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UN General Assembly and One Billion Rising: Get behind 5WCW (UN 5th World Conference on Women)

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My name is Jean Shinoda Bolen, and the intention of this petition is to mobilize the next steps to end violence against women: generate support for a UN Global women’s conference and mobilize a critical number of activist circles to reach the tipping point, the metaphoric millionth circle.

Eve Ensler’s One Billion Rising invites one billion women and those who love them to walk out, dance, rise up and demand an end to violence against women on February 14, 2013. The theme of the UN Commission on the Status of Women meeting from March 4 –15, 2013 is Ending Violence against Women. We ask One Billion Rising to encourage women come out to do a repeat performance at the UN and wherever politics can be influenced on International Women's Day. To dance and rise up against violence and for 5WCW, and to form circles of support to continue to raise consciousness, vision and action.

I became an advocate for 5WCW after I went to the UN in 2002, and learned that no conference was planned for 2005, that the era of women’s conferences was over. My reaction was that it is not OK for Beijing 1995 to be the last one! We are now in the 21st Century! Beijing was before the internet, social networking, and current technology. In 1995, the millennial generation were youngsters. Advocacy for 5WCW gained support and gained visibility especially in 2011-2012, which in turn influenced the Secretary General and the President of the General Assembly to issue a Joint Statement on March 8, 2012, asking members of the General Assembly for a simple resolution to convene 5WCW by 2015. Without the support of the United States and the European Union, this did not happen.

Only women's movements are able to voice and organize around their top priorities as women. Women need to become activists on their own behalf. Otherwise women's issues including abuse of women are sidelined, subordinated to men's needs or to the priorities of institutions. Sexual assaults, stalking, trafficking, violence in intimate relationships and other violations of women's bodies and psyches are then minimized. Domestic violence and abuse of women in the home and the use of weapons and rape in war are related. The fate of the planet and humanity and the empowerment and equality of women are related. The health of the people and life on our planet depends upon equal participation of women and incorporation of feminine values. Stopping violence against women is fundamental to equality.

An idea spreads geometrically with the example of 3 to the 19th power If three women speak of something each believes is true to 3 others, and they in turn speak to 3 others, in 19 steps the message will reach 1,162,261,487. When a critical number of people change beliefs in what is possible, then perceptions and actions follow.  This Inauguration Day on Martin Luther King Day was a reminder.  Remember history? Slavery and denying women the right to vote was once what was.

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