Connecting and Continuing the Work - Week Two
Work continues after the CSW
As the second week of the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women draws to a close, work continues on the outcome document that addresses the “elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls.”
Meanwhile, members of the SSND delegation have returned to their communities to further the connections they made at the CSW and continue their advocacy efforts on behalf of women and girls.
Among those connections was an unexpected but heartening rendezvous with a former SSND student from Ghana who was in the United States attending the CSW and who made a point of seeking out the sisters.
Mary Oseipoku, who graduated from Notre Dame Secondary School in Sunyani, Ghana in 1994, was attending the CSW with the Voices of African Mothers NGO. Through a serious of referrals, she connected with Sister Eileen Reilly, director of the SSND UN-NGO office.
Saying 'thank you'
“I just wanted to see the School Sisters of Notre Dame and say ‘thank you,’” said Mary, who is now a banker in Ghana. “They paid my fees for me, and I wouldn’t have been able to go to school without them. They really helped me. They shaped my life.”
Sister Eileen and two of the student in the SSND delegation who are from Ghana met with Mary in the Voices of African Mothers office on International Woman’s Day.
“I can’t tell you how touching that she looked us up to say that the SSNDs had made a difference in her life,” Sister Eileen said.
Clear commitment to women's rights
After the CSW concludes on Friday, March 15, Sister Eileen and the delegation plan to continue their efforts to affect change and make a difference in the lives of women and girls all over the world. She said that this meeting has shown that there is a clear commitment to seeing women's rights as human rights.
“With this understanding, there is widespread agreement that traditional and cultural practices that harm women must be stopped,” Sister Eileen said. “Just as important, but more difficult to address and legislate, are the attitudes that perpetuate discrimination against women. Also, impunity is too often the response to crimes against women.
"We continue to hope that the outcome of this CSW meeting will be a clear and decisive commitment to eliminate violence against women and girls."