1325 PeaceWomen E-News Issue #89 24 May 2007


The Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security, 31 October 2000. CLICK HERE for the full text of the resolution.

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1. Editorial:Participation Equation
2. Women, Peace and Security News
3. Feature Analysis:
Women’s Involvement in Timor-Leste’s Presidential Elections
4. Feature Resources: iKNOW Politics & INSTRAW’s 'Gender, Governance and Women's Political Participation' Web pages
5. Feature Initiatives:
Iran: One Million Signatures Demanding Changes to Discriminatory Laws & IANSA: Call for Contributions to the Survivors Project
6. NGO Working Group on Women, Peace & Security Update: UN Fiji Fact Finding Mission – Women Make Recommendations on Elections And Governance
7. UNIFEM Update: Election Initiatives in Syria, Kenya & Nigeria
8. Women, Peace and Security Calendar

The PeaceWomen Project is a project of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. Please visit us at http://www.peacewomen.org.

On this, International Women’s Day for Disarmament, the PeaceWomen Team would like to recognize our sister WILPF project- Reaching Critical Will, and remind our readers that this other project of WILPF provides timely analysis on all multilateral disarmament decision making fora. http://www.ReachingCriticalWill.org

The PeaceWomen Team

This month’s edition of the PeaceWomen E-News again focuses on specific aspects of 1325 implementation: participation, governance and elections. Women’s political participation is one of the vital issues dealt with in Resolution 1325. Although implementation in this area is slow and uneven, it does garner more attention than many others. This attention is, however, often shallow and at times masks more serious issues. 1325, for example, urges member states to ensure the “representation of women at all decision-making levels in national, regional and international institutions and mechanisms for the prevention, management, and resolution of conflict.” Unfortunately, when being urged to increase levels of implementation in this area, governments are often all too eager to point out, as the highlight of their achievements, that they have increased recruitment of women into the military. A trite point here is that numbers of women in decision making is merely the starting point. It is, however, even more worrying and distressing to see a resolution in which peacebuilders place their hopes, being usurped and manipulated to increase the credibility of institutions of militarism and violence; the antithesis of the culture of peace for which they work.

It is also the case that the appointment of women to positions of leadership does not necessarily imply that these women will automatically take on board gender equality concerns. In this regard, women voters – the other part of the participation equation – have a critical role to play. In our feature analysis this month on the presidential elections in Timor-Leste (Item 3), the authors note the work of NGOs “appealing to women to vote intelligently, to make a difference, to scrutinize the candidates’ platforms based on their commitment to the interests and needs of women and children, and then to hold them accountable.” As this timely analysis of the Timor-Leste experience reveals, the collaborative efforts of many actors, working on several fronts, is essential to ensuring that women are empowered to exercise their right to vote in a meaningful way; that not only are there more women elected to power but that they are ready to take on these positions; and that elected women (and in fact men) are responsible and accountable in making government gender responsive. UNIFEM, as evident from this month’s Update (Item 7) is one such actor working to further these goals. Highlighted here are election initiatives from Syria, Kenya and Nigeria where “women’s presence as candidates, in platform development, and as voters has increased the profile of women’s roles in politics.” Sharing experiences and knowledge around such issues is one of the goals of iKNOW Politics – one of this month’s feature resources (Item 4) – a recently launched “technology-enabled forum” designed to serve the needs of those interested in advancing women in politics. This, and website sections such as that of INSTRAW (Item 4) are exciting and innovative tools for furthering the 1325 agenda in the areas of governance and participation.

The NGO Working Group on Women, Peace and Security in its Update (Item 6) (which focuses on the advocacy of women peacebuilders in Fiji) highlights an equally important aspect of governance and participation – that of the electoral system and related processes. Resolution 1325 touches on this in its call for the adoption of a gender perspective, when negotiating and implementing peace agreements, including “measures that ensure the protection of and respect for human rights of women and girls, particularly as they relate to……the electoral system. In their meeting with the UN Fact Finding Mission to Fiji, women peacebuilders urged the Mission to consider issues around ensuring a system which would facilitate women’s participation as well as issues of assistance and support in obtaining sex-disaggregated data and gender analysis in a much needed population census.

