UN leaders call for conference on women

2012-03-09 12:13

New York - UN leaders on Thursday urged the General Assembly to convene a global conference on women in 2015, the first since the women's summit in Beijing in 1995.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and General Assembly President Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser made the call as the UN observed International Women's Day.

If approved by the 193-member world body, the Global Conference on Women would be the fifth UN women's conference since the first in 1975 in Mexico City, the UN said.

Also Thursday, the Calvert Foundation, a US nonprofit group, announced a $20m initiative aimed at helping women start small businesses and at encouraging creation of educational and childcare facilities.

The Win-Win programme - for Women Investing in Women Initiative - will start with a $1m grant from the Citi Foundation, a philanthropic division of banking conglomerate Citigroup in New York.

Lisa Hall, president of Calvert Foundation, told a news conference at UN headquarters that the initiative will use both donations and invested money to lend capital to women's businesses, finance affordable housing and underwrite educational and childcare programmes.

She described it as "investing with a financial and a social return".