental and community organizations to eliminate such practices;
      • Formulate and implement, at all appropriate levels, plans of action to eliminate violence against women;
      • Adopt all appropriate measures, especially in the field of education, to modify the social and cultural patterns of conduct of men and women, and to eliminate prejudices, customary practices and all other practices based on the idea of the inferiority or superiority of either of the sexes and on stereotyped roles for men and women;
      • Create or strengthen institutional mechanisms so that women and girls can report acts of violence against them in a safe and confidential environment, free from the fear of penalties or retaliation, and file charges;
      • Ensure that women with disabilities have access to information and services in the field of violence against women;
      • Create, improve or develop as appropriate, and fund the training programmes for judicial, legal, medical, social, educational and police and immigrant personnel, in order to avoid the abuse of power leading to violence against women and sensitize such personnel to the nature of gender-based acts and threats of violence so that fair treatment of female victims can be assured;
      • Adopt laws, where necessary, and reinforce existing laws that punish police, security forces or any other agents of the State who engage in acts of violence against women in the course of the performance of their duties; review existing legislation and take effective measures against the perpetrators of such violence;
      • Allocate adequate resources within the government budget and mobilize community resources for activities related to the elimination of violence against women, including resources for the implementation of plans of action at all appropriate levels;
      • Include in reports submitted in accordance with the provisions of relevant United Nations human rights instruments, information pertaining to violence against women and measures taken to implement the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women;
      • Cooperate with and assist the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on violence against women in the performance of her mandate and furnish all information requested; cooperate also with other competent mechanisms, such as the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on torture and the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on summary, extrajudiciary and arbitrary executions, in relation to violence against women;
      • Recommend that the Commission on Human Rights renew the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women when her term ends in 1997 and, if warranted, to update and strengthen it.

      125. By Governments, including local governments, community organizations, non-governmental organizations, educational institutions, the public and private sectors, particularly enterprises, and the mass media, as appropriate:

      • Provide well-funded shelters and relief support for girls and women subjected to violence, as well as medical, psychological and other counselling services and free or low-cost legal aid, where it is needed, as well as appropriate assistance to enable them to find a means of subsistence;
      • Establish linguistically and culturally accessible services for migrant women and girls, including women migrant workers, who are victims of gender-based violence;
      • Recognize the vulnerability to violence and other forms of abuse of women migrants, including women migrant workers, whose legal status in the host country depends on employers who may exploit their situation;
      • Support initiatives of women's organizations and non-governmental organizations all over the world to raise awareness on the issue of violence against women and to contribute to its elimination;
      • Organize, support and fund community-based education and training campaigns to raise awareness about violence against women as a violation of women's enjoyment of their human rights and mobilize local communities to use appropriate gender-sensitive traditional and innovative methods of conflict resolution;
      • Recognize, support and promote the fundamental role of intermediate institutions, such as primary health-care centres, family-planning centres, existing school health services, mother and baby protection services, centres for migrant families and so forth in the field of information and education related to abuse;
      • Organize and fund information campaigns and educational and training programmes in order to sensitize girls and boys and women and men to the personal and social detrimental effects of violence in the family, community and society; teach them how to communicate without violence and promote training for victims and potential victims so that they can protect themselves and others against such violence;
      • Disseminate information on the assistance available to women and families who are victims of violence;
      • Provide, fund and encourage counselling and rehabilitation programmes for the perpetrators of violence and promote research to further efforts concerning such counselling and rehabilitation so as to prevent the recurrence of such violence;
      • Raise awareness of the responsibility of the media in promoting non-stereotyped images of women and men, as well as in eliminating patterns of media presentation that generate violence, and encourage those responsible for media content to establish professional guidelines and codes of conduct; also raise awareness of the important role of the media in informing and educating people about the causes and effects of violence against women and in stimulating public debate on the topic.

      126. By Governments, employers, trade unions, community and youth organizations and non-governmental organizations, as appropriate:

      • Develop programmes and procedures to eliminate sexual harassment and other forms of violence against women in all educational institutions, workplaces and elsewhere;
      • Develop programmes and procedures to educate and raise awareness of acts of violence against women that constitute a crime and a violation of the human rights of women;
      • Develop counselling, healing and support programmes for girls, adolescents and young women who have been or are involved in abusive relationships, particularly those who live in homes or institutions where abuse occurs;
      • Take special measures to eliminate violence against women, particularly those in vulnerable situations, such as young women, refugee, displaced and internally displaced women, women with disabilities and women migrant workers, including enforcing any existing legislation and developing, as appropriate, new legislation for women migrant workers in both sending and receiving countries.

      127. By the Secretary-General of the United Nations:

      Provide the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on violence against women with all necessary assistance, in particular the staff and resources required to perform all mandated functions, especially in carrying out and following up on missions undertaken either separately or jointly with other special rapporteurs and working groups, and adequate assistance for periodic consultations with the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and all treaty bodies.

      128. By Governments, international organizations and non-governmental organizations: Encourage the dissemination and implementation of the UNHCR Guidelines on the Protection of Refugee Women and the UNHCR Guidelines on the Prevention of and Response to Sexual Violence against Refugees.

      Strategic objective D.2. Study the causes and consequences of violence against women and the effectiveness of preventive measures

      Actions to be taken

      129. By Governments, regional organizations, the United Nations, other international organizations, research institutions, women's and youth organizations and non-governmental organizations, as appropriate:

      • Promote research, collect data and compile statistics, especially concerning domestic violence relating to the prevalence of different forms of violence against women, and encourage research into the causes, nature, seriousness and consequences of violence against women and the effectiveness of measures implemented to prevent and redress violence against women;
      • Disseminate findings of research and studies widely;
      • Support and initiate research on the impact of violence, such as rape, on women and girl children, and make the resulting information and statistics available to the public;
      • Encourage the media to examine the impact of gender role stereotypes, including those perpetuated by commercial advertisements which foster gender-based violence and inequalities, and how they are transmitted during the life cycle, and take measures to eliminate these negative images with a view to promoting a violence-free society.

      Strategic objective D.3. Eliminate trafficking in women and assist victims of violence due to prostitution and trafficking

      Actions to be taken

      130. By Governments of countries of origin, transit and destination, regional and international organizations, as appropriate:

      • Consider the ratification and enforcement of international conventions on trafficking in persons and on slavery;
      • Take appropriate measures to address the root factors, including external factors, that encourage trafficking in women and girls for prostitution and other forms of commercialized sex, forced marriages and forced labour in order to eliminate trafficking in women, including by strengthening existing legislation with a view to providing better protection of the rights of women and girls and to punishing the perpetrators, through both criminal and civil measures;
      • Step up cooperation and concerted action by all relevant law enforcement authorities and institutions with a view to dismantling national, regional and international networks in trafficking;
      • Allocate resources to provide comprehensive programmes designed to heal and rehabilitate into society victims of trafficking, including through job training, legal assistance and confidential health care, and take measures to cooperate with non-governmental organizations to provide for the social, medical and psychological care of the victims of trafficking;
      • Develop educational and training programmes and policies and consider enacting legislation aimed at preventing sex tourism and trafficking, giving special emphasis to the protection of young women and children.
      E. Women and Armed Conflict

      131. An environment that maintains world peace and promotes and protects human rights, democracy and the peaceful settlement of disputes, in accordance with the principles of non-threat or use of force against territorial integrity or political independence and of respect for sovereignty as set forth in the Charter of the United Nations, is an important factor for the advancement of women. Peace is inextricably linked with equality between women and men and development. Armed and other types of conflicts and terrorism and hostage-taking still persist in many parts of the world. Aggression, foreign occupation, ethnic and other types of conflicts are an ongoing reality affecting women and men in nearly every region. Gross and systematic violations and situations that constitute serious obstacles to the full enjoyment of human rights continue to occur in different parts of the world. Such violations and obstacles include, as well as torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment, summary and arbitrary executions, disappearances, arbitrary detentions, all forms of racism and racial discrimination, foreign occupation and alien domination, xenophobia, poverty, hunger and other denials of economic, social and cultural rights, religious intolerance, terrorism, discrimination against women and lack of the rule of law. International humanitarian law, prohibiting attacks on civilian populations, as such, is at times systematically ignored and human rights are often violated in connection with situations of armed conflict, affecting the civilian population, especially women, children, the elderly and the disabled. Violations of the human rights of women in situations of armed conflict are violations of the fundamental principles of international human rights and humanitarian law. Massive violations of human rights, especially in the form of genocide, ethnic cleansing as a strategy of war and its consequences, and rape, including systematic rape of women in war situations, creating a mass exodus of refugees and displaced persons, are abhorrent practices that are strongly condemned and must be stopped immediately, while perpetrators of such crimes must be punished. Some of these situations of armed conflict have their origin in the conquest or colonialization of a country by another State and the perpetuation of that colonization through state and military repression.

      132. The Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 1949, and the Additional Protocols of 1977 24 provide that women shall especially be protected against any attack on their honour, in particular against humiliating and degrading treatment, rape, enforced prostitution or any form of indecent assault. The Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, adopted by the World Conference on Human Rights, states that “violations of the human rights of women in situations of armed conflict are violations of the fundamental principles of international human rights and humanitarian law”. 25 All violations of this kind, including in particular murder, rape, including systematic rape, sexual slavery and forced pregnancy require a particularly effective response. Gross and systematic violations and situations that constitute serious obstacles to the full enjoyment of human rights continue to occur in different parts of the world. Such violations and obstacles include, as well as torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or summary and arbitrary detention, all forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, denial of economic, social and cultural rights and religious intolerance.

      133. Violations of human rights in situations of armed conflict and military occupation are violations of the fundamental principles of international human rights and humanitarian law as embodied in international human rights instruments and in the Geneva Conventions of 1949 and the Additional Protocols thereto. Gross human rights violations and policies of ethnic cleansing in war-torn and occupied areas continue to be carried out. These practices have created, inter alia, a mass flow of refugees and other displaced persons in need of international protection and internally displaced persons, the majority of whom are women, adolescent girls and children. Civilian victims, mostly women and children, often outnumber casualties among combatants. In addition, women often become caregivers for injured combatants and find themselves, as a result of conflict, unexpectedly cast as sole manager of household, sole parent, and caretaker of elderly relatives.

      134. In a world of continuing instability and violence, the implementation of cooperative approaches to peace and security is urgently needed. The equal access and full participation of women in power structures and their full involvement in all efforts for the prevention and resolution of conflicts are essential for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security. Although women have begun to play an important role in conflict resolution, peace-keeping and defence and foreign affairs mechanisms, they are still underrepresented in decision-making positions. If women are to play an equal part in securing and maintaining peace, they must be empowered politically and economically and represented adequately at all levels of decision-making.

      135. While entire communities suffer the consequences of armed conflict and terrorism, women and girls are particularly affected because of their status in society and their sex. Parties to conflict often rape women with impunity, sometimes using systematic rape as a tactic of war and terrorism. The impact of violence against women and violation of the human rights of women in such situations is experienced by women of all ages, who suffer displacement, loss of home and property, loss or involuntary disappearance of close relatives, poverty and family separation and disintegration, and who are victims of acts of murder, terrorism, torture, involuntary disappearance, sexual slavery, rape, sexual abuse and forced pregnancy in situations of armed conflict, especially as a result of policies of ethnic cleansing and other new and emerging forms of violence. This is compounded by the life-long social, economic and psychologically traumatic consequences of armed conflict and foreign occupation and alien domination.

      136. Women and children constitute some 80 per cent of the world's millions of refugees and other displaced persons, including internally displaced persons. They are threatened by deprivation of property, goods and services and deprivation of their right to return to their homes of origin as well as by violence and insecurity. Particular attention should be paid to sexual violence against uprooted women and girls employed as a method of persecution in systematic campaigns of terror and intimidation and forcing members of a particular ethnic, cultural or religious group to flee their homes. Women may also be forced to flee as a result of a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons enumerated in the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol, including persecution through sexual violence or other gender-related persecution, and they continue to be vulnerable to violence and exploitation while in flight, in countries of asylum and resettlement and during and after repatriation. Women often experience difficulty in some countries of asylum in being recognized as refugees when the claim is based on such persecution.

      137. Refugee, displaced and migrant women in most cases display strength, endurance and resourcefulness and can contribute positively to countries of resettlement or to their country of origin on their return. They need to be appropriately involved in decisions that affect them.

      138. Many women's non-governmental organizations have called for reductions in military expenditures world wide, as well as in international trade and trafficking in and the proliferation of weapons. Those affected most negatively by conflict and excessive military spending are people living in poverty, who are deprived because of the lack of investment in basic services. Women living in poverty, particularly rural women, also suffer because of the use of arms that are particularly injurious or have indiscriminate effects. There are more than 100 million anti-personnel land-mines scattered in 64 countries globally. The negative impact on development of excessive military expenditures, the arms trade, and investment for arms production and acquisition must be addressed. At the same time, maintenance of national security and peace is an important factor for economic growth and development and the empowerment of women.

      139. During times of armed conflict and the collapse of communities, the role of women is crucial. They often work to preserve social order in the midst of armed and other conflicts. Women make an important but often unrecognized contribution as peace educators both in their families and in their societies.

      140. Education to foster a culture of peace that upholds justice and tolerance for all nations and peoples is essential to attaining lasting peace and should be begun at an early age. It should include elements of conflict resolution, mediation, reduction of prejudice and respect for diversity.

      141. In addressing armed or other conflicts, an active and visible policy of mainstreaming a gender perspective into all policies and programmes should be promoted so that before decisions are taken an analysis is made of the effects on women and men, respectively.

      Strategic objective E.1. Increase the participation of women in conflict resolution at decision-making levels and protect women living in situations of armed and other conflicts or under foreign occupation

      Actions to be taken

      142. By Governments and international and regional intergovernmental institutions:

      • Take action to promote equal participation of women and equal opportunities for women to participate in all forums and peace activities at all levels, particularly at the decision-making level, including in the United Nations Secretariat with due regard to equitable geographical distribution in accordance with Article 101 of the Charter of the United Nations;
      • Integrate a gender perspective in the resolution of armed or other conflicts and foreign occupation and aim for gender balance when nominating or promoting candidates for judicial and other positions in all relevant international bodies, such as the United Nations International Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda and the International Court of Justice, as well as in other bodies related to the peaceful settlement of disputes;
      • Ensure that these bodies are able to address gender issues properly by providing appropriate training to prosecutors, judges and other officials in handling cases involving rape, forced pregnancy in situations of armed conflict, indecent assault and other forms of violence against women in armed conflicts, including terrorism, and integrate a gender perspective into their work.

      Strategic objective E.2. Reduce excessive military expenditures and control the availability of armaments

      Actions to be taken

      143. By Governments:

      • Increase and hasten, as appropriate, subject to national security considerations, the conversion of military resources and related industries to development and peaceful purposes;
      • Undertake to explore new ways of generating new public and private financial resources, inter alia, through the appropriate reduction of excessive military expenditures, including global military expenditures, trade in arms and investment for arms production and acquisition, taking into consideration national security requirements, so as to permit the possible allocation of additional funds for social and economic development, in particular for the advancement of women;
      • Take action to investigate and punish members of the police, security and armed forces and others who perpetrate acts of violence against women, violations of international humanitarian law and violations of the human rights of women in situations of armed conflict;
      • While acknowledging legitimate national defence needs, recognize and address the dangers to society of armed conflict and the negative effect of excessive military expenditures, trade in arms, especially those arms that are particularly injurious or have indiscriminate effects, and excessive investment for arms production and acquisition; similarly, recognize the need to combat illicit arms trafficking, violence, crime, the production and use of and trafficking in illicit drugs, and trafficking in women and children;
      • Recognizing that women and children are particularly affected by the indiscriminate use of anti-personnel land-mines:
        • Undertake to work actively towards ratification, if they have not already done so, of the 1981 Convention on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May Be Deemed to Be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects, particularly the Protocol on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Mines, Booby Traps and Other Devices (Protocol II), 26 with a view to universal ratification by the year 2000;
        • Undertake to strongly consider strengthening the Convention to promote a reduction in the casualties and intense suffering caused to the civilian population by the indiscriminate use of land-mines;
        • Undertake to promote assistance in mine clearance, notably by facilitating, in respect of the means of mine-clearing, the exchange of information, the transfer of technology and the promotion of scientific research;
        • Within the United Nations context, undertake to support efforts to coordinate a common response programme of assistance in de-mining without unnecessary discrimination;
        • Adopt at the earliest possible date, if they have not already done so, a moratorium on the export of anti-personnel land-mines, including to non-governmental entities, noting with satisfaction that many States have already declared moratoriums on the export, transfer or sale of such mines;
        • Undertake to encourage further international efforts to seek solutions to the problems caused by antipersonnel land-mines, with a view to their eventual elimination, recognizing that States can move most effectively towards this goal as viable and humane alternatives are developed;
      • Recognizing the leading role that women have played in the peace movement:
        • Work actively towards general and complete disarmament under strict and effective international control;
        • Support negotiations on the conclusion, without delay, of a universal and multilaterally and effectively verifiable comprehensive nuclear-test-ban treaty that contributes to nuclear disarmament and the prevention of the proliferation of nuclear weapons in all its aspects;
        • Pending the entry into force of a comprehensive nuclear-test-ban treaty, exercise the utmost restraint in respect of nuclear testing.

