State of the World's Children


2013: Children with Disabilities

2012 : Children in an urban world

2011: Adolescence

Special: Child rights

2009: Maternal + newborn health

2008: Child survival

2007: Gender equality


Taking action

The double dividend of gender equality

A world free of discrimination may seem like an impossible dream, but it is a dream within our reach. It is clear that great change in favour of women and girls is possible and that for all children, such change is essential.

The international community is dedicated to achieving equality between women and men and to protecting the rights of girls and women. Gender equality features prominently in the Millennium Development Goals set in 2000 and, as of September 2006, 184 countries have ratified the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

But despite these commitments, for many women and girls the promises have not been kept. What is necessary now is to turn the words of these agreements into actions by governments, organisations, men and boys, husbands and fathers, voters, teachers, religious and civic leaders, the media, the private sector and, indeed, women and girls themselves. Many steps have already been taken, but there are a number of areas that need more focus.

Find out what you can do to make the greatest difference in the struggle to achieve equality between women and men.

Get informed
Action needs a sharp focus to be effective, so the first thing you may want to do is assess your priorities (figure out what is most important to you). Examine some of the causes that contribute to gender inequality and violence against women in your community. These could include women’s low status within society; certain harmful traditional and cultural practices, the imbalance of power within the family and within society; economic dependence of women; and acceptance of violence as a means of settling disputes. The more you know about the issues, the more effective your action is likely to be.

Learn more – run a survey
A survey can give you first-hand information about how gender inequality affects your loved ones and the community you live in. It can also tell you what people think about gender discrimination and help you define solutions to overcome the problem. Once you have worked out exactly what information you are looking for, the next step is to develop a questionnaire that will collect it efficiently.

Join an NGO or form alliances and coalitions
Look for other groups with relevant experience or an interest to promote the rights of women and girls in Malaysia. Inform vulnerable and marginalised women of their rights. Work with women in rural communities, women from minority groups, survivors of violence and women who have special needs or less access to health services. With more people together we stand stronger.

Break the silence
Organise campaigns, discussions, dialogue, street theatre, in your community and bring people together to address social attitudes and norms that prevent women from realising their rights. Your living room, college, community center, place of worship, are places where you could hold an event. Find an informative video or a speaker for your program.

Going public through the media
Write letters to the media in response to articles, editorials or opinion pieces relating to women and children’s rights. Or you could also try writing your own opinion piece. Remember, the media are powerful allies to mobilise public pressure against violations of women’s and children’s rights.

Men: take action too!
Raise awareness, form discussion groups, address the media. Promoting gender equality is not just a ‘women’s thing’.

Advocate for change
Lobby your government for change or implementation of policies to improve women’s position in society and their ability to stay healthy and free from violence. Legislation must be implemented to protect and promote the rights of women and girls.

Spread the word
Spread messages from UNICEF’s State of the World’s Children 2007 amongst your family, friends, and colleagues to create awareness about the need to promote and protect the needs of women and children.





State of the World's Children's 2007

Millennium Development Goal 3

Women in Malaysia

SOWC 2007 - Women in Malaysia Speak Out!

Celina Khor
  Empowering women

Gaye Phillips
  The good samaritan

Kim Tho
  Secrets of a
  successful mom

A. Nirmala
  A woman’s touch in
  a boys school

Prof Dr. Sharifah
  Realising rights

Zaimah Hussin
  Giving hope to HIV-
  positive women

International Women's Day 2007


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