Scottish Equalities Bulletin Issue No. 18

ACTSA are working with the office of the UN special envoy for AIDS in Africa, in trying to ensure that a UN agency for women is formed and funded to an appropriate level. Gordon Brown sits on this panel and we want him to push for the full funding of this agency.

What is the campaign?
Surprisingly the UN does not have an agency – with any real funding or power – that is specifically directed towards women and the specialised issues that are facing women in the developing world.

A panel of 15 will decide whether the agency will receive the full funding that is necessary to make this an effective agency or whether it will pay lip service to our demands, and under-fund what is potentially one of the biggest chances we have at seriously tackling poverty in developing countries.
What are we calling for?
For the panel of fifteen to fund the women’s agencies to a level which has been recommended by the office of the UN special envoy.

It is believed that the recommendations from the panel are going to be that the women’s agency is funded to the level of $200 million. To put this into context UNICEF in 2005 were funded $2.7 billion. The UK alone gave $22 million to UNICEF. $200 million is not enough and we won’t be bought off with such a small amount when half the world’s population need this agency to work.

Why may they not want to fund to this full level?
The excuses being handed out are that if there is one main agency dealing with women, then the other UN agencies will stop dealing with women’s issues in their day to day work. This is a ridiculous argument as these other agencies are not dealing with women effectively, hence the figures around HIV and women’s rights remaining appalling and costing millions in lives of women and girls. This women’s agency would not only act as a mechanism for creating and running effective projects addressing women’s issues with specialised experts, but, it would also act as an advisory, supportive body for all other agencies who are tackling women’s issue in their day to day work.

What’s the urgency?
Gordon Brown will be receiving the panel’s recommendations today and so will be making his comments on the recommendations in the next few days. We have to let him know that we believe in this woman’s agency and that we want him to convince the other panel members that the only option is to fully fund a women’s agency – or else an opportunity to really start tackling poverty and all that goes with poverty will be lost in an explosion of excuses.

How to ACT?
E-mail Gordon Brown & fax on: 02072704580. Please send both fax and e-mail, as we need Gordon Brown to listen. Copy ACTSA into the e-mail on and let us know if you have sent a fax.
Forward this email to your contacts.
Copy this Text or write your own into an e-mail and print out and fax:

SUBJECT: UN Women’s Agency

Dear Mr Brown

We are incredibly disappointed to hear that there is a possibility that the panel that you sit on, that is making the important decisions on the level of funding for a UN woman’s agency will receive, is leaning towards under-funding this agency.
We know that the reason for this under-funding lies behind an argument that holds no weight. If a women’s agency is given the full funding it needs and is calling for, gender mainstreaming can still exist. In fact the women’s agency as well as running its own specialised projects can act as an advisory/supportive tool for all other UN agencies ensuring gender mainstreaming continues.

What ever your argument against funding a UN women’s agency to the level that is being called for, gender mainstreaming alone is just not working. If it was, then why are women bearing the brunt of HIV infection and being left behind on all social, political, cultural and economic areas of their lives and with no one to hear they voices and speak our for them at the UN level?

We demand that the UK takes a stand and does not allow this opportunity to pass us by in an explosion of excuses. We want to see Africa built its own way out of poverty and all that poverty brings, yet we do not empower half of the world’s population!!

Do not let this opportunity slip through our fingers. Please listen to us and make our voices heard and stop the needless suffering of women throughout the developing world.

In great hope

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