General Assembly

8th Session of the General Assembly, Budapest, November 1991

“DECISION 22 Support to National Societies most in need of improving their capacity” refers to “Households headed by women” among particularly vulnerable groups.


Women in Red Cross/Red Crescent Development

The General Assembly,

Recalling Decision 33 of the Vllth Session of the General Assembly in 1989, and the endorsement of the Plan of Action on Women in Red Cross/Red Crescent Development,

Increasingly concerned about the vulnerability of women and children in situations of deprivation, including disasters,

Aware of the often weak economic, social and legal position of women, aggravated by the current adverse socio-economic conditions,

Concerned about the continued use of harmful traditional practices threatening the lives of women,

Recognising that women’s hard life in the countryside and in urban slums is not only a question of basic injustice, but also an impediment to economic and social development,

Urges all National Societies and League representatives responsible for the implementation of development programmes to:

  • consider women as a major target group for Red Cross/Red Crescent development programmes;
  • ensure that the role of women in situations of disaster is being taken into account adequately;
  • put emphasis on community-based primary health care, including child spacing. family planning and clean water supply. in order to meet some of the most urgent needs of women and children;
  • review ongoing health activities, particularly first-aid training. to ensure that they cater to the needs of the most vulnerable;
  • ensure that literacy and other training schemes for women daily concerns and aim at improving are linked to their lives;
  • promote income generation activities for women, and ensure that such projects are economically viable and become independent of subsidies from the National Societies;
  • embark upon labour-saving development projects for women, giving high priority to water and fuel supply, child care, agriculture and food processing.

“DECISION 31 AIDS: a continuing Challenge for the League” contains the following paragraph:

“Aware of the continuing need for information and education, for programmes to prevent HIV sexual transmission and HIV transmission among intravenous drug users and for measures to ensure the safety of blood supplies and adequate sterilization of medical equipment to prevent the spread of HIV,”

“DECISION 32 First Aid” contains a paragraph mentioning women:

“Encourages all National Societies to consider both the physical and psychological emergency needs of vulnerable people and to ensure that their first-aid training programmes focus on the varying needs of different groups (eg. children, young people, women and the elderly) and of people in different situations (eg. urban, rural, industrial),”


Health of Women and Children

The General Assembly,

Recognizing the major contributions that many Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies have made to improving the physical, mental and social well-being of women and children around the world,

Recalling that, in addition to General Assembly Resolutions on primary health care (1981 and 1986), a number of Decisions have been adopted by the General Assembly· which focus on improving the health of children (1983, 1985, 1986), young people (1989) and the health and development of women (1989),

Concerned about the many factors which continue to undermine the health of children and women, particularly mothers, and about their continuing vulnerability which is a major focus for the League1s Strategic Work Plan for the Nineties,

Aware that women and children frequently suffer disproportionately during armed conflicts, disasters and population displacements, and are likely to be particularly seriously affected by the negative impact of structural adjustments, national debt repayment, and continuing expenditure on armaments,

Aware that much of the disease, disability and death of women and children could be prevented or alleviated through the implementation of simple, available, low cost interventions, and that there is an urgent need to improve their access to health services, including family planning and education, in line with the Recommendations of the World Conference on Education for All,

Recognizing the important contributions that National Societies could make, in terms of advocacy and action, to support the World Summit for Children’s Declaration and Plan of Action for the Survival, Protection and Development of Children,

Recognizing the potential that National Societies have to contribute to the Nairobi Strategy for the Advancement of Women, and to mobilize for the ratification and implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women,

Cognizant of the need for a holistic and integrated approach to the health of children, women and men, based on the primary health care approach, and aware of the importance of promoting and supporting the goals of the forthcoming International Year of the Family (1994),

Urges all National Societies to encourage their Heads of State and Government to ratify and implement the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and to contribute towards and monitor the attainment of the specific targets of the Plan of Action of the World Summit for Children and the Nairobi Strategy for the Advancement of Women,

Urges all National Societies to strengthen and develop advocacy and activities that focus on improving the physical, mental and social well-being of children and the health and development of women through sustainable community-based programmes which help to decrease vulnerability,

Urges all National Societies to continue to cooperate, collaborate, and develop networks and respectful partnerships with governments, other NGOs and relevant inter-governmental organizations in order to improve the health of women, children and young people,

Requests the Secretary General to assist National Societies through sharing information, developing human and other resources and strengthening international cooperation with inter-governmental organizations and other NGOs and to continue to take a leadership role in the follow-up to the World Summit for Children.