      Strategic objective E.3. Promote non-violent forms of conflict resolution and reduce the incidence of human rights abuse in conflict situations

      Actions to be taken

      144. By Governments:

      • Consider the ratification of or accession to international instruments containing provisions relative to the protection of women and children in armed conflicts, including the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War, of 1949, the Protocols Additional to the Geneva Conventions of 1949 relating to the Protection of Victims of International Armed Conflicts (Protocol I) and to the Protection of Victims of Non-International Armed Conflicts (Protocol II); 24
      • Respect fully the norms of international humanitarian law in armed conflicts and take all measures required for the protection of women and children, in particular against rape, forced prostitution and any other form of indecent assault;
      • Strengthen the role of women and ensure equal representation of women at all decision-making levels in national and international institutions which may make or influence policy with regard to matters related to peace-keeping, preventive diplomacy and related activities and in all stages of peace mediation and negotiations, taking note of the specific recommendations of the Secretary-General in his strategic plan of action for the improvement of the status of women in the Secretariat (1995-2000) (A/49/587, sect. IV).

      145. By Governments and international and regional organizations:

      • Reaffirm the right of self-determination of all peoples, in particular of peoples under colonial or other forms of alien domination or foreign occupation, and the importance of the effective realization of this right, as enunciated, inter alia, in the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, 2 adopted by the World Conference on Human Rights;
      • Encourage diplomacy, negotiation and peaceful settlement of disputes in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, in particular Article 2, paragraphs 3 and 4 thereof;
      • Urge the identification and condemnation of the systematic practice of rape and other forms of inhuman and degrading treatment of women as a deliberate instrument of war and ethnic cleansing and take steps to ensure that full assistance is provided to the victims of such abuse for their physical and mental rehabilitation;
      • Reaffirm that rape in the conduct of armed conflict constitutes a war crime and under certain circumstances it constitutes a crime against humanity and an act of genocide as defined in the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide; 27 take all measures required for the protection of women and children from such acts and strengthen mechanisms to investigate and punish all those responsible and bring the perpetrators to justice;
      • Uphold and reinforce standards set out in international humanitarian law and international human rights instruments to prevent all acts of violence against women in situations of armed and other conflicts; undertake a full investigation of all acts of violence against women committed during war, including rape, in particular systematic rape, forced prostitution and other forms of indecent assault and sexual slavery; prosecute all criminals responsible for war crimes against women and provide full redress to women victims;
      • Call upon the international community to condemn and act against all forms and manifestations of terrorism;
      • Take into account gender-sensitive concerns in developing training programmes for all relevant personnel on international humanitarian law and human rights awareness and recommend such training for those involved in United Nations peace-keeping and humanitarian aid, with a view to preventing violence against women, in particular;
      • Discourage the adoption of and refrain from any unilateral measure not in accordance with international law and the Charter of the United Nations, that impedes the full achievement of economic and social development by the population of the affected countries, in particular women and children, that hinders their well-being and that creates obstacles to the full enjoyment of their human rights, including the right of everyone to a standard of living adequate for their health and well-being and their right to food, medical care and the necessary social services. This Conference reaffirms that food and medicine must not be used as a tool for political pressure;
      • Take measures in accordance with international law with a view to alleviating the negative impact of economic sanctions on women and children.

      Strategic objective E.4. Promote women's contribution to fostering a culture of peace

      Actions to be taken

      146. By Governments, international and regional intergovernmental institutions and non-governmental organizations:

      • Promote peaceful conflict resolution and peace, reconciliation and tolerance through education, training, community actions and youth exchange programmes, in particular for young women;
      • Encourage the further development of peace research, involving the participation of women, to examine the impact of armed conflict on women and children and the nature and contribution of women's participation in national, regional and international peace movements; engage in research and identify innovative mechanisms for containing violence and for conflict resolution for public dissemination and for use by women and men;
      • Consider establishing educational programmes for girls and boys to foster a culture of peace, focusing on conflict resolution by non-violent means and the promotion of tolerance.

      Strategic objective E.5. Provide protection, assistance and training to refugee women, other displaced women in need of international protection and internally displaced women

      Actions to be taken

      147. By Governments, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations and other institutions involved in providing protection, assistance and training to refugee women, other displaced women in need of international protection and internally displaced women, including the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the World Food Programme, as appropriate:

      • Take steps to ensure that women are fully involved in the planning, design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of all short-term and long-term projects and programmes providing assistance to refugee women, other displaced women in need of international protection and internally displaced women, including the management of refugee camps and resources; ensure that refugee and displaced women and girls have direct access to the services provided;
      • Offer adequate protection and assistance to women and children displaced within their country and find solutions to the root causes of their displacement with a view to preventing it and, when appropriate, facilitate their return or resettlement;
      • Take steps to protect the safety and physical integrity of refugee women, other displaced women in need of international protection and internally displaced women during their displacement and upon their return to their communities of origin, including programmes of rehabilitation; take effective measures to protect from violence women who are refugees or displaced; hold an impartial and thorough investigation of any such violations and bring those responsible to justice;
      • While fully respecting and strictly observing the principle of non-refoulement of refugees, take all the necessary steps to ensure the right of refugee and displaced women to return voluntarily to their place of origin in safety and with dignity, and their right to protection after their return;
      • Take measures, at the national level with international cooperation, as appropriate, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, to find lasting solutions to questions related to internally displaced women, including their right to voluntary and safe return to their home of origin;
      • Ensure that the international community and its international organizations provide financial and other resources for emergency relief and other longer-term assistance that takes into account the specific needs, resources and potentials of refugee women, other displaced women in need of international protection and internally displaced women; in the provision of protection and assistance, take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women and girls in order to ensure equal access to appropriate and adequate food, water and shelter, education, and social and health services, including reproductive health care and maternity care and services to combat tropical diseases;
      • Facilitate the availability of educational materials in the appropriate language-in emergency situations also-in order to minimize disruption of schooling among refugee and displaced children;
      • Apply international norms to ensure equal access and equal treatment of women and men in refugee determination procedures and the granting of asylum, including full respect and strict observation of the principle of non-refoulement through, inter alia, bringing national immigration regulations into conformity with relevant international instruments, and consider recognizing as refugees those women whose claim to refugee status is based upon the well-founded fear of persecution for reasons enumerated in the 1951 Convention 28 and the 1967 Protocol 29 relating to the Status of Refugees, including persecution through sexual violence or other gender-related persecution, and provide access to specially trained officers, including female officers, to interview women regarding sensitive or painful experiences, such as sexual assault;
      • Support and promote efforts by States towards the development of criteria and guidelines on responses to persecution specifically aimed at women, by sharing information on States’ initiatives to develop such criteria and guidelines and by monitoring to ensure their fair and consistent application;
      • Promote the self-reliant capacities of refugee women, other displaced women in need of international protection and internally displaced women and provide programmes for women, particularly young women, in leadership and decision-making within refugee and returnee communities;
      • Ensure that the human rights of refugee and displaced women are protected and that refugee and displaced women are made aware of these rights; ensure that the vital importance of family reunification is recognized;
      • l Provide, as appropriate, women who have been determined refugees with access to vocational/professional training programmes, including language training, small-scale enterprise development training and planning and counselling on all forms of violence against women, which should include rehabilitation programmes for victims of torture and trauma; Governments and other donors should contribute adequately to assistance programmes for refugee women, other displaced women in need of international protection and internally displaced women, taking into account in particular the effects on the host countries of the increasing requirements of large refugee populations and the need to widen the donor base and to achieve greater burden-sharing;
      • Raise public awareness of the contribution made by refugee women to their countries of resettlement, promote understanding of their human rights and of their needs and abilities and encourage mutual understanding and acceptance through educational programmes promoting cross-cultural and interracial harmony;
      • Provide basic and support services to women who are displaced from their place of origin as a result of terrorism, violence, drug trafficking or other reasons linked to violence situations;
      • Develop awareness of the human rights of women and provide, as appropriate, human rights education and training to military and police personnel operating in areas of armed conflict and areas where there are refugees.

      148. By Governments:

      • Disseminate and implement the UNHCR Guidelines on the Protection of Refugee Women and the UNHCR Guidelines on Evaluation and Care of Victims of Trauma and Violence, or provide similar guidance, in close cooperation with refugee women and in all sectors of refugee programmes;
      • Protect women and children who migrate as family members from abuse or denial of their human rights by sponsors and consider extending their stay, should the family relationship dissolve, within the limits of national legislation.

      Strategic objective E.6. Provide assistance to the women of the colonies and non-self-governing territories

      Actions to be taken

      149. By Governments and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations:

      • Support and promote the implementation of the right of self-determination of all peoples as enunciated, inter alia, in the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action by providing special programmes in leadership and in training for decision-making;
      • Raise public awareness, as appropriate, through the mass media, education at all levels and special programmes to create a better understanding of the situation of women of the colonies and non-selfgoverning territories.
      F. Women and the Economy

      150. There are considerable differences in women's and men's access to and opportunities to exert power over economic structures in their societies. In most parts of the world, women are virtually absent from or are poorly represented in economic decision-making, including the formulation of financial, monetary, commercial and other economic policies, as well as tax systems and rules governing pay. Since it is often within the framework of such policies that individual men and women make their decisions, inter alia, on how to divide their time between remunerated and unremunerated work, the actual development of these economic structures and policies has a direct impact on women's and men's access to economic resources, their economic power and consequently the extent of equality between them at the individual and family levels as well as in society as a whole.

      151. In many regions, women's participation in remunerated work in the formal and non-formal labour market has increased significantly and has changed during the past decade. While women continue to work in agriculture and fisheries, they have also become increasingly involved in micro, small and medium-sized enterprises and, in some cases, have become more dominant in the expanding informal sector. Due to, inter alia, difficult economic situations and a lack of bargaining power resulting from gender inequality, many women have been forced to accept low pay and poor working conditions and thus have often become preferred workers. On the other hand, women have entered the workforce increasingly by choice when they have become aware of and demanded their rights. Some have succeeded in entering and advancing in the workplace and improving their pay and working conditions. However, women have been particularly affected by the economic situation and restructuring processes, which have changed the nature of employment and, in some cases, have led to a loss of jobs, even for professional and skilled women. In addition, many women have entered the informal sector owing to the lack of other opportunities. Women's participation and gender concerns are still largely absent from and should be integrated in the policy formulation process of the multilateral institutions that define the terms and, in cooperation with Governments, set the goals of structural adjustment programmes, loans and grants.

      152. Discrimination in education and training, hiring and remuneration, promotion and horizontal mobility practices, as well as inflexible working conditions, lack of access to productive resources and inadequate sharing of family responsibilities, combined with a lack of or insufficient services such as child care, continue to restrict employment, economic, professional and other opportunities and mobility for women and make their involvement stressful. Moreover, attitudinal obstacles inhibit women's participation in developing economic policy and in some regions restrict the access of women and girls to education and training for economic management.

      153. Women's share in the labour force continues to rise and almost everywhere women are working more outside the household, although there has not been a parallel lightening of responsibility for unremunerated work in the household and community. Women's income is becoming increasingly necessary to households of all types. In some regions, there has been a growth in women's entrepreneurship and other self-reliant activities, particularly in the informal sector. In many countries, women are the majority of workers in non-standard work, such as temporary, casual, multiple part-time, contract and home-based employment.

      154. Women migrant workers, including domestic workers, contribute to the economy of the sending country through their remittances and also to the economy of the receiving country through their participation in the labour force. However, in many receiving countries, migrant women experience higher levels of unemployment compared with both non-migrant workers and male migrant workers.

      155. Insufficient attention to gender analysis has meant that women's contributions and concerns remain too often ignored in economic structures, such as financial markets and institutions, labour markets, economics as an academic discipline, economic and social infrastructure, taxation and social security systems, as well as in families and households. As a result, many policies and programmes may continue to contribute to inequalities between women and men. Where progress has been made in integrating gender perspectives, programme and policy effectiveness has also been enhanced.

      156. Although many women have advanced in economic structures, for the majority of women, particularly those who face additional barriers, continuing obstacles have hindered their ability to achieve economic autonomy and to ensure sustainable livelihoods for themselves and their dependants. Women are active in a variety of economic areas, which they often combine, ranging from wage labour and subsistence farming and fishing to the informal sector. However, legal and customary barriers to ownership of or access to land, natural resources, capital, credit, technology and other means of production, as well as wage differentials, contribute to impeding the economic progress of women. Women contribute to development not only through remunerated work but also through a great deal of unremunerated work. On the one hand, women participate in the production of goods and services for the market and household consumption, in agriculture, food production or family enterprises. Though included in the United Nations System of National Accounts and therefore in international standards for labour statistics, this unremunerated work particularly that related to agriculture-is often undervalued and under-recorded. On the other hand, women still also perform the great majority of unremunerated domestic work and community work, such as caring for children and older persons, preparing food for the family, protecting the environment and providing voluntary assistance to vulnerable and disadvantaged individuals and groups. This work is often not measured in quantitative terms and is not valued in national accounts. Women's contribution to development is seriously underestimated, and thus its social recognition is limited. The full visibility of the type, extent and distribution of this unremunerated work will also contribute to a better sharing of responsibilities.

      157. Although some new employment opportunities have been created for women as a result of the globalization of the economy, there are also trends that have exacerbated inequalities between women and men. At the same time, globalization, including economic integration, can create pressures on the employment situation of women to adjust to new circumstances and to find new sources of employment as patterns of trade change. More analysis needs to be done of the impact of globalization on women's economic status.

      158. These trends have been characterized by low wages, little or no labour standards protection, poor working conditions, particularly with regard to women's occupational health and safety, low skill levels, and a lack of job security and social security, in both the formal and informal sectors. Women's unemployment is a serious and increasing problem in many countries and sectors. Young workers in the informal and rural sectors and migrant female workers remain the least protected by labour and immigration laws. Women, particularly those who are heads of households with young children, are limited in their employment opportunities for reasons that include inflexible working conditions and inadequate sharing, by men and by society, of family responsibilities.

      159. In countries that are undergoing fundamental political, economic and social transformation, the skills of women, if better utilized, could constitute a major contribution to the economic life of their respective countries. Their input should continue to be developed and supported and their potential further realized.

      160. Lack of employment in the private sector and reductions in public services and public service jobs have affected women disproportionately. In some countries, women take on more unpaid work, such as the care of children and those who are ill or elderly, compensating for lost household income, particularly when public services are not available. In many cases, employment creation strategies have not paid sufficient attention to occupations and sectors where women predominate; nor have they adequately promoted the access of women to those occupations and sectors that are traditionally male.

      161. For those women in paid work, many experience obstacles that prevent them from achieving their potential. While some are increasingly found in lower levels of management, attitudinal discrimination often prevents them from being promoted further. The experience of sexual harassment is an affront to a worker's dignity and prevents women from making a contribution commensurate with their abilities. The lack of a family-friendly work environment, including a lack of appropriate and affordable child care, and inflexible working hours further prevent women from achieving their full potential.

      162. In the private sector, including transnational and national enterprises, women are largely absent from management and policy levels, denoting discriminatory hiring and promotion policies and practices. The unfavourable work environment as well as the limited number of employment opportunities available have led many women to seek alternatives. Women have increasingly become self-employed and owners and managers of micro, small and medium-scale enterprises. The expansion of the informal sector, in many countries, and of self-organized and independent enterprises is in large part due to women, whose collaborative, self-help and traditional practices and initiatives in production and trade represent a vital economic resource. When they gain access to and control over capital, credit and other resources, technology and training, women can increase production, marketing and income for sustainable development.

      163. Taking into account the fact that continuing inequalities and noticeable progress coexist, rethinking employment policies is necessary in order to integrate the gender perspective and to draw attention to a wider range of opportunities as well as to address any negative gender implications of current patterns of work and employment. To realize fully equality between women and men in their contribution to the economy, active efforts are required for equal recognition and appreciation of the influence that the work, experience, knowledge and values of both women and men have in society.

      164. In addressing the economic potential and independence of women, Governments and other actors should promote an active and visible policy of mainstreaming a gender perspective in all policies and programmes so that before decisions are taken, an analysis is made of the effects on women and men, respectively.

      Strategic objective F.1. Promote women's economic rights and independence, including access to employment, appropriate working conditions and control over economic resources

      Actions to be taken

      165. By Governments:

      • Enact and enforce legislation to guarantee the rights of women and men to equal pay for equal work or work of equal value;
      • Adopt and implement laws against discrimination based on sex in the labour market, especially considering older women workers, hiring and promotion, the extension of employment benefits and social security, and working conditions;
      • Eliminate discriminatory practices by employers and take appropriate measures in consideration of women's reproductive role and functions, such as the denial of employment and dismissal due to pregnancy or breast-feeding, or requiring proof of contraceptive use, and take effective measures to ensure that pregnant women, women on maternity leave or women re-entering the labour market after childbearing are not discriminated against;
      • Devise mechanisms and take positive action to enable women to gain access to full and equal participation in the formulation of policies and definition of structures through such bodies as ministries of finance and trade, national economic commissions, economic research institutes and other key agencies, as well as through their participation in appropriate international bodies;
      • Undertake legislation and administrative reforms to give women equal rights with men to economic resources, including access to ownership and control over land and other forms of property, credit, inheritance, natural resources and appropriate new technology;
      • Conduct reviews of national income and inheritance tax and social security systems to eliminate any existing bias against women;
      • Seek to develop a more comprehensive knowledge of work and employment through, inter alia, efforts to measure and better understand the type, extent and distribution of unremunerated work, particularly work in caring for dependants and unremunerated work done for family farms or businesses, and encourage the sharing and dissemination of information on studies and experience in this field, including the development of methods for assessing its value in quantitative terms, for possible reflection in accounts that may be produced separately from, but consistent with, core national accounts;
      • Review and amend laws governing the operation of financial institutions to ensure that they provide services to women and men on an equal basis;
      • Facilitate, at appropriate levels, more open and transparent budget processes;
      • Revise and implement national policies that support the traditional savings, credit and lending mechanisms for women;
      • Seek to ensure that national policies related to international and regional trade agreements do not have an adverse impact on women's new and traditional economic activities;
      • Ensure that all corporations, including transnational corporations, comply with national laws and codes, social security regulations, applicable international agreements, instruments and conventions, including those related to the environment, and other relevant laws;
      • Adjust employment policies to facilitate the restructuring of work patterns in order to promote the sharing of family responsibilities;
      • Establish mechanisms and other forums to enable women entrepreneurs and women workers to contribute to the formulation of policies and programmes being developed by economic ministries and financial institutions;
      • Enact and enforce equal opportunity laws, take positive action and ensure compliance by the public and private sectors through various means;
      • Use gender-impact analyses in the development of macro and micro-economic and social policies in order to monitor such impact and restructure policies in cases where harmful impact occurs;
      • Promote gender-sensitive policies and measures to empower women as equal partners with men in technical, managerial and entrepreneurial fields; Reform laws or enact national policies that support the establishment of labour laws to ensure the protection of all women workers, including safe work practices, the right to organize and access to justice.

