MDGs will not be reached unless women?s rights are guaranteed

Date: January 1, 1970
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For immediate release:
Johannesburg, 14 September: The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are missing many vital targets gender activists have warned in a publication being released at an international video conference on the first day of the of the Millennium +5 Review Summit. Participants from 11 countries across Africa will link up through the video conference, including South African First Lady, Zanele Mbeki and UNIFEM East Africa Regional Programme Director, Nuaradzai Gumbonzvanda.
Activists argue that among the weaknesses of the MDGs is that they assume a universal and equal playing field that does not consider specific contexts. A glaring shortcoming for example is the absence of specific targets and indicators on gender violence, which has reached epidemic proportions in Southern Africa and which is fueling the spread of HIV/AIDS in the region.
Of equal concern is that the only gender-specific indicators of the MDGs relate to maternal mortality and education. Apart from Goal 3, the gender dimensions of the other seven goals are not mentioned, and therefore not likely to be measured. For example, there is no requirement that there be gender balance in the halving of the proportion of people whose income is less than $1 per day – despite women constituting the largest proportion of the poor; or in ensuring equal access to secure tenure for the 100 million slum dwellers to be assisted.
The gender activists, academics and decision-makers from Southern Africa who have contributed to the publication titled: “Finding gender in the MDGs. Southern Africa makes the links” agree that unless gender is equality is centrally located across all of the MDGs they will have no meaning for women and will not be achieved.
The video conference will link 11 countries including Rwanda, Mozambique, Malawi, Ethiopia, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Angola, Zambia, South Africa, Kenya and the United States. Discussions at the video conference will focus on 10 key areas for advancing gender equality identified during a recent audit of the performance of SADC countries in terms women’s advancement undertaken by the Southern African Gender Protocol Alliance.
In South Africa the video link will be from the International Finance Corporation’s offices in Rosebank, Johannesburg, while Malawi, Angola, Zambia and Mozambique will be linking from the World Bank country offices.
The video conference is part of a project being led by the External Affairs Africa Region of the World Bank in collaboration with its partners Gender Links, the United Nations Development Fund, Harvard University, Africa Development Bank, African Public Broadcasting Foundation, African Woman and Child Feature Service (AWC), and the International Women’s Tribune Centre (IWTC).
For more information contact Janine Moolman on 083 324 5024 or 011 622 2877 or email
The media are invited to attend the video conference at the International Finance Corporation’s offices in Rosebank:
Date:              Wednesday, 14th September 2005
Time:              15h15-16h45
Venue:           International Finance Corporation, External Affairs, 14 Fricker Rd (Illovo Blvd.) Illovo, Johannesburg

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