June 19, 2012, Rio de Janeiro

The Women’s Major Group played a significant role in the Women’s Leadership Forum hosted today by UN Women. During the opening panel, Sascha Gabizon of Women in Europe for a Common Future, an Organizing Partner of the Women’s Major Group (WMG), spoke passionately on behalf of the Women’s Major Group to illustrate the efforts that women have made over the past year and more to influence the Rio+20 outcome document and the ongoing struggles that women face as they lead in sustainable development initiatives while facing gender inequalities and challenges to their human rights. She also highlighted 4 areas demanding more attention in the Rio Outcome document and in follow-up for sustainable development: political participation, equitable economies and valuing the care economy, health and the right to health care services including for sexual and reproductive health, and poverty in regard to a social protection floor.

The Women’s Major Group, with funding from UN Women, brought a group of 15 grassroots women to participate in the conference, sharing their experiences and advocating for the WMG positions. The WMG also produced an online survey with questions related to gender and sustainable development to better represent the perspective of diverse women worldwide, particularly grassroots women. Together with the tireless organizing efforts by the WMG, including core organizations WEDO, ENERGIA, VAM, DAWN and GFC, the survey results shaped final Ruio+20 recommendations by the WMG.

In a ceremonial gesture, Ms. Gabizon presented the survey analysis and recommendation to UN Women Under-Secretary General Michelle Bachelet. The recommendations are critical input into the final days of the Rio+20 Conference as well as into future implementation efforts because it is the experience and priorities of grassroots women that are a driving force for advancing sustainable development, women’s rights and gender equality.

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