While this newsletter contains many excellent examples of positive actions in the area of participation, it is saddening to note that many barriers still remain. Women’s full and effective participation continues to be limited by discriminatory laws and by their being affected by violence, including sexual and gender-based violence – many of which are exposed in May’s Women, Peace and Security News (Item 2). This month’s Feature Initiatives (Item 5) draw further attention to such issues and offer ways in which we can all participate to bring about positive change.

As always, we welcome your contributions to the newsletter’s content. should be sent to enewssubmissions@peacewomen.org by Thursday 14 June 2007.
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As always we welcome your contributions to the newsletter’s content. Contributions for the June 2007 edition, which will focus on Gender and Security Sector Reform should be sent to enewssubmissions@peacewomen.org by Thursday 14 June 2007.

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May 19, 2007 – (Economic & Social Research Council) As societies emerge from conflict, men's dominance at all levels of decision-making ensures women never feel truly secure according to new research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

May 15, 2007 – (The Malta Independent) A newly set up organisation, Women in International Security (WIIS-Malta), will push for a fairer representation of women at decision-making levels where women can actually make a difference.

April 27, 2007 - (Reuters) Two Chinese women who said they had been kidnapped and forced to provide sex for Japanese soldiers during World War Two lost their case for compensation at Japan's Supreme Court on Friday.

April 26, 2007 - (WOMENSENEWS) Women are pushing the envelope on peace activism in the Middle East, with a nearly 30-country annual bike ride for peace that was followed within a few days by the shooting of a Nobel Prize-winning Irish peace activist at a West Bank demonstration.

May 18, 2007 – (Accra) Gender-sensitive civil society groups have criticized African leaders for lacking the requisite political will and commitment needed to advance gender evenhandedness.

27 April 2007 (UNMIL)– The UN Envoy in Liberia, Alan Doss, joined by Margibi County Superintendent, Levi Piah, on Thursday commissioned the newly-constructed Women’s Skills Training Centre, at the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) Village, about 12 kilometers outside Monrovia. Its construction was made possible through funding from UNMIL’s Quick Impact Projects (QIP) programme.

April 27, 2007 - (Daily Trust) Speaker of the House of Representatives has pledged to ensure the speedy passage of an impending Bill aimed at eliminating all forms of discrimination against women.

May 09, 2007 - (IRIN) The Ugandan government on Tuesday said the rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) continued to hold thousands of abducted children and women, despite repeated pleas for their release from both the state and international organisations.

May 15, 2007 - (The Daily Monitor) "It challenges us to put in place the right tools and monitoring mechanisms that will enable governments, NGOs, regional and international organizations to implement at different levels the existing instruments, protocols and agreements pertaining to gender violence," said Dr. Attalla Hamad Bashir, IGAD executive Director.

April 28, 2007 - (Associated Press) Iranian police shoved and kicked them, loaded them into a curtained minibus and drove them away. Hours later, at the gates of Evin prison, they were blindfolded and forced to wear all-enveloping chadors, and then were interrogated through the night.

May 2, 2007 – (IRIN) KATHMANDU : Chandrakala Adhikari was barely 22 years old when she was widowed three years ago after her husband, a teacher, was killed by Maoist rebels in Larkhe, a remote village in Nepal’s northwestern Gorkha district.

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For more country-specific women, peace and security news, CLICK HERE

For more international women, peace and security news, CLICK HERE

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3. FEATURE analysis

Women’s Involvement in Timor-Leste’s Presidential Elections
By Manuela Leong Pereira and Jill Sternberg

Timor-Leste (the official name for East Timor) successfully held its second presidential election this year. Unlike the first Presidential Election, where the choice was between two male leaders of the independence struggle, eight candidates stood for election. More significant, Lucia Lobato was the one woman candidate.

