Last week, AWLN members Jane Kiragu and Hon Sylvia Ssinabulya arrived in New York for the fifty-eighth session of the Commission on the Status of Women, which is taking place at United Nations Headquarters. The meeting will run from 10 to 21 March 2014.
Representatives of Member States, UN entities, and ECOSOC-accredited non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from all regions of the world are attending the session.
Jane Kiragu shared the following focal points of the conference so far with AWLN:
After editing the statement by the Cabinet Secretary, Jane saw to it that family planning was recognized as an effort to elaborate maternal health.
She also attended the session on Girls in Science, Technology and Maths (STEM). There were concerns expressed about limited numbers of females in this sector.
Reasons include socialization; science has a male profile, the absence of equipment and technology, the quality of science based education (particularly engineering) is below standard inter alia.
Solutions include the tested (STEM) ambassadors program to role model females in science, create awareness and deconstruct myths and perceptions of the gendered nature of science.
The call is for investments in re-branding science and its relevance to women’s lives – it influences and affects the foods we eat, the buildings we live in and the health of our families, thus science is critical in designing a world fit for all (women and men).
Jane also attended a session on achievements and challenges in fulfilling gender issues in MDGs and Post 2015 Agenda – A Latin American experience (Chile, Costa Rica and Argentina)
In terms of achievement inclusion of Gender Equality and Women Empowerment (GEWE), MDGs opened a way for states to develop strategies and policies to realize this.
The GEWE presence brings specific obligations of states by providing a methodology to execute equality. It also bridges concepts and treaties on equality by having tangible targets and indicators. MDGs helped bring the attention of States to human rights whilst focusing on empowerment of women, children and persons with disability. The broad goals have also enabled global attention to neglected issues such as targeted approach to malnutrition, child health and maternal mortality.
In terms of challenges, there still remains insufficient attention to the structural causes of inequality. For instance; continued unpaid work and the care economy, barriers to join the labour market and continued marginalization of women’s representation in key decision making.
The absence of social cultural dimensions in MDGs has been a hindrance in fully realizing significant transformation as these dimensions are yet to be captured in public policies, political and economic conditions. For instance there would have been more traction if child health concerns would have been strongly linked to pursuit of gender equality.
There is a need to capture the productive and reproductive dimensions of care burden due to age, illness and/or disability. If the MDGs had it tilted in this way, Women’s contribution to the economy would have been assured and anchored on policy to assure systematic improvements in the conditions in waged employment.
The insufficient emphasis on monitoring and evaluation has not assured consistent collection and analysis gender disaggregated data. As such, the multi dimensional ways of capturing poverty are yet to be institutionalized and informed pro poor policies lag behind. The crosscutting nature of inequality and its impact on all goals remains largely untouched.
What next-The post 2015 agenda