      Strategic objective F.2. Facilitate women's equal access to resources, employment, markets and trade

      Actions to be taken

      166. By Governments:

      • Promote and support women's self-employment and the development of small enterprises, and strengthen women's access to credit and capital on appropriate terms equal to those of men through the scaling-up of institutions dedicated to promoting women's entrepreneurship, including, as appropriate, non-traditional and mutual credit schemes, as well as innovative linkages with financial institutions;
      • Strengthen the incentive role of the State as employer to develop a policy of equal opportunities for women and men;
      • Enhance, at the national and local levels, rural women's income-generating potential by facilitating their equal access to and control over productive resources, land, credit, capital, property rights, development programmes and cooperative structures;
      • Promote and strengthen micro-enterprises, new small businesses, cooperative enterprises, expanded markets and other employment opportunities and, where appropriate, facilitate the transition from the informal to the formal sector, especially in rural areas;
      • Create and modify programmes and policies that recognize and strengthen women's vital role in food security and provide paid and unpaid women producers, especially those involved in food production, such as farming, fishing and aquaculture, as well as urban enterprises, with equal access to appropriate technologies, transportation, extension services, marketing and credit facilities at the local and community levels;
      • Establish appropriate mechanisms and encourage intersectoral institutions that enable women's cooperatives to optimize access to necessary services;
      • Increase the proportion of women extension workers and other government personnel who provide technical assistance or administer economic programmes;
      • Review, reformulate, if necessary, and implement policies, including business, commercial and contract law and government regulations, to ensure that they do not discriminate against micro, small and medium-scale enterprises owned by women in rural and urban areas;
      • Analyse, advise on, coordinate and implement policies that integrate the needs and interests of employed, self-employed and entrepreneurial women into sectoral and inter-ministerial policies, programmes and budgets;
      • Ensure equal access for women to effective job training, retraining, counselling and placement services that are not limited to traditional employment areas;
      • Remove policy and regulatory obstacles faced by women in social and development programmes that discourage private and individual initiative;
      • Safeguard and promote respect for basic workers’ rights, including the prohibition of forced labour and child labour, freedom of association and the right to organize and bargain collectively, equal remuneration for men and women for work of equal value and non-discrimination in employment, fully implementing the conventions of the International Labour Organization in the case of States Parties to those conventions and, taking into account the principles embodied in the case of those countries that are not parties to those conventions in order to achieve truly sustained economic growth and sustainable development.

      167. By Governments, central banks and national development banks, and private banking institutions, as appropriate:

      • Increase the participation of women, including women entrepreneurs, in advisory boards and other forums to enable women entrepreneurs from all sectors and their organizations to contribute to the formulation and review of policies and programmes being developed by economic ministries and banking institutions;
      • Mobilize the banking sector to increase lending and refinancing through incentives and the development of intermediaries that serve the needs of women entrepreneurs and producers in both rural and urban areas, and include women in their leadership, planning and decision-making;
      • Structure services to reach rural and urban women involved in micro, small and medium-scale enterprises, with special attention to young women, low-income women, those belonging to ethnic and racial minorities, and indigenous women who lack access to capital and assets; and expand women's access to financial markets by identifying and encouraging financial supervisory and regulatory reforms that support financial institutions’ direct and indirect efforts to better meet the credit and other financial needs of the micro, small and medium-scale enterprises of women;
      • Ensure that women's priorities are included in public investment programmes for economic infrastructure, such as water and sanitation, electrification and energy conservation, transport and road construction; promote greater involvement of women beneficiaries at the project planning and implementation stages to ensure access to jobs and contracts.

      168. By Governments and non-governmental organizations:

      • Pay special attention to women's needs when disseminating market, trade and resource information and provide appropriate training in these fields;
      • Encourage community economic development strategies that build on partnerships among Governments, and encourage members of civil society to create jobs and address the social circumstances of individuals, families and communities.

      169. By multilateral funders and regional development banks, as well as bilateral and private funding agencies, at the international, regional and subregional levels:

      • Review, where necessary reformulate, and implement policies, programmes and projects, to ensure that a higher proportion of resources reach women in rural and remote areas;
      • Develop flexible funding arrangements to finance intermediary institutions that target women's economic activities, and promote self-sufficiency and increased capacity in and profitability of women's economic enterprises;
      • Develop strategies to consolidate and strengthen their assistance to the micro, small and medium-scale enterprise sector, in order to enhance the opportunities for women to participate fully and equally and work together to coordinate and enhance the effectiveness of this sector, drawing upon expertise and financial resources from within their own organizations as well as from bilateral agencies, Governments and non-governmental organizations.

      170. By international, multilateral and bilateral development cooperation organizations: Support, through the provision of capital and/or resources, financial institutions that serve low-income, small and micro-scale women entrepreneurs and producers in both the formal and informal sectors.

      171. By Governments and/or multilateral financial institutions: Review rules and procedures of formal national and international financial institutions that obstruct replication of the Grameen Bank prototype, which provides credit facilities to rural women.

      172. By international organizations: Provide adequate support for programmes and projects designed to promote sustainable and productive entrepreneurial activities among women, in particular the disadvantaged.

      Strategic objective F.3. Provide business services, training and access to markets, information and technology, particularly to low-income women

      Actions to be taken

      173. By Governments in cooperation with non-governmental organizations and the private sector:

      • Provide public infrastructure to ensure equal market access for women and men entrepreneurs;
      • Develop programmes that provide training and retraining, particularly in new technologies, and affordable services to women in business management, product development, financing, production and quality control, marketing and the legal aspects of business;
      • Provide outreach programmes to inform low-income and poor women, particularly in rural and remote areas, of opportunities for market and technology access, and provide assistance in taking advantage of such opportunities;
      • Create non-discriminatory support services, including investment funds for women's businesses, and target women, particularly low-income women, in trade promotion programmes;
      • Disseminate information about successful women entrepreneurs in both traditional and non-traditional economic activities and the skills necessary to achieve success, and facilitate networking and the exchange of information;
      • Take measures to ensure equal access of women to ongoing training in the workplace, including unemployed women, single parents, women re-entering the labour market after an extended temporary exit from employment owing to family responsibilities and other causes, and women displaced by new forms of production or by retrenchment, and increase incentives to enterprises to expand the number of vocational and training centres that provide training for women in non-traditional areas;
      • Provide affordable support services, such as high-quality, flexible and affordable childcare services, that take into account the needs of working men and women.

      174. By local, national, regional and international business organizations and non-governmental organizations concerned with women's issues:

      Advocate, at all levels, for the promotion and support of women's businesses and enterprises, including those in the informal sector, and the equal access of women to productive resources.

      Strategic objective F.4. Strengthen women's economic capacity and commercial networks

      Actions to be taken

      175. By Governments:

      • Adopt policies that support business organizations, non-governmental organizations, cooperatives, revolving loan funds, credit unions, grass-roots organizations, women's self-help groups and other groups in order to provide services to women entrepreneurs in rural and urban areas;
      • Integrate a gender perspective into all economic restructuring and structural adjustment policies and design programmes for women who are affected by economic restructuring, including structural adjustment programmes, and for women who work in the informal sector;
      • Adopt policies that create an enabling environment for women's self-help groups, workers’ organizations and cooperatives through non-conventional forms of support and by recognizing the right to freedom of association and the right to organize;
      • Support programmes that enhance the self-reliance of special groups of women, such as young women, women with disabilities, elderly women and women belonging to racial and ethnic minorities;
      • Promote gender equality through the promotion of women's studies and through the use of the results of studies and gender research in all fields, including the economic, scientific and technological fields;
      • Support the economic activities of indigenous women, taking into account their traditional knowledge, so as to improve their situation and development;
      • Adopt policies to extend or maintain the protection of labour laws and social security provisions for those who do paid work in the home;
      • Recognize and encourage the contribution of research by women scientists and technologists;
      • Ensure that policies and regulations do not discriminate against micro, small and medium-scale enterprises run by women.

      176. By financial intermediaries, national training institutes, credit unions, non-governmental organizations, women's associations, professional organizations and the private sector, as appropriate:

      • Provide, at the national, regional and international levels, training in a variety of business-related and financial management and technical skills to enable women, especially young women, to participate in economic policy-making at those levels;
      • Provide business services, including marketing and trade information, product design and innovation, technology transfer and quality, to women's business enterprises, including those in export sectors of the economy;
      • Promote technical and commercial links and establish joint ventures among women entrepreneurs at the national, regional and international levels to support community-based initiatives;
      • Strengthen the participation of women, including marginalized women, in production and marketing cooperatives by providing marketing and financial support, especially in rural and remote areas;
      • Promote and strengthen women's micro-enterprises, new small businesses, cooperative enterprises, expanded markets and other employment opportunities and, where appropriate, facilitate the transition from the informal to the formal sector, in rural and urban areas;
      • Invest capital and develop investment portfolios to finance women's business enterprises;
      • Give adequate attention to providing technical assistance, advisory services, training and retraining for women connected with the entry to the market economy;
      • Support credit networks and innovative ventures, including traditional savings schemes;
      • Provide networking arrangements for entrepreneurial women, including opportunities for the mentoring of inexperienced women by the more experienced;
      • Encourage community organizations and public authorities to establish loan pools for women entrepreneurs, drawing on successful small-scale cooperative models.

      177. By the private sector, including transnational and national corporations:

      • Adopt policies and establish mechanisms to grant contracts on a non-discriminatory basis;
      • Recruit women for leadership, decision-making and management and provide training programmes, all on an equal basis with men;
      • Observe national labour, environment, consumer, health and safety laws, particularly those that affect women.

      Strategic objective F.5. Eliminate occupational segregation and all forms of employment discrimination

      Actions to be taken

      178. By Governments, employers, employees, trade unions and women's organizations:

      • Implement and enforce laws and regulations and encourage voluntary codes of conduct that ensure that international labour standards, such as International Labour Organization Convention No. 100 on equal pay and workers’ rights, apply equally to female and male workers;
      • Enact and enforce laws and introduce implementing measures, including means of redress and access to justice in cases of non-compliance, to prohibit direct and indirect discrimination on grounds of sex, including by reference to marital or family status, in relation to access to employment, conditions of employment, including training, promotion, health and safety, as well as termination of employment and social security of workers, including legal protection against sexual and racial harassment;
      • Enact and enforce laws and develop workplace policies against gender discrimination in the labour market, especially considering older women workers, in hiring and promotion, and in the extension of employment benefits and social security, as well as regarding discriminatory working conditions and sexual harassment; mechanisms should be developed for the regular review and monitoring of such laws;
      • Eliminate discriminatory practices by employers on the basis of women's reproductive roles and functions, including refusal of employment and dismissal of women due to pregnancy and breast-feeding responsibilities;
      • Develop and promote employment programmes and services for women entering and/or re-entering the labour market, especially poor urban, rural and young women, the self-employed and those negatively affected by structural adjustment;
      • Implement and monitor positive public-and private-sector employment, equity and positive action programmes to address systemic discrimination against women in the labour force, in particular women with disabilities and women belonging to other disadvantaged groups, with respect to hiring, retention and promotion, and vocational training of women in all sectors;
      • Eliminate occupational segregation, especially by promoting the equal participation of women in highly skilled jobs and senior management positions, and through other measures, such as counselling and placement, that stimulate their on-the-job career development and upward mobility in the labour market, and by stimulating the diversification of occupational choices by both women and men; encourage women to take up non-traditional jobs, especially in science and technology, and encourage men to seek employment in the social sector;
      • Recognize collective bargaining as a right and as an important mechanism for eliminating wage inequality for women and to improve working conditions;
      • Promote the election of women trade union officials and ensure that trade union officials elected to represent women are given job protection and physical security in connection with the discharge of their functions;
      • Ensure access to and develop special programmes to enable women with disabilities to obtain and retain employment, and ensure access to education and training at all proper levels, in accordance with the Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities; 30 adjust working conditions, to the extent possible, in order to suit the needs of women with disabilities, who should be assured legal protection against unfounded job loss on account of their disabilities;
      • Increase efforts to close the gap between women's and men's pay, take steps to implement the principle of equal remuneration for equal work of equal value by strengthening legislation, including compliance with international labour laws and standards, and encourage job evaluation schemes with gender-neutral criteria;
      • Establish and/or strengthen mechanisms to adjudicate matters relating to wage discrimination;
      • Set specific target dates for eliminating all forms of child labour that are contrary to accepted international standards and ensure the full enforcement of relevant existing laws and, where appropriate, enact the legislation necessary to implement the Convention on the Rights of the Child and International Labour Organization standards, ensuring the protection of working children, in particular, street children, through the provision of appropriate health, education and other social services;
      • Ensure that strategies to eliminate child labour also address the excessive demands made on some girls for unpaid work in their household and other households, where applicable;
      • Review, analyse and, where appropriate, reformulate the wage structures in female-dominated professions, such as teaching, nursing and child care, with a view to raising their low status and earnings;
      • Facilitate the productive employment of documented migrant women (including women who have been determined refugees according to the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees) through greater recognition of foreign education and credentials and by adopting an integrated approach to labour market training that incorporates language training.

      Strategic objective F.6. Promote harmonization of work and family responsibilities for women and men

      Actions to be taken

      179. By Governments:

      • Adopt policies to ensure the appropriate protection of labour laws and social security benefits for part-time, temporary, seasonal and home-based workers; promote career development based on work conditions that harmonize work and family responsibilities;
      • Ensure that full and part-time work can be freely chosen by women and men on an equal basis, and consider appropriate protection for atypical workers in terms of access to employment, working conditions and social security;
      • Ensure, through legislation, incentives and/or encouragement, opportunities for women and men to take job-protected parental leave and to have parental benefits; promote the equal sharing of responsibilities for the family by men and women, including through appropriate legislation, incentives and/or encouragement, and also promote the facilitation of breast-feeding for working mothers;
      • Develop policies, inter alia, in education to change attitudes that reinforce the division of labour based on gender in order to promote the concept of shared family responsibility for work in the home, particularly in relation to children and elder care;
      • Improve the development of, and access to, technologies that facilitate occupational as well as domestic work, encourage self-support, generate income, transform gender-prescribed roles within the productive process and enable women to move out of low-paying jobs;
      • Examine a range of policies and programmes, including social security legislation and taxation systems, in accordance with national priorities and policies, to determine how to promote gender equality and flexibility in the way people divide their time between and derive benefits from education and training, paid employment, family responsibilities, volunteer activity and other socially useful forms of work, rest and leisure.

      180. By Governments, the private sector and non-governmental organizations, trade unions and the United Nations, as appropriate:

      • Adopt appropriate measures involving relevant governmental bodies and employers’ and employees’ associations so that women and men are able to take temporary leave from employment, have transferable employment and retirement benefits and make arrangements to modify work hours without sacrificing their prospects for development and advancement at work and in their careers;
      • Design and provide educational programmes through innovative media campaigns and school and community education programmes to raise awareness on gender equality and non-stereotyped gender roles of women and men within the family; provide support services and facilities, such as on-site child care at workplaces and flexible working arrangements;
      • Enact and enforce laws against sexual and other forms of harassment in all workplaces.
      G. Women in Power and Decision-Making

      181. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that everyone has the right to take part in the Government of his/her country. The empowerment and autonomy of women and the improvement of women's social, economic and political status is essential for the achievement of both transparent and accountable government and administration and sustainable development in all areas of life. The power relations that prevent women from leading fulfilling lives operate at many levels of society, from the most personal to the highly public. Achieving the goal of equal participation of women and men in decision-making will provide a balance that more accurately reflects the composition of society and is needed in order to strengthen democracy and promote its proper functioning. Equality in political decision-making performs a leverage function without which it is highly unlikely that a real integration of the equality dimension in government policy-making is feasible. In this respect, women's equal participation in political life plays a pivotal role in the general process of the advancement of women. Women's equal participation in decision-making is not only a demand for simple justice or democracy but can also be seen as a necessary condition for women's interests to be taken into account. Without the active participation of women and the incorporation of women's perspective at all levels of decision-making, the goals of equality, development and peace cannot be achieved.

