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Report on attendance of the 52nd Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW)
( 25 February to 7 March, 2008 , New York )

At the NGO Parallel events of the 52nd Session of UN Commission on the Status of Women, Dr. Agnes Law and Ms. Maggie Kung, representing Hong Kong Federation of Women, together with other Hong Kong delegates, had convened an open forum entitled "Empowerment and Leadership Training for young women".

Dr. Agnes Law Koon-chui, served as the moderator of the forum as well as gave an introductory overview of Hong Kong women's participation in the social, economic and political arena. The challenges that women encountered in their employment, marriage and social participation were also shared and discussed. Ms. Sophia Ko Ching-chi, introduced the structure and recent activities of HK Federation of Women. Ms. Maggie Kung introduced the content of the "Half the Sky"-Young Women Leaders Training Scheme¡¦ recently launched by HKFW. Ms. Vickie Ling and Ms. Fonny Wong Fung Yi presented a service project for unemployed women in Tin Shui Wai. With the case example, they vividly explained how community resources were mobilized to empower women, helping them to become financially independent.

The forum received enthusiastic response. It attracted more than one hundred delegates to attend, that was more than the venue could accommodate. Among them, many were young women delegates. A wide range of issues such as pressures encountered by women from mainland who were married to Hong Kong men, women employment, were raised and discussed after the presentations. Participants were particularly interested at the detailed arrangement of the Half the Sky Training Scheme. They asked for details regarding the content design of the training program, how to recruit trainees, how to follow up on the development of the participants, where to find the tutors, how to raise resources. Many expressed keen interest in doing something similar when back to their own society. They were strongly identified with the objectives of the scheme, recognizing leadership of pivotal importance in mobilizing and fighting for women's right and social equality.

The theme of the CSW 52nd Session, conducted from February 25 to March 7, 2008, was "Financing for gender equality and the empowerment of women". Its goal was to urge governments worldwide to increase funding resources in promoting the work for gender equality and women empowerment. There were active discussions in reviewing the follow-up work on the Beijing Platform for Action. Many delegates from various countries were concerned about the slow progress made by various levels of government in their pursuit of gender equality and mainstreaming. With insufficient funding support, the outcome was considered far from satisfactory.

Making reference to the directions mapped out by the gender expert group meeting held at Norway in 2007, the Session urged respective governments to establish strategies to pursue:

1. Macroeconomic policy and financing development;
2. public finance management and gender responsive budgeting;
3. Bilateral and multilateral support, and official development assistance;
4. Funding the women's movement, including through women's funds.

Dr. Agnes Law
18-4-2008
 
   
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