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Old 03-08-2005, 03:03 AM   #1
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International Women's Day!

Just a quick shout out to all my fellow women across the globe on this day. May we continue to make progress towards true equality for all of our sisters around the world.


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International Women's Day - Statement by Noeleen Heyzer, Executive Director, UNIFEM (United Nations Development Fund for Women)

Celebrating Our Gains, Accelerating Change

International Women’s Day 2005 marks a crossroads for women. In the decade since Beijing, the signs of progress are many. There is growing recognition that gender equality is a prerequisite for eradicating poverty and promoting sustainable development, as stated in the Millennium Declaration.

The spread of HIV/AIDS has been recognized as a gender issue, as well as a health issue, and the impact of war on women and women’s role in peace-building is recognized and validated by Security Council resolution 1325. Women’s human rights — monitored and upheld by the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), and ratified by 179 countries — are now on every major agenda, national, regional and international.

Legislation is being drafted to strengthen women’s economic security in such vital areas as land, property and inheritance rights, decent employment, and access to credit and markets. At least 45 countries today have laws against domestic violence, while over 20 more are drafting new legislation or amending criminal assault laws to include domestic violence. Governments are beginning to adopt gender-sensitive laws and policies on HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and care. And quotas or other affirmative measures have been adopted to increase women’s representation in political decision-making in countries in all regions, including many countries emerging from conflict which are striving to build peaceful and more democratic societies.

At the heart of all these gains are women’s rights and gender equality advocates. On International Women’s Day, we honour these women, who tirelessly advocate, organize and mobilize to keep gender equality on the table.

And yet, while we celebrate progress, we know that it has been too slow. Thirty years after the beginning of the Decade on Women, and ten years after Beijing, it is still a woman’s face we see when we speak of poverty, of HIV/AIDS, of violent conflict and social upheaval, of trafficking in human beings. Violence against women, already horrific in times of peace, intensifies during armed conflict with sexual violence now routinely used as a weapon of war. And women are everywhere disproportionately concentrated in poorly paid, unsafe and insecure jobs, struggling to lift themselves and their families out of poverty. To break the cycles of poverty, violence and gender discrimination, we need to accelerate progress, and expand its reach. What will it take?

Above all, it takes determined implementation and greater accountability. In the area of violence against women, to take one example, we have learned how to make this happen. Since its establishment in 1997, the UNIFEM Trust Fund to Eliminate Violence Against Women has brought UN agencies and women’s networks together to support 175 initiatives in 96 countries. The Trust Fund is now focusing specifically on securing implementation of the vast array of laws and policies instituted to address the multiple forms of violence that women face. Trust Fund strategies work because they address multiple levels and multiple sectors simultaneously, transforming power relationships and strengthening women’s organizing to address the social and economic causes of gender violence; they focus on community ownership and they include men as partners. Each year the Trust Fund receives far more requests than it can meet: last year again, the Fund received more than $15 million in project requests. However, it currently has only $1 million to give each year. This work must be supported and fully resourced.

In addition, mainstream institutions must be transformed to make gender concerns integral parts of their policies, programmes and practices. Too often gender is included in the programme prologue or policy statement and ignored in mechanisms of implementation or monitoring of results. Women have recognized that if you want to see how governments are implementing their commitments to women, follow the money and make the money work. UNIFEM is working in over 30 countries to support national and local initiatives to include gender perspectives in budgeting processes, and to collect and use sex-disaggregated data in public policy formulation. Our programmes show that change can happen—but it takes money as well as commitment.

Finally, strengthening the institutional architecture of gender equality within the multilateral system means investing in a stronger institutional advocate for gender. It is not just a matter of placing gender experts within these institutions. Increasing gender expertise or other technical measures cannot in itself replace a lack of political will or authority to close the implementation gap. We know what works—but without a strong gender advocate with sufficient status, authority and resources, this knowledge and expertise will not be used. This is a waste that we cannot afford.