      182. Despite the widespread movement towards democratization in most countries, women are largely underrepresented at most levels of government, especially in ministerial and other executive bodies, and have made little progress in attaining political power in legislative bodies or in achieving the target endorsed by the Economic and Social Council of having 30 per cent women in positions at decision-making levels by 1995. Globally, only 10 per cent of the members of legislative bodies and a lower percentage of ministerial positions are now held by women. Indeed, some countries, including those that are undergoing fundamental political, economic and social changes, have seen a significant decrease in the number of women represented in legislative bodies. Although women make up at least half of the electorate in almost all countries and have attained the right to vote and hold office in almost all States Members of the United Nations, women continue to be seriously underrepresented as candidates for public office. The traditional working patterns of many political parties and government structures continue to be barriers to women's participation in public life. Women may be discouraged from seeking political office by discriminatory attitudes and practices, family and child-care responsibilities, and the high cost of seeking and holding public office. Women in politics and decision-making positions in Governments and legislative bodies contribute to redefining political priorities, placing new items on the political agenda that reflect and address women's gender-specific concerns, values and experiences, and providing new perspectives on mainstream political issues.

      183. Women have demonstrated considerable leadership in community and informal organizations, as well as in public office. However, socialization and negative stereotyping of women and men, including stereotyping through the media, reinforces the tendency for political decision-making to remain the domain of men. Likewise, the underrepresentation of women in decision-making positions in the areas of art, culture, sports, the media, education, religion and the law have prevented women from having a significant impact on many key institutions.

      184. Owing to their limited access to the traditional avenues to power, such as the decisionmaking bodies of political parties, employer organizations and trade unions, women have gained access to power through alternative structures, particularly in the non-governmental organization sector. Through non-governmental organizations and grass-roots organizations, women have been able to articulate their interests and concerns and have placed women's issues on the national, regional and international agendas.

      185. Inequality in the public arena can often start with discriminatory attitudes and practices and unequal power relations between women and men within the family, as defined in paragraph 29 above. The unequal division of labour and responsibilities within households based on unequal power relations also limits women's potential to find the time and develop the skills required for participation in decision-making in wider public forums. A more equal sharing of those responsibilities between women and men not only provides a better quality of life for women and their daughters but also enhances their opportunities to shape and design public policy, practice and expenditure so that their interests may be recognized and addressed. Non-formal networks and patterns of decision-making at the local community level that reflect a dominant male ethos restrict women's ability to participate equally in political, economic and social life.

      186. The low proportion of women among economic and political decision makers at the local, national, regional and international levels reflects structural and attitudinal barriers that need to be addressed through positive measures. Governments, transnational and national corporations, the mass media, banks, academic and scientific institutions, and regional and international organizations, including those in the United Nations system, do not make full use of women's talents as top-level managers, policy makers, diplomats and negotiators.

      187. The equitable distribution of power and decision-making at all levels is dependent on Governments and other actors undertaking statistical gender analysis and mainstreaming a gender perspective in policy development and the implementation of programmes. Equality in decision-making is essential to the empowerment of women. In some countries, affirmative action has led to 33.3 per cent or larger representation in local and national Governments.

      187. National, regional and international statistical institutions still have insufficient knowledge of how to present the issues related to the equal treatment of women and men in the economic and social spheres. In particular, there is insufficient use of existing databases and methodologies in the important sphere of decision-making.

      188. In addressing the inequality between men and women in the sharing of power and decision-making at all levels, Governments and other actors should promote an active and visible policy of mainstreaming a gender perspective in all policies and programmes so that before decisions are taken, an analysis is made of the effects on women and men, respectively.

      Strategic objective G.1. Take measures to ensure women's equal access to and full participation in power structures and decision-making

      Actions to be taken

      190. By Governments:

      • Commit themselves to establishing the goal of gender balance in governmental bodies and committees, as well as in public administrative entities, and in the judiciary, including, inter alia, setting specific targets and implementing measures to substantially increase the number of women with a view to achieving equal representation of women and men, if necessary through positive action, in all governmental and public administration positions;
      • Take measures, including, where appropriate, in electoral systems that encourage political parties to integrate women in elective and non-elective public positions in the same proportion and at the same levels as men;
      • Protect and promote the equal rights of women and men to engage in political activities and to freedom of association, including membership in political parties and trade unions;
      • Review the differential impact of electoral systems on the political representation of women in elected bodies and consider, where appropriate, the adjustment or reform of those systems;
      • Monitor and evaluate progress in the representation of women through the regular collection, analysis and dissemination of quantitative and qualitative data on women and men at all levels in various decision-making positions in the public and private sectors, and disseminate data on the number of women and men employed at various levels in Governments on a yearly basis; ensure that women and men have equal access to the full range of public appointments and set up mechanisms within governmental structures for monitoring progress in this field;
      • Support non-governmental organizations and research institutes that conduct studies on women's participation in and impact on decision-making and the decision-making environment;
      • Encourage greater involvement of indigenous women in decision-making at all levels;
      • Encourage and, where appropriate, ensure that government-funded organizations adopt non-discriminatory policies and practices in order to increase the number and raise the position of women in their organizations;
      • Recognize that shared work and parental responsibilities between women and men promote women's increased participation in public life, and take appropriate measures to achieve this, including measures to reconcile family and professional life;
      • Aim at gender balance in the lists of national candidates nominated for election or appointment to United Nations bodies, specialized agencies and other autonomous organizations of the United Nations system, particularly for posts at the senior level.

      191. By political parties:

      • Consider examining party structures and procedures to remove all barriers that directly or indirectly discriminate against the participation of women;
      • Consider developing initiatives that allow women to participate fully in all internal policy-making structures and appointive and electoral nominating processes;
      • Consider incorporating gender issues in their political agenda, taking measures to ensure that women can participate in the leadership of political parties on an equal basis with men.

      192. By Governments, national bodies, the private sector, political parties, trade unions, employers’ organizations, research and academic institutions, subregional and regional bodies and non-governmental and international organizations:

      • Take positive action to build a critical mass of women leaders, executives and managers in strategic decision-making positions;
      • Create or strengthen, as appropriate, mechanisms to monitor women's access to senior levels of decision-making;
      • Review the criteria for recruitment and appointment to advisory and decision-making bodies and promotion to senior positions to ensure that such criteria are relevant and do not discriminate against women;
      • Encourage efforts by non-governmental organizations, trade unions and the private sector to achieve equality between women and men in their ranks, including equal participation in their decision-making bodies and in negotiations in all areas and at all levels;
      • Develop communications strategies to promote public debate on the new roles of men and women in society, and in the family as defined in paragraph 29 above;
      • Restructure recruitment and career-development programmes to ensure that all women, especially young women, have equal access to managerial, entrepreneurial, technical and leadership training, including on-the-job training;
      • Develop career advancement programmes for women of all ages that include career planning, tracking, mentoring, coaching, training and retraining;
      • Encourage and support the participation of women's non-governmental organizations in United Nations conferences and their preparatory processes;
      • Aim at and support gender balance in the composition of delegations to the United Nations and other international forums.

      193. By the United Nations:

      • Implement existing and adopt new employment policies and measures in order to achieve overall gender equality, particularly at the Professional level and above, by the year 2000, with due regard to the importance of recruiting staff on as wide a geographical basis as possible, in conformity with Article 101, paragraph 3, of the Charter of the United Nations;
      • Develop mechanisms to nominate women candidates for appointment to senior posts in the United Nations, the specialized agencies and other organizations and bodies of the United Nations system;
      • Continue to collect and disseminate quantitative and qualitative data on women and men in decision-making and analyse their differential impact on decision-making and monitor progress towards achieving the Secretary-General's target of having women hold 50 per cent of managerial and decision-making positions by the year 2000.

      194. By women's organizations, non-governmental organizations, trade unions, social partners, producers, and industrial and professional organizations:

      • Build and strengthen solidarity among women through information, education and sensitization activities;
      • Advocate at all levels to enable women to influence political, economic and social decisions, processes and systems, and work towards seeking accountability from elected representatives on their commitment to gender concerns;
      • Establish, consistent with data protection legislation, databases on women and their qualification for use in appointing women to senior decision-making and advisory positions, for dissemination to Governments, regional and international organizations and private enterprise, political parties and other relevant bodies.

      Strategic objective G.2. Increase women's capacity to participate in decision-making and leadership

      Actions to be taken

      195. By Governments, national bodies, the private sector, political parties, trade unions, employers’ organizations, subregional and regional bodies, non-governmental and international organizations and educational institutions:

      • Provide leadership and self-esteem training to assist women and girls, particularly those with special needs, women with disabilities and women belonging to racial and ethnic minorities to strengthen their self-esteem and to encourage them to take decision-making positions;
      • Have transparent criteria for decision-making positions and ensure that the selecting bodies have a gender-balanced composition;
      • Create a system of mentoring for inexperienced women and, in particular, offer training, including training in leadership and decision-making, public speaking and self-assertion, as well as in political campaigning;
      • Provide gender-sensitive training for women and men to promote non-discriminatory working relationships and respect for diversity in work and management styles;
      • Develop mechanisms and training to encourage women to participate in the electoral process, political activities and other leadership areas.
      H. Institutional Mechanisms for the Advancement of Women

      196. National machineries for the advancement of women have been established in almost every Member State to, inter alia, design, promote the implementation of, execute, monitor, evaluate, advocate and mobilize support for policies that promote the advancement of women. National machineries are diverse in form and uneven in their effectiveness, and in some cases have declined. Often marginalized in national government structures, these mechanisms are frequently hampered by unclear mandates, lack of adequate staff, training, data and sufficient resources, and insufficient support from national political leadership.

      197. At the regional and international levels, mechanisms and institutions to promote the advancement of women as an integral part of mainstream political, economic, social and cultural development, and of initiatives on development and human rights, encounter similar problems emanating from a lack of commitment at the highest levels.

      198. Successive international conferences have underscored the need to take gender factors into account in policy and programme planning. However, in many instances this has not been done.

      199. Regional bodies concerned with the advancement of women have been strengthened, together with international machinery, such as the Commission on the Status of Women and the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women. However, the limited resources available continue to impede full implementation of their mandates.

      200. Methodologies for conducting gender-based analysis in policies and programmes and for dealing with the differential effects of policies on women and men have been developed in many organizations and are available for application but are often not being applied or are not being applied consistently.

      201. A national machinery for the advancement of women is the central policy-coordinating unit inside government. Its main task is to support government-wide mainstreaming of a gender-equality perspective in all policy areas. The necessary conditions for an effective functioning of such national machineries from the grass-roots upwards;

      • Location at the highest possible level in the Government, falling under the responsibility of a Cabinet minister;
      • Institutional mechanisms or processes that facilitate, as appropriate, decentralized planning, implementation and monitoring with a view to involving non-governmental organizations and community organizations from the grass-roots upwards;
      • Sufficient resources in terms of budget and professional capacity;
      • Opportunity to influence development of all government policies.

      202. In addressing the issue of mechanisms for promoting the advancement of women, Governments and other actors should promote an active and visible policy of mainstreaming a gender perspective in all policies and programmes so that, before decisions are taken, an analysis is made of the effects on women and men, respectively.

      Strategic objective H.1. Create or strengthen national machineries and other governmental bodies

      Actions to be taken

      203. By Governments:

      • Ensure that responsibility for the advancement of women is vested in the highest possible level of government; in many cases, this could be at the level of a Cabinet minister;
      • Based on a strong political commitment, create a national machinery, where it does not exist, and strengthen, as appropriate, existing national machineries, for the advancement of women at the highest possible level of government; it should have clearly defined mandates and authority; critical elements would be adequate resources and the ability and competence to influence policy and formulate and review legislation; among other things, it should perform policy analysis, undertake advocacy, communication, coordination and monitoring of implementation;
      • Provide staff training in designing and analysing data from a gender perspective;
      • Establish procedures to allow the machinery to gather information on government-wide policy issues at an early stage and continuously use it in the policy development and review process within the Government;
      • Report, on a regular basis, to legislative bodies on the progress of efforts, as appropriate, to mainstream gender concerns, taking into account the implementation of the Platform for Action;
      • Encourage and promote the active involvement of the broad and diverse range of institutional actors in the public, private and voluntary sectors to work for equality between women and men.

      Strategic objective H.2. Integrate gender perspectives in legislation, public policies, programmes and projects

      Actions to be taken

      204. By Governments:

      • Seek to ensure that before policy decisions are taken, an analysis of their impact on women and men, respectively, is carried out;
      • Regularly review national policies, programmes and projects, as well as their implementation, evaluating the impact of employment and income policies in order to guarantee that women are direct beneficiaries of development and that their full contribution to development, both remunerated and unremunerated, is considered in economic policy and planning;
      • Promote national strategies and aims on equality between women and men in order to eliminate obstacles to the exercise of women's rights and eradicate all forms of discrimination against women;
      • Work with members of legislative bodies, as appropriate, to promote a gender perspective in all legislation and policies;
      • Give all ministries the mandate to review policies and programmes from a gender perspective and in the light of the Platform for Action; locate the responsibility for the implementation of that mandate at the highest possible level; establish and/or strengthen an inter-ministerial coordination structure to carry out this mandate, to monitor progress and to network with relevant machineries.

      205. By national machinery:

      • Facilitate the formulation and implementation of government policies on equality between women and men, develop appropriate strategies and methodologies, and promote coordination and cooperation within the central Government in order to ensure mainstreaming of a gender perspective in all policy-making processes;
      • Promote and establish cooperative relationships with relevant branches of government, centres for women's studies and research, academic and educational institutions, the private sector, the media, non-governmental organizations, especially women's organizations, and all other actors of civil society;
      • Undertake activities focusing on legal reform with regard, inter alia, to the family, conditions of employment, social security, income tax, equal opportunity in education, positive measures to promote the advancement of women, and the perception of attitudes and a culture favourable to equality, as well as promote a gender perspective in legal policy and programming reforms;
      • Promote the increased participation of women as both active agents and beneficiaries of the development process, which would result in an improvement in the quality of life for all;
      • Establish direct links with national, regional and international bodies dealing with the advancement of women;
      • Provide training and advisory assistance to government agencies in order to integrate a gender perspective in their policies and programmes.

      Strategic objective H.3. Generate and disseminate genderdisaggregated data and information for planning and evaluation

      Actions to be taken

      206. By national, regional and international statistical services and relevant governmental and United Nations agencies, in cooperation with research and documentation organizations, in their respective areas of responsibility:

      • Ensure that statistics related to individuals are collected, compiled, analysed and presented by sex and age and reflect problems, issues and questions related to women and men in society;
      • Collect, compile, analyse and present on a regular basis data disaggregated by age, sex, socio-economic and other relevant indicators, including number of dependants, for utilization in policy and programme planning and implementation;
      • Involve centres for women's studies and research organizations in developing and testing appropriate indicators and research methodologies to strengthen gender analysis, as well as in monitoring and evaluating the implementation of the goals of the Platform for Action;
      • Designate or appoint staff to strengthen gender-statistics programmes and ensure coordination, monitoring and linkage to all fields of statistical work, and prepare output that integrates statistics from the various subject areas;
      • Improve data collection on the full contribution of women and men to the economy, including their participation in the informal sector(s);
      • Develop a more comprehensive knowledge of all forms of work and employment by:
        • Improving data collection on the unremunerated work which is already included in the United Nations System of National Accounts, such as in agriculture, particularly subsistence agriculture, and other types of non-market production activities;
        • Improving measurements that at present underestimate women's unemployment and underemployment in the labour market;
        • Developing methods, in the appropriate forums, for assessing the value, in quantitative terms, of unremunerated work that is outside national accounts, such as caring for dependants and preparing food, for possible reflection in satellite or other official accounts that may be produced separately from but are consistent with core national accounts, with a view to recognizing the economic contribution of women and making visible the unequal distribution of remunerated and unremunerated work between women and men;
      • Develop an international classification of activities for time-use statistics that is sensitive to the differences between women and men in remunerated and unremunerated work, and collect data disaggregated by sex. At the national level, subject to national constraints:
        • Conduct regular time-use studies to measure, in quantitative terms, unremunerated work, including recording those activities that are performed simultaneously with remunerated or other unremunerated activities;
        • Measure, in quantitative terms, unremunerated work that is outside national accounts and work to improve methods to assess its value, and accurately reflect its value in satellite or other official accounts that are separate from but consistent with core national accounts;
      • Improve concepts and methods of data collection on the measurement of poverty among women and men, including their access to resources;
      • Strengthen vital statistical systems and incorporate gender analysis into publications and research; give priority to gender differences in research design and in data collection and analysis in order to improve data on morbidity; and improve data collection on access to health services, including access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services, maternal care and family planning, with special priority for adolescent mothers and for elder care;
      • Develop improved gender-disaggregated and age-specific data on the victims and perpetrators of all forms of violence against women, such as domestic violence, sexual harassment, rape, incest and sexual abuse, and trafficking in women and girls, as well as on violence by agents of the State;
      • Improve concepts and methods of data collection on the participation of women and men with disabilities, including their access to resources.

      207. By Governments:

      • Ensure the regular production of a statistical publication on gender that presents and interprets topical data on women and men in a form suitable for a wide range of nontechnical users;
      • Ensure that producers and users of statistics in each country regularly review the adequacy of the official statistical system and its coverage of gender issues, and prepare a plan for needed improvements, where necessary;
      • Develop and encourage the development of quantitative and qualitative studies by research organizations, trade unions, employers, the private sector and non-governmental organizations on the sharing of power and influence in society, including the number of women and men in senior decision-making positions in both the public and private sectors;
      • Use more gender-sensitive data in the formulation of policy and implementation of programmes and projects.

