International – Leagues in Action

Joan Boxer

A capacity crowd at the Briefings on the Status of Human Rights for Women Around the World (held at the United Nations on October 8, 2002, sponsored by the LWVNYS and the LWVNYC) heard Jane Connors, Chief of Women’s Rights, UN Division on the Advancement of Women, explain how the UN Commission on the Status of Women monitors compliance by countries which have ratified CEDAW (Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women). Participants were reminded that the United States is one of only a few countries that have not ratified the Convention! Since so many could not be accommodated at this first forum, a “repeat performance” was held on December 3, 2002.

Kay Maxwell, LWVUS President, spoke about the League’s work to empower women in developing countries. Susan Safi Rafiq, Founder of the International Federation of Afghan Women, compared the rights of women under Afghanistan’s 1944 Constitution with conditions today. Describing the devastation and the tremendous difficulties facing Afghani women and families today, she stressed the urgent need to focus on education and new school structures and supplies.

During lunch, participants discussed “how the League of Women Voters and cosponsoring organizations can help the women of Afghanistan become empowered so they can participate in civic affairs and assume leadership roles in the redevelopment of their country.” A final report on these discussions is being put together following the December 3rd forum.

There is strong interest in continuing the collaboration of the sponsoring organizations so as to maximize the impact of initiatives influencing public policy on the advancement of human rights for women around the world.

COPYRIGHT 2003 League of Women Voters

COPYRIGHT 2003 Gale Group