Women from across the Anglican Communion are preparing to make their way to New York to take part in this year’s meeting of the United Nations’ Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). Established by the UN in June 1946, the CSW is the principal global inter-governmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women. The Anglican Communion has a long tradition of active participation at the event and this year – the 62nd session of the CSW – some 44 people representing the Anglican Communion, the Mothers’ Union and the US-based Episcopal Church will be taking part in the meeting. This year’s event, from 12-23 March, will discuss “challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls”.
Delegates at the CSW will hear from a number of Anglican women from around the world. The Anglican Communion is sending 20 women from 16 provinces; the Mothers’ Union is sending seven women from five provinces; and the US-based Episcopal Church is sending 17 representatives – men and women – from the US, Puerto Rico and Venezuela.
“Anglican women from around the Communion will bring to CSW62 and its priority theme even more than their grass-roots experience and knowledge – they will bring their Christian faith and values which bring something vital to advocacy on any issue, not least the empowerment of rural women,” the Revd Canon Terrie Robinson, Director for Women in Church and Society at the Anglican Communion Office, said.
“Rural women are particularly vulnerable to social, economic and distributive injustices but they also bring a great deal to the table when it comes to finding solutions,” she said. “Just for example, for many reasons rural women are disproportionately affected by climate change but they bring hard-earned wisdom to advocacy and mitigation. While the Anglican and Episcopal delegates are in New York for CSW, an evening event hosted at St Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church will enable them to listen to each other’s experience of the affects of climate change, pray together, and consider what commitments they can take forward.
“Good things happen when Anglican women get together!”
The Anglican Communion’s Representative to the United Nations, Jack Palmer-White, commented: “One of the central roles of the Anglican Communion Office at the UN is to enable authentic Anglican voices to be heard at the UN. The Anglican delegation to CSW is a fantastic example of how we bring local experience and knowledge to the corridors of power at the United Nations, equip delegates with a better understanding of the UN’s activity on gender equality, and encourage them as advocates for the continued development of Anglican partnership with the UN, from the local to the global level.”
The Chief Executive of the Mothers’ Union, Bev Jullien, will join the MU’s delegation. “Our attendance at CSW is important as we represent the voices of more than four million globally,” she said. “Our position on the issues facing rural women, the theme this year, is informed by responses from over 250 members across the world.
“Isolation and loneliness are challenges in both global north and south, and the issues of women’s economic empowerment are even more acute in rural than urban communities. I am honoured that our delegates have direct experience of the issues and will be advocating nationally to urge these to be addressed.”
Rachel Chardon, General Program and Administrative Officer for the Anglican Communion at the UN, commented: “the Anglican Communion remains dedicated to sending women from around the world to the annual two-week session each year. While no country has achieved gender equality, we need women and men to lead the cause.”
The 44 Anglican representatives taking part in this year’s CSW come from the Anglican Church of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, the Anglican Church of Canada, the Church of the Province of Central Africa, the Church of England, the Province de L'Eglise Anglicane Du Congo, the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui, the Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean, the Nippon Sei Ko Kai, the Anglican Church of Korea, la Iglesia Anglicana de Mexico, the Scottish Episcopal Church, the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, the Province of the Episcopal Church of Sudan, the Anglican Church of Tanzania, the US-based Episcopal Church, the Church in Wales, and the Church of the Province of West Africa.
Watch some of last year’s Anglican delegates to CSW talk about their experiences: