UN WATCH recently co-hosted two panels in New York on gender violence to mark the United Nations’ 60th annual fortnight dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment and rights of women. The events, which took place on March 14 and 22, focused on combating violence against women and girls and were arranged to coincide with the 60th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women. On both days, many sat on the floor or leaned against walls as packed rooms listened to female parliamentarians from Mexico, Morocco and Cambodia as well as 6 other speakers.
An eclectic range of women’s rights champions tackled the issue from different angles. Moroccan MP Khadija El Morabit emphasized the need to address the root causes of discrimination against women in her country and the surrounding region, including asking difficult questions about deep-seated cultural institutions like family structures. Nohemy Johnson-Hincapie, a student and women’s rights activist, shared two moving personal stories in which she told of her encounters with abuse of women and also stressed the importance of holistic approaches to countering the cultural backdrop to violence against women, not least through education of boys and men. Cambodian MP Mu Sochua (left) offered an insight into a different facet of the problem, exploring her legislative battle against violence towards women. Click the links to see the full list of speakers from March 14 and March 22.