Oral Statement Advocating 5WCW Prepared for the CSW

by Jean Shinoda Bolen (March 2009)

I urge CSW support for a UN sponsored 5th World Conference on Women because it is the most effective means possible to implement the Beijing Platform for Action and Security Council Resolution 1325. To do so requires the mobilization of grassroots women with the support of men and women in high positions, who realize that only when women have equality in decision making and responsibility will social justice and peace be possible in the home, community and the world.

We can draw upon the example of Liberia, where women mobilized in large numbers for peace, drew international attention, and put pressure on men combatants and their leaders to stop the conflict which began in 1989 and resulted in 200,000 deaths. International peace negotiators were able to broker the accords in 2003. The moral force of 1325the Women, Peace and Security resolution, passed in 2000 supported the women and the negotiators.

With only three minutes to make a case here, I quote support for my perspective from Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Archbishop Desmond Tutu who said: Jean Shinoda Bolens Urgent Message From Mother: Gather the Women, Save the World is a book whose time has come. Our earth home and all forms of life in it are at grave risk. We men have had our turn and made a proper mess of things. We need women to save us. I pray that many will read Bolens work and be inspired then to act appropriately. Time is running out.

The United Nations needs to be the sponsor of a 5th womens world conference so that women from all 192 UN member-states know that it is about and for them. Many will be able to participate only because it is a UN conference. It needs to be designated as the 5th, to acknowledge that it follows the other four, specifically Beijing and that it is intended to bring to fruition the goals and aspirations that were put into the Beijing Platform for Actionwith no further debate on them. It would be as significant to women and men working for women as the Olympics are to athletes.

Events leading up to a 5WCW during the three years of preparation, the conference itself, media attention at local and international levels, the ripples radiating out from it, including a proliferation of womens circles, and the networks and collaborations that follow, would move the world toward a tipping point to end stalemates and acquisitive excesses by men with power who fear humiliation or retaliation.

At the World Economic Forum at Davos, there was speculation that testosterone and risk taking brought about the financial crisis. Would we be in the same mess if Lehman Bros had been Lehman Brothers and Sisters? When both masculine and feminine principles are engaged, moderation and middle-ground solutions are created.

A 5th UN womens conference would be the first held in the 21st Century, the first since the widespread reach of the internet. It would be the largest and most influential womens conference ever held with simultaneous conferences linked through 21st century technology and internet-facilitated communication.

The inauguration of President Barak Obama set a tone of Yes We Can! for the world. His campaign utilized the power of the internet to communicate and organize. His campaign showed us how small contributions by a great many people could raise funds needed in the millions.

In 2003, a proposal from Finland for a UN 5th World Conference on Women was tabled at ECOSOC until 2009. I urge the UN CSW to support a UN 5th womens conference, placing this firmly on the ECOSOC agenda in July 2009. I also urge that India consider hosting the conference since New Delhi will have the infrastructure in place after the 2010 Commonwealth Games.

Let us tap into the possibility envisoned by Matthew Arnold, a 19th century philosopher, who wrote: If ever the world sees a time when women shall come together purely and simply for the benefit of mankind, it will be a power such as the world has never known.

Jean Shinoda Bolen