General Assembly

7th Session of the General Assembly, Geneva, 15 November 1989


Safe Motherhood

The General Assembly,

Concerned that as a result of pregnancy and childbirth more than 500, 000 women die every year and many millions more suffer from pain and disability for the rest of their lives,

Aware that almost all of the death, disease and disability resulting from pregnancy and childbirth takes place in Africa, Asia and Latin America, and that the risk of dying in pregnancy and childbirth is about 100 times greater in “developing” than “developed” countries,

Realising that the majority disabilities could be prevented by of these deaths, diseases and the implementation of existing knowledge and appropriate interventions,

Appreciating that the interventions will need to be wide-ranging and varied because of the many different causes, direct and indirect, of the problems resulting from pregnancy and childbirth (including inadequate access to and use of educational, employment, financial, nutritional, family planning, preventive and curative health services),

Recognising that improving the health of women and making pregnancy and childbirth safer will have a profound effect on families and communities and will make a major contribution to development,

Aware that governments, inter-governmental and nongovernmental organisations have joined forces through the “Safe Motherhood Initiative” with the aim of decreasing maternal mortality by at least half by the year 2000,

Realising that appropriate health promotion and disease prevention activities during pregnancy and childbirth also need to be assured for women in industrialised countries,

Cognizant of a number of Resolutions and Recommendations previously adopted by the General Assembly which have an important bearing on the health of girls and women, notably those focusing on Women in Development, Primary Health Care and CHILD ALIVE,

Aware of the many diverse activities that Red Cross – and Red Crescent Societies are already undertaking which will make a positive contribution to improving, both directly and indirectly, the health and well-being of women,

Urges the Secretary General to reaffirm once the commitment of the League to improving the educational status and health of girls and women through broad-based development programmes which will empower women to articulate and act upon their needs,

Requests all National Societies to strengthen and develop their existing activities and links with other organisations, in order to contribute more effectively to the Safe Motherhood Initiative through general activities that will improve the health of girls and women, and through specific activities which support national programmes to improve the services for women before, during and after pregnancy and childbirth,

Requests the Secretary General to take a strong mobilising and coordinating role, to ensure that National Societies are informed about the magnitude of the problem, its causes and solutions; to help identify possible activities that National Societies could carry out, based on their existing programmes, capacity and commitments; to assist with the identification and mobilisation of appropriate financial and other resources needed to support such activities; and to maintain close collaboration and communication with the World Health Organization and other inter-governmental and nongovernmental organisations involved with the Safe Motherhood Initiative,

Appeals to all National Societies to endeavour that sufficient human, financial and other resources are available to develop and sustain the League of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ involvement with the Safe Motherhood Initiative”.


Women in Red Cross/Red Crescent Development

The General Assembly,

Recalling the Decision of the VIth General Assembly in 1987 which requested the League “to draw up a plan of action to safeguard that the resources and potential of women can be fully utilized to the benefit of development work in the Red Cross/Red Crescent”,

Further recalling Resolution No. XV of the XXIIIrd International Conference of the Red Cross in 1977 in which Governments and National Societies ar8 urged to “raise the status of women socially and economically by providing opportunities for learning and leadership”,

Noting with satisfaction that the Henry Dunant Institute in collaboration with the League Secretariat conducted a study on the role of Women in the Red Cross/Red Crescent in which almost one hundred National Societies participated,

Mindful of the fact that numerous National Societies part icipat ing in the study on Women in the Red Cross/Red Crescent registered dissatisfaction with the current level of female participation,

Taking into consideration the recommendations from the Women in Development Seminar arranged by the Nordic Red Cross Societies in Norway, June 1989,

