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Celebrating momentum and milestones: a WEDO history of women's organising toward a healthy and peaceful planet

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Sunday, January 1, 2012
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WEDO is an international women's global advocacy organisation focused on social, economic and environmental justice and sustainable development. To celebrate WEDO marking their twentieth anniversary, they have delved into their collective history to produce this review of significant milestones and moments of transformation in women's rights. Spanning from 1990 to 2012, the review takes the form of a year-by-year look at WEDO's work, beginning with how it all started. Born from efforts to bring women's voices and experience to the environmental agenda, WEDO was the vision of Bella Abzug, Mim Kelber and others who grew concerned at the lack of women's voices in the sustainability agenda. In 1991, they helped organise The Women's World Congress for a Healthy Planet in Miami, hosting more than 1500 women from 83 countries, where they facilitated the strategic organisation of those seeking to influence the upcoming World Summit in Rio. As a result, all UNCED outcome documents from the 1992 summitt in Brazil contained gender equality issues and recommendations Numerous lobbying efforts, campaign launches, and legislative victories are highlighted in the following years: in 1993, WEDO won a pledge for gender balance in the newly established Commission on Sustainable Development; in 1994, they organised the women's caucus at the UN Conference on Population and Development in Cairo; and in 1996, Bella Abzug was honoured by the UN and NGOs worldwide with a UN peacekeepers Beret. Women's rights continued to make significant ground, with WEDO at the forefront of efforts to focus the international agenda on women's issues and ensuring gender-sensitive outcome of major summits and conferences. In 1999, WEDO joined 50,000 people to peacefully protest the social and economic impacts of World Trade Organisation policies. WEDO and other women's rights advocates argued the case for equality and empowerment in the drafting of the Millennium Development Goals; their efforts are reflected in the final outcomes. Other highlights include the publishing of Beijing Betrayed in 2005, a global overview and regional summary of progress of the preceding decade, and the launch of the Women Delegates Fund supporting women from least developed countries to join national negotiating teams.

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