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At UN, Hyper Sexual Portrayal of Women Hit by Geen Davis and Ahmadinejad

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 28 -- With the UN abuzz with talk of women's rights, actress Geena Davis spoke to the Press Monday about the “hyper sexualized” portrayal of female characters in the media. She spoke of the showing of too much skin, of unrealistic curves.

  It was somehow reminiscent of a UN appearance the previous money by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who when Inner City Press asked about women's rights in Iran said that the West is worse, in its portrayal of woman as sex objects. Click here for that.

Inner City Press asked Geena Davis is she saw any overlap between her critique of media objectification of women and that of Ahmadinejad. Ms. Davis did not directly answer -- understandably, one of her UN handlers afterward said -- but rather turned her answer to the topic of Halloween, and the inability when getting a witch costume to get anything but the sexy witch. Video here, from Minute 29:58.

The UN hook, if there was one, was Ms. Davis' statement that she is partnering with UNIFEM. Inner City Press asked her to describe this partnership, what they work on together. “We haven't developed any specific projects,” Ms. Davis answered, adding that perhaps the new UN Gender Entity would.

Geena David and UNIFEM's Alberdi, specific projects and Ahmadinejad not shown

On a big screen in the ECOSOC chamber, the image of former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet “live” from Johannesburg was frozen. Ms. Bachelet, to whom the top Gender Entity post was offered, Inner City Press is told, but rejected after the UN turned her down for UNICEF, deeming it an American job, was supposed to be in New York to appear in person. But that was conditioned on Chile already having lost in the World Cup. That wouldn't be until Monday afternoon, 3 to 1...

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UN Gender Entity Stalled on Posts, Palestine and Cuban Pride, Ban Waits to Take Credit

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, June 25 -- The UN negotiations on the so called Gender Entity continues Friday into the evening, with three issues outstanding. Each was a UN classic. Syria was championing a special mention for women under occupation: that is, Palestine.

  Cuba disagreed with a paragraph suggesting that countries submit their national programs for UN system review. And the donor countries and the Group of 77 different on the distribution and number of posts, that is, jobs. Follow the money.

  And follow the posts. Inner City Press is informed that while many still hope that former Chilean president Michele Bachelet would accept the Gender Entity post, she had wanted UNICEF, which was given to American Anthony Lake. Now the Gender post may go to a Rwandan minister.

  Earlier on Friday, Inner City Press asked the chair and staffer of the Economic and Social Council if, in exchange for the new Under Secretary General post, the underlying Assistant Secretary General posts would be eliminated. No, two would remain, was the answer.

DSG Migiro and Hamidon Ali, Gender Entity and day care closing not shown

  Of the Secretariat, Inner City Press asked:

Inner City Press: this has been set by the President of the General Assembly, something of a deadline to get a draft done. So I’m wonder… I understand that the Secretary-General is going to the G-20 and all, but what is the role of the Secretariat? Not just the Secretary-General personally, but Migiro, you know, the [Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose] Migiro...

I am sure that the Secretariat is going to say, you know, this is a reform that we brought about, this gender entity. What, in this critical time, what’s the role of the Secretariat in sort, providing I guess, you know, leadership on this gender entity? There are some outstanding issues, and I just wonder whether the Secretariat is chiming in, in terms of how this entity will deal with the developed world or countries in which there is not a presence on the ground? And then, you may not think it’s related, but have you found out whose decision it was to close the UN day care center on two days’ notice? The issue that arose yesterday? I see them as related. Maybe you don’t.

Spokesperson Nesirky: Well, starting with the big picture, gender empowerment, gender equality, these are major priorities for the Secretary-General, and for the United Nations as a whole. Indeed gender empowerment is one of the key priorities of the Secretary-General for this year, not least because he and the Deputy Secretary-General have been pushing extremely hard for this new gender entity to come onto being. And so, obviously, we’re watching this very closely. We’re not just watching; I know the Deputy Secretary-General in particular — this is something the Secretary-General has asked her to focus on — he’s very much involved in seeing how this passes through during the course of the day and into next week.

And I would anticipate that the Deputy Secretary-General would want to speak to the media once we have a clearer picture of what happens. It is a major priority; it’s something that the Secretary-General and the Deputy Secretary-General have been pushing extremely hard because they believe that it’s essential for us to be able to make progress on many other areas of work, not least, development. And as for the micro-picture, which is not to belittle it at all, because child care is extremely important, I do not have an answer. We’ve asked for an answer but we do not have an answer at the moment.

We'll be waiting for that day care center closing answer -- and for the Gender Entity denouement. Watch this site.

 Click here for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters footage, about civilian deaths in Sri Lanka.

Click here for Inner City Press' March 27 UN debate

Click here for Inner City Press March 12 UN (and AIG bailout) debate

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

Click here for Inner City Press' Jan. 16, 2009 debate about Gaza

Click here for Inner City Press' review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate

Click here for Inner City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

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