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International Women's Day

1st Jan 2008

Every year, women of the world are celebrated and empowered, and awareness is raised on gender issues, on International Women's Day (IWD), on the 8th of March. World Scouting, which offers equal opportunities to girls and boys, women and men, and takes an active position on gender issues, wishes to encourage such an important day.
To mark IWD this year, World Scouting has participated in the 52nd Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in New York, and 'Celebrating Women' in Geneva.

The Commission meets annually and held its 52nd session at the United Nations headquarters in New York from February 25 to March 7, 2008. The 52nd session’s focal point was ‘financing gender equality and the empowerment of women’. Emerging issues such as gender perspectives on climate change and the elimination of all forms of violence against women were discussed. The Commission also evaluated the progress on previously agreed conclusions on women’s participation in conflict prevention, management and conflict resolution, and in post-conflict peace building.

The debates took place in the plenary sessions and on parallel events, roundtables, expert panels and workshops by UN Agencies, UN Missions and NGOs. The CSW is an opportunity for the international community to identify challenges, set global standards and formulate policies to promote gender equality and advancement of women worldwide. Melissa Martins Casagrande and Arturo Romboli attended the event on behalf of WOSM.

World Scouting also participated in activities and side events organised by other partners organisations, like the one organised by WAGGGS , with participation of representatives of the YWCA .

'Celebrating Women' was organised in conjunction with the Conference of NGOs in Consultative Relationship with the United Nations (CONGO) and one of their working groups - Women for the World. The NGO Committee on the Status of Women is a unique CONGO committee that works exclusively on gender issues. The event, held on 7 March was an opportunity for the participants to hear from leading women in their field share their experiences of women who inspired them to become who they are today.

A young student, Sarah Vincent (14) also spoke at the event, and described the importance of raising awareness and mobilising youth on the issues affecting women today. She very wisely acknowledged that: “If youth won't fight for equality, then who will?”

Through Scouting, young people have the chance to take action, just like Sarah described, and are doing so successfully around the world.

Scouts in Namibia are responding to the issue of domestic violence and the abuse of women and children through their national Gifts for Peace project. The project includes training leaders and running projects for the Scouts. The aim is to help all Scouts understand domestic violence and have at least one practical method of dealing with violence in their own lives.

Picture: Young women around the world are becoming more involved in gender issues.
© WSB / V.Ortega

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