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June 26, 2000, Geneva, Switzerland: Statement by Jocelyn Dow, WEDO Board President, to the Committee of the Whole, WSSD+5 


Mr. Chairman, 

I speak on behalf of the Women's Environment and Development Organization and I wish to begin by recalling the sterling contribution of Bella Abzug in the World Summit on Social Development. Bella still provides us with an example of unflagging dedication to gender justice and the quest for development. We also recall the inclusive approach of the WSSD Chair, Juan Samovia. Gender justice, however, is unattainable without economic justice, without human rights for women and for all people; without women sharing the decision-making with men. 

I also speak on behalf of the Women's Caucus-a negotiating mechanism that women have honed from Rio to Rome and through the reviews to ensure that there is an honest and accurate assessment of the stewardship of all governments. Our own efforts are constantly under review-women are not permitted five years to justify and explain away our failures. The Women's Caucus, made up of many networks and groups from across the entire globe, is one mind on what women need. We need our rightful place in all aspects of national life. We need our right to recognition, as more than half of humanity , in this review. We are not to be merely relegated to Commitment 5 or to the Beijing process. The international community has committed to the mainstreaming of gender, yet women are still struggling to be recognized in all aspects of this review. We have just come out of the trenches of the Beijing plus 5 review so we know that the struggle for rights is intertwined and all encompassing; gender justice and economic justice and rights are all of one piece. 

Women know the true effects of globalization and economic restructuring. Daily we pay the cost for a lack of social integration. We know about economic disparity. We know about failed commitments and empty promises. We know that the alarming increase in the number of poor people, mostly women, in the past five years. the increase in women's unpaid work, the shift in employment from secure work to insecure and hazardous work, is the reality of the so-called 'opportunity" of globalization for millions of women. For women. particularly the hundreds of millions of poor women, globalization and privatization means paying for health. education and even water; means not having access to these

Yet there is a growing and cynical argument that those who have been the greatest instrument of our global oppression-the Bretton Woods institutions and the OECD, the very proponents of market forces-are to offer us salvation. We can only wonder at this new formula-new patent, perhaps-being offered for the achievement of "a better world for all", in which the very oppressors are being enjoined by our supposed defender and ally, the United Nations, to save us from the poverty and unequal distribution that they themselves have generated and continue to generate. But history speaks for itself. Women are not romanced by market rhetoric. Women are connected. We do not need any new technology to lay bare the truth of our plight.

We know that there is more than enough money to end poverty in the world. We know that a world that condones the concept of failed states, failed people, the new poor, is not a world worthy of humanity in the 21st century .

We must not tax water but financial transactions. We must not ask the poor to end their poverty. Governments must honor their commitments to 0.7%. The task of the next few days is to lift the burden from the poor-poor people, poor women, and poor nations. The rich must not be protected, enjoined and cajoled: They must be exposed. The developed world must honor its commitments, put their more than adequate resources in the service of all humanity. All governments must commit to a better world for all - all women, all people and the planet itself.

"Like the jig shakes the loom
All are involved, all are consumed"

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