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Mizzima: Gender Equality yet to ach

Gender Equality yet to achieve the targets

New Delhi, June 5, 2000
Mizzima News Group

Violence against women is still widespread in various forms, gender
equality is still far to achieve and for governments, so far little has
been done in implementing the commitments they made at the United
Nations Women's Summit in 1995 at Beijing.

A five-day special session of UN General Assembly called "Women 2000,
Beijing + 5" begins today in New York to review the implementation of
commitments in the Beijing Platform For Action (PFA) at the Fourth
Women's World Conference in 1995.

Hundreds of women representing NGOs, activist groups and governments are
participating in this millennium's the most important meeting for women.

Reports and studies, however, show that the progress has been very slow
and very few governments have done to improve women's rights despite the
commitments they made in Beijing.

"Concrete actions are needed if the Beijing Platform For Action (PFA)
document on improving women's rights is not going to finish up as yet
another piece of paper", said Nancy Riche, who is leading a delegation
of women trade unionists at the meeting.

Since the Beijing meeting, a very few proportion of the world's
governments have done some positive moves to improve the situation of
women workers while the gap between the rich and poor is growing. There
is a decline in women's status in many countries, she said.

According to Brussels-based International Confederation of Free Trade
Unions (ICFTU), globalization has had a negative impact on women
workers. There is massive exploitation in the export processing zones,
where the majority of workers are women. Recent years have seen the
growth of - what are termed - low-paid 3D jobs (dirty, dangerous and
degrading). Cuts in public services have hit women disproportionately,
and job losses have forced increasing numbers of women to emigrate to
find work, thus swelling the numbers of migrant women workers. In no
countries do men and women with the same level of education receive
identical wages.

Only four countries, namely Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden, have
achieved the targets of gender equality in the last decade, the United
Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) said in its review on what
and where things have changed for women after the Beijing meeting.

Apart from the four Scandinavian countries, Germany, Iceland, the
Netherlands and South Africa follow close bridging the gender gap in
women's participation in fields of education and legislature.

In India, the national crime records bureau figures clearly show there
has been an increase in the crime against women in recent years.

"There has been extensive acknowledgement by government and society of
the growing trends in cases of violence against women," India's Country
Paper to be presented at Beijing + 5 meeting says.

Human Resource Development Minister Mr. Murli Manohar Joshi heads Indian
delegation to the meeting.

Mizzima News Group