Dear UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet:
I am so pleased and grateful for the formation of UN Women. Thank you very much for accepting this honorable and challenging position as Executive Director.
I work in the International Human Rights area of Conflict Mediation/Negotiation and Project Planning Facilitation. Women's Rights are close to my heart. While I am not a lawyer, I am quite knowledgeable with many aspects of International Law including the UDHR and CEDAW. My conflict management skills fall into the Unifem designation of "...supporting the implementation of existing human rights frameworks to help ensure impact and rights realization..." (www.unifem.org/gender_issues/human_rights) and the UN Women role "...To help Member States to implement these standards..."
Thus, my recommendations stem from this area.
- The Universal Declaration of Human Rights includes, not by accident, three references to "Dignity." Dignity can best be defined by the numerous offenses on women's dignity. These offenses are the core of many of the human rights abuses against women. Dignity must be stressed first and foremost in any human rights framework in order to insure women's rightful place in such framework.
Therefore, I recommend that the whole UN Women make the establishment and promotion of women's dignity a realized focus both in writing and implementation in all communications and programs where it is appropriate.
- To help ",,,insure impact and rights realization...", women/girls must be educated in esteem-building life skills with educational and vocational options funded and available to them freely on demand. Viable options lead to self-confidence that leads to women of True Power. (True Power being individual women imbued with a glow of inner peace and the confidence to express her voice without fear of reprimand.)
Therefore, I recommend supporting those NGO's already making the effort to do just this by offering inclusive program assistance through local program facilitation for the best possible community and State results. In addition, I recommend a predetermined portion of donor funding with close ledger accountability.
- Carefully worded and presented UN sponsored women programs to be introduced to government officials in order to gain official support and accountability. These would be highly innovative, UN/Community facilitative programs presented in such ways that officials can't say "no." These would, of course, be women designed and developed programs all within their cultural comfort level. (All programs to be developed within the UN Women and CEDAW guidelines.) Cultural/religious customs and rules must always be honored so many programs are usually "baby steps" for Women's Rights. Of course, words of support and promises are meaningless without conscious action.
Therefore, I recommend the facilitation of both the proven and new, creative pathways to hold said government officials to their word and incite positive action to the best of their ability.
- Finally, for the purpose of this letter, I address the UN Women's role desiring "...to forge effective partnerships with civil society." To my experience changing harmful biases and practices to positive perspectives and actions through project planning, peace implementation programs, mediation, listening skills, asking the relevant questions and a good sense of humor are all requisites in forging effective partnerships with our global sisters.
Therefore, I recommend that in each endeavor, UN Women representatives approach societies of women with intent to empower - without judgment, with an open mind and a smile.
I am pleased to offer my assistance at any time.
K-lee Starland, Ph.D. International Human Rights Advisor Smithville, Texas USA www.k-leestarland.com
As the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women officially begins its work this month, World Pulse is asking women worldwide: What is YOUR vision and recommendation for UN Women? We invite you to raise your voice by writing a letter to UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet outlining your recommendation for how this new UN agency can truly affect change on the ground to promote gender equality and uphold the rights and needs of women both on a local and global scale. Learn more: http://www.worldpulse.com/pulsewire/programs/international-violence-agai...
Take action! This post was submitted in response to UN Women: Visions and Recommendations.