News & Events - 1997


General Assembly -52nd session- Delegates discuss, including a special high level session of the GA, options for assessing in the year 2000 progress since the Beijing Conference and for looking ahead to the new century.


Two expert group meetings were held respectively on Ageing women and care (30 November-2 December 1997, Malta, Aide-Memoire) and Women's human rights(1-4 December 1997, Finland, Aide-Memoire).

Toronto Expert Group Meeting (9-12 November)on gender-based persecution, convened by the UN Division for the Advancement of Women, addressed the need to incorporate gender sensitivity to gender-based persecution, including rape, and other forms of sexual violence, sexual slavery and forced pregnancy into international humanitarian law. The meeting was in preparation for discussion at CSW of the critical area, "Women and armed conflict" from the Beijing Platform for Action. See meeting Aide-Memoire for details.


The UN Division for the Advancement of Women convened an expert group meeting on the girl child in cooperation with the UN Economic Commission for Africa, UNICEF and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA). The meeting, "Adolescent Girls and their Rights", was held in Addis Ababa (Ethiopia) at the Economic Commission for Africa, from 13-17 October 1997. The meeting provided input to the discussion on Critical Area of Concern L: The Girl-Child of the Beijing Platform for Action at the forty-second session of the Commission on the Status of Women. The Commission will meet from 2-13 March 1998 at the UN Headquarters. See the Aide-Memoire for the meeting for further details.


At a workshop on Gender Mainstreaming organized by the United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women at Geneva, 15-17 September, experiences were exchanged among bilateral and multilateral gender focal points on implementing gender equality policies. Participants included members of the UN Interagency Committee on Women and Gender Equality and of the OECD DAC/WID Expert Group. Read the press release and the statement from the Workshop.


The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women held its seventeenth session (7-25 July. UN Headquarters). Countries reporting were: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia,Australia, Bangladesh, Israel, Italy, Luxembourg and Namibia.

The ECOSOC at its coordination segment in July in Geneva (Switzerland) took up the question of "Mainstreaming a gender perspective into all policies and programmes of the United Nations System" (9 July 1997). Panelists included Angela King, Special Adviser on Gender Issues (chair person), Nafis Sadik (UNFPA), Catherine Bertini (WFP), Mary Chinery-Hesse (ILO), Rafeeuddin Ahmed (UNDP) and Sadako Ogata (UNHCR). Speakers called for more practical action and increased resources to ensure equal enjoyment by women of benefits of UN programmes and policies. The ECOSOC agreed on a set of recommendations addressed to intergovernmental machinery and UN entities to translate the concept of mainstreaming into practical action.

Ms. Angela E.V. King, addressed the Human Rights Committee, which held its 59th session in New York, with a view to strengthening cooperation between the DAW and the Committee in the mainstreaming of a gender perspective in the work of the Committee. This first-time ever dialogue between the Committee and a representative of the Division was very well received. The DAW will in particular provide support to the Committee in its elaboration of a new general comment on article 3 (equal enjoyment by men and women of rights protected under the Covenant), and in the Committee's consideration of States parties' reports.


For the first time ever, the Head of the Department of Peacekeeping Operations, in his opening speech on 10 April at the current session of the Special Committee on Peacekeeping Operations, drew the Committee's attention to the importance of mainstreaming a gender perspective in the overall policy direction and in the programmes of the Organization, including the area of peace and security. This has been preceded by efforts of the Special Adviser to bring this to the attention of the Under-Secretary-General of DPKO, and to informal discussions with a number of delegations.

The heads of three UN agencies -- the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and UNICEF -- met in April at Geneva to appeal to the international community and world leaders to support efforts in eliminating female genital mutilation (FGM). Dr. Hiroshi Nakajima of WHO, Dr. Nafis Sadik of UNFPA and Ms. Carol Bellamy of UNICEF unveiled their joint plan to bring about a major decline in female genital mutilation in 10 years and completely eliminate this practice within three generations.


The Commission on the Status of Women concluded its forty-first session on Friday night, 21 March, by adopting 14 texts, including "agreed conclusions" on four of the 12 critical areas of concern contained in the Beijing Platform for Action. Click here for a press release/round-up and a transcript of a press conference on the outcome of the meeting.

International Women's Day 1997 , events and activities at the United Nations. Secretary-General pledges continued solidarity with women's campaign for equal rights, development, freedom and peace.

The three entities in the UN system specifically devoted to women's issues, the Division for the Advancement of Women , UNIFEM, and INSTRAW jointly launched WomenWatch, an Internet Gateway on the Advancement and Empowerment of Women, coinciding with International Women's Day, March 8, 1997.

CONGO All representatives of non-governmental organizations attending the Commission on the Status of Women are also invited to an NGO consultation on Sunday 9 March, which will be organized by the NGO Committee on the Status of Women. The NGO consultation will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the UNICEF House on 44th Street, between First and Second Avenues in New York. For this event, participants are requested to register at 9.30 am in the lobby of the UNICEF House on Sunday 9 March.


The United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Kofi Annan, has appointed Ms. Angela E.V. King as Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women. This appointment will be at the level of Assistant Secretary-General and will take effect from 1 March 1997. Ms. King will chair the Inter-Agency Committee on Women and Gender and Equality and will continue to head the Division for the Advancement of Women.

Ms. Angela E.V. King, addressed the Human Rights Committee at its 59th session in New York