Women cannot wait another 30 years. In September, the world’s governments will meet to review progress towards the Millennium Development Goals, adopted at the Millennium Summit in 2000. The Millennium Declaration makes clear that gender equality is important not only as a goal in itself, but for achieving all the other goals. If we are to find sustainable solutions to the challenges identified in the Declaration, including both human development and human security, the world’s women – one half of its population – must be empowered to contribute their knowledge and insights to the process.

It has taken 30 years to get this far. We must now urgently move forward on implementation, accountability and adequate resources to bring about a world in which people live lives that are free of want and free of fear. We owe this to the next generation.
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Old 03-08-2005, 04:48 AM   #2
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Old 03-08-2005, 09:57 AM   #3
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Old 03-08-2005, 12:58 PM   #4
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Old 03-08-2005, 12:59 PM   #5
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I don't know if the day will ever come that violence against women doesn't exist

It's tough not to be pessimistic. But we should still celebrate women and all we are and can be
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Old 03-08-2005, 01:14 PM   #6
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Yay for women.

Women make me

They touch my

I love to with women.

Some make me

Others make me

I try to act but they have the power to make

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Old 03-08-2005, 01:15 PM   #7
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They make me , , and

So to all you women I give you a and a big and I humbly

For women
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Old 03-08-2005, 01:18 PM   #8
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how cute-15 smilies too
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Old 03-08-2005, 02:05 PM   #9
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hey, in your struggle for equality and all that, when's "International Men's Day" (please, none of your feminist propaganda that 'every day is men's day')?






PS: There may well be one for all I know, I stand corrected if so.
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Old 03-08-2005, 02:09 PM   #10
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We'd be nowhere without our male supporters.
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Old 03-08-2005, 02:48 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by joyfulgirl


We'd be nowhere without our male supporters.
Yes, you all'd be nothing without us men. Pft, Women's Day, they've got a holiday for everything these days, don't they?

Seriously though, happy Women's Day. I the ladies.
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Old 03-08-2005, 03:14 PM   #12
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Old 03-08-2005, 03:27 PM   #13
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I raise my glass to all the
International Women.
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Old 03-08-2005, 03:28 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by joyfulgirl


We'd be nowhere without our male supporters.

Agreed
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Old 03-09-2005, 12:13 PM   #15
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Good Goop
A new method of AIDS prevention for women.
By Amanda Schaffer
Posted Tuesday, March 8, 2005, at 9:15 AM PT


Bravely, it must be said, the Senate will celebrate International Women's Day today by talking about microbicides—vaginal gels, creams, and other products that women could use topically before sex to protect themselves from HIV. Sens. Jon Corzine, Barack Obama, and Olympia Snowe are introducing a bill that would increase funding for microbicide research and coordinate the efforts of the government agencies that do it.

Microbicides have long been high on the wish list of grass-roots activists, who see them as the most promising way to prevent AIDS for heterosexual women at high risk of infection from unfaithful husbands or partners, especially in Asia and Africa. Many of these women can't easily insist that their men use condoms. Microbicides, on the other hand, are a form of prevention that they can control themselves. Yet to date, research related to their development represents only 2 percent of all AIDS spending by the National Institutes of Health. Legislators have been reluctant to champion a cause that, well, smacks of sex, and the scientific establishment hasn't been particularly responsive either. But now, with today's bill and five candidate products entering or about to enter large-scale effectiveness trials around the world, it may be that microbicides' time has come—as long as conservative leaders and top brass at the NIH stay tuned to their potential.

The case for microbicides is backed by persuasive numbers. Heterosexual women increasingly bear the brunt of the AIDS epidemic to the tune of roughly 7,000 women and girls newly infected each day. Microbicides aren't a cure-all, but they could do a lot of good in high-risk areas, even if just some of the people there were to use a somewhat effective microbicide some of the time. One mathematical model, which focused on Johannesburg, South Africa, predicted that if 75 percent of area residents were to use a 40-percent-effective microbicide in half of the sexual encounters in which they didn't use condoms, the local incidence of HIV infection would drop by 9 percent. That may not sound like much, but across countries and continents, similar percentages could translate into millions of saved lives.

