Addressing Needs of Women and Girls
International SSND delegation advocates for women and girls
|Candace Moore, a lawyer from Chicago who works with the Educational Equity Project of the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Right, joined the SSND delegation for the second week of the CSW.|
The School Sisters of Notre Dame delegation to the 2014 U.N. Commission on the Status of Women consisted of SSNDs from Micronesia, Africa and the United States, as well as eight Mount Mary University students and a professor from the United States, Mexico, Jamaica and Spain; the SSND Atlantic-Midwest Province Shalom contact who is a Dominican sister; and a lawyer from Chicago who works on equal access to education and stopping gun violence.
During the CSW, participants dealt with issues, which included stopping human trafficking, assessing the unpaid care work of women and girls, examining the growing economic inequalities in the world, the role of men and boys in promoting gender equality and assessing efforts to end violence against women and girls.
They engaged in conversation with other delegates, U.N. officials and ambassadors from many nations of the world, said Sister Eileen Reilly, SSND representative to the United Nations.
Women and Climate Change
The language adopted includes how the Commission on the Status of Women “is deeply concerned that the adverse impacts of climate change on women and girls, especially those living in poverty, can be exacerbated by gender inequality and discrimination.”
Also, the CSW adopted language stating that “women and girls are disproportionately affected by the impacts of desertification, deforestation and natural disasters, persistent drought, extreme events, sea-level rise, coastal erosion and ocean acidification …”
Weeks before the meeting began, the chairs of the commission issued an eight-page with their hopes for the outcomes. When nations and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), such as the School Sisters of Notre Dame, weighed in with their suggestions for amendments, the document grew to 48 pages. After two weeks of negotiations, in the early morning hours of Saturday, March 22, agreement was reached on a 24-page document.
“Although this document does not contain all that we had hoped for, it does contain several mentions of the unique needs of girls, for example safe travel to and from school, efforts to end early and forced marriage, and challenges to harmful cultural practices,” Sister Eileen said. “It also contains references to the needs of migrant women and girls. “
When Hilary Clinton spoke at the United Nations observance of International Women’s Day, she repeated her call from the Beijing Fourth World Conference of Women that “Women’s rights are human rights and human rights are women’s rights.”
She also invoked the memory of Nelson Mandela who achieved in his lifetime the seemingly impossible goal of ending apartheid. In that same spirit, she challenged those present to never give up on the goal on gender equality and the empowerment of women.