Women's Day on March 8 marks the first anniversary of 'Gender@International Bonn.' International organizations in Bonn have teamed up to promote gender equality around the world.
The objectives reflect the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The current list of members includes UN Bonn, the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, GIZ, Deutsche Welle (DW), UN Women National Committee for Germany and the City of Bonn.
In the past twelve months the network has hosted panels and workshops at international conferences and events of Bonn-based women's organizations. A number of events is scheduled for 2016, among them Deutsche Welle's Global Media Forum in June.
Christiana Figueres, Chair of United Nations Organizations in Germany and Executive Secretary of the Climate Change Secretariat, appreciates the successful activities of the network: "As UN Bonn we follow the shared goal of 'Shaping a sustainable future' for all. Achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls, as laid out in the 5th Sustainable Development Goal, for our mandates, is a precondition for success. As long as 70 per cent of the world's poor are women, while female farmers are responsible for 60 to 80 per cent of the food production in developing countries, things are not right. UN Bonn will gladly continue to contribute to the network and hereby provide additional impulse with other actors on this crucial topic."
Like the United Nations, several other organizations in Bonn are also working on projects with regard to gender equality. The common belief is that none of the major challenges of mankind can be dealt with without women and men being on an equal playing field. Crises and conflicts put even more emphasis on the topic – especially as the areas of disasters and conflicts frequently pose additional dangers for women and girls to become targets of sexual violence and discrimination.
Franz-Josef Lersch-Mense, Minister for Federal Affairs, Europe and the Media in the Federal State of NRW, emphasized the responsibility of Germany and North Rhine-Westphalia in respect to the Global South: "Development cooperation is unable to achieve sustainable solutions and perspectives in the Global South without including gender equality and the role of women. The agenda 2030 offers us a new and holistic framework to discuss gender equality in the light of the major challenges of our time. In fact, we intend to take up this question in our One-World Policy and will organize a respective event this year. The network offers an outstanding platform for this and the international location of Bonn is an excellent stage to bring impulses into the global debate."
Tanja Gönner, Chair of the board of Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) referred to the principles of the United Nations to empower women and girls: "Human rights certainly don’t distinguish between men and women. We are fully aware that the implementation of equal rights, duties and opportunities for women and men is a precondition for a human-rights-based, socially equitable and sustainable development. Therefore we advocate gender equality and the consolidation of women's rights in development cooperation. At the same time, we are doing our best to be frontrunners in our own organization GIZ!"
Peter Limbourg, Director General of Deutsche Welle, adds: "Deutsche Welle is documenting and supporting sustainable development, and thereby gender equality. From the beginning, we have used the DW Global Media Forum to raise awareness for the need for action in this field. Last year's event was a success – and we will surely build on this."
"Bonn is international, diverse and a nourishing ground for cooperation”, says Bonn's Mayor Ashok Sridharan. "On the one hand, Gender@International Bonn brings together international key players, on the other it takes the topic of gender equality into our public debate in Bonn. In the framework of the European Year for Development, the network has just hosted a workshop with Bonn-based women's organizations. We are happy to present the outcomes at International Women's Day on March 8."
"Standing United and Strong for Equal Rights," says the final paper that sums up the workshop "Women and Work: The future we want." Bonn-based women's organizations discussed a huge variety of related topics, starting with an equal split of gainful employment and care, as well as the access of women and girls to the labor and education markets. The outcomes of the workshop are also available as a pdf document or printed flyer.
"Standing United and Strong for Equal Rights," is the call for International Women's Day 2016. And this could also be a motto for the network, which is presenting a new logo on the occasion of its first anniversary.
"We have launched the network with great optimism. After a year, we have achieved synergies and have gained recognition. Altogether, our perspectives are excellent," says Bettina Metz-Rolshausen of UN Women National Committee for Germany. "We can build on this first year – and we are very happy to continue both the excellent cooperation in the framework of international conferences and the fruitful dialogue with women's organizations in Bonn."