According to some estimates, women represent 70 percent of the world’s poor. Our leaders should adopt a clear and focused measures for implementing sustainable development in the world. The potential for women's leadership in the protection, management, and recovery of the natural environment is the key element for a sustainable world.

Economic empowerment and environmental sustainability

Sustainable living has become the new trend in lifestyle choices that involves a person’s relationship to the Earth and the natural resources used by that person. Sustainable living has a different definition for each of its adherents, but the basic concept is living in way that leaves natural resources for future generations. To accomplish this goal, people must not demand to consume more resources than are available and, in some cases, even have a positive effect on natural resources by helping to replenish them. By not overusing resources, they are given the opportunity to naturally replenish themselves.

The policy on sustainable development calls on the movement to take action in building just and sustainable communities, taking into account a gender and human rights approach, and acknowledging that social equity and care for the environment are critical elements in the development process. Sustainable development, including women’s economic justice and the environment, is a global priority.

The eight Millennium Development Goals touch every aspect of this work. In addition to holding our governments responsible, women must build the political will to be part of the solutions. We must ensure for a society where access to education, health and clean water, and the care for environment is ensured. Women’s leadership can also help identify any hindrances to achieving these goals, and campaign for the removal of these obstacles. For example, if school fees hinder girls from staying in schools, then we must insist that countries work towards providing free education. Around the world must begin to tell our stories within the framework of the goals so that our efforts will combine with others to make a difference.

Violence Against Women : Ending stigma and discrimination

As per the experience in my country India, violence against women prevails everywhere. But the women of the poor countries are the worst sufferer. The elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls should always be a priority. It is our obligation to strengthen efforts on advocacy and services that would ensure women and girls can live lives free of violence. At least one out of every three women around the world has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime. Violence against women is a global problem and women and girls are susceptible to abuse and violence at every stage of their life.

A society that understands the impact and effects of violence against women is better versed to address the issues at government and policy level. Education on violence against women must be integrated in programs that reach different sectors of society including men and boys. Programs such as the World Week Without Violence should be celebrated around the world help educate communities on the types of violence women in their country face.

Governments, international organizations and civil society must ensure that laws and policies that uphold women’s human rights are implemented in order to protect women from violence. Socio- economic factors and legal challenges that put many HIV-positive women at risk of violence must be addressed. The World is particular concerned about recent laws some countries are adopting that criminalize HIV. These laws have a particular impact on women and leave them vulnerable to violence.

Global strategy to fight SRHR, HIV and VAW 1. Develop leadership and build capacity, especially with young women as champions and leaders of SRHR, HIV and an end to VAW 2. Create a safe and inclusive space for women and girls : Safe spaces can refer to actual physical space and/or a gathering of women and girls where they feel safe to learn and disclose their sexual and reproductive health challenges. 3. Provide comprehensive prevention including:-Comprehensive condom programming (CCP), Integrated information on SRHR, HIV and VAW that leads to empowerment and behavior change at community level .Address stigma and discrimination of women and girls living with HIV.

If poverty makes women more vulnerable to HIV and AIDS then we must insist on more programs which promote the economic empowerment of women and also the macro programs which remove countries from cycles of poverty. Invest in women and girls:

Organizations running programs such as shelters for women in violent relationship, help-lines and counseling facilities must be adequately financed to ensure their services remain reliable and accessible. Adequate and accessible funding must be provided for services that provide holistic care for survivors of violence. Women’s right to information must be upheld. Lack of information prevents many women from accessing services that would support them to regain dignity in their lives.

In partnership with the Women’s Environment and Development Organization (WEDO), World Pulse is collecting personal stories outlining women’s experiences and recommendations on sustainable and equitable development for presentation at the Rio +20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.

All stories submitted on our community platform between now and June 3, 2012 will be presented at the Rio+20 Conference. Additionally, selected entries will be published in World Pulse’s digital magazine and distributed widely to international media partners. <a href="/Rio20”>Learn how YOUR voice can be included!

Take action! This post was submitted in response to Rio+20: United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development.

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