Microbicides could be a particular boon to married women. While condoms have been successful in slowing the spread of AIDS among commercial sex workers and others, their association with illicit sex makes many long-term couples reluctant to use them. A woman who asks her husband to wear one may seem confrontational. The nice thing about microbicides, by contrast, is that they need not be discussed in the heat of the moment. According to Dr. Lori Heise, director of the Global Campaign for Microbicides, "Women say, 'I can tell him once, in the kitchen, then never talk about it again'." Another appeal is that some microbicides are not contraceptives, which means that women who want to get pregnant won't have to choose between exposing themselves to infection and having kids.

Despite strong community interest, however, microbicides have had a hard time winning friends in high places in the United States. Over the years, advocates have repeatedly been turned away when they begged to meet with congressional staffers. The problem isn't vociferous opposition. It's that few legislators are willing to put themselves on the line for a product that makes them blush. We are talking, after all, about goop for the vagina (as opposed to, say, a vaccine that can be injected neatly into the arm). Which means that we're talking about sex. In the current climate, abstinence-only prevention programs are the preferred conservative response to AIDS, and some potential supporters may have a hard time fitting microbicides into that no-sex message (never mind that even a hard-liner wouldn't argue that married women shouldn't have sex with their husbands).

With a little finesse, conservatives as well as liberals should be able to embrace a method of AIDS prevention geared toward faithful married women. Yet with the exception of Republicans like Olympia Snowe and Connie Morella, a moderate who lost her House seat three years ago, the party leadership has pushed microbicides to the margins. The bipartisan AIDS bill introduced in May 2002 included increased support for microbicides, but the provision was quietly dropped when the Republicans recast the legislation after regaining control of the Senate later that year.

If Congress' hesitancy to date is predictable (if silly), what's the scientific establishment's hangup? NIH could have allocated more of its total AIDS budget for microbicides if it wanted to, even without congressional prodding.

In the past, it's been tough for hard-core basic scientists to get excited about microbicide research. The products now undergoing effectiveness trials are large, sticky molecules that act in different ways to thwart HIV: They may increase the vagina's acidity and make it inhospitable to the virus; they may act like detergents and disrupt the viral membrane; or they may block or interrupt attachment of the virus to vaginal cells. These are techniques with great appeal to public health researchers. But they're not the sort of thing for which anyone wins a Nobel Prize. Nor are they likely to yield cash-cow products. Two companies, GlaxoSmithKline and Tibotec, a Belgian subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, have agreed to let researchers test proprietary anti-HIV compounds to see if they might work as microbicides. But the drug industry has put up virtually no money, and all told its involvement has been miniscule.

NIH traditionally favors vaccine research, which involves some very complex, highbrow science. Microbicide advocates would welcome an AIDS vaccine, of course, as they say often and loudly. But they argue that with research proceeding much more slowly than expected—and no viable vaccine candidate on the horizon—it's time to pay attention to goop. There are signs that the scientific elite is beginning to come around. Federal funding for microbicides rose from $34.6 million in 2000 to an estimated $88.8 million in 2004; if passed, the bill introduced in the Senate today would establish a dedicated microbicides team within the NIH and likely result in further spending hikes. And on World AIDS day in December, Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the NIH institute that oversees the bulk of AIDS research, included microbicides in his widely cited statement on women and AIDS. It may help that the next generation of microbicides, which will succeed the products currently in effectiveness trials, includes scientifically jazzier formulations based on newer and more detailed knowledge of HIV's life cycle and means of transmission. Combination formulations that deploy several active ingredients, each with the potential to thwart HIV in a different way, are also in the works, and they tend to excite the basic-science crowd.

All this comes as welcome news, since microbicides have the potential to do enormous good. Goop for the vagina may not get senators re-elected; it may not turn scientists into rock stars. But as an AIDS-prevention method, current microbicides are both promising and relatively simple, which means they could be cheaply made and copied. And that makes speeding along their development especially important.
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