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9/19/1995 - Senate Expected to Vote on Welfare Reform

The Senate is expected to vote, and pass, today a compromise welfare proposal which puts an end to Aid to Families with Dependent Children, the federal government's main cash welfare program. Currently, fourteen million Americans, ten million of whom are children, receive benefits from the program. The welfare reform plan eliminates entitlements completely and instead gives states set sums, known as block grants, with which to create and maintain their own welfare systems. States must limit benefits to five years, require beneficiaries to work after two years and actually spend 80% of the block grant on welfare for at least five years. The Senate proposal also includes $1 billion in backup funds should an emergency require states to receive additio nal funding and additional funds for day-care.

The Senate proposal differs in significant ways to the House welfare bill passed earlier this year. The Senate cut House-endorsed provisions which would deny welfare benefits to unwed teen-age mothers and to welfare mothers who have additional childre n. The Senate version would allow the states to decide individually whether or not to make such provisions. After the Senate passes its welfare bill, the two houses must come together to hammer out a compromise bill to send to the President. Though Pre sident Clinton supports the Senate version over the House version, it is still unclear whether or not he will sign or veto a compromise bill.


9/19/1995 - Women Soon to Outpace Males in Lung Cancer Related Fatalities

Dr. Michelle Bloch, Chairwoman of the American Medical Women's Association, reported at a conference last week that women are dying of lung cancer at increasing rates and will soon die of it in greater number than men. At a conference entitled, "Women & Tobacco...There's Nothing Glamorous About It," Block reported that second-hand smoke, especially in the workplace, is endangering women's health. Numerous women work in bars, hotels and restaurants which allow smoking and they are thus inevitably expo sed to its side-effects. Block also pointed out that, in 1993, roughly one third of all women who lacked high school diplomas smoked while only twelve percent of women with college degrees did.


9/19/1995 - Anti-Abortion Activists Follow Powell

Retired General Colin Powell began his twenty-six city, four week book tour on Monday with a new group of followers -- anti-abortion activists who protest his pro-choice stance. The protesters plan to follow him on the tour and urge him not to run for president. Powell will announce his decision to run, or not run, at the end of the book tour.


9/16/1995 - FINAL FIELD NOTES FROM BEIJING: Closing Events of Fourth World Conference on Women

Work on the Platform for the Fourth World Conference on Women continued all night on Thursday, as exhausted delegates struggled with the final thorny issues. Friday's closing events lifted the delegates' spirits, particularly Norwegian Prime Minister Gro Harlem Brundtland's stirring speech, and Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori's bold rejection of Vatican attacks on family planning programs.

Brundtland delivered a ringing call to action on behalf of women. Topping her now legendary address to the Population Conference at Cairo last year, she urged activism at every level.

"We now need a tidal change - Women will no longer accept the role as second-rate citizens."

Referring to the crushing attempts of Chinese security to control the Beijing conference and its feisty women, Brundtland asked what the ultimate meaning of the Beijing Conference would be.

"The views expressed here - and the news which escaped from here - will irrevocably shape world opinion. The story of Beijing cannot be untold. What will be remembered? Zealous security? . . .Yes, but such practices cannot, and will not, long endure.

"Let us count our strategic victories, not the tactical defeats. What we have achieved is to unbracket the lives of girls and women.

"We cannot maintain the illusion that someone else is going to do the job and establish equality with men. Women, and men working with us, men who understand, we all must fight for that freedom.

"All history of liberation struggles tells us that life, freedom, equality and opportunity have never been given. They have always been taken."

The President of Peru, Alberto Fujimori, also addressed the closing sessions. Voicing strong support for the advancement of women, President Fujimori agreed the "trustworthy studies state that investing in women is the most rational and profitable way to reduce poverty and improve social conditions.

"I believe that when designing state policies women must be included as a main agent of development."

Referring to the conflict between the Peruvian government's family planning programs and the Catholic Church, Fujimori condemned the Catholic hierarchy as "reacting in a disproportionate manner."

