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2012 Women’s Forum: Day 1 Highlights

By October 11, 2012June 30th, 2013No Comments

Women's Forum 2012 | No Country for Young Women

Deauville, France – October 10th 2012.

Here are some highlights from the first day of the Women’s Forum conference.

2:30 PM – What do we still need to do better for women?

Women's Forum - Shirin Ebadi & Leymah Gbowee | No Country for Young Women

In the photo, from left to right: moderator Raghida Dergham, activist and 2011 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Leymah Gbowee (Liberia) and human rights lawyer and 2003 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi (Iran).

Some highlights from Shirin Ebadi‘s speech:

We can truly have an Arab spring when women in those countries will have equal rights.

‘Education as a way to liberation’ has always been my motto.

Iran has the strongest women’s movement in the Islamic world. That’s because 65% of our university students are women.

Islamic fundamentalists oppose the education of women because that would make women aware of their rights.

“When the Taliban came to power in Afghanistan, they immediately shut girls out of schools. An 11 year old girl stood up to them and started a campaign for girls’ education. She started a blog under a pen name. The girl, who is now 14, was given an award for her bravery. But the award revealed her identity to the Taliban. She was shot to the head yesterday and she’s now at the hospital. I urge the organizers of this Forum to take steps and give financial support to this girl – if possible – who at the age of 14 is on a hospital bed because she waged a war against the Taliban.”

6:30 PM – Najat Vallaud-Belkacem

French government spokesperson and Minister of Women’s Rights

Najat Vallaud-Belkacem | No Country for Young Women

“We need to change people’s mentality. We need to address the wage gap, which is still wide in France as women still earn 20-30% less than men. This is partly explained by the types of jobs women choose – jobs that are paid less – but also by stereotypes: women earn less than men even in the same job categories. […] In France there are 87 professional categories – that said, half of working women are employed in only 11 of those categories. At the origin of this are deeply set stereotypes about women’s potential – as well as auto-censorship on the part of women.”

“The government must address education, teaching kids that they can all develop the same skills, regardless of gender.”

“75% of low-paid workers in France are women.”

We need to look at paternity leave and reconsider its duration and remuneration.

7:00 PM – Marilyn Waring

Feminist economist & academic, author of “Counting for Nothing / If Women Counted”

Marilyn Waring | No Country for Young Women

“GDP – gross domestic product. It’s a construction drawn from a system of national accounts. It’s only 60 years old. It was developed by Sir Richard Stone and John Maynard Keynes in a pampleth called “The British National Income and how to pay for the war.” So GDP was about how to go to war and still have growth and this is what it is still about.”

Generally when peace breaks out in a civil war, GDP goes down. Every single thing that interests the market is good for growth. War is good for growth, trafficking in children is good for growth, female sexual slavery is good for growth, illegal trade in munitions and drugs is good for growth. Motor vehicle accidents, oil spills, smoking cigarettes… all of this is good for growth. It all counts.

“… So there is no deficit side. Because there is no deficit side, deforestation is great for growth. Deterioration of our air, our rivers is good for growth. The preservation of the ecosystem is not good for growth at all. Because it counts for nothing at all.”

The single largest sector in every nation’s economy, measured in terms of time use is not good for growth. It’s unpaid work and it doesn’t count. It is overwhelmingly done by women.

To be continued…

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