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We are the first generation which can end extreme poverty in our lifetime. But we cannot get there without parliamentarians.- Dr. Jim Yong Kim

Raising Awareness for International Women’s Day

March 8, 2012

National Parliamentary Workshop on the FGMC Abandonment, Burkina Faso 13

Expressed as a time of industrialisation and population growth, the early 1900s were also a period in which pioneering ideologies came to rise, one of which was the ratification of International Women’s Day. Proposed in 1910 in Copenhagen, 8 March became a day recognised for women to raise their demands. The idea quickly gained momentum and was recognised for the first time in 1911 by Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland.

Since its initial inception, International Women’s Day expanded across developed and developing countries alike, marking a day in which women, and many men, have stood up to campaign for the right for women to work, vote, hold public office and to end gender discrimination of all kinds.

With this ideology close to our guiding mission, AWEPA has focused on gender mainstreaming in parliaments and on the participation and empowerment of women. This is done through the organisation of workshops on the empowerment of women Members of Parliament, and through building awareness in the AWEPA Sections. Through the support of national and regional women’s caucuses and gender networks, such as the PAP Women’s Caucus, EALA Women’s Forum, the Network of Women Parliamentarians in Central Africa (RFPAC), the Uganda Women Parliamentary Association (UWOPA) and the South Sudan Women’s Forum, among others, AWEPA centralised the issue of gender and consciously mainstreams it in all its programmes.

In collaboration with the AWEPA Belgian Section, AWEPA is proud to announce the launch of a Parliamentary Handbook on the implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 1325, Women, Peace and Security. Adopted in 2000, Resolution 1325 calls for recognition of the impact of armed conflict on women and children, reaffirms the role of women in conflict prevention and decision-making with regards to conflict prevention and resolution, and the need to implement international human rights law which protects the rights of women and girls in armed conflict. The resolution also calls for the adoption of a gender perspective in peacekeeping operations, including the special needs of women and girls during repatriation, resettlement and reintegration.

Resolution 1325 was the first formal and legal document adopted by the United Nations Security Council that required parties in a conflict to respect women’s rights and to support their participation in peace negotiations and in post-conflict reconstruction. The AWEPA Parliamentary Handbook reviews the situation and lays out actions parliamentarians can take. From next week this publication can be found in the AWEPA online publication library.

Also launched this year is the AWEPA Parliamentary Handbook on Abandoning Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting, published in collaboration with the Pan-African Parliament. The purpose of these guidelines is to provide a practical instrument for Parliamentarians to put the issue of FGM/C high on the agenda and to accelerate the abandonment of FGM/C in their respective countries.

In light of International Women’s Day, AWEPA Members in Austria and the United Kingdom organised discussions on women and global warming and the role of women in agriculture. For more information on these activities, click here.