Responding to the charges that Peruvian family planning programs which allow voluntary vasectomies and tubal ligations constitute "mutilations" and represent the "powers of darkness", Fujimori defended his government's policies.

"There are institutions and forces that resist open and rational discussions on this issue. Of course, this is not a call to create blocs of nations or States to rise against the Vatican. In this time and age, an open debate cannot be interpreted as a declaration of war.

"Peruvian women are not going to remain confined or constrained by the intransigence of ultraconservative mentalities that pretend to turn into a dogma their incapacity to accept social change."


9/15/1995 - Faulkner May Try Again

Shannon Faulkner announced in a court affidavit that she still wishes to graduate from the Citadel. However, so as to avoid the emotional pain and isolation she felt earlier, she would like other women to join her if she re-enters. The Citadel is now fighting a plaintiff motion to add Nancy Mellette, a senior at a North Carolina military prep academy who also wishes to attend the Citadel, to Faulkner's suit. The Court plans to rule on that motion, Faulkner's request for re-admittance and the Constitutionality of a Citadel-like program set up at Converse College in November.


9/13/1995 - Summary Report On Conference Activities

Women scored an historic victory today as the international community agreed to count women’s unpaid work in their economic studies and valuations of the economies. Unpaid work performed by women has been estimated by a recent UNDP Human Development Report to amount to $11 trillion annually.

Although the language will not directly affect actual wages or pensions for women, it will count women’s unpaid work in measuring and valuation of labor. In a major coup, women’s advocates were successful in including the valuation of unpaid work in satellite and other official accounts in section 209 (f) (iii).

This issue is critical for women who labor in the home, performing unpaid and undervalued housework and child care services. It is also crucially important for rural women, particularly in poverty stricken areas of the globe, whose unpaid farm work is not valued in national and international statistics upon which aid and development policies rely.

Women’s advocates have worked for more than fifteen years to require economic analysis to include women’s unpaid labor.

Tensions rose at the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing today, as negotiators maneuvered to recover positions lost in earlier rounds. A surprise revolt by the G77/China group derailed adoption of the mission statement, upsetting the proceedings.

Claiming that the Platform for Action ignores economic issues while stressing only the human rights aspects, the G77/China, led by the Philippines, sought to introduce new language into the already approved text. The Chair of the Main Committee, Patricia Licuanan, also of the Philippines, was clearly stunned. Other G77 nations did not appear to know in advance of the plan.

The G77 group pressured Licuanan to refer the issue to a new group of "Friends of the Chair", consisting of people at the ambassador or minister level. The Friends had been organized earlier in the day to assist with the portions of the text still unresolved, such as the footnote on deferring to national law, religious and cultural customs.

After a tense recess and consultations, Licuanan held firm on the procedure. Explaining that language agreed on in the working groups could not be reopened at the eleventh hour as the Conference draws to a close, she clarified the role of the Friends of the Chair.

"This is not an appeals group. This group is organized only to assist the chair with language which has not yet been agreed upon in the working committees. It will not reopen agreed language."

The Main Committee agreed to defer accepting the Mission Statement until Thursday.

In other developments, the Vatican attempted to recover lost ground on the key issues of "foeticide," discrimination against females "from the moment of conception" and other anti-choice language. arguing that compromise language agreed in the health section should not apply to the same issues in the human rights section, the Vatican and its allies pressured the working group to accept weaker language. Chair Irene Freudenschuss of Austria held firm, and the sections were approved.

On the key issue of inheritance rights for women and girls, compromise language was reached which recognizes females’ "equal right to inheritance and succession." This language steers a middle course between "equal inheritance" for boys and girls sought by Zambia and sub-Saharan Africa, and the "equal access to inheritance" proposed by Egypt and Islamic countries.

The language recognizes the principle that girls must be included in inheritance and may not be totally excluded in favor of boys. It leaves the question of amount open, however, thus accommodating Islamic countries which only require daughters to receive 1/2 of the amount left to sons.