Endorses the Plan of Act ion on women in Red Development presented by the Secretary General determination to realize its proposals,

Cross/Red Crescent and expresses its

Acknowledges in particular the need for concrete policies and sustained commitments to strengthen the role of women in Red Cross/Red Crescent development,

Urges National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies:

– to respond to the needs of women in all services and training programmes,

– to ensure that women assume a legitimate share of responsibility in determining priorities and implementing policies and programmes,

– to create a favourable environment for the advancement of women

in managerial and decision-making positions,

– to share with each other and the League information, support and financial assistance towards the ultimate goal of attaining equal opportunities for men and women in all Red Cross/Red Crescent work,

Urges the League in cooperation with the ICRC to submit to the Council of Delegates in 1991 a report on the results achieved within the components of the Movement in cooperation with the Henry Dunant Institute,

Requests the Secretary General:

– to initiate and coordinate fund-raising efforts for the implementation of the Plan of Action,

– to ensure that League-coordinated disaster relief and development programmes take into account women‘s resources and needs, in particular in implementing the strategic Work Plan of the League for the 90’s,

– to initiate and coordinate the financing and organisation of regional workshops that will draw up regional action plans for the advancement of women,

– to design and implement a strategy to increase the number of competent women in management and senior delegate positions, whereby the Secretariat may serve as a model for National Societies,

– to present progress reports on the implementation of the Plan of Action to each session of the Executive Council between the session of the General Assembly.

  • One woman mentioned in context of new agreement ICRC/League:


Agreement between the ICRC and the League

The General Assembly,

Ratifies the Agreement between the ICRC and the League, upon the recommendation of the Executive Council, and

Congratulates the Chairman, Mrs. S. Spiljak, and the members of the League-ICRC Working Party.”

Two women elected to the Finance Commission:

  • Mrs Ebtisam Abdel Wahab Farag, Egyptian RC
  • Mrs. Izabela Gutfeter, Polish RC

A woman elected Chairman of the Youth Commission:

  • Mrs. Susan Douglas, Fiji RC
General Assembly

6th Session of the General Assembly Rio de Janeiro, 22-26 November 1987

“DECISION 24, The Response of the League of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to the AIDS Pandemic” contains this paragraph:

“Aware that the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is primarily spread during sexual intercourse and that, in the absence of suitable vaccines or treatment, the control of the AIDS pandemic will depend on effective health education and information activities directed to the general public and also focused on high-risk behaviour, which can alter people’s attitudes and sexual practices;”

One woman elected to the Scrutineers’ Committee:

  • Mrs. V. Nze. Congo RC
General Assembly

5th Session of the General Assembly Geneva, 18 – 20 October 1986

“DECISION 26, Plan for Red Cross Action in the Struggle Against Racism and Racial Discrimination” contains the paragraph:

“Convinced that the evils of racial discrimination including the practice of apartheid, which relegate millions of men, women and children to lead a life of abject misery and bondage in their own

countries should be eliminated from the world”

One woman elected to the drafting commission:

  • Mrs. Maria Luisa Torres de la Cruz, Chilean RC
General Assembly

4th Session of the General Assembly Geneva, 20-24 October 1985

Nothing of substance noted.

Four individual women are mentioned: two as members of the Committee of Scrutineers, two among the nine Vice Presidents.

The members of the Committee of Scrutineers were

  • Mrs B. Maige, Burkina Faso
  • Mrs M. De Mencia, Honduras

The two Vice Presidents were

  • Mrs. Siga Seye Coulibaly, Senegal RC
  • Mrs. Mariapia Fanfani, Italian RC
General Assembly

3rd Session of the General Assembly Geneva, November 1983

Nothing of substance noted.

Three women were appointed members of the 19-strong League delegation to the Council of Delegates:

Mrs. Stefa Spiljak, Vice President

Mrs. Y. Camporini, Adviser, Statutory Matters

Mrs. D. Miserez, Relief Officer

One woman, Mrs. Alga de Franco of Colombia, was appointed member of the Drafting Committee.