      208. By the United Nations:

      • Promote the development of methods to find better ways to collect, collate and analyse data that may relate to the human rights of women, including violence against women, for use by all relevant United Nations bodies;
      • Promote the further development of statistical methods to improve data that relate to women in economic, social, cultural and political development;
      • Prepare a new issue of The World's Women at regular five-year intervals and distribute it widely;
      • Assist countries, upon request, in the development of gender policies and programmes;
      • Ensure that the relevant reports, data and publications of the Statistical Division of the United Nations Secretariat and the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women on progress at the national and international levels are transmitted to the Commission on the Status of Women in a regular and coordinated fashion.

      209. By multilateral development institutions and bilateral donors: Encourage and support the development of national capacity in developing countries and in countries with economies in transition by providing resources and technical assistance so that countries can fully measure the work done by women and men, including both remunerated and unremunerated work, and, where appropriate, use satellite or other official accounts for unremunerated work.

      I. Human Rights of Women

      210. Human rights and fundamental freedoms are the birthright of all human beings; their protection and promotion is the first responsibility of Governments.

      211. The World Conference on Human Rights reaffirmed the solemn commitment of all States to fulfil their obligation to promote universal respect for, and observance and protection of, all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations, other instruments relating to human rights, and international law. The universal nature of these rights and freedoms is beyond question.

      212. The promotion and protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms must be considered as a priority objective of the United Nations, in accordance with its purposes and principles, in particular with the purpose of international cooperation. In the framework of these purposes and principles, the promotion and protection of all human rights is a legitimate concern of the international community. The international community must treat human rights globally, in a fair and equal manner, on the same footing, and with the same emphasis. The Platform for Action reaffirms the importance of ensuring the universality, objectivity and non-selectivity of the consideration of human rights issues.

      213. The Platform for Action reaffirms that all human rights-civil, cultural, economic, political and social, including the right to development-are universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated, as expressed in the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action adopted by the World Conference on Human Rights. The Conference reaffirmed that the human rights of women and the girl child are an inalienable, integral and indivisible part of universal human rights. The full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by women and girls is a priority for Governments and the United Nations and is essential for the advancement of women.

      214. Equal rights of men and women are explicitly mentioned in the Preamble to the Charter of the United Nations. All the major international human rights instruments include sex as one of the grounds upon which States may not discriminate.

      215. Governments must not only refrain from violating the human rights of all women, but must work actively to promote and protect these rights. Recognition of the importance of the human rights of women is reflected in the fact that three quarters of the States Members of the United Nations have become parties to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

      216. The World Conference on Human Rights reaffirmed clearly that the human rights of women throughout the life cycle are an inalienable, integral and indivisible part of universal human rights. The International Conference on Population and Development reaffirmed women's reproductive rights and the right to development. Both the Declaration of the Rights of the Child 31 and the Convention on the Rights of the Child 11 guarantee children's rights and uphold the principle of non-discrimination on the grounds of gender.

      217. The gap between the existence of rights and their effective enjoyment derives from a lack of commitment by Governments to promoting and protecting those rights and the failure of Governments to inform women and men alike about them. The lack of appropriate recourse mechanisms at the national and international levels, and inadequate resources at both levels, compound the problem. In most countries, steps have been taken to reflect the rights guaranteed by the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women in national law. A number of countries have established mechanisms to strengthen women's ability to exercise their rights.

      218. In order to protect the human rights of women, it is necessary to avoid, as far as possible, resorting to reservations and to ensure that no reservation is incompatible with the object and purpose of the Convention or is otherwise incompatible with international treaty law. Unless the human rights of women, as defined by international human rights instruments, are fully recognized and effectively protected, applied, implemented and enforced in national law as well as in national practice in family, civil, penal, labour and commercial codes and administrative rules and regulations, they will exist in name only.

      219. In those countries that have not yet become parties to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and other international human rights instruments, or where reservations that are incompatible with the object or purpose of the Convention have been entered, or where national laws have not yet been revised to implement international norms and standards, women's de jure equality is not yet secured. Women's full enjoyment of equal rights is undermined by the discrepancies between some national legislation and international law and international instruments on human rights. Overly complex administrative procedures, lack of awareness within the judicial process and inadequate monitoring of the violation of the human rights of all women, coupled with the underrepresentation of women in justice systems, insufficient information on existing rights and persistent attitudes and practices perpetuate women's de facto inequality. De facto inequality is also perpetuated by the lack of enforcement of, inter alia, family, civil, penal, labour and commercial laws or codes, or administrative rules and regulations intended to ensure women's full enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

      220. Every person should be entitled to participate in, contribute to and enjoy cultural, economic, political and social development. In many cases women and girls suffer discrimination in the allocation of economic and social resources. This directly violates their economic, social and cultural rights.

      221. The human rights of all women and the girl child must form an integral part of United Nations human rights activities. Intensified efforts are needed to integrate the equal status and the human rights of all women and girls into the mainstream of United Nations system-wide activities and to address these issues regularly and systematically throughout relevant bodies and mechanisms. This requires, inter alia, improved cooperation and coordination between the Commission on the Status of Women, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Commission on Human Rights, including its special and thematic rapporteurs, independent experts, working groups and its Subcommission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, the Commission on Sustainable Development, the Commission for Social Development, the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, and the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and other human rights treaty bodies, and all relevant entities of the United Nations system, including the specialized agencies. Cooperation is also needed to strengthen, rationalize and streamline the United Nations human rights system and to promote its effectiveness and efficiency, taking into account the need to avoid unnecessary duplication and overlapping of mandates and tasks.

      222. If the goal of full realization of human rights for all is to be achieved, international human rights instruments must be applied in such a way as to take more clearly into consideration the systematic and systemic nature of discrimination against women that gender analysis has clearly indicated.

      223. Bearing in mind the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development 14 and the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action 2 adopted by the World Conference on Human Rights, the Fourth World Conference on Women reaffirms that reproductive rights rest on the recognition of the basic right of all couples and individuals to decide freely and responsibly the number, spacing and timing of their children and to have the information and means to do so, and the right to attain the highest standard of sexual and reproductive health. It also includes their right to make decisions concerning reproduction free of discrimination, coercion and violence, as expressed in human rights documents.

      224. Violence against women both violates and impairs or nullifies the enjoyment by women of human rights and fundamental freedoms. Taking into account the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women and the work of Special Rapporteurs, gender-based violence, such as battering and other domestic violence, sexual abuse, sexual slavery and exploitation, and international trafficking in women and children, forced prostitution and sexual harassment, as well as violence against women, resulting from cultural prejudice, racism and racial discrimination, xenophobia, pornography, ethnic cleansing, armed conflict, foreign occupation, religious and anti-religious extremism and terrorism are incompatible with the dignity and the worth of the human person and must be combated and eliminated. Any harmful aspect of certain traditional, customary or modern practices that violates the rights of women should be prohibited and eliminated. Governments should take urgent action to combat and eliminate all forms of violence against women in private and public life, whether perpetrated or tolerated by the State or private persons.

      225. Many women face additional barriers to the enjoyment of their human rights because of such factors as their race, language, ethnicity, culture, religion, disability or socio-economic class or because they are indigenous people, migrants, including women migrant workers, displaced women or refugees. They may also be disadvantaged and marginalized by a general lack of knowledge and recognition of their human rights as well as by the obstacles they meet in gaining access to information and recourse mechanisms in cases of violation of their rights.

      226. The factors that cause the flight of refugee women, other displaced women in need of international protection and internally displaced women may be different from those affecting men. These women continue to be vulnerable to abuses of their human rights during and after their flight.

      227. While women are increasingly using the legal system to exercise their rights, in many countries lack of awareness of the existence of these rights is an obstacle that prevents women from fully enjoying their human rights and attaining equality. Experience in many countries has shown that women can be empowered and motivated to assert their rights, regardless of their level of education or socio-economic status. Legal literacy programmes and media strategies have been effective in helping women to understand the link between their rights and other aspects of their lives and in demonstrating that cost-effective initiatives can be undertaken to help women obtain those rights. Provision of human rights education is essential for promoting an understanding of the human rights of women, including knowledge of recourse mechanisms to redress violations of their rights. It is necessary for all individuals, especially women in vulnerable circumstances, to have full knowledge of their rights and access to legal recourse against violations of their rights.

      228. Women engaged in the defence of human rights must be protected. Governments have a duty to guarantee the full enjoyment of all rights set out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights by women working peacefully in a personal or organizational capacity for the promotion and protection of human rights. Non-governmental organizations, women's organizations and feminist groups have played a catalytic role in the promotion of the human rights of women through grass-roots activities, networking and advocacy and need encouragement, support and access to information from Governments in order to carry out these activities.

      229. In addressing the enjoyment of human rights, Governments and other actors should promote an active and visible policy of mainstreaming a gender perspective in all policies and programmes so that, before decisions are taken, an analysis is made of the effects on women and men, respectively.

      Strategic objective I.1. Promote and protect the human rights of women, through the full implementation of all human rights instruments, especially the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

      Actions to be taken

      230. By Governments:

      • Work actively towards ratification of or accession to and implement international and regional human rights treaties;
      • Ratify and accede to and ensure implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women so that universal ratification of the Convention can be achieved by the year 2000;
      • Limit the extent of any reservations to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women; formulate any such reservations as precisely and as narrowly as possible; ensure that no reservations are incompatible with the object and purpose of the Convention or otherwise incompatible with international treaty law and regularly review them with a view to withdrawing them; and withdraw reservations that are contrary to the object and purpose of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women or which are otherwise incompatible with international treaty law;
      • Consider drawing up national action plans identifying steps to improve the promotion and protection of human rights, including the human rights of women, as recommended by the World Conference on Human Rights;
      • Create or strengthen independent national institutions for the protection and promotion of these rights, including the human rights of women, as recommended by the World Conference on Human Rights;
      • Develop a comprehensive human rights education programme to raise awareness among women of their human rights and raise awareness among others of the human rights of women;
      • If they are States parties, implement the Convention by reviewing all national laws, policies, practices and procedures to ensure that they meet the obligations set out in the Convention; all States should undertake a review of all national laws, policies, practices and procedures to ensure that they meet international human rights obligations in this matter;
      • Include gender aspects in reporting under all other human rights conventions and instruments, including ILO conventions, to ensure analysis and review of the human rights of women;
      • Report on schedule to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women regarding the implementation of the Convention, following fully the guidelines established by the Committee and involving non-governmental organizations, where appropriate, or taking into account their contributions in the preparation of the report;
      • Enable the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women fully to discharge its mandate by allowing for adequate meeting time through broad ratification of the revision adopted by the States parties to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women on 22 May 1995 relative to article 20, paragraph 1, 32 and by promoting efficient working methods;
      • Support the process initiated by the Commission on the Status of Women with a view to elaborating a draft optional protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women that could enter into force as soon as possible on a right of petition procedure, taking into consideration the Secretary-General's report on the optional protocol, including those views related to its feasibility;
      • Take urgent measures to achieve universal ratification of or accession to the Convention on the Rights of the Child before the end of 1995 and full implementation of the Convention in order to ensure equal rights for girls and boys; those that have not already done so are urged to become parties in order to realize universal implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child by the year 2000;
      • Address the acute problems of children, inter alia, by supporting efforts in the context of the United Nations system aimed at adopting efficient international measures for the prevention and eradication of female infanticide, harmful child labour, the sale of children and their organs, child prostitution, child pornography and other forms of sexual abuse and consider contributing to the drafting of an optional protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child;
      • Strengthen the implementation of all relevant human rights instruments in order to combat and eliminate, including through international cooperation, organized and other forms of trafficking in women and children, including trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation, pornography, prostitution and sex tourism, and provide legal and social services to the victims; this should include provisions for international cooperation to prosecute and punish those responsible for organized exploitation of women and children;
      • Taking into account the need to ensure full respect for the human rights of indigenous women, consider a declaration on the rights of indigenous people for adoption by the General Assembly within the International Decade of the World's Indigenous People and encourage the participation of indigenous women in the working group elaborating the draft declaration, in accordance with the provisions for the participation of organizations of indigenous people.

      231. By relevant organs, bodies and agencies of the United Nations system, all human rights bodies of the United Nations system, as well as the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, while promoting greater efficiency and effectiveness through better coordination of the various bodies, mechanisms and procedures, taking into account the need to avoid unnecessary duplication and overlapping of their mandates and tasks:

      • Give full, equal and sustained attention to the human rights of women in the exercise of their respective mandates to promote universal respect for and protection of all human rights-civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights, including the right to development;
      • Ensure the implementation of the recommendations of the World Conference on Human Rights for the full integration and mainstreaming of the human rights of women;
      • Develop a comprehensive policy programme for mainstreaming the human rights of women throughout the United Nations system, including activities with regard to advisory services, technical assistance, reporting methodology, gender-impact assessments, coordination, public information and human rights education, and play an active role in the implementation of the programme;
      • Ensure the integration and full participation of women as both agents and beneficiaries in the development process and reiterate the objectives established for global action for women towards sustainable and equitable development set forth in the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development; 18
      • Include information on gender-based human rights violations in their activities and integrate the findings into all of their programmes and activities;
      • Ensure that there is collaboration and coordination of the work of all human rights bodies and mechanisms to ensure that the human rights of women are respected;
      • Strengthen cooperation and coordination between the Commission on the Status of Women, the Commission on Human Rights, the Commission for Social Development, the Commission on Sustainable Development, the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, the United Nations human rights treaty monitoring bodies, including the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, and the United Nations Development Fund for Women, the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women, the United Nations Development Programme, the United Nations Children's Fund and other organizations of the United Nations system, acting within their mandates, in the promotion of the human rights of women, and improve cooperation between the Division for the Advancement of Women and the Centre for Human Rights;
      • Establish effective cooperation between the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and other relevant bodies, within their respective mandates, taking into account the close link between massive violations of human rights, especially in the form of genocide, ethnic cleansing, systematic rape of women in war situations and refugee flows and other displacements, and the fact that refugee, displaced and returnee women may be subject to particular human rights abuse;
      • Encourage incorporation of a gender perspective in national programmes of action and in human rights and national institutions, within the context of human rights advisory services programmes;
      • Provide training in the human rights of women for all United Nations personnel and officials, especially those in human rights and humanitarian relief activities, and promote their understanding of the human rights of women so that they recognize and deal with violations of the human rights of women and can fully take into account the gender aspect of their work;
      • In reviewing the implementation of the plan of action for the United Nations Decade for Human Rights Education (1995-2004), take into account the results of the Fourth World Conference on Women.

      Strategic objective I.2. Ensure equality and non-discrimination under the law and in practice

      Actions to be taken

      232. By Governments:

      • Give priority to promoting and protecting the full and equal enjoyment by women and men of all human rights and fundamental freedoms without distinction of any kind as to race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinions, national or social origins, property, birth or other status;
      • Provide constitutional guarantees and/or enact appropriate legislation to prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex for all women and girls of all ages and assure women of all ages equal rights and their full enjoyment;
      • Embody the principle of the equality of men and women in their legislation and ensure, through law and other appropriate means, the practical realization of this principle;
      • Review national laws, including customary laws and legal practices in the areas of family, civil, penal, labour and commercial law in order to ensure the implementation of the principles and procedures of all relevant international human rights instruments by means of national legislation, revoke any remaining laws that discriminate on the basis of sex and remove gender bias in the administration of justice;
      • Strengthen and encourage the development of programmes to protect the human rights of women in the national institutions on human rights that carry out programmes, such as human rights commissions or ombudspersons, according them appropriate status, resources and access to the Government to assist individuals, in particular women, and ensure that these institutions pay adequate attention to problems involving the violation of the human rights of women;
      • Take action to ensure that the human rights of women, including the rights referred to in paragraphs 94 to 96 above, are fully respected and protected;
      • Take urgent action to combat and eliminate violence against women, which is a human rights violation, resulting from harmful traditional or customary practices, cultural prejudices and extremism;
      • Prohibit female genital mutilation wherever it exists and give vigorous support to efforts among non-governmental and community organizations and religious institutions to eliminate such practices;
      • Provide gender-sensitive human rights education and training to public officials, including, inter alia, police and military personnel, corrections officers, health and medical personnel, and social workers, including people who deal with migration and refugee issues, and teachers at all levels of the educational system, and make available such education and training also to the judiciary and members of parliament in order to enable them to better exercise their public responsibilities;
      • Promote the equal right of women to be members of trade unions and other professional and social organizations;
      • Establish effective mechanisms for investigating violations of the human rights of women perpetrated by any public official and take the necessary punitive legal measures in accordance with national laws;
      • Review and amend criminal laws and procedures, as necessary, to eliminate any discrimination against women in order to ensure that criminal law and procedures guarantee women effective protection against, and prosecution of, crimes directed at or disproportionately affecting women, regardless of the relationship between the perpetrator and the victim, and ensure that women defendants, victims and/or witnesses are not revictimized or discriminated against in the investigation and prosecution of crimes;
      • Ensure that women have the same right as men to be judges, advocates or other officers of the court, as well as police officers and prison and detention officers, among other things;
      • Strengthen existing or establish readily available and free or affordable alternative administrative mechanisms and legal aid programmes to assist disadvantaged women seeking redress for violations of their rights;
      • Ensure that all women and non-governmental organizations and their members in the field of protection and promotion of all human rights civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights, including the right to development-enjoy fully all human rights and freedoms in accordance with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and all other human rights instruments and the protection of national laws;
      • Strengthen and encourage the implementation of the recommendations contained in the Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities, 30 paying special attention to ensure non-discrimination and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by women and girls with disabilities, including their access to information and services in the field of violence against women, as well as their active participation in and economic contribution to all aspects of society;
      • Encourage the development of gender-sensitive human rights programmes.