Women have consistently been engaged in political processes in Timor-Leste; they were an integral part of the struggle for self-determination, including the resistance to 24 years of Indonesian occupation. In 2001, several women unsuccessfully stood as independent candidates for the Constituent Assembly (the body elected to write the constitution). However, a women’s coalition did campaign and obtained gender equality in the constitution. The constitutional language regarding the presidency is gender neutral and election laws for the office are gender sensitive.

Fretilin is the governing party. Recognized as leaders of the country’s independence struggle, they won an absolute majority in the 2001 Constituent Assembly election. That body became the country’s first parliament, in accordance with the election regulation. 27.6% of the Members of Parliament are women. Under Fretilin’s leadership, 20% of the ministers and administrators are women. 24.3% of civil servants are women and 27.6% of the village councilors are women (each council contains two women’s representatives and a female youth representative).

According to Timor-Leste’s election law, if no candidate wins 50% of the vote in the first round, a run-off election is necessary. In the first round of the Presidential Election on April 9, eight candidates were contesting. Five out of the six backed Ramos-Horta for the run-off, including Lucia Labato. Only one candidate endorsed Lu-Olo, Fretilin’s Presidential candidate.

On 20 May 2007, José Ramos-Horta was installed as country’s second president. He won the run-off election on 9 May. Women were disappointed that he failed to mention women once in his acceptance speech. Although he made reference to the poor, he did not specifically refer to women. We were also disappointed that only men were present on the dais at his swearing in ceremony. Ramos-Horta won just over 69% of the vote, compared to 30.8% for Francisco Guterres Lu-Olo. 47.69% of the voters were women, significant evidence of women’s commitment and participation in the democratic process. Women make up 49.4% of the population.

Though the elections were conducted in a relatively peaceful atmosphere, the results from both rounds demonstrate a polarization between the east and the west of the country. Fretilin remains very strong in the eastern districts with opposition candidates winning the rest. Some of the candidates addressed women and women’s concerns during the first round election campaigns but women’s issues were missing during the campaigning for the run-off election, which were dominated by accusations of vote buying, threats and intimidation against the opposing candidate. The candidates failed to condemn violence by party militants; rather they pointed fingers and blamed the other side for incidents that occurred. Thankfully, in their post-election speeches the two candidates did call for peace and acceptance of the results.

Patriarchy is strong in Timor-Leste, political parties and campaign events are dominated by men. In a significant and positive change between the two rounds, the National Election Commission required tallying gender of voters.

The parliamentary election, set for June 30, has a quota of 25% women on party slates and one out of every four candidates must be a woman. Parties that failed to fulfill this criterion were informed that they must revise their candidate lists. Unfortunately most parties listed women in the fourth position, lessening the chances of these candidates. The requirement however does sensitize the parties to the need for women’s involvement and requires them to comply.

For the full article please visit: http://www.peacewomen.org/resources/Timor-Leste/Women_Pres_elections07.html

The authors would like to thank the following people for their time: Father Agustinho, Marilia Alves, Ubalda Alves, Juliette Chinaud, Maria Dias, Maria Domingas Fernandes, Lucia Lobato, Jacinta Lujina, Edgar Sequeira Martins, Ines Martins, Milena Pires, Angelina Sarmento and Aurora Ximenes.

Manuela Leong Pereira is the Women’s Representative on Timor-Leste’s National Election Commission and the former director of Fokupers.

Jill Sternberg is the Coordinator of the Solidarity Observer Mission for East Timor (SOMET) and former Director of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom’s United Nations Office.

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For more resources, news and initiatives on Timor-Leste, visit:

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Web-Based Resources On Women, Gender, Governance & Elections:

iKNOW Politics

The International Knowledge Network of Women in Politics (iKNOW Politics) is an online workspace designed to serve the needs of elected officials, candidates, political party leaders and members, researchers, students and other practitioners interested in advancing women in politics. The goal of iKNOW Politics is to increase the participation and effectiveness of women in political life by utilizing a technology-enabled forum. The iKNOW Politics Web site plays a central role in achieving this goal by offering users the opportunity to:

* Access resources, including the online library and the information and expertise of other users, experts and practitioners;
* Create knowledge through mediated discussion forums, information exchange and consolidated expert responses to member queries; and
* Share experiences by using tools specifically designed to facilitate the exchange of lessons learned and best practices among members of a global community committed to the advancement of women in politics.

