Timeline: Advocacy for a Fifth World Conference on Women, 2001 — onward

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5WCW Timeline

Convening A 5th World Conference On Women (5WCW):
Vision Statement Urging the General Assembly Resolution

“The Fastest Way to Change Society is to Mobilize the Women of The World.”
Charles Malik, former President of the United Nations General Assembly

If ever the world sees a time when women shall come together
purely and simply for the benefit of mankind,
it will be a power such as the world has never known.”

Matthew Arnold, 19th Century philosopher

Recalling that the Charter of the United Nations reaffirms the equal rights of men and women.

Recalling the Beijing Declaration and the Platform for Action of the Fourth World Conference on Women

Recognizing that the participation of both men and women is essential for the attainment of sustainable peace and security and that the necessity and contribution of women is specifically acknowledged in Security Council Resolutions 1325, 1820.

Noting that while two of the Millennium Development Goals specifically address women’s concerns and that empowerment of women is necessary to attain all eight of them.

Noting the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women which is often described as a bill of rights for women remains a model for empowerment and equality for women.

Noting that the General Assembly Resolution on the Girl Child and the Convention on the Rights of the Child if implemented are related to the empowerment and equality for women.

Noting recommendations for gender equality and equal participation of women in decisions to do with the environment.

Realizing that the need is to implement these existing UN resolutions and documents rather than create new documents.

Realizing that a UN sponsored conference on women could bring together a global conference of women to share information, best practices, and foster the next generation of women leaders,

Realizing that this would be the first UN World Conference on Women in the 21st Century with the technology to link simultaneous conferences anywhere in the world.

Appreciating that a host-city proposal from San Francisco includes financial responsibilities for this conference and as might bids to be host city from other countries.

We urge a General Assembly 5WCW Resolution that:

1 Supports convening a 5th World Conference on Women in 2015

2. Urges the Secretary-General to begin an open-ended preliminary process, similar to that which preceded the Beijing 4WCW and to consider any place for the conference site.

3. Calls upon all member states to encourage participation of civil society and government entities concerned with women and girls.



A 5th World Conference on Women (5WCW) is an idea with widespread support.  The women listed below have agreed to serve on the 5WCW Circle of Advisors and have given their endorsement to this initiative. To see the long and growing list of organizations that also supports a 5WCW, CLICK HERE to go to our sister site 5WWC.org that documents the grassroots efforts prior to 2009 and maintains the list of supporting organizations. If you would like to add your organization to the list, CLICK HERE.

Isabel Allende

Isabel Allende is one of the world’s most celebrated and successful women writers of serious fiction, a feminist and a humanitarian. She imparts her vision for a world where “gender, race, nationality or class will not define or determine people’s destinies.” Her award-winning literary works include The House of the Spirits, Of Love and Shadows, Paula and Daughter of Fortune. Born in Peru and raised in Chile, Allende has emerged beyond the Latin American literary world to achieve international acclaim. Isabel started the Isabel Allende Foundation in 1996 to honor her daughter, Paula Frias, an educator and psychologist who died when she was only twenty-eight years old. The foundation is guided by a vision of a world in which women have achieved social and economic justice. This vision includes empowerment of women and girls and protection of women and children. For more information visit her website at: www.isabelallende.com

Jean Shinoda Bolen

Jean Shinoda Bolen, MD, psychiatrist, author of ten books including: Urgent Message from Mother: Gather the Women, Save the World; Crones Don't Whine; The Millionth Circle; The Tao of Psychology; Goddess in Older Women; Goddesses in Everywoman; Gods in Everyman; Ring of Power; Crossing to Avalon; and Close to the Bone. She is a Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California Medical Center, and is an internationally known lecturer. She founded and co-chaired Psychiatrists for ERA, which was a major influence within psychiatry in the early 1980's, that evolved into the Association for Women in Psychiatry. For more information visit her website at jeanbolen.com

Marilyn Fowler

Marilyn Fowler is Founder and President of the Women's Intercultural Network (WIN), a non-governmental organization consultative to the United Nations, based in San Francisco, CA that links women across cultures globally and in U.S. communities for collective action. WIN currently coordinates CAWA (California Women's Agenda) the state's follow-up to the 4th World Conference on Women, Beijing, China, September, 1995. CAWA is the anchor project for WIN’s mission to ‘assure that the voices of all women and girls are heard in public policy forums.’ CAWA, founded in the Bay Area in 1996, has become an active web of over 600 organizations throughout California and has become a prototype organizing model for other states and countries developing coalitions for social change. www.win-cawa.org