      Strategic objective I.3. Achieve legal literacy Actions to be taken

      233. By Governments and non-governmental organizations, the United Nations and other international organizations, as appropriate:

      • Translate, whenever possible, into local and indigenous languages and into alternative formats appropriate for persons with disabilities and persons at lower levels of literacy, publicize and disseminate laws and information relating to the equal status and human rights of all women, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, 33 the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the Declaration on the Right to Development 34 and the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, as well as the outcomes of relevant United Nations conferences and summits and national reports to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women;
      • Publicize and disseminate such information in easily understandable formats and alternative formats appropriate for persons with disabilities, and persons at low levels of literacy;
      • Disseminate information on national legislation and its impact on women, including easily accessible guidelines on how to use a justice system to exercise one's rights;
      • Include information about international and regional instruments and standards in their public information and human rights education activities and in adult education and training programmes, particularly for groups such as the military, the police and other law enforcement personnel, the judiciary, and legal and health professionals to ensure that human rights are effectively protected;
      • Make widely available and fully publicize information on the existence of national, regional and international mechanisms for seeking redress when the human rights of women are violated;
      • Encourage, coordinate and cooperate with local and regional women's groups, relevant non-governmental organizations, educators and the media, to implement programmes in human rights education to make women aware of their human rights;
      • Promote education on the human and legal rights of women in school curricula at all levels of education and undertake public campaigns, including in the most widely used languages of the country, on the equality of women and men in public and private life, including their rights within the family and relevant human rights instruments under national and international law;
      • Promote education in all countries in human rights and international humanitarian law for members of the national security and armed forces, including those assigned to United Nations peace-keeping operations, on a routine and continuing basis, reminding them and sensitizing them to the fact that they should respect the rights of women at all times, both on and off duty, giving special attention to the rules on the protection of women and children and to the protection of human rights in situations of armed conflict;
      • Take appropriate measures to ensure that refugee and displaced women, migrant women and women migrant workers are made aware of their human rights and of the recourse mechanisms available to them.
      J. Women and the Media

      234. During the past decade, advances in information technology have facilitated a global communications network that transcends national boundaries and has an impact on public policy, private attitudes and behaviour, especially of children and young adults. Everywhere the potential exists for the media to make a far greater contribution to the advancement of women.

      235. More women are involved in careers in the communications sector, but few have attained positions at the decision-making level or serve on governing boards and bodies that influence media policy. The lack of gender sensitivity in the media is evidenced by the failure to eliminate the gender-based stereotyping that can be found in public and private local, national and international media organizations.

      236. The continued projection of negative and degrading images of women in media communications-electronic, print, visual and audio-must be changed. Print and electronic media in most countries do not provide a balanced picture of women's diverse lives and contributions to society in a changing world. In addition, violent and degrading or pornographic media products are also negatively affecting women and their participation in society. Programming that reinforces women's traditional roles can be equally limiting. The world-wide trend towards consumerism has created a climate in which advertisements and commercial messages often portray women primarily as consumers and target girls and women of all ages inappropriately.

      237. Women should be empowered by enhancing their skills, knowledge and access to information technology. This will strengthen their ability to combat negative portrayals of women internationally and to challenge instances of abuse of the power of an increasingly important industry. Self-regulatory mechanisms for the media need to be created and strengthened and approaches developed to eliminate gender-biased programming. Most women, especially in developing countries, are not able to access effectively the expanding electronic information highways and therefore cannot establish networks that will provide them with alternative sources of information. Women therefore need to be involved in decision-making regarding the development of the new technologies in order to participate fully in their growth and impact.

      238. In addressing the issue of the mobilization of the media, Governments and other actors should promote an active and visible policy of mainstreaming a gender perspective in policies and programmes.

      Strategic objective J.1. Increase the participation and access of women to expression and decisionmaking in and through the media and new technologies of communication

      Actions to be taken

      239. By Governments:

      • Support women's education, training and employment to promote and ensure women's equal access to all areas and levels of the media;
      • Support research into all aspects of women and the media so as to define areas needing attention and action and review existing media policies with a view to integrating a gender perspective;
      • Promote women's full and equal participation in the media, including management, programming, education, training and research;
      • Aim at gender balance in the appointment of women and men to all advisory, management, regulatory or monitoring bodies, including those connected to the private and State or public media;
      • Encourage, to the extent consistent with freedom of expression, these bodies to increase the number of programmes for and by women to see to it that women's needs and concerns are properly addressed;
      • Encourage and recognize women's media networks, including electronic networks and other new technologies of communication, as a means for the dissemination of information and the exchange of views, including at the international level, and support women's groups active in all media work and systems of communications to that end;
      • Encourage and provide the means or incentives for the creative use of programmes in the national media for the dissemination of information on various cultural forms of indigenous people and the development of social and educational issues in this regard within the framework of national law;
      • Guarantee the freedom of the media and its subsequent protection within the framework of national law and encourage, consistent with freedom of expression, the positive involvement of the media in development and social issues.

      240. By national and international media systems: Develop, consistent with freedom of expression, regulatory mechanisms, including voluntary ones, that promote balanced and diverse portrayals of women by the media and international communication systems and that promote increased participation by women and men in production and decision-making.

      241. By Governments, as appropriate, or national machinery for the advancement of women:

      • Encourage the development of educational and training programmes for women in order to produce information for the mass media, including funding of experimental efforts, and the use of the new technologies of communication, cybernetics space and satellite, whether public or private;
      • Encourage the use of communication systems, including new technologies, as a means of strengthening women's participation in democratic processes;
      • Facilitate the compilation of a directory of women media experts;
      • Encourage the participation of women in the development of professional guidelines and codes of conduct or other appropriate self-regulatory mechanisms to promote balanced and non-stereotyped portrayals of women by the media.

      242. By non-governmental organizations and media professional associations:

      • Encourage the establishment of media watch groups that can monitor the media and consult with the media to ensure that women's needs and concerns are properly reflected;
      • Train women to make greater use of information technology for communication and the media, including at the international level;
      • Create networks among and develop information programmes for non-governmental organizations, women's organizations and professional media organizations in order to recognize the specific needs of women in the media, and facilitate the increased participation of women in communication, in particular at the international level, in support of South-South and North-South dialogue among and between these organizations, inter alia, to promote the human rights of women and equality between women and men;
      • Encourage the media industry and education and media training institutions to develop, in appropriate languages, traditional, indigenous and other ethnic forms of media, such as story-telling, drama, poetry and song, reflecting their cultures, and utilize these forms of communication to disseminate information on development and social issues.

      Strategic objective J.2. Promote a balanced and non-stereotyped portrayal of women in the media

      Actions to be taken

      243. By Governments and international organizations, to the extent consistent with freedom of expression:

      • Promote research and implementation of a strategy of information, education and communication aimed at promoting a balanced portrayal of women and girls and their multiple roles;
      • Encourage the media and advertising agencies to develop specific programmes to raise awareness of the Platform for Action;
      • Encourage gender-sensitive training for media professionals, including media owners and managers, to encourage the creation and use of non-stereotyped, balanced and diverse images of women in the media;
      • Encourage the media to refrain from presenting women as inferior beings and exploiting them as sexual objects and commodities, rather than presenting them as creative human beings, key actors and contributors to and beneficiaries of the process of development;
      • Promote the concept that the sexist stereotypes displayed in the media are gender discriminatory, degrading in nature and offensive;
      • Take effective measures or institute such measures, including appropriate legislation against pornography and the projection of violence against women and children in the media.

      244. By the mass media and advertising organizations:

      • Develop, consistent with freedom of expression, professional guidelines and codes of conduct and other forms of self-regulation to promote the presentation of non-stereotyped images of women;
      • Establish, consistent with freedom of expression, professional guidelines and codes of conduct that address violent, degrading or pornographic materials concerning women in the media, including advertising;
      • Develop a gender perspective on all issues of concern to communities, consumers and civil society;
      • Increase women's participation in decision-making at all levels of the media.

      245. By the media, non-governmental organizations and the private sector, in collaboration, as appropriate, with national machinery for the advancement of women:

      • Promote the equal sharing of family responsibilities through media campaigns that emphasize gender equality and non-stereotyped gender roles of women and men within the family and that disseminate information aimed at eliminating spousal and child abuse and all forms of violence against women, including domestic violence;
      • Produce and/or disseminate media materials on women leaders, inter alia, as leaders who bring to their positions of leadership many different life experiences, including but not limited to their experiences in balancing work and family responsibilities, as mothers, as professionals, as managers and as entrepreneurs, to provide role models, particularly to young women;
      • Promote extensive campaigns, making use of public and private educational programmes, to disseminate information about and increase awareness of the human rights of women;
      • Support the development of and finance, as appropriate, alternative media and the use of all means of communication to disseminate information to and about women and their concerns;
      • Develop approaches and train experts to apply gender analysis with regard to media programmes.
      K. Women and the Environment

      246. Human beings are at the centre of concern for sustainable development. They are entitled to a healthy and productive life in harmony with nature. Women have an essential role to play in the development of sustainable and ecologically sound consumption and production patterns and approaches to natural resource management, as was recognized at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development and the International Conference on Population and Development and reflected throughout Agenda 21. Awareness of resource depletion, the degradation of natural systems and the dangers of polluting substances has increased markedly in the past decade. These worsening conditions are destroying fragile ecosystems and displacing communities, especially women, from productive activities and are an increasing threat to a safe and healthy environment. Poverty and environmental degradation are closely interrelated. While poverty results in certain kinds of environmental stress, the major cause of the continued deterioration of the global environment is the unsustainable pattern of consumption and production, particularly in industrialized countries, which is a matter of grave concern, aggravating poverty and imbalances. Rising sealevels as a result of global warming cause a grave and immediate threat to people living in island countries and coastal areas. The use of ozone-depleting substances, such as products with chlorofluorocarbons, halons and methyl bromides (from which plastics and foams are made), are severely affecting the atmosphere, thus allowing excessive levels of harmful ultraviolet rays to reach the Earth's surface. This has severe effects on people's health such as higher rates of skin cancer, eye damage and weakened immune systems. It also has severe effects on the environment, including harm to crops and ocean life.

      247. All States and all people shall cooperate in the essential task of eradicating poverty as an indispensable requirement for sustainable development, in order to decrease the disparities in standards of living and better meet the needs of the majority of the people of the world. Hurricanes, typhoons and other natural disasters and, in addition, the destruction of resources, violence, displacements and other effects associated with war, armed and other conflicts, the use and testing of nuclear weaponry, and foreign occupation can also contribute to environmental degradation. The deterioration of natural resources displaces communities, especially women, from income-generating activities while greatly adding to unremunerated work. In both urban and rural areas, environmental degradation results in negative effects on the health, well-being and quality of life of the population at large, especially girls and women of all ages. Particular attention and recognition should be given to the role and special situation of women living in rural areas and those working in the agricultural sector, where access to training, land, natural and productive resources, credit, development programmes and cooperative structures can help them increase their participation in sustainable development. Environmental risks in the home and workplace may have a disproportionate impact on women's health because of women's different susceptibilities to the toxic effects of various chemicals. These risks to women's health are particularly high in urban areas, as well as in low-income areas where there is a high concentration of polluting industrial facilities.

      248. Through their management and use of natural resources, women provide sustenance to their families and communities. As consumers and producers, caretakers of their families and educators, women play an important role in promoting sustainable development through their concern for the quality and sustainability of life for present and future generations. Governments have expressed their commitment to creating a new development paradigm that integrates environmental sustainability with gender equality and justice within and between generations as contained in chapter 24 of Agenda 21. 19

      249. Women remain largely absent at all levels of policy formulation and decision-making in natural resource and environmental management, conservation, protection and rehabilitation, and their experience and skills in advocacy for and monitoring of proper natural resource management too often remain marginalized in policy-making and decision-making bodies, as well as in educational institutions and environment-related agencies at the managerial level. Women are rarely trained as professional natural resource managers with policy-making capacities, such as land-use planners, agriculturalists, foresters, marine scientists and environmental lawyers. Even in cases where women are trained as professional natural resource managers, they are often underrepresented in formal institutions with policy-making capacities at the national, regional and international levels. Often women are not equal participants in the management of financial and corporate institutions whose decision-making most significantly affects environmental quality. Furthermore, there are institutional weaknesses in coordination between women's non-governmental organizations and national institutions dealing with environmental issues, despite the recent rapid growth and visibility of women's non-governmental organizations working on these issues at all levels.

      250. Women have often played leadership roles or taken the lead in promoting an environmental ethic, reducing resource use, and reusing and recycling resources to minimize waste and excessive consumption. Women can have a particularly powerful role in influencing sustainable consumption decisions. In addition, women's contributions to environmental management, including through grass-roots and youth campaigns to protect the environment, have often taken place at the local level, where decentralized action on environmental issues is most needed and decisive. Women, especially indigenous women, have particular knowledge of ecological linkages and fragile ecosystem management. Women in many communities provide the main labour force for subsistence production, including production of seafood; hence, their role is crucial to the provision of food and nutrition, the enhancement of the subsistence and informal sectors and the preservation of the environment. In certain regions, women are generally the most stable members of the community, as men often pursue work in distant locations, leaving women to safeguard the natural environment and ensure adequate and sustainable resource allocation within the household and the community.

      251. The strategic actions needed for sound environmental management require a holistic, multidisciplinary and intersectoral approach. Women's participation and leadership are essential to every aspect of that approach. The recent United Nations global conferences on development, as well as regional preparatory conferences for the Fourth World Conference on Women, have all acknowledged that sustainable development policies that do not involve women and men alike will not succeed in the long run. They have called for the effective participation of women in the generation of knowledge and environmental education in decision-making and management at all levels. Women's experiences and contributions to an ecologically sound environment must therefore be central to the agenda for the twenty-first century. Sustainable development will be an elusive goal unless women's contribution to environmental management is recognized and supported.

      252. In addressing the lack of adequate recognition and support for women's contribution to conservation and management of natural resources and safeguarding the environment, Governments and other actors should promote an active and visible policy of mainstreaming a gender perspective in all policies and programmes, including, as appropriate, an analysis of the effects on women and men, respectively, before decisions are taken.

      Strategic objective K.1. Involve women actively in environmental decision-making at all levels

      Actions to be taken

      253. By Governments, at all levels, including municipal authorities, as appropriate:

      • Ensure opportunities for women, including indigenous women, to participate in environmental decision-making at all levels, including as managers, designers and planners, and as implementers and evaluators of environmental projects;
      • Facilitate and increase women's access to information and education, including in the areas of science, technology and economics, thus enhancing their knowledge, skills and opportunities for participation in environmental decisions;
      • Encourage, subject to national legislation and consistent with the Convention on Biological Diversity, 35 the effective protection and use of the knowledge, innovations and practices of women of indigenous and local communities, including practices relating to traditional medicines, biodiversity and indigenous technologies, and endeavour to ensure that these are respected, maintained, promoted and preserved in an ecologically sustainable manner, and promote their wider application with the approval and involvement of the holders of such knowledge; in addition, safeguard the existing intellectual property rights of these women as protected under national and international law; work actively, where necessary, to find additional ways and means for the effective protection and use of such knowledge, innovations and practices, subject to national legislation and consistent with the Convention on Biological Diversity and relevant international law, and encourage fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilization of such knowledge, innovation and practices;
      • Take appropriate measures to reduce risks to women from identified environmental hazards at home, at work and in other environments, including appropriate application of clean technologies, taking into account the precautionary approach agreed to in the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development; 18
      • Take measures to integrate a gender perspective in the design and implementation of, among other things, environmentally sound and sustainable resource management mechanisms, production techniques and infrastructure development in rural and urban areas;
      • Take measures to empower women as producers and consumers so that they can take effective environmental actions, along with men, in their homes, communities and workplaces;
      • Promote the participation of local communities, particularly women, in identification of public service needs, spatial planning and the provision and design of urban infrastructure.

      254. By Governments and international organizations and private sector institutions, as appropriate:

      • Take gender impact into consideration in the work of the Commission on Sustainable Development and other appropriate United Nations bodies and in the activities of international financial institutions;
      • Promote the involvement of women and the incorporation of a gender perspective in the design, approval and execution of projects funded under the Global Environment Facility and other appropriate United Nations organizations;
      • Encourage the design of projects in the areas of concern to the Global Environment Facility that would benefit women and projects managed by women;
      • Establish strategies and mechanisms to increase the proportion of women, particularly at grass-roots levels, involved as decision makers, planners, managers, scientists and technical advisers and as beneficiaries in the design, development and implementation of policies and programmes for natural resource management and environmental protection and conservation;
      • Encourage social, economic, political and scientific institutions to address environmental degradation and the resulting impact on women.

      255. By non-governmental organizations and the private sector:

      • Assume advocacy of environmental and natural resource management issues of concern to women and provide information to contribute to resource mobilization for environmental protection and conservation;
      • Facilitate the access of women agriculturists, fishers and pastoralists to knowledge, skills, marketing services and environmentally sound technologies to support and strengthen their crucial roles and their expertise in resource management and the conservation of biological diversity.

