Government of the Federated States of Micronesia

FSM attends UN women's conference

POHNPEI, Palikir (FSM Information Service): June 2000 - Women were the subject of discussion at the United Nation's Twenty-Third Special Session of the General Assembly, attended by five FSM representatives, June 2-13 in New York City.

The General Assembly identified challenges in connecting women with globalization, privatization, structural adjustment, and the technological and information revolution and concluded with a vision for gender equality, equity and social justice based on human rights. These include women's rights and the right to development.

Leading the FSM delegation was Dr. Eliuel Pretrick, Secretary of Health, Education, and Social Affairs.

The delegation joined other international countries in reaffirming commitment to the implementation of the 12 areas of concern in the Beijing Platform of Action.

Those 12 areas are women and poverty, education and training of women, women and health, violence against women, women and armed conflict, women and the economy, women in power and decision-making, institutional mechanisms for the advancement of women, human rights for women, women and the media, women and the environment, and girl child.

In Dr. Pretrick's speech before the assembly, he said, "While we are at the dawn of a new millennium, it is discouraging to note that the challenges of the 21st century have not changed, and we are still faced with critical issues such as human rights violations, women's role in security and globalization."

The Secretary added, "I am pleased to note that the government of the Federated States of Micronesia has made considerable progress in the implementation of the twelve critical areas of the Beijing Platform of Action. The greatest challenge in our implementation effort has been the structural adjustment program that my government has had to undertake since our conference held in Beijing. The effect of this adjustment program has resulted in the upgrade of the women's machinery from a women's interest desk to a women in development unit, thereby empowering the unit with wider roles and functions to address and mainstream women's concerns into national policy formulation."

The Secretary continued, "In the (FSM) political arena, I am proud to announce that the new administration of the national government now has a woman cabinet member, and a woman was recently appointed as a member of the national scholarship board. We also have a woman senator in the (Pohnpei) state legislature. These may be minor accomplishments to some, but it is an indication that the opportunities have always been there, but women are just now asserting these position."

Pretrick went on to say that since the Beijing meeting, about 20 female doctors have graduated from medical schools under government sponsorship and that this has effectively improved the health of the women because now more women frequent FSM hospitals and clinics because they find it easier to consult with a woman doctor.

Pretrick noted that the FSM needed to improve data collection and management on all forms of abuses among FSM women and children because as of today, the FSM does not know how many women and children have abuse problems or even what types of abuse problems the FSM has.

Also in the delegation were Tadao Sigrah, FSM minister/deputy permanent representative to the United Nations; Jane Elymore, National Women Advisory Council secretary; Marstella Jack; and Jeem Lippwe.

For further information on this release, please contact:

FSM Office of the President
Public Information: Press, Radio, Video
P.O Box 34
Palikir Station, Pohnpei, FM 96941
Tel.: (691) 320-2548/2092
Fax.: (691) 320-4356