Equality for Women Highlighted at Economic and Social Council; Ninety-Nine Texts Adopted on a Wide Spectrum of Issues

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Equality for women highlighted at Economic and Social Council

A wide range of texts aimed at promoting women's rights throughout the world was adopted by the Economic and Social Council at its first regular session of 1990, held from 1 to 25 May in New York.

Prominent among them was a set of recommendations and conclusions resulting from a recent UN evaluation, five years after the adoption of the Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women at the World Conference held in Kenya in 1985. Its general conclusion: progress in achieving equality for women had either slowed down or stopped (E/CN.6/1990/5).

Declaring that "immediate steps should be taken to remove the most serious obstacles" to the Strategies and that the pace of its implementation should be improved in the crucial last decade of the twentieth century, the Council unanimously adopted resolution 1990/15 setting out recommendations and conclusions.

Governments should launch before 1994 women's "legal literacy" campaigns using the mass media to inform both women and men of women's rights under international conventions and national law, the Council urged.

They should also promote the training of teachers on gender issues, eliminate sex bias in textbooks and take steps to reduce the stereotyping of women in the mas media. The Council advised Governments to work with women's organizations on all these issues.

In another action, the Council asked the Secretary-General to launch a world-wide UN educational campaign to increase awareness of obstacles to women's de facto equality in political participation and decision-making. It recommended that a fourth world conference on women be held in 1995. Others were held in Mexico City in 1975, Copenhagen in 1980 and Nairobi in 1985.

Member States were asked to submit to the Secretary-General a report on legislation on other measures taken to prevent physical violence against detained women. The UN Special Plan on Economic Co-operation for Central AmericaM the Council stated, should be reinforced with concrete activities in favour of women.

Other resolutions adopted on women dealth with political equality, assistance to women and children in Namibia and under apartheid, Palestinian women, integration of women in the new international development strategy and elimination of discrimination against women.

Ninety-nine texts--48 resolutions and 51 decisions--were adopted at the session, which also focused on human rights, recism, drugs, crime, and various social development. issues.

Many measures adopted had been recommended earlier this year by Council subsidiary bodies, including the Commission on Human Rights, the Commission on the Status of Women and Committees on both Crime Prevention and Control and Narcotic Drugs. Some will require final approval by the General Assembly.

Alexandria and Chernobyl

The restoration of the ancient Library of Alexandria in Egypt and the consequences of the 1986 nuclear power plant accident at Chernobyl in the Soviet Union were both discussed for the first time by the Council. …