      Strategic objective K.2. Integrate gender concerns and perspectives in policies and programmes for sustainable development

      Actions to be taken

      256. By Governments:

      • Integrate women, including indigenous women, their perspectives and knowledge, on an equal basis with men, in decision-making regarding sustainable resource management and the development of policies and programmes for sustainable development, including in particular those designed to address and prevent environmental degradation of the land;
      • Evaluate policies and programmes in terms of environmental impact and women's equal access to and use of natural resources;
      • Ensure adequate research to assess how and to what extent women are particularly susceptible or exposed to environmental degradation and hazards, including, as necessary, research and data collection on specific groups of women, particularly women with low income, indigenous women and women belonging to minorities;
      • Integrate rural women's traditional knowledge and practices of sustainable resource use and management in the development of environmental management and extension programmes;
      • Integrate the results of gender-sensitive research into mainstream policies with a view to developing sustainable human settlements;
      • Promote knowledge of and sponsor research on the role of women, particularly rural and indigenous women, in food gathering and production, soil conservation, irrigation, watershed management, sanitation, coastal zone and marine resource management, integrated pest management, land-use planning, forest conservation and community forestry, fisheries, natural disaster prevention, and new and renewable sources of energy, focusing particularly on indigenous women's knowledge and experience;
      • Develop a strategy for change to eliminate all obstacles to women's full and equal participation in sustainable development and equal access to and control over resources;
      • Promote the education of girls and women of all ages in science, technology, economics and other disciplines relating to the natural environment so that they can make informed choices and offer informed input in determining local economic, scientific and environmental priorities for the management and appropriate use of natural and local resources and ecosystems;
      • Develop programmes to involve female professionals and scientists, as well as technical, administrative and clerical workers, in environmental management, develop training programmes for girls and women in these fields, expand opportunities for the hiring and promotion of women in these fields and implement special measures to advance women's expertise and participation in these activities;
      • Identify and promote environmentally sound technologies that have been designed, developed and improved in consultation with women and that are appropriate to both women and men;
      • Support the development of women's equal access to housing infrastructure, safe water, and sustainable and affordable energy technologies, such as wind, solar, biomass and other renewable sources, through participatory needs assessments, energy planning and policy formulation at the local and national levels;
      • Ensure that clean water is available and accessible to all by the year 2000 and that environmental protection and conservation plans are designed and implemented to restore polluted water systems and rebuild damaged watersheds.

      257. By international organizations, non-governmental organizations and private sector institutions:

      • Involve women in the communication industries in raising awareness regarding environmental issues, especially on the environmental and health impacts of products, technologies and industry processes;
      • Encourage consumers to use their purchasing power to promote the production of environmentally safe products and encourage investment in environmentally sound and productive agricultural, fisheries, commercial and industrial activities and technologies;
      • Support women's consumer initiatives by promoting the marketing of organic food and recycling facilities, product information and product labelling, including labelling of toxic chemical and pesticide containers with language and symbols that are understood by consumers, regardless of age and level of literacy.

      Strategic objective K.3. Strengthen or establish mechanisms at the national, regional and international levels to assess the impact of development and environmental policies on women

      Actions to be taken

      258. By Governments, regional and international organizations and non-governmental organizations, as appropriate:

      • Provide technical assistance to women, particularly in developing countries, in the sectors of agriculture, fisheries, small enterprises, trade and industry to ensure the continuing promotion of human resource development and the development of environmentally sound technologies and of women's entrepreneurship;
      • Develop gender-sensitive databases, information and monitoring systems and participatory action-oriented research, methodologies and policy analyses, with the collaboration of academic institutions and local women researchers, on the following:
        • Knowledge and experience on the part of women concerning the management and conservation of natural resources for incorporation in the databases and information systems for sustainable development;
        • The impact on women of environmental and natural resource degradation, deriving from, inter alia, unsustainable production and consumption patterns, drought, poor quality water, global warming, desertification, sealevel rise, hazardous waste, natural disasters, toxic chemicals and pesticide residues, radioactive waste, armed conflicts and its consequences;
        • Analysis of the structural links between gender relations, environment and development, with special emphasis on particular sectors, such as agriculture, industry, fisheries, forestry, environmental health, biological diversity, climate, water resources and sanitation;
        • Measures to develop and include environmental, economic, cultural, social and gender-sensitive analyses as an essential step in the development and monitoring of programmes and policies;
        • Programmes to create rural and urban training, research and resource centres that will disseminate environmentally sound technologies to women;
      • Ensure the full compliance with relevant international obligations, including where relevant, the Basel Convention and other conventions relating to the transboundary movements of hazardous wastes (which include toxic wastes) and the Code of Practice of the International Atomic Energy Agency relating to the movement of radioactive waste; enact and enforce regulations for environmentally sound management related to safe storage and movements; consider taking action towards the prohibition of those movements that are unsafe and insecure; ensure the strict control and management of hazardous wastes and radioactive waste, in accordance with relevant international and regional obligations and eliminate the exportation of such wastes to countries that, individually or through international agreements, prohibit their importation;
      • Promote coordination within and among institutions to implement the Platform for Action and chapter 24 of Agenda 21 by, inter alia, requesting the Commission on Sustainable Development, through the Economic and Social Council, to seek input from the Commission on the Status of Women when reviewing the implementation of Agenda 21 with regard to women and the environment.
      L. The Girl Child

      259. The Convention on the Rights of the Child recognizes that “States Parties shall respect and ensure the rights set forth in the present Convention to each child within their jurisdiction without discrimination of any kind, irrespective of the child's or his or her parent's or legal guardian's race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national, ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth or status” (art. 2, para. 1). 11 However, in many countries available indicators show that the girl child is discriminated against from the earliest stages of life, through her childhood and into adulthood. In some areas of the world, men outnumber women by 5 in every 100. The reasons for the discrepancy include, among other things, harmful attitudes and practices, such as female genital mutilation, son preference-which results in female infanticide and prenatal sex selection-early marriage, including child marriage, violence against women, sexual exploitation, sexual abuse, discrimination against girls in food allocation and other practices related to health and well-being. As a result, fewer girls than boys survive into adulthood.

      260. Girls are often treated as inferior and are socialized to put themselves last, thus undermining their self-esteem. Discrimination and neglect in childhood can initiate a lifelong downward spiral of deprivation and exclusion from the social mainstream. Initiatives should be taken to prepare girls to participate actively, effectively and equally with boys at all levels of social, economic, political and cultural leadership.

      261. Gender-biased educational processes, including curricula, educational materials and practices, teachers’ attitudes and classroom interaction, reinforce existing gender inequalities.

      262. Girls and adolescents may receive a variety of conflicting and confusing messages on their gender roles from their parents, teachers, peers and the media. Women and men need to work together with children and youth to break down persistent gender stereotypes, taking into account the rights of the child and the responsibilities, rights and duties of parents as stated in paragraph 267 below.

      263. Although the number of educated children has grown in the past 20 years in some countries, boys have proportionately fared much better than girls. In 1990, 130 million children had no access to primary school; of these, 81 million were girls. This can be attributed to such factors as customary attitudes, child labour, early marriages, lack of funds and lack of adequate schooling facilities, teenage pregnancies and gender inequalities in society at large as well as in the family as defined in paragraph 29 above. In some countries the shortage of women teachers can inhibit the enrolment of girls. In many cases, girls start to undertake heavy domestic chores at a very early age and are expected to manage both educational and domestic responsibilities, often resulting in poor scholastic performance and an early drop-out from schooling.

      264. The percentage of girls enrolled in secondary school remains significantly low in many countries. Girls are often not encouraged or given the opportunity to pursue scientific and technological training and education, which limits the knowledge they require for their daily lives and their employment opportunities.

      265. Girls are less encouraged than boys to participate in and learn about the social, economic and political functioning of society, with the result that they are not offered the same opportunities as boys to take part in decision-making processes.

      266. Existing discrimination against the girl child in her access to nutrition and physical and mental health services endangers her current and future health. An estimated 450 million adult women in developing countries are stunted as a result of childhood protein-energy malnutrition.

      267. The International Conference on Population and Development recognized, in paragraph 7.3 of the Programme of Action, 14 that “full attention should be given to the promotion of mutually respectful and equitable gender relations and particularly to meeting the educational and service needs of adolescents to enable them to deal in a positive and responsible way with their sexuality”, taking into account the rights of the child to access to information, privacy, confidentiality, respect and informed consent, as well as the responsibilities, rights and duties of parents and legal guardians to provide, in a manner consistent with the evolving capacities of the child, appropriate direction and guidance in the exercise by the child of the rights recognized in the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and in conformity with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women. In all actions concerning children, the best interests of the child shall be a primary consideration. Support should be given to integral sexual education for young people with parental support and guidance that stresses the responsibility of males for their own sexuality and fertility and that help them exercise their responsibilities.

      268. More than 15 million girls aged 15 to 19 give birth each year. Motherhood at a very young age entails complications during pregnancy and delivery and a risk of maternal death that is much greater than average. The children of young mothers have higher levels of morbidity and mortality. Early child-bearing continues to be an impediment to improvements in the educational, economic and social status of women in all parts of the world. Overall, early marriage and early motherhood can severely curtail educational and employment opportunities and are likely to have a long-term adverse impact on their and their children's quality of life.

      269. Sexual violence and sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS, have a devastating effect on children's health, and girls are more vulnerable than boys to the consequences of unprotected and premature sexual relations. Girls often face pressures to engage in sexual activity. Due to such factors as their youth, social pressures, lack of protective laws, or failure to enforce laws, girls are more vulnerable to all kinds of violence, particularly sexual violence, including rape, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, trafficking, possibly the sale of their organs and tissues, and forced labour.

      270. The girl child with disabilities faces additional barriers and needs to be ensured nondiscrimination and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with the Standard Rules on the Equalization of Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities. 30

      271. Some children are particularly vulnerable, especially the abandoned, homeless and displaced, street children, children in areas in conflict, and children who are discriminated against because they belong to an ethnic or racial minority group.

      272. All barriers must therefore be eliminated to enable girls without exception to develop their full potential and skills through equal access to education and training, nutrition, physical and mental health care and related information.

      273. In addressing issues concerning children and youth, Governments should promote an active and visible policy of mainstreaming a gender perspective into all policies and programmes so that before decisions are taken, an analysis is made of the effects on girls and boys, respectively.

      Strategic objective L.1. Eliminate all forms of discrimination against the girl child

      Actions to be taken

      274. By Governments:

      • By States that have not signed or ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child, take urgent measures towards signing and ratifying the Convention, bearing in mind the strong exhortation made at the World Conference on Human Rights to sign it before the end of 1995, and by States that have signed and ratified the Convention, ensure its full implementation through the adoption of all necessary legislative, administrative and other measures and by fostering an enabling environment that encourages full respect for the rights of children;
      • Consistent with article 7 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, 11 take measures to ensure that a child is registered immediately after birth and has the right from birth to a name, the right to acquire a nationality and, as far as possible, the right to know and be cared for by his or her parents;
      • Take steps to ensure that children receive appropriate financial support from their parents, by, among other measures, enforcing child-support laws;
      • Eliminate the injustice and obstacles in relation to inheritance faced by the girl child so that all children may enjoy their rights without discrimination, by, inter alia, enacting, as appropriate, and enforcing legislation that guarantees equal right to succession and ensures equal right to inherit, regardless of the sex of the child;
      • Enact and strictly enforce laws to ensure that marriage is only entered into with the free and full consent of the intending spouses; in addition, enact and strictly enforce laws concerning the minimum legal age of consent and the minimum age for marriage and raise the minimum age for marriage where necessary;
      • Develop and implement comprehensive policies, plans of action and programmes for the survival, protection, development and advancement of the girl child to promote and protect the full enjoyment of her human rights and to ensure equal opportunities for girls; these plans should form an integral part of the total development process;
      • Ensure the disaggregation by sex and age of all data related to children in the health, education and other sectors in order to include a gender perspective in planning, implementation and monitoring of such programmes.

      275. By Governments and international and non-governmental organizations:

      • Disaggregate information and data on children by sex and age, undertake research on the situation of girls and integrate, as appropriate, the results in the formulation of policies, programmes and decision-making for the advancement of the girl child;
      • Generate social support for the enforcement of laws on the minimum legal age for marriage, in particular by providing educational opportunities for girls.

      Strategic objective L.2. Eliminate negative cultural attitudes and practices against girls

      Actions to be taken

      276. By Governments:

      • Encourage and support, as appropriate, non-governmental organizations and community-based organizations in their efforts to promote changes in negative attitudes and practices towards girls;
      • Set up educational programmes and develop teaching materials and textbooks that will sensitize and inform adults about the harmful effects of certain traditional or customary practices on girl children;
      • Develop and adopt curricula, teaching materials and textbooks to improve the self-image, lives and work opportunities of girls, particularly in areas where women have traditionally been underrepresented, such as mathematics, science and technology;
      • (d) Take steps so that tradition and religion and their expressions are not a basis for discrimination against girls.

      277. By Governments and, as appropriate, international and non-governmental organizations:

      • Promote an educational setting that eliminates all barriers that impede the schooling of married and/or pregnant girls and young mothers, including, as appropriate, affordable and physically accessible child-care facilities and parental education to encourage those who have responsibilities for the care of their children and siblings during their school years to return to, or continue with, and complete schooling;
      • Encourage educational institutions and the media to adopt and project balanced and non-stereotyped images of girls and boys, and work to eliminate child pornography and degrading and violent portrayals of the girl child;
      • Eliminate all forms of discrimination against the girl child and the root causes of son preference, which result in harmful and unethical practices such as prenatal sex selection and female infanticide; this is often compounded by the increasing use of technologies to determine foetal sex, resulting in abortion of female foetuses;
      • Develop policies and programmes, giving priority to formal and informal education programmes that support girls and enable them to acquire knowledge, develop self-esteem and take responsibility for their own lives; and place special focus on programmes to educate women and men, especially parents, on the importance of girls’ physical and mental health and well-being, including the elimination of discrimination against girls in food allocation, early marriage, violence against girls, female genital mutilation, child prostitution, sexual abuse, rape and incest.

      Strategic objective L.3. Promote and protect the rights of the girl child and increase awareness of her needs and potential

      Actions to be taken

      278. By Governments and international and non-governmental organizations:

      • Generate awareness of the disadvantaged situation of girls among policy makers, planners, administrators and implementors at all levels, as well as within households and communities;
      • Make the girl child, particularly the girl child in difficult circumstances, aware of her own potential, educate her about the rights guaranteed to her under all international human rights instruments, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child, legislation enacted for her and the various measures undertaken by both governmental and non-governmental organizations working to improve her status;
      • Educate women, men, girls and boys to promote girls’ status and encourage them to work towards mutual respect and equal partnership between girls and boys;
      • Facilitate the equal provision of appropriate services and devices to girls with disabilities and provide their families with related support services, as appropriate.

      Strategic objective L.4. Eliminate discrimination against girls in education, skills development and training

      Actions to be taken

      279. By Governments:

      • Ensure universal and equal access to and completion of primary education by all children and eliminate the existing gap between girls and boys, as stipulated in article 28 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child; 11 similarly, ensure equal access to secondary education by the year 2005 and equal access to higher education, including vocational and technical education, for all girls and boys, including the disadvantaged and gifted;
      • Take steps to integrate functional literacy and numeracy programmes, particularly for out-of-school girls in development programmes;
      • Promote human rights education in educational programmes and include in human rights education the fact that the human rights of women and the girl child are an inalienable, integral and indivisible part of universal human rights;
      • Increase enrolment and improve retention rates of girls by allocating appropriate budgetary resources and by enlisting the support of the community and parents through campaigns and flexible school schedules, incentives, scholarships, access programmes for out-of-school girls and other measures;
      • Develop training programmes and materials for teachers and educators, raising awareness about their own role in the educational process, with a view to providing them with effective strategies for gender-sensitive teaching;
      • Take actions to ensure that female teachers and professors have the same possibilities and status as male teachers and professors.

      280. By Governments and international and non-governmental organizations:

      • Provide education and skills training to increase girls’ opportunities for employment and access to decision-making processes;
      • Provide education to increase girls’ knowledge and skills related to the functioning of economic, financial and political systems;
      • Ensure access to appropriate education and skills-training for girl children with disabilities for their full participation in life;
      • Promote the full and equal participation of girls in extracurricular activities, such as sports, drama and cultural activities.

      Strategic objective L.5. Eliminate discrimination against girls in health and nutrition

      Actions to be taken

      281. By Governments and international and non-governmental organizations:

      • Provide public information on the removal of discriminatory practices against girls in food allocation, nutrition and access to health services;
      • Sensitize the girl child, parents, teachers and society concerning good general health and nutrition and raise awareness of the health dangers and other problems connected with early pregnancies;
      • Strengthen and reorient health education and health services, particularly primary health care programmes, including sexual and reproductive health, and design quality health programmes that meet the physical and mental needs of girls and that attend to the needs of young, expectant and nursing mothers;
      • Establish peer education and outreach programmes with a view to strengthening individual and collective action to reduce the vulnerability of girls to HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases, as agreed to in the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and as established in the report of that Conference, recognizing the parental roles referred to in paragraph 267 of the present Platform for Action;
      • Ensure education and dissemination of information to girls, especially adolescent girls, regarding the physiology of reproduction, reproductive and sexual health, as agreed to in the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and as established in the report of that Conference, responsible family planning practice, family life, reproductive health, sexually transmitted diseases, HIV infection and AIDS prevention, recognizing the parental roles referred to in paragraph 267;
      • Include health and nutritional training as an integral part of literacy programmes and school curricula starting at the primary level for the benefit of the girl child;
      • Emphasize the role and responsibility of adolescents in sexual and reproductive health and behaviour through the provision of appropriate services and counselling, as discussed in paragraph 267;
      • Develop information and training programmes for health planners and implementors on the special health needs of the girl child;
      • Take all the appropriate measures with a view to abolishing traditional practices prejudicial to the health of children, as stipulated in article 24 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. 11

      Strategic objective L.6. Eliminate the economic exploitation of child labour and protect young girls at work

      Actions to be taken

      282. By Governments:

      • In conformity with article 32 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, 11 protect children from economic exploitation and from performing any work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the child's education, or to be harmful to the child's health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development;
      • Define a minimum age for a child's admission to employment in national legislation, in conformity with existing international labour standards and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, including girls in all sectors of activity;
      • Protect young girls at work, inter alia, through:
        • A minimum age or ages for admission to employment;
        • Strict monitoring of work conditions (respect for work time, prohibition of work by children not provided for by national legislation, and monitoring of hygiene and health conditions at work);
        • Application of social security coverage;
        • Establishment of continuous training and education;
      • Strengthen, where necessary, legislation governing the work of children and provide for appropriate penalties or other sanctions to ensure effective enforcement of the legislation;
      • Use existing international labour standards, including, as appropriate, ILO standards for the protection of working children, to guide the formulation of national labour legislation and policies.

