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Presidency of the Council of the European Union PDF Print E-mail

The Presidency of the Council rotates between the member states on a 6-monthly basis.  The country which holds the Presidency has a number of key responsibilities: it ensures that the Council runs smoothly, chairs and directs discussions, tries to reconcile divergent points of view and formulates proposals for compromises so that decisions can be taken. The Presidency also plays an important role in negotiations with the other institutions of the Union, especially the European Parliament which, like the Council, has to give its assent to most European legislation. 

Trio Presidency 

The Spanish Presidency, which ran from January to 1 July, coincided with the beginning of a new phase for the EU, with a renewed Parliament and Commission and a new treaty in effect since 1 December. With this outlook, Spain, Belgium and Hungary drew up a work programme for the 18-month period during which they will hold the Presidency in succession, according to the new regulations which apply in Europe. 

It is the first ‘trio’ of presidencies to be formalised and perform its functions in accordance with the Treaty of Lisbon. The aim of this new procedure is to provide the work and initiatives of the EU with more continuity.

The work programme of the Spanish, Belgian and Hungarian Presidencies runs from January 2010 to June 2011 and is divided into two parts:

New UN Gender Entity Created for the Empowerment of Women PDF Print E-mail

The UN 64th General Assembly has voted to consolidate the 4 existing UN bodies focusing on gender into one entity - the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women). The new entity is designed to boost the UN's efforts to promote gender equality and address discrimination globally.

Click here for the Press Release and here for the Resolution.

International Women's Day PDF Print E-mail

UN International Women’s Day (IWD) began in 1908 when 15,000 women workers in New York marched through the city demanding shorter hours, better pay and voting rights.  In 1909, in accordance with a declaration by the Socialist Party of America, the first Woman's Day was observed across the United States on 28 February. Then, in 1910, a second International Conference of Working Women was held in Copenhagen. A woman named Clara Zetkin (Leader of the 'Women's Office' for the Social Democratic Party in Germany) tabled the idea of an International Women's Day. She proposed that every year in every country there should be a celebration on the same day - a Women's Day - to press for their demands.  

Since then, International Women's Day has become a global day of recognition and celebration across developed and developing countries. The United Nations has held an annual IWD conference to coordinate international efforts for women's rights and participation in social, political and economic processes for many years, with 1975 being designated as 'International Women's Year' by the United Nations.  Many women's organisations and governments around the world observe IWD on 8 March, often by holding large-scale events honouring women's advancement while continuing to push for greater equality with men in every aspect of life. The UN Commission on the Status of Women now takes place every year at the UN Headquarters in New York, around IWD. It examines progress made on equality around the world and co-ordinates efforts towards equality for the future.  Many UK NGOs attend CSW in New York, and WNC is also represented. 

More information on International Women’s Day can also be accessed on the Government Equalities Office website.

CSW54 Updates PDF Print E-mail

For the latest information on the WNC's journey through CSW54 in New York, take a look at the regular posts from our director on the WNC blog.


Harriet Harman's Speech at the Opening of the Commission on the Status of Women PDF Print E-mail

In conclusion to the morning session Harriet Harman, UK Minister for Women and Equality, spoke on the domestic priorities for the UK which was received with great support. She called for a single entity focusing on gender equality, stregthening the position of women nationally and internationally. The establishment of this single agency would signal the UN taking the lead in this important area. A copy of the full speech is available here

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