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What actions turn words into lived rights?
Are you living your rights? Who is?
The International Women's Rights Project team is working in partnership with a number of community based non-profit women's groups (led by the intergenerational Ad Hoc Committee, with Equal Voice, Power Camp, TakingITGlobal, Afghan Women's Organization, for example) in preparing for the National Forum on Women's Activism in Constitutional and Democratic Reform to be held February 14 & 15, 2006 in Room 200 of the West Block, Parliament Buildings, Ottawa on the 25th anniversary of the grassroots conference organized by the Ad Hoc Committee of Women on the Constitution on Valentine's 1981 - same place, same date, 25 years later.

Teams of students at the University of Victoria, York University and the University of Ottawa are developing background materials for: the forum websites, development of new curricula on women's activism in Canada and other selected countries at the elementary and secondary school levels, and for resource materials for a publication geared to a post-secondary readership in Canada and abroad, being developed in collaboration with the Elementary Teachers Federation of Ontario (ETFO) and the Centre for Public Law and Public Policy at Osgoode Hall Law School.

Volunteer faculty advisors in each of the three universities named above, principally at the law schools, are guiding the country studies for Afghanistan, Rwanda and South Africa, to provide meaningful comparisons in the following areas.

I. Herstory - Demographics: 2005 population - #women, men, youth under 20, under 30. # women in national parliament, # women in cabinet, # women in local government. # women in positions of economic leadership. Average income of women in urban areas compared to women in rural areas. # rapes + or sexual assaults reported most recently (2004 or 2003) and data that demonstrates whether recorded incidence of violence against women is increasing or decreasing, nature of the customary laws in the country and whether there is constitutional recognition and in what form, with quoted text and relevant cases if available, # women estimated to be affected by customary law(s), # women + girls listed as disabled.

II. The cross cutting theme will be the impact on women generally and in particular, women who are disabled, or rural residents, or under 20 years of age.

III. The cross cutting theme will be addressed under the headings of:
    A. Women's Political Participation
    B. Violence Against Women
    C. Customary Law(s)

IV. Under each heading the following 4 questions will be answered:
    1. What were women activists in this country focussed on during the period of conflict just prior to the peace/ reconstruction/ constitutional negotiations?
    2. What changes were made to the constitution to respond to concerns about women's equality?
    3. What are the main policy + or legal issues re women's equality that have arisen since the constitution was finalised and if / how were constitutional equality clauses used by a) women, b) government, c) others (describe) in responding to those concerns?
    4. What are the top 2 current priorities for women's activism in your country now?