ICAN Press Release

November 25th, 2014

ICAN

ICAN

 

 

 

PRESS RELEASE

November 11, 2014 Contact: madeline.koch@icanpeacework.org

 

The World at a Crossroads: Women Have the Solutions

We, sixty women representing thirteen countries spanning the Middle East, North Africa and Asia, together with our colleagues from Europe and North America, gathered together in Turkey at the Third Annual Forum on Women’s Rights, Peace and Security, convened by the International Civil Society Action Network (ICAN), have one word to share with the world: Enough.

Enough of the violence; enough of the importation of extremist ideologies that have no roots in our cultures, religions or history; and enough of the weapons and bombs that are forcing us to bury our people, especially our children, at an age when they should be going to school and building their futures. Across our regions, within the borders of our nations, our people are suffering at the frontlines of the most horrendous wars and forms of violence in recent history.

The vast majority of our peace loving people are being held hostage by a small minority of extremists, occupation forces and authoritarian powers. We women, as activists for peace, rights and pluralism, are in the crosshairs of these forces. On one side, we find ourselves on the kill lists of ISIS/Daesh and other extremist militias for simply daring to speak out for freedom. On the other, we are being harassed, threatened and arrested by state and occupation forces for daring to demand simple services ranging from clean water to decent governance, basic rights, equality and leadership.

The policies of international actors are contributing to the suffering of our people including through sanctions, arms sales, human trafficking and the drug trade. Our girls are being coerced into militias or kidnapped, raped and sold. Meanwhile, extremist and regressive forces are directly benefitting from these policies.

We reach across the world for support and solidarity from the international community, but it is not forthcoming, except from some sources. You claim to support women and say you uphold international norms and policies such as United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security that clearly calls for women’s effective participation in decision making related to the prevention and resolution of conflict. Yet, you do not heed our advice or our warnings. You spend millions on bombs and drones, knowing that they, alone, provide no solution. But when we seek your support for schools, economic development and humanitarian assistance, you claim that you cannot afford it.

The challenges we face are profound. They are not of our creation. Yet we are forced to deal with the consequences. You may think that nothing positive is possible under the circumstances. But you are wrong. We are powerful and continue to work because we refuse to give up our values and our hope for a better future. We are mobilizing young people to challenge ideologies that say we should hate each other. We reject any understanding of religion that condones or promotes violence and the oppression of women. We are spreading the message of peace and pluralism that has, for centuries, allowed this region to live together peacefully despite differences.

We work with women to build their knowledge of universal rights and inclusive interpretations of religion, to strengthen their voices, to respect their dignity and to give them jobs. We work with men to counter the culture of violence that has permeated our region. Against the odds, we struggle to hold our governments accountable to their own commitments.

Today we stand at a crossroads. The international community can continue its failed policies and strategies that foment more violent extremism and radicalization. Or they can follow our lead. One thing is guaranteed: our version of the region, our vision for the future, is about peace, freedom, dignity, rights, pluralism, and prosperity for all. Listen to us. Join us.

 

This statement was issued on November 11, 2014 at ‘Challenging Extremism and Militarism’, ICAN’s 3rd Annual
MENA/Asia Forum on Women’s Rights, Peace and Security held in Şile, Turkey.

Kudos to Sanam Naraghi-Anderlini!

November 25th, 2014

Kudos!!
Sanam_Anderlini

The Global Gender Program would like to send out a kudos to ICAN’s Co-founder and Executive Director Sanam Naraghi Anderlini who will be honored by the United Nations Association with the Perdita Huston Award for her work to improve human rights. The award reception will take place on the evening of Friday, December 12th in Washington, D.C. For more information and to register, please check the UNA website here.

Video Update!

November 25th, 2014

August 7, Conference Video Now Accessible

Women’s Empowerment and Equality: Challenges, Progress, and Opportunities 2014
August 07, 2014

Video footage from GGP’s summer conference is up on the Elliott School website. If you were unable to make it out to the event, you can now watch it online. The videos are broken up in segments so if there is one panel you are more interested in, you can easily access it, or you can watch all five! The videos are listed as followed:

Welcome and Keynote Address
Panel 1: Academic Perspectives
Panel 2: Programmatic and Policy Perspectives
Panel 3: Partnerships for Peace and Development
Concluding Remarks with Susan Markham

The conference consisted of a series of panels on advancing the gender equality agenda. Twelve guest speakers were brought in to present on their work or research tied to gender and development. We recognize support from the U.S. State Department.

To watch the videos click here.

