Let's get a little more into the purpose of the UN's executive committee for women. Is it an achievement to be on the board of such a committee and by any definition does it show that members of the committee have a better situation in women rights? NO! This is a new UN body that is expected to manage the organization's programs for women around the world.
Headed by former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet, the committee is the merger of the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), the Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW), the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues (OSAGI), and the UN International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (UN-INSTRAW).
The fact that Saudi Arabia, Mexico,Norway, Spain, United Kingdom, and US got their seats by contribution to the program assures us that on the other side there is a receiving end. This means that this new organization has a mandate to contribute to member countries to help them advance programs that empower women in their countries. UN-Women website notes:
The new agency was established on 2 July by a unanimous vote of the General Assembly to oversee all of the world body’s programmes aimed at promoting women’s rights and their full participation in global affairs. One of its goals will be to support the Commission on the Status of Women and other inter-governmental bodies in devising policies.
It will also aim to help Member States implement standards, provide technical and financial support to countries which request it, and forge partnerships with civil society. Within the UN, it will hold the world body accountable for its own commitments on gender equality.
In other words, having a representative on that board might mean a better opportunity in getting UN support for women in the country. By no means do I propose that Saudi Arabia should have been denied membership, because instead of seeing this as a zero sum game I see any victory for women at any part of the world as a victory for all women of the world.
If by having a representation the Islamic Republic could have secured a health program, an educational program, a technical empowering program for women of my country I would have cheered for their success. Because after all I believe it is empowered Iranian women that will bring down the Islamic system of apartheid, not the isolation of women of the country.
This notion of seeing isolation as a tool for regime change is not anything new. We saw this when FIFA denied Iranian female young soccer players a place at the world youth Olympics in Singapore because of their outfit, some argued that their government sanctioned outfit is a degrading item, not counting the sad impact on those young players itself who had lived for that dream.
A few years ago known activists constantly demonstrated against a Berlin women's soccer club, which was planning to go to Iran and play the Iranian national team. They were not successful and the German team went to Iran to play the Iranian team and now every one sees their youtube clip and feels satisfied by the joy in the Iranian spectators' faces. They then threatened that if the Iranian female team goes for a game to Germany they will demonstrate naked in the stadium (and we know that they are good at that after the Berlin Conference), eventually causing the cancellation of that return game.
The bottom line is preference of how to have impact on the change, through engagement (China) or through isolation (North Korea). I am not black and white either, and I think we have to look at these cases one by one and take different courses when it comes to the situation of disadvantaged which we have to encourage any attempt in empowering them. With that in mind I DO NOT see this as a victory for the Iranian women, rather I see it an opportunity lost.
Shirin Ebadi before becoming a Laureate told us that she likes to change the situation of Iranian women a case at a time defending women in the courts even by defending their right to ghessass (actively defending capital punishment). Now she sees an Iranian representation at a UN executive committee for women as a joke?
|Recently by Goudarz Eghtedari||Comments||Date|
|A lovesick nightingale among owls...|
|Jun 29, 2012|
|My Hero Mo|
|Jun 18, 2012|
هزار روز با اوبامایی که نبود
|Jan 03, 2012|
|نسرین ستوده: زندانی روز||Dec 04|
|Saeed Malekpour: Prisoner of the day||Lawyer says death sentence suspended||Dec 03|
|Majid Tavakoli: Prisoner of the day||Iterview with mother||Dec 02|
|احسان نراقی: جامعه شناس و نویسنده ۱۳۰۵-۱۳۹۱||Dec 02|
|Nasrin Sotoudeh: Prisoner of the day||46 days on hunger strike||Dec 01|
|Nasrin Sotoudeh: Graffiti||In Barcelona||Nov 30|
|گوهر عشقی: مادر ستار بهشتی||Nov 30|
|Abdollah Momeni: Prisoner of the day||Activist denied leave and family visits for 1.5 years||Nov 30|
|محمد کلالی: یکی از حمله کنندگان به سفارت ایران در برلین||Nov 29|
|Habibollah Golparipour: Prisoner of the day||Kurdish Activist on Death Row||Nov 28|