to Dr. Jamal A. Badawin «the status which women reached during the present era was not achieved due to the kindness of men or due to natural progress. It was rather achieved through a long struggle and sacrifice on woman's part and only when society needed her contribution and work, more especial!; during the two world wars, and due to the escalation of technological change.»many international agreements affirming their human rights, women in the Middle East region are still much more likely than men to be poor and illiterate. They usually have less access than men to medical care, property ownership, credit, training and employment. They are far less likely than men to be politically active and far more likely to be victims of domestic violence.health can force many households into poverty and destitution, and the growing AIDS pandemic has only exacerbated the situation. Women are disproportionately affected by health problems, both directly - from exposure to pollutants, household wastes, unsafe sex and gender-based violence - and indirectly as caregivers.for ailing family members adds an additional burden to womens already heavy workload inside and outside the household. There is a strong link between womens underemployment and low returns on labor, especially since most employed women are part of the informal economy. This exposes poor women to greater financial risks, lower standards of human development and limited access to resources from social institutions. Latest studies have shown that women in Middle East countries face many of the same constraints as their rural counterparts. They are affected by low socio-economic status, lack of property rights, environmental degradation and limited health and educational resources. Rapid urbanization also leads to increased unemployment and underemployment in urban areas, expanding the informal sector and intensifying the shortage of urban social services, which can no longer meet the needs of a growing population.know that now the roles that men and women play in society are not biologically determined - they are socially determined, changing and changeable. Although they may be justified as being required by culture or religion, these roles vary widely by locality and change over time.the subsequent decades women's rights again became an important issue in the English speaking world. By the 1960s the movement was called «feminism» or «women's liberation.» Reformers wanted the same pay as men, equal rights in law, and the freedom to plan their families or not have children at all. Their efforts were met with mixed results., problem of women empowerment needs to be studied, and first of all, we need to find out the present international status of woman.
1. United Nations view
.1 The Commission on the Status of Women
Nations commitments to the advancement of women began with the signing of the UN Charter in San Francisco in 1945. Of the 160 signatories, only four were women - Minerva Bernardino (Dominican Republic), Virginia Gildersleeve (United States), Bertha Lutz (Brazil) and Wu Yi-Fang (China) - but they succeeded in inscribing womens rights in the founding document of the United Nations, which reaffirms in its preamble «faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of Nations large and small».Commission on the Status of Women first met at Lake Success, New York, in February 1947. At that session, all of the 15 government representatives were women - giving the Commission the unique character it was going to maintain throughout its history by gathering a majority of women delegates. From its inception, the Commission also forged a close relationship with nongovernmental organizations. Several international womens organizations addressed the Commission at the first session, and from then on, non-governmental organizations in consultative status with ECOSOC were invited to participate as observers.the beginning the Commission members also built close working relationships with the international human rights treaty bodies, the Commission on Human Rights, the Social Commission and the Sub-Commission on the Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, and specialized agencies such as UNESCO and UNICEF.the period 1946-1962, the Commission focused its attention on promoting women's rights and equality by setting standards and formulating international conventions aiming at changing discriminatory legislation and fostering global awareness of womens issues. However, the codification of the legal rights of women needed to be supported by data and analysis of the extent to which discrimination against women existed, not only in law but also in practice.Commission made womens political rights a high priority in the early years of its work. In 1945, only 25 of the original 51 United Nations Member States allowed women equal voting rights with men. In his 1950 report to the Commission on discrimination against women in the field of political rights, the Secretary General noted that in 22 countries women still did not have equal rights to vote or hold political office, and that in some countries where women held such rights, these were not put into practice. After an extensive debate, the Convention on the Political Rights of Women, drafted by the Commission, was adopted by the General Assembly on 20 December 1952. It was the first international law instrument to recognize and protect the political rights of women everywhere by spelling out that women, on an equal basis with men, were entitled to vote in any election, run for election to any office, and hold any public office or exercise any public function under national law.the 1950s the Commission turned its attention on the issue of discrimination in marriage. UN reports revealed that discrimination against women was frequently due to differences between national laws on family residence, marriage and divorce. The Commission embraced this problem by drafting the Convention on the Nationality of Married Women (adopted on 29 January 1957), followed by the Convention on Consent to Marriage, Minimum Age for Marriage and Registration of Marriages (adopted on 7 November 1962), and the Recommendation on Consent to Marriage, Minimum Age for Marriage and Registration of Marriages (adopted on 1 November 1965). Together these measures represent the first international agreements on womens rights in relation to marriage that were adopted by the UN.the same period, the Commission worked with UNESCO to develop programs and advocate for increasing women's literacy and equality in access to education. It also undertook work on womens economic rights: a study launched in collaboration with the International Labor Organization (ILO) led to the 1951 Convention on Equal Remuneration for Men and Women Workers for Work of Equal Value, which enshrined the principle of equal pay for work of equal value.the early 1950s, the Commission also began focusing on the issue of traditional practices harmful to women and girls. Thanks to the Commissions efforts, resolutions were adopted by the ECOSOC in 1952 and the General Assembly in 1954 urging Member States to take measures to abolish practices that violated the physical integrity and human rights of women. However, traditional practices remained a sensitive issue and it would not be until the mid-1980s that female genital mutilation/cutting, for instance, would be recognized as a form of violence against women.1975 the UN has held a series of world conferences on women's issues, starting with the World Conference of the International Women's Year in Mexico City. These conferences created an international forum for women's rights, but also illustrated divisions between women of different cultures and the difficulties of attempting to apply principles universally.World Conferences have been held, the first in Mexico City (International Women's Year, 1975), the second in Copenhagen (1980) and the third in Nairobi (1985). At the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing (1995), The Platform for Action was signed. This included a commitment to achieve «gender equality and the empowerment of women».1995, the Commission on the Status of Women has also developed its catalytic role in support of gender mainstreaming. The schedule for consideration by the Commission of the 12 critical areas of concern of the Platform for Action took into account follow-up reviews of other international development conferences, which increased the potential for gender mainstreaming in these processes. The Commission has also made available the outcome of its work to other functional commissions-such as the Commission on Sustainable Development in 1997 and the Commission on Human Rights in 1998. For theSummit on Sustainable Development, held in 2002 in Johannesburg, the Commission forwarded its agreed conclusions on environmental management and the mitigation of natural disasters. In 2003, it provided its agreed conclusions on participation in and access of women to the media, and information and communication technologies and their impact on and use as an instrument for the advancement and empowerment of women to the World Summit on the Information Society, held in Geneva.its sixty years of existence and its fifty sessions, the Commission on the Status of Women has consistently promoted the advancement of women. It has been instrumental in expanding the recognition of womens rights, in documenting the reality of womens lives throughout the world, in shaping global policies on gender equality and empowerment of women and in ensuring that the work of the UN is all areas incorporates a gender perspective. It continues to play a critical role by bringing together Govern