Carol Hansen Grey

Carol Hansen Grey is an author and motivational speaker whose passion as a visionary catalyst and social activist is to help women empower themselves and to co-create a peaceful planet. She does this through her books and CDs available at Open Heart Press, through the projects she initiates her empowerment consultant business and through her graphic design and web development work. From 2000-2004 Carol served as the Executive Director of Women of Vision and Action through which she initiated the Athena Wisdom Exchange Mentoring Program (AWE), the Feminine Face of Leadership Conference, and the international Gather the Women movement. More information about Carol can be found on her personal website carolhansengrey.com and her new website SimpleHealingTools.com.

Patricia Licuanan

Dr. Patricia Licuanan, President of Miriam College in the Philippines, chair of preparatory meetings for the l995 Beijing World Conference on Women and of the Main Committee on the Beijing conference. She is the Chief Executive Officer of the Forum in English of Philippine Business for Education at the Asian Institute of Management, and Trustee of the Center for Asia Pacific Women in Politics. She actively participates in research, training, and advocacy work in applied social psychology, education, and educational reform, human resource development, and gender issues in the Philippines, the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women, the preparatory commission for the U.N. Fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing, China in 1995. At the conference, she chaired the main committee responsible for drafting the Beijing Platform for Action, a document which became the focal point and benchmark for the advancement of women's rights and quality of life. Click here for more information.

Susan Collin Marks

Susan Collin Marks is the senior vice president of Search for Common Ground. She is a South African who served as a peacemaker and peacebuilder during South Africa’s transition from apartheid to democracy. Her book, Watching the Wind: Conflict Resolution during South Africa's Transition to Democracy (USIP, Washington DC, 2000) was also published in Arabic (Dar Al Ahliah, Amman, 2004.) She serves on numerous boards, including the Advisory Council of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars Project on Leadership and as Vice Chair of the Board of the Abraham Path Initiative. She is the founding editor of Track Two, a quarterly publication on community and political conflict resolution. She was portrayed in the PBS documentary Women on the Frontlines. In 2006, she launched the Leadership Wisdom Initiative to offer leadership development and one-on-one support and coaching to political, institutional and civil society leaders. Click here for more information about Susan.

Patricia Smith Melton

Patricia Smith Melton is the founder, first executive director, and board chair of PeaceXPeace, the international nonprofit organization that multiplies the power of women by the power of the internet, connecting women across all cultures for mutual support and concerted action. The heart of PeaceXPeace, the Global Network, includes women’s Circles in more than 100 nations. Ms. Smith Melton was executive producer of the award-winning 2003 documentary Peace by Peace: Women on the Frontlines, which highlights the often invisible work of women around the world in building the components of sustainable peace. Smith Melton is the editor and photographer of Sixty Years, Sixty Voices: Israeli and Palestinian Women, a book (and interactive website, www.60voices.org)

Joyce Oneko

Joyce Oneko is the founder of Mama na Dada-Africa, an NGO whose mission is to empower girls and young women through personal development training, formal education and vocational training enabling them to gain mental and financial independence. As a young girl, Joyce had a rare opportunity not only get a primary education, but went on to become a lawyer. In 2001, Joyce resigned from the Nairobi law firm where she had worked for 30 years to devote herself full-time to working with girls and young women living in the rural areas of Kenya and organizing workshops and seminars for young people on HIV/AIDS prevention strategies. She believes that the education of girls will result in the empowerment of both girls and women. In 2006 she organized the hugely successful Grassroots African Women's Conference that was attended by over 500 women. 

Elly Pradervand

Elly Pradervand is the Founder and Executive Director of the Women's World Summit Foundation; actively involved for the past 20 years in development education and in the elaboration of initiatives and programmes aiming the empowerment of rural women, children and NGOs and the practical application of women's and children's rights.