For more information, please visit: http://www.iknowpolitics.org/

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INSTRAW website: 'Gender, Governance and Women's Political Participation' Section

INSTRAW’s objective in launching this section is to open a space for the analysis of the interrelationship between gender, governance and women’s political participation. These pages are intended to be an introduction to this theme, as well as a source of updated information and a space for the exchange of experiences for researchers, activists, policy makers and professionals.

The section offers a brief background and analytical framework on the theme and a glossary, fact-sheet, annotated bibliography, directory of organizations and other resources, as well as a brief description of INSTRAW’s activities related to the theme.

INSTRAW considers that integrating a gender perspective into governance and the current decentralization processes is fundamental for obtaining an equitable and inclusive human sustainable development. At the same time, it is necessary to have a greater and transformative presence of women in decision-making positions along with a strong women’s and feminist movement that favour the recognition of women’s rights, their empowerment and the exercise of their full citizenship.

For more please visit: http://www.un-instraw.org/en/index.php?option=content&task=view&id=1015&Itemid=231

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For NGO and civil society reports, papers and statements, UN and government reports, and books, journals and articles on women, peace and security issues, please visit: http://www.peacewomen.org/resources/resourcesindex.html

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Iran: One Million Signatures Demanding Changes to Discriminatory Laws

Iranian women’s rights activists are initiating a wide campaign demanding an end to legal discrimination against women in Iranian law. The Campaign, “One Million Signatures Demanding Changes to Discriminatory Laws,” which aims to collect one million signatures to demand changes to discriminatory laws against women, is a follow-up effort to the peaceful protest of the same aim, which took place on June 12, 2006 in Haft-e Tir Square in Tehran.

For more information, please visit: http://weforchange.net/english/spip.php?article18

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Call for Contributions to the Survivors Project
International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA)

Last year IANSA published 'Survivors - Women Affected by Gun Violence Speak Out', a compilation of stories and experiences that effectively highlighted the links between violence against women and small arms. The Survivors Project is now underway and we want to hear from you! We want to include more of your stories and experiences and make them available in a new format for use in your activism and work.
If you have been personally affected by gun violence or know a woman or girl who is willing to share their story with others, please let us know.
We will accept testimonies in any language and contributors can remain anonymous if they do not wish to be named. We also welcome your photographs and drawings. The testimony form outlines the kind of information we hope to receive.
Please send contributions by Friday 8 June 2007 to women@iansa.org

For more information, please visit: http://www.iansa.org/women/testimonies.htm

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For more women, peace and security initiatives – in country, regional, global and international, visit: http://www.peacewomen.org/campaigns/global/index.html

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UN Fiji Fact Finding Mission – Women Make Recommendations on Elections And Governance

On the occasion of the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission to Fiji to discuss United Nations assistance in the peace process, the NGOWG sent a letter to the mission requesting a meeting with key leading women peacebuilders assembled in Nadi, Fiji from the 24-29 April for the Regional Conference on Women, Peace and Human Security hosted by the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, UNDP and FemLink Pacific.

In recent years, Fiji has played a lead role in supporting women, peace and security issues both in the Pacific region and globally, including national commitments to the full implementation of Security Council resolution 1325. Women and women’s groups in Fiji, in particular, have played an active, vital role in the building and maintenance of peace, democracy and human rights.

In accordance to Security Council resolution 1325, measures that ensure the protection of and respect for the human rights of women and girls, particularly as they relate to the electoral system must be considered.

