A camaraderie of souls, the great sisterhood of UN Women got together on Consultation Day to launch the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW 62). What a wonderful privilege it was to be a part of this great experience. I was representing Soroptimist International of Great Britain and Ireland. Around 4000 UN Women from Nations across continents congregated at the TriBeCa Institute of Performing Arts. With one common goal in mind ‘Achieving Gender Equality and empowering rural girls and women’. The whole atmosphere was fraught with emotion.
‘Leave no one behind’ was the resounding theme as speakers talked about encouraging, supporting and lifting women up as they climb the ladder. The morning had a conversation session between Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuko, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and H.E. Ms Geraldine Byrne Nason, Bureau Chair of the Commission on the Status of Women. Ngcuko emphasised that ‘encouragement was the greatest gift one could give to women’ and it was up to us to correct the trends that were going the wrong way. She said that farm workers who feed us go hungry and are invisible. There should be labour laws for domestic workers and those who work in agriculture. We should find answers for the policy failures in government. Byrne Nason stressed on the co-operation and power of NGO’s to bring about awareness among rural women about the legal system and their land rights.
The post lunch session was on using media and information and communication technologies to advance and empower women and girls. The young speakers spoke eloquently on using dialogues and conversations for bringing out change. Through the medium of documentary films they showed the audience how storytelling influences change and how media can be an effective tool to amplify their stories.
This wave of action has given me an enormous lift. Yes, there are barriers and there will be hurdles; but there is also a silver lining for the young girls and women of the world, because the UN Women will continue to work for a better tomorrow for them.