The UN voted unanimously Friday to create a new office on women to be called the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), which will begin operating officially in January 2011. UN Women consolidates four formerly separate entities within the UN that work for the advancement of women: the Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW), the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW), the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women (OSAGI), and the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM).
Negotiations to form the entity have gone on for four years because of differing opinions between some developed and developing countries, according to the BBC.
The UN has estimated that a minimum budget of $500 million for the new entity, which is twice the budget of all four former organizations combined. The director of UN Women will be an under-secretary general appointed by the UN's Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. According to a New York Times editorial, a favored candidate is Michelle Bachelet, Chile's former president.
The organization will have two basic functions. One is to assist intergovernmental bodies in forming policies and global standards and the other is to help Member States uphold the standards set by these bodies, along with providing the support to do so. According to a UN press release, "Gender equality is not only a basic human right, but its achievement has enormous socio-economic ramifications. Empowering women fuels thriving economies, spurring productivity and growth." UN Women's work will be guided by the 1995 Beijing Platform for Action and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
Asha-Rose Migiro, the Deputy Secretary-General of the UN, said, "UN Women will give women and girls the strong, unified voice they deserve on the world stage. I look forward to seeing this new entity up and running so that we - women and men - can move forward together in our endeavor to achieve the goals of equality, development and peace for all women and girls, everywhere."
Media Resources: BBC 7/2/10; UN Women Press Release 7/2/10; New York Times 7/2/10; Division for the Advancement of Women; Feminist Newswire 2/25/04
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .
10/30/2014 UPS Switches Pregnant Worker Policy Ahead of Supreme Court Case - The United Parcel Service (UPS) is changing its policy on light duty assignments for pregnant workers, even though the company will stand by its refusal to extend accommodations to a former employee in an upcoming Supreme Court case.
UPS announced on Monday in a memo to employees, and in a brief filed with the US Supreme Court, that the company will begin offering temporary, light-duty positions to pregnant workers on January 1, 2015. . . .
10/30/2014 North Dakota Medical Students Speak Out Against Measure 1 - Medical students at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences are asking North Dakotans to vote no on Measure 1, a personhood measure on the state ballot this fall.
The students issued published a letter in the Grand Forks Herald stating that they opposed Measure 1 in part because they are against "the government's taking control of the personal health care decisions of its citizens." Nearly 60 UND School of Medicine students signed the letter, citing concerns over the "very broad and ambiguous language" used in the proposed amendment, which has no regard for serious and life-threatening medical situations such as ectopic pregnancies.
Measure 1 would change the North Dakota state constitution to create an "inalienable right to life" for humans "at any stage of development" - including the moment of fertilization and conception. . . .