In a meeting with the United Nations Fact Finding Mission to Fiji, leading women peacebuilders respectfully urged the Mission to consider several key issues in regard to elections and governance including:

1. Provision of technical assistance for the much needed population census which would form the basis of our electoral reform, recognising that without an updated population census, any reform would not be practical. Support is needed from the UN Bureau of Statistics, especially to enhance the availability of gender disaggregated data;

2. Provision of support for the development of gender disaggregated data needed assist in the formulation of micro and macro level development strategies – in line with the MDGs and Human Development Priorities – technical assistance support from the UNDP Pacific Centre;

3. Provision of support for gender analysis of the population census, with technical assistance from UNIFEM. This would assist in building on recent research on the Fiji electoral system that has highlighted the need for reform especially to enable greater participation/representation by women and other marginalised groups, in particular youth (who cannot vote until 21); this would also assist in strengthening political parties to be more inclusive of women and youth issues as well as effectively train women candidates;

4. Provision of support for, as part of the electoral reform process, greater community and national level consultations building on existing locally available research, seeking assistance from International Association of Parliamentarians and other networks.

For more information visit: http://www.womenpeacesecurity.org/

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Election initiatives in Syria, Kenya & Nigeria

In the last several months a number of initiatives have underscored the continued relevance of women’s rights and participation in electoral processes. In particular, UNIFEM has highlighted elections in Syria, Kenya and Nigeria where women’s presence as candidates, in platform development, and as voters has increased the profile of women’s roles in politics.

In Kenya, UNIFEM has been working to support women parliamentarian candidates as well as strategies to increase women’s overall representation in parliament. Through the Gender and Governance Programme (GGP), working in partnership with NGOs, aspiring women candidates receive training and support on developing technical skills, voter sensitization strategies, and familiarization with political parties with an aim to make sure women reach a critical mass of leaders and also make their mark in mainstreaming gender in politics. Through holding national conferences, UNIFEM and the GGP hope to galvanize for stronger representation of women and women’s rights in parliamentary processes. The most recent national conference was held on 5 May 2007 in preparation for the upcoming general elections.

In Syria, of the 250 parliamentarians elected to office in late April 2007, 31 were women (6%). 55% of these women participated in a UNIFEM supported “Arab Women Parliamentarian” programme which aims to “empower Syrian women parliamentarians to act as agents of change through their participation in the political process and equips them to grow as leaders. It also helps to foster a political climate conducive to achieving gender equality in all aspects of national development.”

According to UNIFEM analysis, the general elections in Nigeria on 14 and 21 April 2007 yielded little progress for women. Among the 50 parties standing in the elections, there were 606 female candidates representing only 6% of the total. The majority of these were running for positions in the House of Assembly and the House of Representatives. According to UNIFEM, this represents little change in trend from 1979.

For more information about these or other UNIFEM supported programmes, please visit http://www.unifem.org, http://www.gendergovernancekenya.org or the recently launched website: http://www.iknowpolitics.org.

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UNIFEM’s Web Portal on Women, Peace and Security, CLICK HERE

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Peacebuilding Training courses
3-21 September 2007, Accra, Ghana, The West Africa Peacebuilding Institute

WAPI was established to provide specialized, intensive, and culturally sensitive training in conflict transformation and peacebuilding to individuals, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and other relevant actors from West Africa and beyond. The training covers a range of courses on Conflict resolution techniques, Women and Peacebuilding, Youth and Peace Education, Early Warning and Early Response, Justice, Reconciliation, Mediation and so on.

For application forms or more information, please visit: http://www.wanep.org/wapi/wapi2007.htm

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Conference on Sexual Abuse and Exploitation of Women in Violent Conflict
17-19 June 2007, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
For more information, please contact: daniel@blocq.eu

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Women's Leadership and Empowerment Conference 2007
21-23 June 2007, Bangkok, Thailand

WLEC 2007 provides a comprehensive and interactive program in which participants cultivate their cross-cultural, leadership and communication skills and learn about innovation, its importance and ways how to create and implement it. It is a three-day program, which consists of three components: study session "women's leadership and empowerment of disadvantaged groups", presentations of submitted papers and open discussions. It is open to all of those interested in gaining leadership skills and new knowledge as well as those who want to share their own achievements since the Conference is designed as a special training program for future leaders in different fields.

