Sixteen Days of Activism against Gender Violence, International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

Speech by Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women, at the UN commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

Date: 21 November 2016

[As delivered]

“Violence against women and girls has a devastating impact on our vision for a world where women and girls can flourish and prosper peacefully alongside men and boys—a world where we leave no one behind.

Violence cuts deeply into the liberties we should all have: the right to be safe, the right to walk freely on the streets, the right to go to school or to work, to earn a living and have a decent life, to go to the market and do our errands and our business, or to be at home with family, happily.

Yet though we have passed many good laws in many countries, there are still countries where the laws are inadequate, or poorly implemented; where our police forces are not as interested in bringing perpetrators to book; where shelters, health care and support are unavailable and the criminal justice system is remote, expensive and biased against women and in favour of the male perpetrators.

Change to these elements comes at a cost. Yet the price of no change is much higher, and is unacceptable.

Mr. Secretary-General, thank you for your advocacy and your leadership. This was once a story and an issue that was not in the public domain. Your willingness to lead from the front on this issue has made it one that is truly in the eyes of the public. Thank you, Mr. Ban, for your quiet but persistent leadership on these and many other issues.

Mr. Secretary-General, you have questioned why this outrage continues. Why is it that women and girls continue to live with the scourge of violence.  We hope this will inspire many of our leaders in response to your call, to show zero tolerance to violence against women and girls.

We are deeply appreciative of your staunch advocacy throughout your tenure that has raised this subject out of the shadows.

Your underlining of the necessary commitment—both financial and political—is also very timely and much needed. Even relatively small-scale investments can bring enormous benefits to women and girls and to their wider communities.

The issue of violence against women is complex. It needs a comprehensive response that includes investment and resources.

There are encouraging signs of countries that are fighting with everything they have.

In Timor-Leste, a three-year programme to provide essential services for women who had experienced violence cost a fraction of one per cent of GDP, but had significant impact on women’s health and well-being. And in Uganda, a community programme to change social norms resulted in a 52 per cent reduction in intimate partner violence.

We are hoping to see more of these efforts in many of our countries and communities.

The extent to which violence is embedded in society means that uprooting it is also a job for all of society. That includes men and women, the media and the religious community. We can work together to address the inequality and prejudice that enable and enflame violence against women and girls. We can scale up prevention and increase appropriate services. And we can engage allies, such as young people and other groups in the society, through sports, arts, business and academia.

Together we can begin to bend the curve down and bring the scourge of violence against women and girls to an end.

Thank you to the leadership of civil society, to the leadership of Member States, to colleagues in the United Nations and to all of you, because without you we will not make progress.”

– See more at: http://www.unwomen.org/en/news/stories/2016/11/speech-by-ed-phumzile-mlambo-ngcuka-international-day-to-end-violence-against-women#sthash.OpH6k5vy.bmQJHFTo.dpuf Continue reading

International Day of the Girl Child

UN Women works around the world to empower women and girls and raise awareness on their rights, advocate for the adoption and implementation of laws and policies that prohibit and prevent child marriage, and mobilize communities against the practice.

On the International Day of the Girl Child, we all stand with the global community to support girls’ progress everywhere. Let girls be girls!

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#Womandla

Media Hot Mama-Suliwe Sihlwayi

I caught up with the ever stylish and bold Suliwe Sihlwayi, a well-known face in and around the Bay. Suliwe is the presenter and producer of her show “Gals Night In” on Bay TV, Channel 260, and for a change she was the one on the receiving end of questions. Suliwe is a free spirit and wants this freedom to be felt by everyone in the room

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SS: Besides being a TV show host, what else keeps you busy?

SULI: I’m a full time student at NMMU studying towards a BA MCC degree this keeps me very busy! When I have the drive, time and energy for it I DJ and on weekends I host a radio show with my two talented, dramatic, informative and funny co-hosts Charlie and Lusi at Madibaz Radio. I read, books have become my friends. I sometimes neglect them, but I always go back. Music also keeps me company, finding it, listening to it, and playing it at the station or clubs is great.

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SS: We notice that you are building a brand around your name, what tools and platforms are you using to do this?

SULI: Hmmm i don’t know if I’m building a brand more than I’m making a career out of something I love i.e. TV, entertainment etc. Just like an accounting student would do when he/she is working towards that final board exam. I’m just tryna make a living from something I love. The concept of building a brand terrifies me because I connect that with having to be a certain way or stifling my sometimes spontaneous self for this purpose of building thus monumental brand. I don’t want that and also I don’t have a team working with me or for me, I just have these platforms in which I operate from so I just try to make sure I do my best and let that speak for itself.

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SS: What does feminism mean to you?

SULI: We live in a patriarchal and sexist society. It isn’t neutral how things are setup and women are most affected, men too, but women are in serious chains man! The genius thing that this setup was able to do is make the chains that we wear (men and women) a part of our wardrobe and we then wear them willingly. So feminism for me is a movement that wants to first show you those chains and then help you remove the chains and then once you see the difference, the load that’s off you, help others remove their chains too. That’s in my own words ….but my shero bell hooks defines feminism as a “movement to end sexism, sexual exploitation and oppression.” So you see it’s not gender specific because we are all affected by patriarchy. It’d not a fight for women against men.

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SS: What plagues women in media the most?

SULI: Having to fit a certain stereotype of what a women is and should be. This plagues all women, in public and in private spaces, but I think because media perpetuates and enforces a certain view in a massive and instantaneous way, that society inevitably buys into, for women to contribute in this field they have to conform to that view/ideal.

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SS: How can you help this situation?

SULI: By breaking down the doors and to keep pushing back you know. Freedom was never given to anyone, you fight for this thing and you just hope others see your fight so that they can join and help make things easier for everyone else.

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Suliwe just has a presence about her, you can’t miss her! Great things are coming your way DJ Sulz 🙂

Young Lady- @warsan_shire

“How far have you walked for men

who’ve never held your feet in their laps?

How often have you bartered with bone,

only to sell yourself short?

Why do do you find the unavailable so alluring?

Where did it begin? What went wrong?

And who made you feel so worthless?

If they wanted you, wouldn’t they have chosen you?

All this time you were begging for love silently, thinking

they couldn’t hear you, but they smelt it on you.

You must have known they could taste the desperate on your skin.

And what about others that would do anything for you,

why did you make them love you

until they couldn’t stand it?

How are you both of these women, both flighty and needful?

Where did you learn this, to want what does not want you?

Where did you learn this, to leave those that want to stay?”