[ACNS] Women from more than 20 countries around the Anglican Communion will be at the United Nations in New York next month to press for greater economic empowerment for women across the globe.
Delegations from the Anglican Communion and the Mothers’ Union will be attending the 61st session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women.There will also be 20 delegates from the US-based Episcopal Church. Representatives of the member states, various UN entities, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and faith groups will attend the session which runs from March 13 to 24. Mothers’ Union has consultative status with the economic and social council of the United Nations, and attends UNCSW annually.
The priority theme is “Women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work”. The session will look at issues such as how to promote equality, creating more access for women to education and improving women’s access to the workplace. A draft document, known as the Agreed Conclusions, has already been produced but the delegations will seek to influence the final contents.
To do this, the Anglican delegates will have the opportunity to attend some of the Commission’s discussions and other events run in parallel by NGOs. They are also encouraged to meet and lobby the UN missions from their home countries.
Rachel Chardon, General Program and Administrative Officer for the Anglican Communion at the UN, says this is a particularly important role.
“Our efforts include the setting up of meetings with individual missions because it is a wonderful opportunity for advocacy. It is a chance for them to meet the representatives from their own countries and make their case. Each of our delegates comes with a unique viewpoint from their home context and so each has something valuable to bring.”
The Anglican Communion’s Director for Women in Church and Society, Revd Terrie Robinson, will be attending CSW61. She says much of the delegates’ work is done away from the UN.
“It is a great chance for women from all over the world to meet, network and share their experiences. Some will have attended the Commission before but for others it will be their first time. Each has an important role to play. And that role will continue when they return home as they take back ideas and resources and share what they have seen and learnt – and also continue the work of advocacy.”
One of the events taking place in parallel is a presentation by Harriet Baka Nathan and Joy Kwaje Eluzasi from South Sudan. They will be talking on March 14 on the theme of ‘South Sudan: Women of faith building peace and economic empowerment’. The following day there will be an opportunity to hear from Fereshteh Forough. She is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of ‘Code to Inspire’, a non-profit organisation committed to educating female students in Afghanistan and improving their technical literacy.
The Anglican Communion delegations are supported throughout the event by the Anglican Communion office at the United Nations.
This year’s session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women will also review the theme from UNCSW 58, which focused on challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals for women and girls. There will also be discussion about an ‘emerging’ issue – the empowerment of indigenous women.