The U.N. Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) launched an ambitious new initiative to improve the safety and wellbeing of women in five major cities Monday - New Delhi, India; Cairo, Egypt; Quito, Ecuador; Kigali, Rwanda; and Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea.
CEDAW or the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Violence Against Women (CEDAW) was adopted by the U.N. General Assembly in 1979.
The fight for women's rights came about hand in hand with the struggle for democracy, civil rights and national liberation in different countries and periods, says Inés Alberdi, executive director of UNIFEM.
Today's multiple global crises--of food, fuel and finance-- make clear that the conventional development paradigm is no longer viable. The promotion of market liberalisation and fiscal austerity as the instruments for stimulating economic growth and with it, sustainable development must be revisited, writes Ines Alberdi, Executive Director of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM). International agreements, starting with the 2000 Millennium Declaration, and including the outcome of the 2008 High Level Event on the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs), have endorsed economic policies that move beyond economic growth to embrace more equitable and sustainable development. The Monterrey Consensus referred to financing gender-sensitive, people-centred development as essential for responding to challenges of globalisation. In addition, a growing body of evidence shows that investing in gender equality has a multiplier effect on productivity, efficiency and sustained economic growth and that increasing women's economic options is central to achieving the MDGs. As world leaders meet in Doha -from November 29 to December 2- it is urgent that they find ways to advance the Monterrey agenda. It is now widely recognised that women's empowerment and gender equality are key drivers of policies to build food security, reduce poverty, safeguard the environment and enhance development effectiveness. Women are also important agents of economic development and we need policies that both recognise this and actively support and finance--gender equality.
Ines Alberdi has worked for over 25 years on gender issues and in politics.