Soon-Young’s Picks


Soon-Young Yoon, Chair of the NGO/CSW/NY, attended the Expert Group Meeting held in Accra, Ghana, 20-23 September 2011. She encourages everyone attending the CSW to read ALL papers presented as they have a wealth of information to offer. However, below are some of her “personal picks”.
All papers can be found on the CSW website.

Best overview

Catherine Hill: Enabling Rural Women’s Economic Empowerment, Institutions, Opportunities, and Participation

This is the best introduction to the scope of the issues from UN Women’s perspective. Note her emphasis on the diversity of rural women, the need to look at an urban-rural continuum, and the role of non-agricultural based occupations filled by rural women.

Some themes that will appear more prominently in the final report of the Expert Group meeting—only touched on in this document—will be the role of climate change, the financial crisis and food security, and the role of agro-businesses.

Best paper on indigenous women’s perspectives

Myrna Cunningham Kain: Role of Institutions in Rural Areas Addressing Women’s Needs, With a Focus on Indigenous Women

There was only one paper providing the perspective of indigenous women, but this one also brings women’s human rights (including collective rights) into the center of the debate. Kain emphasizes multiple cultural identities and the concept of culture as a strength for women, not just as a “problem.” She calls for the democratization of knowledge and a building of local leadership in the context of diverse moral authority.

Worth a Glance – the following papers are also helpful:

Cathy Rozel Farnworth: Gender-Award Value Chain Development

This paper discusses various types of Value Chains (related to the business concept that each actor adds value in a chain of events), such as market-driven chains and relational chains, as well as a social justice case for gender-sensitive approaches.

Malike Abdelali-Martini: Empowering Women in the Rural Labor Force with a Focus on Agricultural Employment in the Middle East and North Africa

Thank you to Malike for reminding us about the diversity of ecological/economic bases of rural women’s livelihoods that varies by region. For example, for women living in pastoralist and herding communities, control over animals and water rights may be more important than owning land. Migration as well as education and other social factors must be considered.

Zou Xiaoqiao: Trends in the implementation of Article 14 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

Written from the perspective of a CEDAW expert, this paper reviews CEDW Articles along with country case examples. It is grounded in facts and provides a good summary of recommendations.

The International Alliance of Women, Global Gender Climate Alliance, Co-sponsored by the International Council of Women (ICW-CIF), In collaboration with Women’s Environment and Development Organization: CEDAW, Rural Women and Climate Change

This NGO contribution features a table outlining the relationship between CEDAW articles and rural women and climate change. It also includes the CEDAW statement on women and climate change issued in 2009 and a summary chart of references to gender and women in the draft UNFCCC document to be negotiated in Durban this year. I know I’m biased, but I think it is the best short reference around on the topic.