      Strategic objective L.7. Eradicate violence against the girl child

      Actions to be taken

      283. By Governments and, as appropriate, international and non-governmental organizations:

      • Take effective actions and measures to enact and enforce legislation to protect the safety and security of girls from all forms of violence at work, including training programmes and support programmes, and take measures to eliminate incidents of sexual harassment of girls in educational and other institutions;
      • Take appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the girl child, in the household and in society, from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse;
      • Undertake gender sensitization training for those involved in healing and rehabilitation and other assistance programmes for girls who are victims of violence and promote programmes of information, support and training for such girls;
      • Enact and enforce legislation protecting girls from all forms of violence, including female infanticide and prenatal sex selection, genital mutilation, incest, sexual abuse, sexual exploitation, child prostitution and child pornography, and develop age-appropriate safe and confidential programmes and medical, social and psychological support services to assist girls who are subjected to violence.

      Strategic objective L.8. Promote the girl child's awareness of and participation in social, economic and political life

      Actions to be taken

      284. By Governments and international and non-governmental organizations:

      • Provide access for girls to training, information and the media on social, cultural, economic and political issues and enable them to articulate their views;
      • Support non-governmental organizations, in particular youth non-governmental organizations, in their efforts to promote the equality and participation of girls in society.

      Strategic objective L.9. Strengthen the role of the family∗ in improving the status of the girl child

      ∗ As defined in para. 29 above.

      Actions to be taken

      285. By Governments, in cooperation with non-governmental organizations:

      • Formulate policies and programmes to help the family, as defined in paragraph 29 above, in its supporting, educating and nurturing roles, with particular emphasis on the elimination of intra-family discrimination against the girl child;
      • Provide an environment conducive to the strengthening of the family, as defined in paragraph 29 above, with a view to providing supportive and preventive measures which protect, respect and promote the potential of the girl child;
      • Educate and encourage parents and caregivers to treat girls and boys equally and to ensure shared responsibilities between girls and boys in the family, as defined in paragraph 29 above.
      Chapter V: Institutional Arrangements

      286. The Platform for Action establishes a set of actions that should lead to fundamental change. Immediate action and accountability are essential if the targets are to be met by the year 2000. Implementation is primarily the responsibility of Governments, but is also dependent on a wide range of institutions in the public, private and non-governmental sectors at the community, national, subregional/regional and international levels.

      287. During the United Nations Decade for Women (1976-1985), many institutions specifically devoted to the advancement of women were established at the national, regional and international levels. At the international level, the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW), the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), and the Committee to monitor the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women were established. These entities, along with the Commission on the Status of Women and its secretariat, the Division for the Advancement of Women, became the main institutions in the United Nations specifically devoted to women's advancement globally. At the national level, a number of countries established or strengthened national mechanisms to plan, advocate for and monitor progress in the advancement of women.

      288. Implementation of the Platform for Action by national, subregional/regional and international institutions, both public and private, would be facilitated by transparency, by increased linkages between networks and organizations and by a consistent flow of information among all concerned. Clear objectives and accountability mechanisms are also required. Links with other institutions at the national, subregional/regional and international levels and with networks and organizations devoted to the advancement of women are needed.

      289. Non-governmental and grass-roots organizations have a specific role to play in creating a social, economic, political and intellectual climate based on equality between women and men. Women should be actively involved in the implementation and monitoring of the Platform for Action.

      290. Effective implementation of the Platform will also require changes in the internal dynamics of institutions and organizations, including values, behaviour, rules and procedures that are inimical to the advancement of women. Sexual harassment should be eliminated.

      291. National, subregional/regional and international institutions should have strong and clear mandates and the authority, resources and accountability mechanisms needed for the tasks set out in the Platform for Action. Their methods of operation should ensure efficient and effective implementation of the Platform. There should be a clear commitment to international norms and standards of equality between women and men as a basis for all actions.

      292. To ensure effective implementation of the Platform for Action and to enhance the work for the advancement of women at the national, subregional/regional and international levels, Governments, the United Nations system and all other relevant organizations should promote an active and visible policy of mainstreaming a gender perspective, inter alia, in the monitoring and evaluation of all policies and programmes.

      A. National Level

      293. Governments have the primary responsibility for implementing the Platform for Action. Commitment at the highest political level is essential to its implementation, and Governments should take a leading role in coordinating, monitoring and assessing progress in the advancement of women. The Fourth World Conference on Women is a conference of national and international commitment and action. This requires commitment from Governments and the international community. The Platform for Action is part of a continuing process and has a catalytic effect as it will contribute to programmes and practical outcomes for girls and women of all ages. States and the international community are encouraged to respond to this challenge by making commitments for action. As part of this process, many States have made commitments for action as reflected, inter alia, in their national statements.

      294. National mechanisms and institutions for the advancement of women should participate in public policy formulation and encourage the implementation of the Platform for Action through various bodies and institutions, including the private sector, and, where necessary, should act as a catalyst in developing new programmes by the year 2000 in areas that are not covered by existing institutions.

      295. The active support and participation of a broad and diverse range of other institutional actors should be encouraged, including legislative bodies, academic and research institutions, professional associations, trade unions, cooperatives, local community groups, non-governmental organizations, including women's organizations and feminist groups, the media, religious groups, youth organizations and cultural groups, as well as financial and non-profit organizations.

      296. In order for the Platform for Action to be implemented, it will be necessary for Governments to establish or improve the effectiveness of national machineries for the advancement of women at the highest political level, appropriate intra-and inter-ministerial procedures and staffing, and other institutions with the mandate and capacity to broaden women's participation and integrate gender analysis into policies and programmes. The first step in this process for all institutions should be to review their objectives, programmes and operational procedures in terms of the actions called for in the Platform. A key activity should be to promote public awareness and support for the goals of the Platform for Action, inter alia, through the mass media and public education.

      297. As soon as possible, preferably by the end of 1995, Governments, in consultation with relevant institutions and non-governmental organizations, should begin to develop implementation strategies for the Platform and, preferably by the end of 1996, should have developed their strategies or plans of action. This planning process should draw upon persons at the highest level of authority in government and relevant actors in civil society. These implementation strategies should be comprehensive, have time-bound targets and benchmarks for monitoring, and include proposals for allocating or reallocating resources for implementation. Where necessary, the support of the international community could be enlisted, including resources.

      298. Non-governmental organizations should be encouraged to contribute to the design and implementation of these strategies or national plans of action. They should also be encouraged to develop their own programmes to complement government efforts. Women's organizations and feminist groups, in collaboration with other non-governmental organizations, should be encouraged to organize networks, as necessary, and to advocate for and support the implementation of the Platform for Action by Governments and regional and international bodies.

      299. Governments should commit themselves to gender balance, inter alia, through the creation of special mechanisms, in all government-appointed committees, boards and other relevant official bodies, as appropriate, as well as in all international bodies, institutions and organizations, notably by presenting and promoting more women candidates.

      300. Regional and international organizations, in particular development institutions, especially INSTRAW, UNIFEM and bilateral donors, should provide financial and advisory assistance to national machinery in order to increase its ability to gather information, develop networks and carry out its mandate, in addition to strengthening international mechanisms to promote the advancement of women through their respective mandates, in cooperation with Governments.

      B. Subregional/Regional Level

      301. The regional commissions of the United Nations and other subregional/regional structures should promote and assist the pertinent national institutions in monitoring and implementing the global Platform for Action within their mandates. This should be done in coordination with the implementation of the respective regional platforms or plans of action and in close collaboration with the Commission on the Status of Women, taking into account the need for a coordinated follow-up to United Nations conferences in the economic, social, human rights and related fields.

      302. In order to facilitate the regional implementation, monitoring and evaluation process, the Economic and Social Council should consider reviewing the institutional capacity of the United Nations regional commissions within their mandates, including their women's units/focal points, to deal with gender issues in the light of the Platform for Action, as well as the regional platforms and plans of action. Consideration should be given, inter alia, and, where appropriate, to strengthening capacity in this respect.

      303. Within their existing mandates and activities, the regional commissions should mainstream women's issues and gender perspectives and should also consider the establishment of mechanisms and processes to ensure the implementation and monitoring of both the Platform for Action and the regional platforms and plans of action. The regional commissions should, within their mandates, collaborate on gender issues with other regional intergovernmental organizations, non-governmental organizations, financial and research institutions and the private sector.

      304. Regional offices of the specialized agencies of the United Nations system should, as appropriate, develop and publicize a plan of action for implementing the Platform for Action, including the identification of time-frames and resources. Technical assistance and operational activities at the regional level should establish well-identified targets for the advancement of women. To this end, regular coordination should be undertaken among United Nations bodies and agencies.

      305. Non-governmental organizations within the region should be supported in their efforts to develop networks to coordinate advocacy and dissemination of information about the global Platform for Action and the respective regional platforms or plans of action.

      C. International Level:
      United Nations

      306. The Platform for Action needs to be implemented through the work of all of the bodies and organizations of the United Nations system during the period 1995-2000, specifically and as an integral part of wider programming. An enhanced framework for international cooperation for gender issues must be developed during the period 1995-2000 in order to ensure the integrated and comprehensive implementation, follow-up and assessment of the Platform for Action, taking into account the results of global United Nations summits and conferences. The fact that at all of these summits and conferences, Governments have committed themselves to the empowerment of women in different areas, makes coordination crucial to the follow-up strategies for this Platform for Action. The Agenda for Development and the Agenda for Peace should take into account the Platform for Action of the Fourth World Conference on Women.

      307. The institutional capacity of the United Nations system to carry out and coordinate its responsibility for implementing the Platform for Action, as well as its expertise and working methods to promote the advancement of women, should be improved.

      308. Responsibility for ensuring the implementation of the Platform for Action and the integration of a gender perspective into all policies and programmes of the United Nations system must rest at the highest levels.

      309. To improve the system's efficiency and effectiveness in providing support for equality and women's empowerment at the national level and to enhance its capacity to achieve the objectives of the Platform for Action, there is a need to renew, reform and revitalize various parts of the United Nations system. This would include reviewing and strengthening the strategies and working methods of different United Nations mechanisms for the advancement of women with a view to rationalizing and, as appropriate, strengthening their advisory, catalytic and monitoring functions in relation to mainstream bodies and agencies. Women/gender units are important for effective mainstreaming, but strategies must be further developed to prevent inadvertent marginalization as opposed to mainstreaming of the gender dimension throughout all operations.

      310. In following up the Fourth World Conference on Women, all entities of the United Nations system focusing on the advancement of women should have the necessary resources and support to carry out follow-up activities. The efforts of gender focal points within organizations should be well integrated into overall policy, planning, programming and budgeting.

      311. Action must be taken by the United Nations and other international organizations to eliminate barriers to the advancement of women within their organizations in accordance with the Platform for Action.

      General Assembly

      312. The General Assembly, as the highest intergovernmental body in the United Nations, is the principal policy-making and appraisal organ on matters relating to the follow-up to the Conference, and as such, should integrate gender issues throughout its work. It should appraise progress in the effective implementation of the Platform for Action, recognizing that these issues cut across social, political and economic policy. At its fiftieth session, in 1995, the General Assembly will have before it the report of the Fourth World Conference on Women. In accordance with its resolution 49/161, it will also examine a report of the Secretary-General on the follow-up to the Conference, taking into account the recommendations of the Conference. The General Assembly should include the follow-up to the Conference as part of its continuing work on the advancement of women. In 1996, 1998 and 2000, it should review the implementation of the Platform for Action.

      Economic and Social Council

      313. The Economic and Social Council, in the context of its role under the Charter of the United Nations and in accordance with General Assembly resolutions 45/264, 46/235 and 48/162, would oversee system-wide coordination in the implementation of the Platform for Action and make recommendations in this regard. The Council should be invited to review the implementation of the Platform for Action, giving due consideration to the reports of the Commission on the Status of Women. As coordinating body, the Council should be invited to review the mandate of the Commission on the Status of Women, taking into account the need for effective coordination with other related commissions and Conference follow-up. The Council should incorporate gender issues into its discussion of all policy questions, giving due consideration to recommendations prepared by the Commission. It should consider devoting at least one high-level segment before the year 2000 to the advancement of women and implementation of the Platform for Action with the active involvement and participation, inter alia, of the specialized agencies, including the World Bank and IMF.

      314. The Council should consider devoting at least one coordination segment before the year 2000 to coordination of the advancement of women, based on the revised system-wide medium-term plan for the advancement of women.

      315. The Council should consider devoting at least one operational activities segment before the year 2000 to the coordination of development activities related to gender, based on the revised system-wide medium-term plan for the advancement of women, with a view to instituting guidelines and procedures for implementation of the Platform for Action by the funds and programmes of the United Nations system.

      316. The Administrative Committee on Coordination (ACC) should consider how its participating entities might best coordinate their activities, inter alia, through existing procedures at the inter-agency level for ensuring system-wide coordination to implement and help follow up the objectives of the Platform for Action.

      Commission on the Status of Women

      317. The General Assembly and the Economic and Social Council, in accordance with their respective mandates, are invited to review and strengthen the mandate of the Commission on the Status of Women, taking into account the Platform for Action as well as the need for synergy with other related commissions and Conference follow-up, and for a system-wide approach to its implementation.

      318. As a functional commission assisting the Economic and Social Council, the Commission on the Status of Women should have a central role in monitoring, within the United Nations system, the implementation of the Platform for Action and advising the Council thereon. It should have a clear mandate with sufficient human and financial resources, through the reallocation of resources within the regular budget of the United Nations to carry the mandate out.

      319. The Commission on the Status of Women should assist the Economic and Social Council in its coordination of the reporting on the implementation of the Platform for Action with the relevant organizations of the United Nations system. The Commission should draw upon inputs from other organizations of the United Nations system and other sources, as appropriate.

      320. The Commission on the Status of Women, in developing its work programme for the period 1996-2000, should review the critical areas of concern in the Platform for Action and consider how to integrate in its agenda the follow-up to the World Conference on Women. In this context, the Commission on the Status of Women could consider how it could further develop its catalytic role in mainstreaming a gender perspective in United Nations activities.

      Other Functional Commissions

      321. Within their mandates, other functional commissions of the Economic and Social Council should also take due account of the Platform for Action and ensure the integration of gender aspects in their respective work.

      Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women and other Treaty Bodies

      322. The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, in implementing its responsibilities under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, should, within its mandate, take into account the Platform for Action when considering the reports submitted by States parties.

      323. States parties to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women are invited, when reporting under article 18 of the Convention, to include information on measures taken to implement the Platform for Action in order to facilitate the work of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women in monitoring effectively women's ability to enjoy the rights guaranteed by the Convention.

      324. The ability of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women to monitor implementation of the Convention should be strengthened through the provision of human and financial resources within the regular budget of the United Nations, including expert legal assistance and, in accordance with General Assembly resolution 49/164 and the decision made by the meeting of States parties to the Convention held in May 1995, sufficient meeting time for the Committee. The Committee should increase its coordination with other human rights treaty bodies, taking into account the recommendations in the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action.

      325. Within their mandate, other treaty bodies should also take due account of the implementation of the Platform for Action and ensure the integration of the equal status and human rights of women in their work.

      United Nations Secretariat
      Office of the Secretary-General

      326. The Secretary-General is requested to assume responsibility for coordination of policy within the United Nations for the implementation of the Platform for Action and for the mainstreaming of a system-wide gender perspective in all activities of the United Nations, taking into account the mandates of the bodies concerned. The Secretary-General should consider specific measures for ensuring effective coordination in the implementation of these objectives. To this end, the Secretary-General is invited to establish a high-level post in the office of the Secretary-General, using existing human and financial resources, to act as the Secretary-General's adviser on gender issues and to help ensure system-wide implementation of the Platform for Action in close cooperation with the Division for the Advancement of Women.

      Division for the Advancement of Women

      327. The primary function of the Division for the Advancement of Women of the Department for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development is to provide substantive servicing to the Commission on the Status of Women and other intergovernmental bodies when they are concerned with the advancement of women, as well as to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women. It has been designated a focal point for the implementation of the Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women. In the light of the review of the mandate of the Commission on the Status of Women, as set out in paragraph 313 above, the functions of the Division for the Advancement of Women will also need to be assessed. The Secretary-General is requested to ensure more effective functioning of the Division by, inter alia, providing sufficient human and financial resources within the regular budget of the United Nations.

      328. The Division should examine the obstacles to the advancement of women through the application of gender-impact analysis in policy studies for the Commission on the Status of Women and through support to other subsidiary bodies. After the Fourth World Conference on Women it sh