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Women women everywhere, so let’s give them a Damn voice!

My heart sank earlier this week when I found out that once again gender issues for the UN are not a priority. A few years ago I started working on a campaign that was calling for the UN to establish an agency for women.  Yes, its 2009 and the UN do not have a separate entity for gender – pretty unbelievable.

What surprised me most about this campaign was that people actually had to be convinced about the necessity of such an entity. The disgraceful facts and figures that show at just a glance how women are affected the hardest by poverty, in whatever guise it takes, didn’t seem to be enough.  The evidence of how the UN currently fails women at every turn still didn’t seem to be enough for some people. Luckily, when the pressure gets heavy enough even those who had no commitment or belief in seeing the advancement of the UN had to take this campaign seriously.

Everything seemed to be on track, give or take a few million dollars, and a resolution was to be adopted later this month. Alas, the UN never seem to fail in revealing just how much it needs reforming and how much it needs this agency for the advancement of women, by suggesting the postponement of passing this resolution.

The excuses for this postponement are not worth wasting your time reading about and my time writing about.   The fact of the matter is that women throughout the word need an agency within the UN that understands the issues that are specific to them and has structures and funding in place to change how we currently fail them over and over again.

These women simply cannot wait any longer, they just can’t and we shouldn’t make them.  I am not willing to accept that this is not an emergency situation and I am appealing to all of you to find the time to act and act now. Please visit this website

and sign a letter that will put pressure on the UN, to ensure that the resolution on the creation of a new UN gender equality entity is adopted this year.

I now work for a water and sanitation charity called Pump Aid. I have actually had people ask me, what this agency has to do with me anymore and shouldn’t I be worrying about water campaigns.  I think the words “are you actually mental” might have left my lips at some point. Women are at the interface of poverty and every single aspect of it; that includes water and sanitation.

I have never been so convinced that women need this UN agency than when I’ve spent time at Pump Aid’s water projects. Women are the ones that lose up to five hours every day collecting water. They are the ones who have to care for the children and the sick. They are the ones who get attacked and raped on long walks for water or having to relieve themselves in bushes late at night. Water and sanitation is a women’s issue and so, yes, it is right that working for Pump Aid I campaign and lobby for this agency. Yes, it is right that even if I didn’t work for any international charity that I care about the advancement of women, or at least I care that women should not have to die unnecessarily and suffer at the hands of a system that just doesn’t understand what is needed for change to happen.

If you never do anything else I ever ask you, please do this. Please sign up to this letter at Please be part of the force that changes the face of the UN and ensures that we no longer have to read about the number of women raped in the DRC everyday or the numbers of women who die in childbirth and most importantly how this could have been prevented and changed at the click of a button and the signing of a letter.


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