Thursday, January 27, 2011

Become a Godmother - help the UN help women all over the world

I've just become a godmother - not to a cute wee gurgling baby, but to a UN Agency, the new UN Women. This is a brand spanking new organisation which aims to promote gender equality and women's rights all over the world.

The Godmother idea is quite a clever one from VSO. They don't want this new agency to sink without trace. In the next few months crucial decisions will be made about future funding. Our Government will be deciding how much money to give to it. Given that the Overseas Aid budget has been protected from the cuts, there is no excuse for the Government to not support this new body and give it some teeth.

There's going to be a day of action in Westminster on 16th February which sounds like great fun. I only wish I could go.

I'm only scratching the surface here mainly due to time pressures at the moment, but I'll be coming back to this in the next few weeks. In the meantime you might find this article from the Guardian by Madeline Bunting, Women's Rights are in Danger of Becoming a Wordfest. Also, have a look at the video below about women in Bangladesh to see why they need the help of a powerful international agency. I've often written about how frustrated I am that women's rights feature exactly nowhere in discussions between world leaders. That needs to change, and this agency is part of the solution. I expect the US to put its money where its mouth is, especially as Hillary Clinton has been proactive about getting women's rights on the international agenda, but we need our government to support it too. So, Lib Dem ministers (not that any will be reading this, but there's the faint chance one of Nick Clegg's office might catch it on a Google alert), make sure that we contribute a meaningful amount to this effort.

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