Nils Daulaire of the U.S. Delegation emphasized the importance of this issue for girls and women. It is probably the single greatest factor contributing to women’s poverty around the globe, because without the capac


9/12/1995 - US Delegates Discuss Violence, Families, Race

At the regularly scheduled U.S. Delegation Press briefing, U.S. Violence against Women Office Director Bonnie Campbell discussed what the U.S. is currently doing in the area of violence against women and how programs already in place will coincide with U.S. commitments to the UN Fourth World Conference On Women Platform for Action.

During the question and answer period of the briefing, the panel of three U.S. official government delegates, including Campbell and Melind Kinble, Deputy Assistant Secretary of International Organization Affairs of the Department of state and Mary Curtain, Human rights Officer of the department of State, discussed other portions of the draft Platform for Action.

Answering a question on the use of the word family vs. families, Kimble noted that former vice-presidential candidate Geraldie Ferraro negotiated language stating "family takes many different forms in different cultures and societies."

The question of language about racial and ethnic minorities within the document came up ad was answered by Curtain who stated that race and ethnicity language was still a part of the "Declaration" section of the Draft Platform for action and that the U.S. had made a full commitment to retaining the language.

The U.S. Women of Color Coalition has been circulating a statement throughout the Conference stating that "the convergence of racial and ethnic discrimination with gender inequality makes us particularly vulnerable and overrepresented among the world's poor and poorly educated. These multiple barriers have been recognized in some of the language under discussion in the drafting of the Declaration and in some parts of the Draft Platform for Action."

The final votes on language for these portions of the Draft Platform are expected late Tuesday or during continued negotiations on Wednesday, September 13.


9/12/1995 - Gender Statistics as Feminist Strategy

As an INSTRAW-sponsored panel on gender statistics, feminist leaders from Italy and New Zealand urged collaboration between statistics produces and users as a strategy to improve the status of women.

By improving research methodology and shaping areas of data collection, feminists can influence policy priorities and resource allocation related to women, according to Daniela Colombo of Italy Colombo called for more quantitative and qualitative research in the areas of credit access, genital mutilation, unpaid work, and the contribution of women to family and national welfare.

Judy Lawrence, Chief Executive of New Zealands' Ministry of Women, stressed the importance of gender impact analysis as feminist strategy. She also urged the training of women's rights activists in statistics in order to make sure data is collected in important areas and to maximize the use of gender statistics.

Colombo and Lawrence commended INSTRAW's pioneering role in conducting and disseminating research on women worldwide and applauded platform language preserving the agency's autonomy.


9/12/1995 - Human Life International Vows to Barnstorm US Elections in '96

Saying that the "Platform for Action at the Fourth World Conference on Women is laced with provisions that would take control of the mental, moral, emotional and physical well-being of children away from the family -- the basic unit of society -- and transfer it to national and multinational bureaucracies," spokeswomen of several "Family Life" groups protested the Platform for Action at a late afternoon press conference.

In her statement, Dale O' Leary, who lists herself as a freelance writer for Catholic World Report and a radio newscaster, called the proposed Platform for Action a "war on motherhood...lead by Bella Abzug and the girls from WEDO."

O'Leary also asserted in her statement that the "gender feminists" want "statistical equality requiring all women to work outside the home...and, according to gender feminists, womanhood, heterosexuality, and motherhood are not natural, but socially constructed roles and women should be free to choose their gender, their sexual orientation, their lifestyle, and even their sexual identity."

Anette Moran, spokesperson and director of education for Family Life International based in New Zealand said that her group would take the children's rights sections f the Platform and "create a firestorm of opposition from conservatives," in the coming year in New Zealand.


9/12/1995 - Fourteen-Year_Old Feminist Majority Delegate Impressed By Conference

Coming to the conference at the age of fourteen, I really had no idea what to expect. This is the first international work I have ever done and my first trip to Asia. So when people ask "Is it what you expected?," I have no real answer.

Working with the Feminist Majority Foundation was also a first for me, although my mother has worked with them before, and I think that working with the delegation and getting to know them was one of the points of the trip. It was wonderful working with a delegation of women of different ages (from 14 to 50) and nationalities (U.S., Kenya, and France).

