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Current World YWCA News

Concerned Mothers Petition Drive Gathers Support at Suva Peace Vigil

Two petitions addressed to Prime Minister Qarase and President Iloilo in response to the Fiji Government's introduction of the Reconciliation, Tolerance and Unity Bill received rousing support at today's Women's Peace Vigil in Suva, a revival of the 'Blue Ribbon Peace Vigil' coordinated by the National Council of Women Fiji during the May 2000 crisis in Fiji.

Fresh Start: New Resource for Women Fleeing Abuse

According to Canadian statistics, it takes a woman an average of five attempts before she is able to leave an abusive relationship for good. A long list of factors including fear of further violence, financial dependence, and emotional distress make it difficult to walk away from abuse. Fresh Start, a new publication by the YWCA of Canada, seeks to equip women with emotional support and practical advice to make it easier to break free.

South Africa Appoints First Woman Deputy President

Women's groups around the world are celebrating the appointment of Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka as Deputy President of the Republic of South Africa, the highest political office ever held by a woman in the country. On Wednesday 22 June 2005, President Thabo Mbeki made the announcement following the dismissal of former Deputy Jacob Zuma, saying that it 'gave us an opportunity to strengthen the participation of women in the executive'. Mrs Mlambo-Ngcuka has served in the South African Parliament since 1994 as the Minister for Minerals and Energy and is widely praised for her reform of the country's mining sector to ensure equal access for all people. .

The other side of the story: women’s role in peace building

The typical image of war, both in the minds of the average person and in the media, involves men fighting and dying. In post war depictions, great emphasis is placed on healing the mental trauma of the soldiers who have witnessed and participated in so much death and destruction. The common portrayal of women’s experience of armed conflict is generally restricted to nursing injured soldiers back to health and mourning the loss of dead relatives. The images that rarely reach the public eye are those of women as soldiers fighting side by side with men, and those of women being brutally and systematically sexually abused as a wartime strategy.

Mobilising Women on HIV/AIDS

How do we close the gap between good intentions and concrete actions that make a difference?

Drawing on the experience of the women’s movement, the most important step towards implementing our vision of an AIDS free world is to organise. Individually we are victims, but together we have the collective power to act for our own sake and for the sake of others in our communities and throughout the world. Organising is a first step to mobilising women. Organised groups have the power and ability to mobilise others and to collectively form common spaces for learning, solidarity, advocacy, planning and developing stronger strategic partnerships.

Stuck in Heavy Traffic: Gender and the Human Trade

An estimated two million people every year, who leave homes in hope of finding paradise across the border, end up as an item for sale. The trafficking of human beings is a growing problem worldwide, and women are among the most affected.

Building Community Capital: The Road to Sustainable Social Change

“Give a woman a fish and she will feed her family for the day, teach a women to fish and she will feed her family until the lake becomes polluted or they take away her fishing rights, however, give the women in the community access to capital and they will buy the lake, feed their families, keep the lake environmentally clean and have something to pass on for generations to come.

Gender and Trade Liberalisation

From Seattle to Cancun, wherever ministerial meetings of the World Trade Organisation are held, social movements, NGOs and civil society organisations gather to focus their knowledge and energies on campaigning against trade liberalisation and to call for a just and democratic trading system. They are the conscience of those who decide the destiny of poor farmers or garment factory workers in various parts of the world. Trade issues and decisions used to be in the domain of states and technocrats however, today, farmers, workers, youth, students, women, indigenous peoples, the landless, the poor are asserting their right to define the terms of trade.

Women, HIV and Poverty

Last year alone over one million women died through AIDS. That’s over 1 million women too many. Gender inequities and poverty are two of the key components which have fuelled this HIV and AIDS pandemic, and which have made its consequences as bad as they are.

Let’s begin with ABC, the message which was popular in the 80s and early 90s and which has recently been relaunched. A stands for Abstain, B stands for Be Faithful and C for Condoms. The silent bit of the message is that if you don’t follow these instructions, then D will soon follow – that is that you will die.

This message sounds neat, clean and simple – but so many HIV positive women globally have never ever had the luxury of such a choice between A, B or C.