We are happy to share this report with you and thank our partners, the Huairou Commission, AWID, and the GEAR Campaign for a successful and wonderful collaboration.
Grassroots Speakout on UN Women with UN Women Executive Director, Michelle BacheletAt the Commission on the Status of Women, UN Headquarters, New York City
On March 2nd, during the second week of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), grassroots women leaders from around the world voiced their key recommendations and experiences to Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women, Dr. Michelle Bachelet, and other representatives of UN Women and governments. A supportive audience of leaders of the global women’s movement and gender advocates filled the room beyond capacity. Grassroots women leaders, each representing constituencies of hundreds, thousands or tens of thousands of organized women, presented recommendations to UN Women based on their local experience in implementing development work. The women demonstrated that they are highly organized on a large scale locally and nationally, and that they are linked up globally through the Huairou Commission, the Feminist Task Force, the Association of Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) and the Gender Equality Architecture Reform (GEAR) Campaign.
With much delight, Bachelet made clear her firm commitment to the full inclusion of grassroots women leaders at all levels of work and to the issues that matter to them and listened wholeheartedly to the words of the women present.
Different from feminist organizations and NGOs, these grassroots women comprised community leaders from grassroots organizations who are working to solve day to day problems related to human settlements, land rights, livelihoods, resilience to disasters and climate change, food security, safer cities and informal care work, women’s health and HIV/AIDS, among other issues, in their own communities. Among them are leaders of the movement of popular kitchens in Peru, leaders of federations of self-help savings and credit cooperatives in India and women fighting for land rights at the community level across Africa. Their work on economic security and human settlements are issues not yet being fully addressed in UN Women’s agenda or vision.
The launch of UN Women brings an unprecedented opportunity for the UN, national governments and global organizations to consult with and include organized groups of grassroots women. Adding to the ripeness of this moment, Michelle Bachelet has repeatedly spoken of her commitment to the inclusion of grassroots women and issues related to their economic empowerment.
For too long, grassroots women have been excluded from agenda-setting, planning and consultations in the UN’s gender architecture, from the national offices to the UN headquarters. The Grassroots Women’s Speakout delivered an explicit message: the time for inclusion is now.
In closing the event, Rosa Lizarde, Global Coordinator of the Feminist Task Force, invited participants to join the “online Grassroots Women’s Speakout” but providing input and recommendations for UN Women on the newly launched “100 Days -> 100 Ways for UN Women” blog site, a virtual speakout for women around the world to have their say on the UN Women strategic plan being drafted during the first 100 days of UN Women. “Many of our partners and other women from around the world could not be here at the CSW,” said Rosa Lizarde at the Speakout. “The 100 Days 100 Ways e-campaign is a way of being inclusive and having women participate in this endeavor.” For more information, go to: “100days100waysforUNWomen.blogspot.com.