Before the conference, my mother and I toured China for 22 days with a tour group, so when the delegation got here we were slightly more oriented than they were. The day before the NGO conference started, Jennifer, Colleen, Barbara and I went out to Huairou to "case the joint", and we were overwhelmed. No one spoke enough English to tell us where we were, and the map was useless, but after wandering around we finally figured out where we were, and began to prepare for the week's upcoming activities.

By the end of the first day, everyone was exhausted, drained, and dejected. But after a few more days, even in the rain, spirits lifted and things were actually happening. I only got to a few of the workshops, but the ones I went to were wonderful. There was open discussion, suggestions, and speakers as a lot of information was passed on to us.

The workshop which stands out most in my mind was the one my mother and I attended together on the African girl-child. Many of the facts they gave us were shocking. They gave us an example of a fifteen-year old girl's daily schedule which began at 5 a.m. by preparing breakfast and her father's lunch, taking care of siblings all day, and ending the day at 11 p.m. by cleaning up after dinner and massaging her father's feet before he went to sleep. Even if you knew a problem already existed, there was surprising difference between her life and mine, and I feel that I really learned a lot from that.

I also felt that the NGO conference was wonderful for networking, and meeting women from all over the world. I know that I was overwhelmed by the number of women I met. By the end of the conference I was enjoying myself, and I am fairly sure that other people were too, although there were still many complaints. I was sad to see the NGO Forum end.

Overall, I was impressed by a number of things. First, at the number of women who came to the conference, and the power that we have. Second, by the amount of information given out to whoever cared to listen. And finally, the passion these women had about the issues discussed, and the emotion that made the whole event seem real and made me realize that I am more interested in feminism than I believed. I feel lucky to have been included in something of this importance and power.


9/12/1995 - Symposium on Global Role of Women in Broadcasting Held at Government Conference

A panel of experts addressed members of the press as well as NGO and government delegates today about the role of women in global television. Panelists Barbara Pyle of CNN, Anita Anand of Women's Feature Service, Jenny Richards of the UN funded Television Trust for the Environment (TVE), and others, discussed the need for more worldwide coverage of women's issues and more women in decision making positions in broadcasting.

In her remarks, Pyle described a new, not-for-profit television series produced by TBS/CNN Environmental Policy Unit called "People Count." She noted that this series and the international CNN series "World Report," have already been taking on the task of educating viewers globally about the concerns of women.

Richards discussed TVE's attempt to "raise public awareness of the links between poverty, social inequity, unfair trade terms, resource depletion, population and human rights issues." They've made more than 200 programs that have reached prime time audiences in over 140 countries including Peru, South Africa, India, Finland and the United Kingdom.

In India, according to Anita Anand, a television show about the life of a woman police officer which began about three years ago has been very influential in encouraging young women to become police officers themselves. An estimates that the weekly show is responsible for about two thirds of the new women recruits entering the police academies.

During the question and answer section of the symposium, some reporters asked questions about the lack of substance in the remarks of the panel as it did not address the real lack of women in decision making positions in broadcasting. Several panelists responded that the one hour symposium did not allow for any in depth debate on the subject and that they were giving glimpses into some of the programs and projects trying to address this and other problems for women in television.


9/12/1995 - U.S. Women Still Face Discrimination

In a poll of three-thousand women, eighty-four percent stated that they still face more restrictions than men. Seventy-seven percent of the women stated that they still face sexual discrimination. The women went on to say that the discrimination was less open, but nonetheless a serious problem. Seventy-six percent also claimed that sexual harassment existed in the workplace. Roper Starch Worldwide Inc., who conducts the poll every five years for Virginia Slims, found that a still prevalent old boys ' network and lack of role models, among other factors, keep women from achieving full equality. Forty percent of the one-thousand men polled stated that they received great satisfaction from their work life -- up from thirty-five percent in 1990. Only thirty-one percent of the women, however, claimed the same --down from thirty-seven percent in 1990.


