From the Voice of America:
A senior United Nations official has voiced fears that rising religious extremism poses a new and major threat against women.
Noeleen Heyzer, the head of the U.N. economic commission for Asia and the Pacific, warns that religious extremism may be a more serious threat to women than other problems, such as warming temperatures.
"My greatest fear is that the rise of extremism - even more so than the financial crisis and the climate change agendas because what we thought were archaic and that we had actually been able to show that these are dangerous laws to have in our societies they are coming back; in terms of stoning of women and the public caning of women," she said.
She expressed that concern to 300 delegates from more than 60 countries in the Asia-Pacific region at the U.N.'s conference on the status of women in Bangkok this week. Delegates conferred on the progress the region has made in improving the status of women.
The economic crisis has taken a toll on jobs usually filled by women in Asia, especially making textiles and electronics. Heyzer says unemployment and volatile food and fuel prices together undermine the development gains made by women.