Field Notes

Field Notes

This International Women's Day: Stand up Against Rape

During the past months, we have seen a momentum across the world where people are taking to the streets demanding an end to violence against women and girls–an end to injustice.  From violence in the private sphere to rape used as a weapon of war, violence against women is intimately linked to violence across society.

This year’s International Women’s Day coincides with the priority theme, “Elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls,” at the on-going 57th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) being held in the United Nations headquarters.

The Commission’s annual session brings together representatives of member states, UN entities and NGOs in consultative status with the Economic and Social Council and other stakeholders.  They meet to review progress, share experiences and good practices, analyze gaps and challenges, and set global standards and norms to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment worldwide. The two-week session includes plenary sessions, a high-level round table, interactive dialogues and panels and parallel events.

For the International Women’s Day, the UN Women Executive Director, Michelle Bachelet, called on the international community “to deliver on their commitment and protect women’s rights to live free of violence,” saying about violence against women that “enough is enough.” During a side event, UN Heads of Agencies shared the efforts and progress made collectively by agencies to promote gender equality, while emphasizing the need for governments to commit to making women’s rights a priority human security issue.

To champion women’s rights and stop violence against women and girls, it is important that these issues are examined through a human security lens and factored into future negotiations and commitments. Next week, world leaders are meeting at the UN to discuss the new arms-trade negotiations. Post CSW, it would be greatly unfortunate if the women’s agenda is not included and considered in the negotiations.  

Prajuna Kc