9/12/1995 - Women and Minorities Shut-Out from Public Contracts

A Los Angeles Times review of California found that women and minorities receive a very small percentage of public contracts. Even though women represent one-half of state citizens, they received a mere six percent of three-billion in contracts in 1993-94. And, minorities, who make up one-third of the state's population, received only nine percent in contracts during the same time period. The reported percentages may actually be too high because the tally apparently omitted one-billion dollar s in awards. In the final analysis, white men continue to receive a highly disproportionate number of the state's public contracts.

The study also found that government agencies fail to adequately monitor affirmative action practices. Last year, state audits of seven hundred contracts found that nearly one-third of them involved fronts or other practices used to subvert affirmativ e action. Fronts entail white male business owners claiming that women or minorities own their businesses. Of the numbers, Senator Richard G. Polanco (D-Los Angeles) commented that women and minorities receive, "...crumbs. Absolutely crumbs."


9/12/1995 - Federal Appeals Court Strikes Down Restrictive Abortion Law

A federal appeals court struck down a Louisiana law on Monday which prevented Medicaid payments for abortions in case of rape or incest. The court found that the physical and emotional toll of rape and incest can make the abortion medically necessary. T he state had argued that its interest in promoting childbirth allowed it the right to withhold the Medicaid payments, but the federal court disagreed. The court ruled that, because Louisiana receives federal money for its Medicaid program, it must abide by federal mandates concerning the program. Those mandates include funding for abortions in cases of rape and incest.


9/12/1995 - Powell Supports Abortion Rights and Affirmative Action

In an interview with Barbara Walters, which airs Friday September 15, Colin Powell said he supports a woman's right to choose and affirmative action. Starting off a book tour, and quite possibly a presidential bid, Powell labeled himself pro-choice, s tating that if a woman decides to have an abortion, "it's a matter between her, her doctors, her family and her conscience and her God." Powell also said that he had benefited from affirmative action in the army and asked, "Why shouldn't a group of senio r officials in a university take a look at the total background of these youngsters....They claim they just don't let them in on the basis of the SAT scores. ..."

Powell also came out in support of silent prayer in schools, gun control and capital punishment. In the interview Powell did not disclose whether or not he would run for President in '96. Nor did he state which party he would run as if he did make t he bid for the presidency.


9/11/1995 - Beijing Women's Conference Makes Significant Headway

A committee of the U.N. Fourth World Women's Conference passed an agreement Sunday night which acknowledges women's right to control their sexuality and sexual relations. The committee's wording added that women should enjoy this right, "free of coercion, discrimination and violence." The passage of the resolution represents a victory for women activists and the most significant resolution passed thus far at the conference. All 189 nations present at the conference must now approve the agreement; but, because most countries were already represented in the committee, its passage is virtually assured.


9/11/1995 - Anti-abortion "Terrorist" Sentenced to Twenty Years

A Federal judge sentenced Shelley Shannon to twenty years in prison Friday. Shannon had earlier pled guilty to charges of attacking six abortion clinics. She begins serving the term after she finishes a previous ten year term which she received for shooting and wounding a doctor outside a Wichita abortion clinic in 1993. Judge Redden commented during sentencing, "Though I am loath to call anyone a terrorist, you are a terrorist."


9/11/1995 - Commitment to Implementing Platform for Action

As of September 11, 1995, 109 governments have addressed the official meeting at the Fourth World Conference about the commitments they will take home with them. Of these, 47 have made specific commitments to implement the conference recommendations.

Australia will introduce a new health program for indigenous women. Cambodia will ensure gender parity in peace negotiations and conflict resolution bodies. Fiji will ensure 50% participation of women in all government appointments. India will increase national investment in education to 6% of its Gross National Product, and will focus on girls' education. Turkey will extend compulsory primary education from 5 to 8 years. The Ukraine will create a national family planning program, and the US will launch a six year initiative against domestic violence.

An advisory about the commitments by the Women's Environment and Development Organization (WEDO) found that the majority of commitments made were in the areas of economic empowerment, women's advancement and in health. Areas in which commitments were lacking were in media, the environment and armed conflict.


