www.wpradio.co.uk teams up with VSO and the UN “Godmothers”

Women’s Parliamentary Radio

February 22nd 2011
For immediate release
http://www.wpradio.co.uk teams up with VSO and the UN “Godmothers” to hear how activists are challenging their local MPs to support the new UN Agency for Women

http://www.wpradio.co.uk VSO UN “Godmothers” documentary presented from Central Lobby, Westminster

1,500 women are dying a day in childbirth. Forced marriages, rape, violence, poverty, equal pay: Michelle Bachelet’s new UN Agency for Women has some vocal supporters in the UK who want to ensure it gets the funding it needs to make a difference. To make sure that happens, VSO has just launched the ‘Godmothers’ campaign http://www.thegodmothers.org.uk which calls on DFID to become a leading donor to UN Women by making a financial contribution of around 21 million dollars.

In this special Two Part 50 minute UN “Godmothers” documentary our Executive Producer Boni Sones OBE, caught up with Sharon Hodgson MP, campaigners themselves, and Anas Sarwar MP, as activists met their MPs in Central Lobby, Westminster.

Sharon Hodgson the Labour MP for Washington and Sunderland West told Boni:

• “It will be a talking shop if it has no money to do anything with, other Countries have started to put up the money, Spain has put up £13 million, Australia £8 million and when I asked Andrew Mitchell, the International Development Secretary, what the UK government was going to do he said they were going to have a strategy review in June and they would look at it after that. We need this money now if not the UN Agency for Women will be a talking shop.”
• “There are many major issues that need confronting on behalf of women and we really need the UN Women to have some teeth to say what is acceptable and what isn’t and for the UK government to back that.”
• “We hear about landmarks but at this point in time with all of the changes in the World, the Middle East, Egypt and other revolutions, I think the UN Agency for Women can be a real revolution for women across the developing World.”

Anas Sarwar the Labour MP for Glasgow Central, who sits on the International Development Select Committee, told Boni:

• “More than three-quarters of the poorest one billion people in the World today are women. Women have to be at the heart of our development strategy as a Country and that is why I support the UN Agency for Women and that is why the UK has to commit to it.”
• “Some of the greatest challenges we face in the developing world is to champion the role of women on issues such as access to education, violence against women, land ownership, women’s representation, all of which will be championed by the new UN Agency. Spain has committed £13 million but the UK hasn’t committed a single penny to this new Agency and we need to lead from the front. I will press the Secretary of State, Andrew Mitchell on this.”
• “My constituents are natural internationalists; ordinary hard working people give generously to global disasters, even in the most difficult times. What people want is peace, prosperity and justice for every man woman and child throughout the World, and we as the UK most show leadership on this new UN Agency for women. We need to lead from the front on development.”

In Part 2 of UN “Godmothers” Boni talks to Lesley Abdela of Shevolution while she chatted with activists in Central Lobby.

Lesley Abdela told Boni:

• “The “Godmothers” has been set up to keep an eye on the British government and the UN Agency for women to make it work. This VSO initiative embraces a variety of supporters, ordinary people and organisations such as the WI. They want DFID to invest £21 million dollars, the same as it gives to UNICEF, a relatively modest amount.”
• “What I have seen time after time after time, women are in the front of campaigning for democracy, peace and progress but the moment it gets formalised they are pushed out. We are not where it matters at the top table; we are not opening the doors for women enough. In the Middle East talks for instance, there should be equal numbers of women.”
• “We are not asking for extra money into DFIDs budget, but for something like 0.2 per cent of DFIDs budget to be allocated to this. We either go full tilt and set up UN Women for success or why bother to do it at all?”

1. Wpradio.co.uk is a web based broadcaster supported by all parties. Latest web stats show that in May 2010 we had our highest audience ever with 3,913 visitors, there were over 1,000 more visitors in June and July too compared to last year and even August increased. We don’t share our content with others in order to inflate our stats, you have to visit our website to listen to our content.

2. Our web stats show that our visitors are loyal, they return, tune in for some time and to more than one item. We have doubled our audience in a year. In July we published our Top Ten podcasts for that month. The top 8 all had over 100 downloads per podcast. Shirley Williams is hugely popular with 777 listeners to one podcast! The Oona King diaries are proving popular too.

3. wpradio also carries international content and has interviews with women MEPs in Europe, and women politicians in Africa and the Middle East.

4. Our supporters include Theresa May MP, Jo Swinson MP, Harriet Harman MP,and many other female politicians listed on our site. Jackie Ashley, of the Guardian, is our Chair.

5. The British Library archives all the interviews on wpradio.co.uk in its new web collection.

6. For more information contact Boni Sones OBE on 07703 716961.