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UN Women - Letter to Director Bachelet

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Dear UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet:

I commend your for your commitment to gender equality and women’s rights throughout your career, and wish you the best in your new role at Executive Director of UN Women. This is a historic moment for the world, and a great opportunity to make gender equality a core value and commitment for all nations, and promote global cooperation and accountability regarding this issue.

Gender equality and women’s rights should be a pillar of UN programs. With respect, I have laid out a few general ideas for how UN Women can achieve its three main objectives.

1. Supporting inter-governmental bodies to develop policies, standards and norms to protect women’s rights:
-- UN Women can do so by partnering with organizations to assess the state of gender equality in member states, and the needs and concerns hindering it. The results of such investigations, along with recommendations for addressing them, would be presented to inter-governmental bodies on a regular basis.
-- As inter-governmental bodies develop policies, standards, and norms related to gender equality and women’s rights, they would be presented to UN Women for analysis and recommendations.
-- UN Women staff would be available on an on-going basis for consultation by such inter-governmental bodies to advise on policies, standards, and norms.
-- UN Women staff could also serve as full or part-time embedded representatives within inter-governmental organizations.

2. To help Member States to implement these standards:
-- Technical assistance: UN Women should be prepared to provide technical assistance and capacity-building to the governments of the member states at both local and national levels. It is important that all levels and sectors of government are aware of the importance of gender equality and how it relates to their work - what related issues they face, and what benefits come from addressing them and promoting women’s rights. And finally, technical assistance to help them come up with sustainable solutions to address the issues they face. Mechanisms should be set up for regular monitoring and evaluation of the effectiveness of these capacity-building efforts, to ensure continued dedication to and accountability for gender equality in member states.
-- UN Women could organize and facilitate training at local levels in member states to develop of network of community members dedicated to ensuring a commitment to gender equality in different sectors of society. Successful trainees that demonstrate strong leadership skills could serve as community representatives to the UN Women.
-- In tern, UN Women could have community outreach representatives responsible for touching base with local governments, civil society organizations, and grassroots NGOs and activists to identify gender equality issues and uphold women's rights.
-- Develop toolkits for local activists and grassroots organizations to use to advocate for women's rights in their communities.

3. To hold the UN system accountable for its own commitments to gender equality:
-- Clearly define the concerns, goals, roles and responsibilities of the UN system in its commitment to gender equality.
-- Implement regular assessments that provide analysis of how the UN system is upholding these roles and responsibilities, and provide input as to how its methods can be improved.
-- Develop a clear course of action for the commitment is not being met sufficiently.

Thank you for your leadership and for listening to our ideas.

Respectfully,

Breese McIlvaine
Portland, Oregon, USA

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As the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women officially begins its work this month, World Pulse is asking women worldwide: What is YOUR vision and recommendation for UN Women? We invite you to raise your voice by writing a letter to UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet outlining your recommendation for how this new UN agency can truly affect change on the ground to promote gender equality and uphold the rights and needs of women both on a local and global scale.
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