WEDO Enews & Views
Women's Environment & Development Organization 

April 2008
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In This Issue
In the Spotlight: Q&A with Lt. Governor Lawton of Wisconsin
Women Tell UN to "Gear Up"
Demanding Action on Climate Change
Update: On the Road to Doha
WEDO Supporters Gather to Raise Funds
Inside WEDO
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Investing in Women Makes Good Sense

It has been six years since the first United Nations conference on Financing for Development (FfD) and women are still the poorest of the poor-more than two-thirds of the one billion people living on less than $1.00 day are women and children.


And though we hear again and again from the UN Secretary-General, from the World Bank, from all sorts of development experts that investing in women is essential to development, we don't see the actions necessary for improving the lives of women-an achievement that would benefit the whole of society.


Today, women make only 25% of the global income and own 1% of the land. In most of the world, unpaid family and household care still rests on women. It is estimated that this unremunerated, invisible work amounts to 10-30% of world GDP, in the trillions of dollars.


This year's meeting of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) held in March zeroed in on the critical issue of financing for gender equality, in anticipation of the second FfD conference to be held in Doha this November.

A large number of ministers of women's agencies and thousands of women activists from around the world came to the meeting with a resounding message: commitments to women's equality made at previous UN development conferences are not being implemented because of a lack of genuine political will. 

Women have long understood that these commitments will only be met if they are backed up by adequate financial resources. Together, we are pushing for governments to dig into their pockets and deliver the necessary funds.



June Zeitlin, Executive Director

June Zeitlin, Executive Director
In the Spotlight: Q&A with Lt. Governor Lawton of Wisconsin
With Anna Grossman, Communications Program

Women Demand U.S. Action on Climate Change (WDACC) is the first campaign of its kind to reach out to the U.S. women's organizations around climate policy. Across the country, many groups are mobilizing to push for stronger U.S. action on urgent climate issues, particularly on greenhouse gas reductions and on a post-Kyoto international agreement. We asked Lt. Governor Barbara Lawton of Wisconsin, who took part in the March 14th launch of the campaign, to share her views on ways in which the U.S. can step up action on climate change.


Q:  Your resolve to take action on climate change has led you to develop a Green Economy Agenda. You also work with local governments to shape their response to global climate change. What has motivated you to take on climate change in your office, and what sort of obstacles do you face in promoting green policies?


A. As daunting a challenge as global climate change can seem, it is also an opportunity to connect women in the U.S. to women across the world. Today in the U.S. it is very easy to flip the channel on your television if you are confronted by a disturbing image so that you don't have to think about the role we play. But with climate change it is much harder to do. As people begin to learn more about it, they begin to care more. Climate change presents an opportunity for people to become empowered in making decisions big and small. A small decision might be changing the kind of light bulb you use; a big one might be saying you won't reelect politicians unless they are willing to make changes.


It is interesting. There have been fewer obstacles to working on climate change issues than you would think. When I went to the annual National Lieutenant Governors Association and convinced colleagues to sign on to a bold statement on climate change, I had to think, how am I going to get broad majority support for this, and in particular bi-partisan support? So I started by working with the Republican Lt. Governor of Florida. I learned a fascinating lesson-that on the issue of climate change, there is tremendous potential to unite in new ways and under new leadership.


Read the whole interview!

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Because when women lead, the world benefits.
Women Tell UN to "Gear Up"
It was standing room only on a chilly day this past February when activists launched the
GEAR (Gender Equality Architecture Reform) Campaign, calling on member states to create a strong women's entity at the United Nations.


The launch took place during the annual meeting of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), where the under-resourcing of gender equality within the UN was touted as evidence for the lack of a genuine commitment to women's empowerment. The 2006 budget for UNIFEM at $57 million is only 10 percent of UNFPA's budget of close to $600 million and only a tiny fraction of the $2.7 billion available to UNICEF and $3.5 billion available to UNDP. 


"We believe it is well-demonstrated that the lack of a strong, well-resourced women's entity with normative and operational responsibilities, and an effective presence at country level, led by an Under Secretary General, has impeded the advancement of gender equality and the empowerment of women," said June Zeitlin, WEDO Executive Director.


Women Demand U.S. Action on Climate Change

As criticism of the United States' position on climate change continues to mount, WEDO launched the  Women Demand U.S. Action on Climate Change (WDACC) Campaign in an effort to mobilize women's organizations to join with environmental and other social justice organizations on the issue.


Together with the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (RBF), the Heinrich Boell Foundation (HBF) North America, Oxfam America, InterAction, 1Sky, Feminist Majority, National Organization for Women (NOW), U.S. Climate Action Network (USCAN) and Communications Consortium Media Center (CCMC), WEDO hosted a launch event in Washington, DC on March 14th, called U.S. Climate Change Policy: Why Women Matter.


