Celebrating UN Women Panel 1: Our vision for UN Women: Views from the field (video)
This video presents the first panel, response from Dr. Bachelet, and an audience Q&A at Celebrating UN Women: The Way Forward, a symposium presented by WLP to celebrate the launch of UN Women, the most significant structure yet devised by the community of nations to address challenges and strategies for bringing about fundamental and all-encompassing change in gender relations.
Lina Abou-Habib introduces the panel, and subsequently moderates the discussion.
Wajeeha Al-Baharna (Bahrain) discusses women’s rights issues in the Persian Gulf countries (Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Oman). The gulf region ranks as the lowest with regards to women’s rights in Arab countries. She discusses contradictions between two forms of stereotyping that women face. Stereotyping from within leads women to believe they are second class citizens, while stereotyping from the international community presents an image of gulf women as enjoying good and wealthy lives in oil-rich areas.
Asma Khader (Jordan) focuses on how women need to not only think about surviving but also think about how to become a part of peacebuilding and democracy building. She seeks a world where there can be full implementation of UN Resolutions 1325 and 1820, and remarks that a national plan is needed in Jordan, with financial, technical, and human resource components. She looks forward to cooperation with UN Women on regional level, and a first Arab action plan. She comments that 75% of the population in Jordan is under 30 years old; thus, a challenge will be to organize young people for progress with regards to human rights issues and democracy.
Sakena Yacoobi (Afghanistan) presents challenges faced by women in Afghanistan. Violence against women, and lack of education, economic empowerment, and health services reveal one central issue that women face: lack of security. She asks UN Women to be a voice for the women of Afghanistan; with improved security, many other challenges (education, political participation, health) will improve.
Mallika Dutt (India) focuses on dreams and hopes for women, and comments on inspirations coming from surprising areas (such as the Jasmine Revolution, Tunisia). She speaks with hope that UN Women will help create a turning point - a tipping point - where women can be taken seriously at a political level, going beyond mere presence at the table to becoming a transformative presence. It is not enough to add women to failed policies.
Sindi Medar-Gould (Nigeria) expresses appreciation for UN Women and looks to UN Women leadership for guidance on how the women of Africa can do the work that was outlined by Michelle Bachelet in her keynote address. In Africa, there is often no implementation of signed policies; policies can thus be used as a political strategy. She looks to UN leadership for a true meaning of gender mainstreaming, as opposed to a male interpretation as in Africa, and hopes that UN Women can bring forward feminist interpretations of policies in an open, transparent, and inclusive manner.
Michelle Bachelet (Chile), head of UN Women, responds to the panelists. She mentions the need to make an economic, political, and social case for why investing in women is best for all, and desires an open and transparent face for the UN Women organization.
An extensive Q&A ensues with audience participation, Dr. Bachelet, and the panelists.