The Council of Europe – the not-the-European-Union organisation of wider Europe (47 countries at last count) – is best known for the work of its Court of Human Rights, and has a general remit to promote democracy and human rights. It is also in the news just now because its Parliamentary Assembly has voted unanimously against a general banning of the burqa or nijab, and criticized the recent Swiss law against the building of minarets. (By the way, the football bit is at the end of this post!)
Ann Pettifor and Maz Kessler, Originally published in Huffington Post.
It’s not often that you get to sit in the same room with a group of world leaders and hear their wisdom, ideas and experiences at the personal and political levels.
We’ve just enjoyed that privilege. And the world leaders were all women.
I’m sitting here in London with fingers crossed – on Friday I’m due to fly to Chicago, a city I haven’t been to since I hitch-hiked round the States, um, quite a few years ago… I keep looking at the web to see what mood the Icelandic Gods are in, and whether they will relent in time to let me fly.
My reason for travel – our world organisation of cities, UCLG, has its Executive Bureau meeting there, at the invitation of Mayor Daley, and I am helping with the planning of UCLG’s City Leaders Summit, hosted by Mexico City in November.
A few weeks ago, we highlighted the European Charter for Equality of Women and Men in Local Life, co-authored by Ai Director Jeremy Smith for the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR).
On issues like financial (de)regulation we have been quite critical of the European Union’s role – see our recent Iceland posts.
So it is good to record positive news – the European Commission has just announced its own gender equality “Charter” to coincide with International Women’s Day. It is in English, French and German. The EU has really been in the lead over many years, in cajoling its member states into taking legislative and practical action for equality.
Download today’s talk for EcoBuild on how we can afford a Green New Deal.
Last Thursday I was back in Brussels, invited by the European Parliament’s special committee on the financial, economic and social crisis. My mission – to highlight the really serious financial problems now facing Europe’s local and regional governments, just as growing un-(and under) employment make their public services ever more essential.
First published in the Huffington Post, September 22nd 2009
President Clinton was on Larry King the other night, reminding us with typical directness that people die simply because they can’t get medicine. This is particularly true for poor women and their newborn babies.
Women – mothers – are still dying in pregnancy and childbirth, all over the world, for want of cheap, standard medicines that we take for granted.