Hundreds of delegates to the World Social Forum currently underway in Nairobi, Kenya on Monday converged at the UN-HABITAT headquarters for a special session highlighting the troubles women face worldwide.
Known as the “World Court of Women on Poverty: lives, livelihoods, lifeworlds”, the session heard testimonies from women in developing countries on problems of poverty, pain, survival and resistance to the structural causes of poverty and destitution. The testimonies were received by a jury of wise women and men from all parts of the world.
In a key note address to the participants, UN-HABITAT Executive Director Mrs. Anna Tibaijuka said that the World Social Forum 2007 was being held at a critical time in human history, when half of the world population will live in urban areas.
“This is a result of natural population growth, human mobility including rural-urban migration and international migration, as well as, the reclassification of rural areas as urban areas. It is therefore important to consider the challenges of urbanisation as you discuss women and poverty and listen to testimonies of women,” she said.
Mrs. Tibaijuka challenged the participants to appreciate the problem of slums and the hardships that slum dwellers went through.
“Slums pose serious challenges to action to prevent, treat and effectively address HIV/AIDS. Sadly, it is the women and the girl child who bear the brunt of all this because of their disadvantaged position in society as proscribed by our cultures, traditions, values and belief systems,” she said.