16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence

November 21st, 2014

16DaysAgainstGenderViolence

 

Tuesday, November 25, marks the 14 year anniversary of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. This day commemorates the lives of the three Mirabel sisters who were assassinated for their political activism against the Dominican Republic dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo on November 25, 1960. In their home country of the Dominican Republic they are recognized as national martyrs, and in December of 1999, the United Nations decided that their cause deserved yearly commemoration.

The International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women kicks off the yearly 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence. The 16 days end on December 10, of each year which falls on International Human Rights Day. This year’s theme, Orange the World in 16 Days, is tied into the UN’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign, which has designated the 25th of each month as Orange Day. Wearing orange on the 25th, is an opportunity to show support for this campaign to end the violence that affects 1 in 3 women around the world.

Events are taking place around the world to advance the mission of eradicating gender based violence. In Washington DC, on December 3, there will be two events in honor of this activism. The first of the two will be held at George Washington University, and will be a launch of the Lancet edition dedicated to violence against women. Later in the day a second event will take place at the World Bank Group, launching a Multisectoral Violence Against Women and Girls Resource Guide.

Stay involved through twitter using #orangeurworld and #16days. The Global Gender Program will post more events as they come up, in an effort to spread the word and combat gender based violence. If you are not yet subscribed to our newsletter, subscribe here.

Org Spotlight: SAHA Global

November 21st, 2014

SAHA GlobalSAHA Global

Saha Global is an organization that seeks to empower women in rural communities in the Northern region of Ghana and West Africa to solve their village’s need for clean water and electricity by providing leadership opportunities. The word “Saha” means opportunity in Dagboni, which is the local language spoken in Northern Region Ghana. In order to accomplish this mission, Saha recruits leaders from around the globe to come to West Africa through their Global Leadership Program. Participants in the Global Leadership Program train local women to start profitable social-entrepreneurship ventures. The revenue that is earned from these businesses is managed by the women and it stays in the community.

In the beginning Saha was focused primarily on water, but it has expanded its efforts to include access to electricity. People living in rural communities of the Northern Region of Ghana lack access to safe drinking water and are forced to drink from fecal contaminated waters sources. In addition to the absence of safe water, 30% of the people living in the rural communities rely on kerosene lamps for lights because they do not have access to electricity. These lamps are not only hazardous to people’s health, but also release harmful black carbon and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. To date, Saha Global has launched 71 clean water businesses and 5 solar electricity businesses, which serve 38,108 people. 100% of these businesses are still in operation today. Their commitment to monitoring, combined with our use of simple and locally available technology, has been the key to their 100% sustainability rate.

DC event: Improving Global Health Through Clean Cooking Solutions: A Panel Discussion of Diverse Perspectives

November 20th, 2014

When: Monday, November 24th, 2014, 12:30pm*
Where: 950 New Hampshire Avenue, NW, Room B100B

Exposure to smoke from cooking with solid fuels kills more than 4 million people, predominately in the developing world, each year according to the World Health Organization. This event will feature a panel of experts discussing clean cooking solutions and their ability to lead to improvements in health, environment and the livelihoods of women and children. It will conclude with a demonstration of the newest biomass stoves developed by Aprovecho Research Center.

Speakers:

  • Jacob Moss – United States Government Cookstove Coordinator, Department of State
  • Ranyee Chiang – Director of Standards, Technology and Fuels, Global Alliance for Clean Cookstoves
  • James Tielsch – Chair of Global Health, Milken Institute School of Public Health
  • Dean Still – Executive Director, Aprovecho Research Center

*A light lunch will be provided at 12pm

All are welcome to attend – RSVPS strongly encouraged.
Please RSVP to Kallista Bernal at kallista@gwu.edu

Interactive Map: Org Spotlights

November 19th, 2014

As you, our readers know, every week the Global Gender Update includes a spotlight on an organization that focuses on gender issues around the world. We believe that it is important to highlight the hard work that people are doing in the United States and abroad to alleviate gender discrepancies. Each spotlight links to a longer blog post on our blog page, global.gender.current. The blog then contains a hyperlink to the organization’s website so that any interested parties have the opportunity to educate themselves further, and maybe even get involved. We try our best to represent as many countries as possible. Evidence of this work can be found by going to the Org Spotlight Archive and checking out our interactive map. As different organizations are spotlighted in the newsletter, there location is added to the map.

