Ray Smith Symposium explores gender justice around the world Sept. 16-18
Ray Smith Symposium explores gender justice around the world Sept. 16-18September 08, 2005Carol K. Masiclatclkim@syr.edu
To discuss the status of women and girls around the world and the potential power of non-government organizations to achieve greater rights for them, The College of Arts and Sciences and the Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University will present “Seeking Gender Justice Beyond The Beijing Conference: Reflections, Dialogue and Strategic Action,” the fall 2005 session of the Ray Smith Symposium, Sept. 16-18 in 220 Eggers Hall on the SU campus.
In 1995, the United Nations convened the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China, to create a platform for action aimed at achieving greater equality and opportunity for women. Delegates from 189 governments, more than 5,000 representatives from 2,100 non-governmental organizations and 5,000 media representatives attended. Also called the Beijing Conference, it brought delegates together to discuss principal themes such as: women’s access to education, health care and reproductive choice, and their ability to live lives free from violence and poverty. The outcome of the Beijing Conference was an agenda for women’s empowerment, including the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and the Platform for Action.
Ten years later, it has become increasingly clear that achieving consensus among states was not sufficient to protect the rights of women and girls. Reviews of the outcomes of the commitments set forth in the Platform for Action reveal limited progress toward achieving gender justice in many parts of the world. The 2001 UNIFEM report on the Progress of the World’s Women argues that on basic human rights issues such as access to health care and freedom from violence and poverty, women in most parts of the world are no better off today than theywere before these commitments were signed.
“As we watch the critiques of the media coverage of the hurricane Katrina disaster, it seems as if some are finally noticing that race and class make a difference. But gender has been mentioned almost nowhere,” says Linda Martin Alcoff, professor of philosophy and director of the Women’s Studies program at SU. “Women are often in caregiving roles, with less mobility and even fewer economic resources than others. The role of gender in such disasters and in other global events needs more analysis as well as activism. The Women’s Studies program is delighted to be a part of this conference, which will bring together leading public intellectuals–theorists who are also activists–from our own area as well as around the globe. There will be much to learn for all of us from these women leaders in human rights, anti-violence movements and labor activists.”
Over the course of two days, 24 renowned experts and educators on women’s studies from around the world will meet to discuss the Beijing Conference and the effect it has had on the lives of women and girls around the world, 10 years after. Among the panel sessions planned is a session entitled, “Better Die Tomorrow than Today: Women’s Vulnerability in Conflict Situations,” led by Grace Kyomuhendo, associate professor and head of the Department of Women and Gender Studies at Makerere University, Uganda. Other topics for discussion include women’s rights; poverty, war and displacement; gender equity and the role of politics in the transformation of feminism.
For more information, visit the symposium’s website.