Statement submitted by the World Federation of Ukrainian Women’s Organizations and the International Council of Women, non-governmental organizations in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council.
The International Council of Women and the World Federation of Ukrainian Women’s Organizations have a strong commitment to the achievement of equal rights for women. Representatives from both organizations have participated in all the major women’s conferences beginning with 1975 in Mexico, then 1995 in Beijing, and annual attendance in CSW. Since the Beijing Conference and the Platform of Action, substantial progress has been achieved in terms of legislation guiding international norms. Most UN member-states have signed the Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, along with its Optional Protocol, albeit some signed with exceptions. Most have made commitments to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals agreed to at the 23rd session of the General Assembly (2000). Goals number 1, 2 and 3 are crucial to the rights of women. Additional, positive steps include the UN Security Council Resolution (SCR) 1225 on Women, Peace and Security and SCR 1830 on Sexual Violence in Conflict. Despite extensive legislative progress, similar progress in the implementation of these legal commitments has not been achieved. One needs to look only at the statistics for trafficking of women and girls, domestic violence, unequal pay for equal work, feminization of poetry, unequal representation of women in elected office, the burden on women of providing care-giving for disabled and aging family members, then it becomes clear that the list of inequality remains extensive. This lack of balance remains despite evidence that where even a semblance of equality is achieved, social and economic well-being soon follows. We no longer can afford to simply make promises of equality, thereby, de facto, continue to deprive women of equal rights.
Therefore, we ask all governments to:
- Accept zero tolerance for inequality of women and men
- Implement all commitments under UN Conventions and their Protocols, as well as all other legislation pertaining to equality of rights of women and men
- Urge countries that have not signed the UN conventions, to do so without delay
- Remove all reservations to the Optional Protocols
- Create quotas for the election of women to government positions on all levels in order to achieve 50% participation in decision-making
- Create family policies that permit women to make free choices about participation in the political, economic and social spheres, while providing care for their children, aging and disabled family members
- Provide adequate funding in government budgets for equal rights education
- Provide funding and conduct campaigns on equality issues using modern technology and media
- Eliminate all forms of violence against women including prostitution and trafficking by severely punishing purchases of sexual services and forced labor
- Involve women in decisions about continuing or entering into armed conflict
- Make concerted effort to eliminate resolution of conflict through war, as war in itself is the greatest violation of women’s human rights