Next year marks the 20-year anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, and the United Nations plans to discuss that document’s goals. The Episcopal Church invites responses to a questionnaire it has developed with Ecumenical Women at the United Nations.

The United Nations’ Commission on the Status of Women will meet March 9-20, and the church has asked for responses to the questionnaire by September 15.

“The Episcopal Church and Ecumenical Women invite all to participate in deciding on the advocacy priorities at UNCSW 59 by filling out the Ecumenical Women questionnaire,” said Lynnaia Main, officer for global relations. “The questionnaire can be answered by anyone affiliated with the Episcopal Church or another member organization of Ecumenical Women.”

The questionnaire begins with open-ended questions but then offers 12 sets of “guiding questions” about the declaration’s 12 critical areas of concern:

  • Women and poverty — What is the extent of poverty among women in your country? What obstacles prevent the situation from improving? What should be done to improve the situation?
  • Education and training of women — What is the current status of access to quality education and training for women in your country? Do most girls finish high school or college/university?
  • Women and health — What access do women and girls have to health and medical services in your country, including maternal and child health programs? Are sexual, reproductive and maternal health programs available?
  • Violence against women — What is the extent of violence against women and girls in your country? What action has been taken to end violence against women and girls? How does your judicial system deal with violence against women and girls? Does trafficking of women and girls occur in your country, and if so, in what forms?
  • Women and armed conflict — What is the impact of armed conflict upon civilians, women and children in your country? What have been the most alarming trends? How are women, especially civilian women, treated during and after an armed altercation? How does your government react to such violence?
  • Women and the economy — What is women’s access to full employment and decent work in your country? Are women and girls vulnerable to exploitation in your country? If so, how?
  • Women in power and decision-making positions — To what extent do women have access to power and participation in decision-making at local and national levels? What are barriers to their full and equal participation?
  • Institutional mechanisms for the advancement of women — What national gender policies, strategies and enforcements to improve gender equality and equal opportunity for women and men exist in your country?
  • Human rights of women: What are the key gender issues in your country? Is there any human rights education in the schools? Is there any commitment to advancing women’s human rights?
  • Women and the media — What part has media played in improving or diminishing the status, role and image of women in your country? Are women employed in the media?
  • Women and the environment — Women are disproportionately affected by climate change and environmental degradation. How have women been actively involved in environmental decision-making? What are the major effects of climate change in your country? How are women impacted differently from men?
  • The girl child — Are “girls” treated any differently as compared to 20 years ago? How can we improve this situation further?