The WDACC Campaign is designed to activate women's groups to challenge U.S. climate change policy.  The U.S. lags far behind most industrialized countries in commitments to reduce emissions and is the only country to not have ratified the Kyoto Protocol, which requires achieving a 5% reduction below 1990 levels between 2008 and 2012.


Next Stops on "The Road to Doha"

The Financing for Development consultative process is now in full swing with the official conference to begin November 29 in Doha, Qatar. Women's rights and economic justice advocates are working to ensure that the Doha outcome document does more to address feminized poverty, environmental crises and global economic inequities than the Monterrey Consensus did in 2002. The draft document will be released in July, with member state reactions and negotiations beginning in early September. Several events have already been held, allowing governments, UN agencies, civil society and the private sector to present their perspectives and recommendations on the various areas of the financing for development agenda. The Women's Working Group on FfD will advocate and participate in each remaining event of the official consultative process.


For more information about upcoming FfD events and to learn more about the process visit WEDO's FfD web page. You can also  check out our online Gender and FfD Resource Guide, and join the FfD Women's Caucus to get "on the Road to Doha."


Get involved and check out our brand new factsheet!

Changing Course: Women Unite to Transform U.S. Climate Policy reveals where the United States stands in relation to the rest of the world's action on climate change-and what you can do to get involved! 


An Evening in Support of Climate Change Action

More than 40 friends and supporters gathered at the beautiful Greenwich Village home of Ethel Klein in early March for a reception for Women Demand U.S. Action on Climate Change, an initiative designed to mobilize women in the U.S. to press their leaders to rejoin the world community in support of a strong post-Kyoto climate change agreement. Those attending enjoyed remarks from Nafis Sadik, former Executive Director of UNFPA and a WEDO Board member,  Rosalind  Petchesky, Professor of Political Science and Women's Studies at Hunter College and former WEDO Board member, and June Zeitlin, WEDO's Executive Director.

Inside WEDO: 

Welcome to our new colleagues!

WEDO welcomes Rachel T. Harris to the position of U.S. Climate Change Campaign Coordinator.  Rachel will be leading the WDACC (Women Demand U.S. Action on Climate Change) campaign. She is a graduate of Columbia University with a Master's degree in Climate and Society. Prior to coming to WEDO she worked with environmental organizations including the World Resources Institute, the International Research Institute for Climate and Society and the Environmental Law Institute.


WEDO extends a warm and appreciative welcome to three new Spring interns.

Ria Julien is originally from Canada, where she was a member of various community organizations focusing on issues of economic and ecological justice. Having previously worked in publishing, she is pursuing a Master's in Journalism at CUNY and is interested in writing about corporate influence on the global climate agenda. She is an intern with WEDO's Social and Economic Justice program.


 After working as a freelance dancer and youth worker for the past five years in New York, Pavithra Kathanadhi decided to pursue her long-time interest in environmental work. Currently in the process of applying to graduate schools, Pavithra works for the Sustainable Development program at WEDO.


Ellaha Shaheen is from Afghanistan and is on a Fulbright scholarship studying international affairs with a concentration on social economic development at The New School. As an intern with WEDO's Social and Economic Justice program, she is working on the Misfortune 500 online journal to expose corporate misconduct and closely following the UN Financing for Development process.



After almost two years into her second era at WEDO, Rebecca Pearl, Sustainable Development Program Coordinator, has decided to return to consultancy work, where she will continue in the area of climate change. "I am happy to have had the opportunity to collaborate with all of WEDO's partners and to be part of the continued growth of the Sustainable Development program since my arrival in 2001.  I plan to keep in touch with many of you and continue to collaborate with WEDO," she said.

Cate Owren, who has been working with Rebecca on the gender and climate change work for over a year, will move into the role of Program Coordinator.

CEDAW Book Commemorates 25 Years of Work

The Circle of Empowerment, a collection of substantive essays and personal reflections by former and current members of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), celebrates 25 years of work for women's human rights. The book, edited by Hanna Beate Schöpp-Schilling and Associate Editor, Cees Flinterman, highlights both achievements and new challenges in implementing the women's convention. To order a copy visit The Feminist Press at or call 212-817-7920. The book can also be purchased on-line at
Editors: Anna Grossman and Mary Godinho
Contributors: Rachel Harris, Cate Owren, Mary Fridley, Nadia Johnson, Jelena Pia-Comella, Colette Tamko
WEDO is an international organization that advocates for women's equality in global policy.  Working in key global forums such as the UN, WEDO advocates for and seeks to empower women as decision makers to achieve economic, social and gender justice, a healthy, peaceful planet and human rights for all. For more information, visit