9/11/1995 - WOMEN'S RIGHTS ADVOCATES ADVANCE PLATFORM FOR ACTION

Women's advocates claimed victory today as two measures that had faced stiff opposition from anti-abortion and conservative delegations were approved. The Working Group I, which deals with health issues and other matters, approved paragraph 107 (k) which addresses women's freedom from sexual violence and coercion; and urges nations to review laws which punish women who undergo illegal abortions.

Paragraph 97 had been negotiated in closed committee meetings for nearly three days over the weekend. Conservative delegations had opposed any recognition of women's "right" to sexual autonomy. The compromise language was developed under the leadership of the contact group chair from Barbados. It substitutes the phrase "sexuality" for the more controversial phrase "sexual rights".

All delegations in the closed committee meeting were reported to be in agreement on the questions of women's freedom from rape, incest, sexual coercion, sexual harassment. The problems arose over questions of whether the phrase sexual rights included sexual relations outside of marriage, and lesbian sexual relationships. The European Union (EU) raised objections and suggested additional language which would have strengthened the language on women's sexual rights.

Upset by this last minute development, other delegations pressured EU to compromise, but the EU insisted it could not support the more conservative language on women's sexual rights. Iran then noted that if EU disrupted the orderly flow of proceeding, it too had additional language the Islamic countries would like to propose.

During a tense fifteen minute recess, EU consulted within its delegation. Several EU member states were reported to object to anything which did not include the phrase sexual rights. Suggestions that inserting the phrase "individual" into the document would accomplish the same purpose were rejected.

After the recess, the Chair gaveled the paragraph through as originally proposed by the Barbados-chaired committee, ending the tense Sunday night session.

The final language which was adopted by Working Group I Monday morning is: "The human rights of women include their right to have control over and decide freely and responsibly on matters related to their sexuality, including sexual and reproductive health, free of coercion, discrimination and violence. Equal relationships between women and men in matters of sexual relations and reproduction including full respect for the integrity of the person, require mutual respect, consent and shared responsibility for sexual behavior and its consequences."

Women's rights advocates saw the language as an advance over the Cairo platform, which did not include any mention of sexual rights. At the Social Summit in Copenhagen, no platform language adopted mention sexual health.

A number of members noted their intention to take reservations on paragraph 97 including Libya, Iraq, the Vatican, Malta, Equador, and the Philippines.

On abortion, the same working group considered language which addresses the problems of women who have health complication following illegal abortions. In many countries, criminal laws prevent hospitals and doctors from providing medical services to women suffering complications from illegal abortions, and require the woman to be charged with criminal violations if she seeks medical attention.

Paragraph 107 (k) urges countries to consider reviewing laws which contain punitive measures against women who have undergone illegal abortions. A key Cairo platform provision declaring unsafe abortion a public health concern was adopted as well. Only a very few delegations who traditionally follow the Vatican's hard line on all family planning and women's health measures objected to the language.



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9/10/1995 - Notes on Progress of Platform for Action: Unwaged Work Issue is Contentious

Unwaged work continues to be a contentious issue at the Fourth World Conference On Women. The European Union is seeking a return to language from the Social Summit held by the UN in Copenhagen this past summer. Language at that conference did not contain provisions urging countries to count women's unwaged work in their national accounting systems.

Proposed Fourth World Conference On Women language urges countries to count women's unwaged work in a national satellite count separate from the Gross National Product of those countries.



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9/10/1995 - Notes on Progress of Platform for Action

Unwaged work continues to be a contentious issue at the Fourth World Conference On Women. The European Union is seeking a return to language from the Social Summit held by the UN in Copenhagen this past summer. Language at that conference did not contain provisions urging countries to count women's unwaged work in their national accounting systems.

Proposed Fourth World Conference On Women language urges countries to count women's unwaged work in a national satellite count separate from the Gross National Product of those countries.


9/10/1995 - NGO'S Participate in Unprecedented Numbers at FWCW

At a press conference at the official government meeting at the Fourth World Conference On Women (FWCW), the UN Conference Secretariat for the Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO's), Kristen Timothy announced that 3000 NGO's represented by over 4000 individuals, were participating in the FWCW.

