As online consultations move forward regarding the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) post-2015 framework, civil society, academia, governments and the UN continue to grapple with what priorities to set for an agenda that will be a no-holds-barred assault on poverty. Resoundingly, the peoples of the world that have been consulted are calling for an agenda that permanently disrupts the status quo and provides the foundation for many of the stakeholders involved in the talks.
There is one major consideration to the viability of our future; priorities for the post-2015 agenda need to interweave solutions to specific challenges women face. The facet of challenges women face worldwide come with entrenched cultural nuances that must be reflected throughout individual aims that each government should commit to reach. Whereas a universal framework for aims are important for achieving continuity in global standards, the greatest collaboration between civil society (nonprofits and similar entities) and lay persons must be an open process for all ages to engage with.
What kinds of considerations need to be included in a post-2015 agenda? There are many, but I think there are three major targets to address that I implore you to seriously contend with as standards.
- Zero tolerance for Violence Against Women (VAW) -- UN Women statistics that are still prevalent state that 1 in 3 women suffer violence from an intimate partner in her lifetime. Whereas the global index is based on women that have felt empowered and safe to report, there are masses of women that do not have access to safe spaces to report. VAW is an invasive community problem and a threat to global security because it infects all other areas of life. If we know that educated women cause families and nations to thrive, why would we allow anything to impede the growth, wealth and health of a nation? Zero tolerance for VAW would have to be an aggressive agenda to provide safe spaces for women, restorative justice for broken homes, positive incentives for community change and empower new forms of masculinity rejecting violence, control of women's bodies, money, work and family planning choices. Zero tolerance for VAW also needs to codify strong boundaries and consequences for those that choose to break it. Make no mistake about it, VAW is a choice, and we must nullify choices of perpetrators by reversing the social acceptance of women as less valuable by way of creating space for social incentives to change the structured and social status quo.
- Train important cultural moral authority figures so that they are active partners in transitioning communities toward change. Examples of important cultural moral figures are chiefs, shamans, imams, priests, elders, rabbis and monks. Training should take heed to spiritual beliefs and be grounded in common standards that respect humanity that these moral authority figures can agree to promote. However, tenants that are misused must be challenged in order to break cycles of violence and oppression that result from spiritual and religious restrictions. Particularly powerful is to ensure that women moral figures have the overwhelming presence and decision making among these populations.
The international community has spoken on Gender Equality via the E-Consultation with its recent newsletter that highlights the areas of consensus reached. Do you agree? At EOTO World, we have some thoughts about the generalities of implementation that align with the focused sentiments of the collective coalition response of Beyond 2015 that we belong to.
With all of these ideas, how are they being put into action and how can you help? Here is an idea: Get involved with a place like Women Deliver and Catapult the way of girls and women to success. Since all of us are responsible for the exchange of information and taking action, this piece will not leave you with all the answers you seek. I daresay, it should not. Instead, this should be about all of us learning, challenging, doing together. Right?