For more information, please visit: http://www.tomorrowpeople.org/ILC/welcome.htm

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Call for Papers: Gender Research Network Launch Conference: Engendering Policy and Politics International and comparative challenges and perspectives
21-22 June 2007, University of Manchester
An international, interdisciplinary conference hosted by the Gender Research Network, School of Social Sciences, University of Manchester, Chancellor's Conference Centre, 21-22 June 2007, supported by the Social Policy Association, the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence at the University of Manchester and the Political Studies Association Women and Politics Specialist Group.

For more information, please visit: http://www.peacewomen.org/frame/calendar/launch_conf.htm

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Promoting Peace through Dialogue Conference
22-24 June 2007, Amman, Jordan
Global Majority, Inc, Palestine-Israel Journal, UN University- International Leadership Institute

This will be a 3-day conference focusing on the engagement of civil society groups in non-violent means of resolving conflicts and generating lasting peace strategies. The conference will allow participants to learn more about the current situation in Palestine/Israel, the Middle East, and other world conflicts; network and connect with individuals and international organizations; and promote your organization and your work.

For more information, please visit: http://globalmajority.com/gm/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=56&Itemid=117

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Summer school with Nobel Laureates in Economics
23-30 June 2007, Iseo Lake, Northern Italy
I.S.E.O. Institute

Classes will be held by Nobel Laureates in Economics and notable American and European instructors. ISEO is particularly honoured to inform that for the 2007 edition Prof. Robert Solow (Nobel Laureate 1987 and the chairman of I.S.E.O Institute) and Prof. Vernon Smith (Nobel Laureate 2002) will be giving their lessons together with three other worldwide outstanding economists.
For more information, please visit: http://new.istiseo.org/ita/index.php

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International Conference "Humanitarian Education: Gender Aspect"
25-28 June 2007, St. Petersburg, Russia
St. Petersburg State University and Committee for External Relations of St. Petersburg

During the Conference will be discussed a wide variety of interdisciplinary questions, which concern the term of the gender equality, which belong to the sphere of scholarly and practical interest of historians, philosophers, political scholars, sociologists, jurists, culturologists, anthropologists and philologists. The focus will be on the following issues: Prospects of Gender Comparative Law in Humanitarian Arts and Social Sciences, Gender Aspect of Education in 20th and 21st Century, Education as a Factor of Ensuring of Gender Equality, Problem of "Supplementary Woman's Rights", Mass Media and Gender Aspects of Education, Gender Stereotypes in Education, etc.

For more information, please visit: http://www.neww.org.pl/en.php/news/news/1.html?&nw=3465&re=2

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Seminar and Exposure on Strengthen Female Spiritual Leadership
1-5 July 2007, Taiwan
International Network of Engaged Buddihsts (INEB)

The program, as the young Buddhist capacity building program for INEB members, is therefore developed so as to promote leadership for spiritual resurgence as well as social innovation among young people of the Buddhist communities in Asia.
For mor information, please contact ineboffice@yahoo.com or visit: http://www.inebnetwork.org/en/content/view/39/20/

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Gender 2007: East Meets West
UK Postgraduate and Academic Conference in Women's/Gender Studies
3-5 July 2007, University of York, UK

Following on from the very successful 'Thinking Gender' conference at the University of Leeds in 2006, the Centre for Women's Studies (CWS) at the University of York now invites proposals for a three-day interdisciplinary conference. This conference will provide opportunities for postgraduates and academics to share critical discussion, dialogue and reflections on recent, present and future gender research, and to learn from each other's approaches and experiences in an informal and collegial environment, especially across national and international divides.

For more information, please visit: http://www.york.ac.uk/conferences/gender2007/

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Women unite! Build peace! Generate change!
WILPF 29th International Congress
21- 27 July 2007, Santa Cruz, Bolivia

The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom will hold it’s 29th Triennial Congress in Santa Cruz, Bolivia. Opening with a seminar on the issues facing Latin America and the changes ongoing in the region, the Congress will also examine broader women, peace and security issues.

For more information, please visit: http://www.wilpf.int.ch/events/2007Congress/bolivia.htm

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For the complete calendar, visit: http://www.peacewomen.org/frame/calendar/calendar.html

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For the complete calendar, CLICK HERE.

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