Timothy said NGO participation in the FWCW has included involvement in prior world conferences on population and social issues as well as earlier world conferences on women. She attributed this increase to the growth in the last 10 years of the number of NGO's advocating for women and the number of NGO's involved in the UN process. The number of NGO's not exclusively devoted to women's issues but who have added women's concerns to their agendas has also contributed to the growth in NGO participation.


9/9/1995 - Huariou Forum Ends With Ceremony and Final Press Conference

The final day in Huairou was, again, wet and muddy, as NGO participants conducted their last day of work and workshops. The number of participants ended at over 31,000 compared to the 1985 Third World Conference On Women in Nairobi where only 300 NGO's were represented by 10,000 participants.

The program led with young feminists from around the world presenting their hopes and plans to contribute to the efforts of the NGO's, acknowledging the work that has been done by women active in NGO's for many years and asking that their own contributions be accepted. Chinese dancers and gymnasts also braved the rain and wind to perform.

Supatra Masdit, Convenor of the NGO Forum, concluded the historic event with a 6pm press conference held with representatives of the the China Organizing Committee (COC).

"Throughout the ten days of meetings, the NGO Forum has brought together women from almost every country and from almost every sector of political and community work, engaging in over 5,000 activities. These outstanding women came here with a commitment to advance the cause of all women and they shared their expertise, achievements and concerns," said Masdit.

The China Organizing Committee, which came under attack by a number of the feminists attending the NGO Forum because of reports of harassment by Chinese authorities, transportation hassles and difficulties faced by differently-abled participants, defended itself at the final press conference.

According to officials of the COC, over 7,000 motor vehicles were used to transport participants and the over 3,000 Chinese volunteers who helped Forum participants with everything from logistics to workshop room set-up. The official spokesperson for the COC expressed surprise at the idea that some Forum participants had changed their COC assigned hotels upon arrival in China and he was especially frustrated that COC workers could not easily find participants with special needs.

Masdit concluded her portion of the press conference by saying, "the NGO Forum marks a turning point in the women's movement from all walks of life. The exchanges have sometimes been spirited, and sometimes heated. Upon returning home, the participants of the Forum will tell others about the outstanding women who came to Huairou, China."


9/8/1995 - NGOs Criticize Media for Poor Forum Coverage

On the final day of the NGO Forum in Huairou, Western women's NGOs held a press conference to confront Western media about their poor coverage of Forum activities.

Representatives from NGOs in Spain, Norway, and the United States decried the media's almost exclusive focus on the logistical difficulties of the conference and on criticism of Chinese surveillance of Forum participants. Substantive plenaries, panels, and workshops covering a wide range of issues of importance to women worldwide for the most part were ignored by the media, according to the NGOs.

At the same time, some NGOs circulated a letter signed by conference participants thanking the people of China for their hospitality during the conference and attacking media for exaggerated reports of security concerns and the negative portrayal of China and the Forum.


9/8/1995 - Counting Women's Work as Political Leverage

The International Wages for Housework Campaign at an NGO Forum panel called upon delegates at the Fourth World Conference on Women to accept Platform language urging governments to measure and value women's unwaged work. The provision suggests that governments include unwaged work in their national accounting, but does not go so far as to require inclusion of these accounts in the GNP.

According to campaign organizers, the measure is opposed by the European Union which fears that measuring women's unwaged work will result in a demand for wages for housework. The developing nations, represented by the G-77, support valuing the unwaged work of women as a strategy to increase their countries GNP and to pay the Third World debt.

'Quantification and valuing of women's work is a key lever of power for women, according to the International Wages for Housework Campaign. Panelists restated International Labor Organization figures that women do 2/3 of the work of the world, but make only 5% of the world's wages and hold only 1% of the assets.

Universal standards must be developed to include the wide range of work that women do without financial renumeration, said the panelists. Current methods for measuring women's unwaged work are inconsistent, minimize the content of their work, and ignore women's simultaneous responsibilities that if properly accounted would result in work days exceeding 24 hours. In addition, most strategies to calculate lost wages are embedded with the same gender bias found in the paid labor force.