Event Recap: Designing Global Measures for Women’s Economic Empowerment

November 17th, 2014

By student contributor Laura Kilburylinda scott

Many benefits are expected to ensue from programs for women. Professor Linda Scott from the University of Oxford addressed the challenges she has observed in trying to design programs and measurements for women’s empowerment at the “Designing Global Measures for Women’s Economic Empowerment” hosted by The World Bank Group Gender Team and SME Finance Forum. Professor Scott has been involved in many impressive efforts to create and evaluate support systems for female entrepreneurs. These experiences have given her a distinguished perspective on the state of affairs in women’s entrepreneurship support.

In her discussion, Professor Scott discussed the challenges of measuring the actual results of programs focused on women’s empowerment. For Scott, thinking critically about women’s entrepreneurship in developing and developed countries holds positive implications for family wellbeing, community viability, and national prosperity. Facilitating women’s entrepreneurship is a tactic for economic development as it produces a “ripple effect” that manifests in a greater trajectory than just focusing on men’s incomes. Scott supports this statement by pointing out that in the community, women invest their earnings in children and the community itself, which then produces a greater and more significant change. Scott also focused on private sector efforts, which includes her work building the measurement system for Walmart’s Empowering Women Together program.

Walmart’s Empowering Women Together holds the intention to assist women entrepreneurs at an early stage in their career development by facilitating a point of entry and access to a broader base of consumers, which is the “Walmart shopper.” The program is still small, in terms of the number of entrepreneurs it is connection and engagement with, but it is working within thirteen countries on four continents, so it has upward mobility potential thus far. These small companies constructed by women entrepreneurs involve a wide range of industries and products, such as jewelry and fashion. Many of the companies are social enterprises that are organized to benefit at-risk employee populations, such as refugees and recovering drug addicts. All these aspects make the system unique as Professor Scott highlights that no one else has attempted to capture the design measures that will work to assess impact and diagnose problems for women-owned businesses in any industry, any place, for any group of women.

Professor Scott’s discussion focused on the need for more attention to be focused upon the restrictions attributable to gender in the planning, management, and evaluation of interventions and particularly the need to recognize national differences in the constraints on women. She touched on the tendency of those who pursue this agenda,  to treat women’s entrepreneurship as if it were any regular business venture without taking the time to properly consider the concrete limits that gender norms put on women’s ability to build an enterprise. As Scott pointed out, anyone that wants to make a difference in empowering women must learn to look through a “gender lens”. The primary limits she highlighted were: biased financial systems, restrictive property rights, limits on mobility, and, most significant, the threat of violence.

Org Spotlight: GirlForward

November 14th, 2014

GirlForward

girlforward

GirlForward is an NGO in Chicago that focuses on empowering refugee girls ages 12-21 who have been resettled in the city from war-torn countries around the world, and who are now building new lives for themselves and their families in the United States. It is the only NGO in the country that works to empower and instill confidence in refugee girls. GirlForward provides the girls with mentorship, educational programs, and leadership opportunities through programs that focus on four themes: Wellness, Wisdom, Wallet and World.

The organization started in 2012 when the founder and director, Blair Brettschneider recognized that there was a gap in providing refugee girls with the assistance, support, and resources that they needed. During the refugee experience, the girls in particular face challenging responsibilities and social isolation, while trying to acclimate to a new country, language, and culture.

Through individual mentorship, educational programs and leadership opportunities, the organization’s mission is to build a community of support for the girls amongst themselves as they go through the process of acclimation into the United States, as well as creating a resource center that the girls can go to for support and assistance.  These programs address the biggest challenges that refugee girls face when relocating to the United States.  GirlForward’s vision is to empower refugee girls because through girls, the entire community can be enriched and strengthened.

Article of Note

November 14th, 2014

Farming After the Fukushima Accident: A Feminist Political Ecology Analysis of Organic Agriculture

by Aya Hirata Kimura and Yohei Katano. Journal of Rural Studies 34:108-116, 2014.

Abstract: This paper analyzes experiences of organic farmers after the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear reactor accident. Specifically, we draw on feminist political ecology to analyze the divergent perceptions of radiation threats. Based on farmer interviews, we find that different interpretations resulted in social tensions on multiple levels, even among family members, particularly along gender lines. The paper links these local struggles to larger political issues. The political and economic elites emphasized control and normalcy in accordance with hegemonic masculinity, while chastising citizens who were concerned with radiation as irrational and hysteric. Existing studies of disasters have acknowledged their gendered impacts, but the analysis has tended to focus on women’s increased morbidity and mortality. Overall, our study suggests the utility of feminist political ecology in analyzing local risk interpretations and macro political dynamics from feminist perspectives. While gender difference in attitudes to radiation contamination is expected from the existing literature, this study suggests the need to examine how identities and socially constructed notions of masculinity/femininity mediate them. [not open access]