Zainab Salbi

Zainab Salbi is an Iraqi American writer, activist and social entrepreneur who is co-founder and president for Women for Women International and the author of Between Two Worlds: Escape from Tyranny: Growing Up in the Shadow of Saddam.  Born in Baghdad, Iraq, she came to the United States at the age of 19. Her experience with the Iran–Iraq War sensitized her to the plight of women in war worldwide. She has written and spoken extensively on the use of rape and other forms of violence against women during war. Her work has been featured in major media outlets including The Oprah Winfrey Show and the Washington Post. In 1995, President Bill Clinton honored Salbi at the White House for her humanitarian work in Bosnia. Click here for more information.

Leticia Shahani

Leticia R. Shahani was assistant secretary-general for social development and humanitarian affairs (1981-86) during which time she served as secretary-general of the Third World Conference on Women in Nairobi in 1985. Before this she had worked in the UN’s Division of Human Rights (1964-68) and in 1974 chaired the Commission on the Status of Women. She also served as secretary-general of the UN Congress on Crime Prevention and the Treatment of Offenders. She has held positions in the Philippine Senate for over ten years and been undersecretary of foreign affairs; chair and commissioner of the National Commission on the Role of Filipino Women; and Ambassador to Australia and Romania. In 2007 she delivered the keynote address at the 3rd International Women's Peace Conference in Dallas. She was born in the Philippines and educated at Wellesley College, Columbia University, and the University of Paris. Click here for more information.

Gloria Steinem

Gloria Steinem is a writer, lecturer, editor, and feminist activist. She travels worldwide as an organizer, lecturer and media spokeswoman on issues of equality. She is particularly interested in the shared origins of sex and race caste systems, gender roles and child abuse as roots of violence, non-violent conflict resolution, and organizing across boundaries for peace and justice. She co-founded Ms. Magazine and helped found New York magazine, the Women's Action Alliance, and the National Women's Political Caucus, a group that continues to work to advance the numbers of pro-equality women in elected and appointed office at a national and state level. She has produced a documentary on child abuse for HBO and a feature film about the death penalty for Lifetime. Her books include the bestsellers Revolution from Within: A Book of Self-Esteem, Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions, and Moving Beyond Words. Click here for more information.

Alice Walker

Alice Walker is a poet, short story writer, novelist, essayist, anthologist, teacher, editor, publisher, feminist and activist. She has written at length on issues of race and gender, and is most famous for the critically acclaimed novel The Color Purple, published in 1982 for which she won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, the first African American woman to win this award. This award-winning novel served as the inspiration for Steven Spielberg’s 1985 film and has recently been adapted for the stage. Her books have sold more than ten million copies and have been translated into more than two dozen languages. In 1997 she was honored by the American Humanist Association as "Humanist of the Year" and in 2006 she was inducted into the California Hall of Fame located at The California Museum for History, Women, and the Arts. Click here to visit her website.

Rosemary Williams

Rosemary Williams, founder and former executive director of Women’s Perspective, is a leading voice on the topic of women, money, and spirituality. Rosemary conducts lectures, workshops and retreats across the US, and leads transformational trips to developing countries. She is the author of A Woman's Book of Money and Spiritual Vision: Putting Your Spiritual Values into Financial Practice with Joanne Kabak, journalist and former CPA. As a leader in encouraging transformation, she combines her deep faith with her financial know-how to help women explore and strengthen their connection between spirituality and money. For more information visit her website at: www.womensperspective.org

Lea Wyler

Lea Wyler, born in Switzerland, was living a successful and affluent life as an actress. In 1980, however, her life changed dramatically when she made her first trip to India and Nepal. Deeply moved by the poverty she encountered there, she decided to abandon her acting career and dedicate her life to helping others. With Dr. Akong Tulku Rinpoche and her father Dr. Veit Wyler, she co-founded ROKPA International whose mission is: "Helping where help is needed." The organization currently has branches in 18 countries and active programs in Nepal, Tibet and Zimbabwe. Lea's time is spent traveling between ROKPA's head office in Zurich to Tibet to check on the projects, to Nepal every winter to oversee the ROKPA Children's Home and other projects including the Women's Workshop.  Together with a large body of co-workers and volunteers, she develops and oversees projects, and raises funds that enable many people to both help and be helped. For more information, see: The ROKPA Times and www.rokpa.org.