Women’s Enews to Focus This Week on Beijing + Five

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Our staff and contributors will be operating at full tilt this week while we are standing on our toes, trying to get a peek at what the rest of the century might hold for us, our daughters, sisters, mothers, colleagues here and around the globe.

Women’s Enews is dispatching five writers and a photographer to cover what is likely to be a watershed for women around the globe: the special session of the United Nations on women’s human rights and the related meetings of non-government organizations, collectively known as Beijing + Five.

Correspondent Cindy Cooper will provide coverage of what is probably the most contentious issue, women’s reproductive health, include fertility control.

Kristin Choo, a frequent contributor, will provide us an in-depth report on the sessions dedicated to women’s economic development.

Staff writer Sarah L. Rasmusson will focus on the sessions related to indigenous women from many nations and the well-being of girls and adolescents.

Chris Lombardi, in from San Francisco to give us an assist, will act as our pitch hitter–ready to cover the events and issues whose importance emerges throughout the week.

Assistant editor Robyn Rossnagel will be working overtime, not only doing her regular job of seeing that Women’s Enews stories are copy edited, but also she will try her hand at writing as well.

Also helping out will be Laura Marble, a summer intern just in from journalism graduate school in Columbia, Missouri. We plan to hand her a map of the New York City subway system, a schedule of events, a notepad and turn her loose.

Amarah Sedreddine, our former graphic editor, will be creating images once again for us, this time using a camera instead of a computer.

Director of Web Operations Adria Quinones has agreed to work more late hours than usual to assist us in making the transition from words in a computer to readable and lively news stories, delivered to you, either through our subscription service or on our Web pages.

A bit of background: The nickname Beijing + Five derives from the fact that five years ago, the Fourth World Conference on Women, held in Beijing, adopted what is called a Platform for Action. It spelled out, for the first time, what must be done to empower the world’s women. That meeting’s work was the culmination of the a process that began in Mexico City in 1975 with the United Nation’s First World Conference on Women. The process continued in Copenhagen in 1980, and Nairobi in 1985.

Opposition to the Plan for Action is intense. Although 188 nations and thousands of organizations carefully crafted it, and participants believed a consensus was reached, some now claim that the plan’s wording is still open for discussion, particularly, but not exclusively, on the issue of reproductive health.

Of the six billion people now on the earth, three billion are under the age of 25 and one billion are in their early reproductive years. The outcome of this meeting could have far-reaching consequences on the number of these young women who will enjoy the fruits of medicine and technology, of schooling and entrepreneurship, of cultural autonomy and political participation.

Women’s Enews will keep you apprised, at full tilt, standing on our toes, now and throughout the century.

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