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Anglican Delegation Attends United Nations Commission on the Status of Women

Posted on: March 11, 2024 1:01 PM
Anglican Communication Delegation Members

An Anglican Delegation is attending the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW) in New York this week and next between 11-22 March.

Supported by the Anglican Communion Office’s UN and Gender Justice Teams, the delegation represents volunteers from the International Anglican Women’s Network (IAWN), with links to the U.K., Mozambique, the U.S., and Canada, alongside women leaders from the Church in Burundi and Pakistan. They will also work with representatives from the Anglican Alliance and Mothers’ Union.

The UN Commission on the Status of Women is the biggest event that the UN in New York hosts and one of the largest gatherings of women globally. It brings together leaders from the world’s governments to discuss how to address the inequalities and injustices experienced by women around the world.

This year’s theme is “Accelerating the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls by addressing poverty and strengthening institutions and financing with a gender perspective”. 

The Anglican delegation will represent women from around the world who have direct experience of transforming poverty in their communities. During the commission, they will convene discussions on transforming poverty for gender justice; meet government representatives to advocate for change and represent the experience of Anglicans in the discussions.

They will advocate for governments to commit to debt reduction globally and remove gender bias from financial and legal systems. They will also seek to grow collaboration between faith-based and government organisations in tackling poverty together.

During the Commission, the Anglican delegation will be hosting online events to share information and strategies on tackling poverty and gender injustice. These are entitled: “What works – Anglican churches and organisations transforming poverty and gender-based violence”, hosted by Bishop Rachel Treweek, from the Diocese of Gloucester, England (March 13) and “Pioneering women leaders transforming poverty in Africa” (March 15).

The Bishop of Gloucester, the Rt Revd Rachel Treweek will also participate in a delegation from the UK parliament, joining with other parliamentarians from across the globe as a route to ending poverty. Also attending are Alex Davies-Jones MP, Jess Philips MP and Baroness Hodgson, who all have an interest in gender and equality.

Included in Bishop Rachel’s itinerary will be sessions around gender violence, particularly in conflict and post-conflict situations including Ukraine, Gaza and Afghanistan. Bishop Rachel will also chair an online session for the Mothers’ Union and the Anglican Communion on reducing gender-based violence.

Across the world, women and girls are disproportionately affected by poverty. One in every 10 women (10.3%) lives in extreme poverty and they are poorer than men. Poverty limits women’s access to food, health, education, training and opportunities for employment and other needs.

Church and faith-based organisations from the Anglican Communion are often at the heart of their communities and well placed to deliver programmes that help to break cycles of poverty for future generations. A Mothers’ Union Literacy and Financial Education Programme in Burundi boosted literacy in 150,000 people, 89% of whom are women. 90% of female participants went on to start businesses and 94% of all participants sending their children to school (compared to 52% in 2006).

Mandy Marshall, Director of Gender Justice at the Anglican Communion, is a member of the delegation at UNCSW and said, 'It is vital that women of faith from around the world voice their concerns and push for change. They still suffer disproportionately from violence, poverty and discrimination. Most world crises and many international financial and legal systems compound the poverty experienced by women. We need to seek change from governments and I know that the Anglican women advocating at this Commission will powerfully represent people and communities that are working for change.'

Martha Jarvis, United Nations Permanent Representative for the Anglican Communion is also at the event and said, 'the Commission on the Status of Women is an opportunity for people around the world to hear about the phenomenal work Anglican women are doing to reduce poverty and gender-based violence in their communities; to see the evidence of genuine change and learn about the faith that inspires it. With partnership from governments, the UN and civil society, this impact can grow. We hope the CSW will result in increasing openness from governments to partner with people of faith to see poverty eradicated and change to international financial and legal systems that perpetuate the injustice and scarcity experienced by so many women. Please pray with us and get in touch to find out more about how to advocate with your government.’

Register for the online meetings

What Works? Anglican Churches and Organisations alleviating poverty and reducing gender based violence.
Time: Wednesday 13th: 1330, EDT (Eastern Daylight Time)
(1730 UK time)
Register online 

The Africa Six: Pioneering women leaders transforming poverty in Africa.
Time: Friday 15, 1100 EDT (Eastern Daylight Time)
(1530 UK Time)
Register online 

Full Anglican Delegation Members

  • Alice Garrick, Director of the Women’s Desk Anglican Church of Pakistan, International Anglican Women’s Network Steering Group 
  • The Revd Lizzi Green, Vice Chair of the International Anglican Women’s Network, Church of England
  • Martha Jarvis,  Permanent Representative to the UN, Anglican Communion Office
  • Bev Julien, CEO of the Mothers’ Union
  • Genny Kresic, the Mothers’ Union Canada
  • Mandy Marshall, Director of Gender Justice, Anglican Alliance
  • Mathilde Nkwirikiye, former Provincial President of the Mothers’ Union in Burundi, Anglican Province of Burundi
  • Lay Canon Lulama Ntuta, Humanitarian Co-Chair for the Anglican Communion Youth Network, Anglican Youth of Southern Africa
  • The Revd Sarah Pidgeon, Provincial President for the Mothers’ Union New Zealand and Aotearoa 
  • The Revd Laura Marie Piotrowicz, Ecumenical Women worship coordinator, Anglican Church of Canada 
  • Judith Spencer-Jarrett, the Mothers’ Union Jamaica, former Provincial President for the West Indies 
  • The Revd Helen Van Koevering, the Episcopal Church and Mozambique link, International Anglican Women’s Network Steering Group

Delegation attending online:

  • Jacqui Armstrong – the Mothers’ Union Ireland, Social Policy / DA lead
  • Eleatrice Davenport – the Mothers’ Union Guyana, Diocesan President for Guyana
  • June Butler – the Mothers’ Union Ireland, Provincial President for Ireland
  • Estelle Dibo – the Mothers’ Union Cameroon, Provincial President for Cameroon
  • Philip Ika – the Mother’s Union PNG, Provincial Support
  • Barbara Mugisha – the Mothers’ Union Uganda, Provincial CDC
  • Grace Murengezi – the Mothers’ Union Uganda, Provincial President of Uganda
  • Wendy O’Brien – the Mothers’ Union Trinidad and Tobago
  • Vijaya Rathod, the Mothers’ Union N India, Provincial President for North India
  • Amal Sarah, Advocacy Coordinator, Anglican Communion Youth Network
  • Valerie West – the West Indies, Provincial President for the West Indies