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United Nations Commission on the Status of Women

School Sisters of Notre Dame delegation to participate in UN Commission on Status of Women

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March 2, 2015
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A delegation from the School Sisters of Notre Dame, including students from SSND-sponsored Institute of Notre Dame in Baltimore, Notre Dame High School in St. Louis and Notre Dame of Maryland University, will attend the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women meeting March 9-20, 2015, in New York as the CSW addresses the issues of gender equality and the empowerment of women.

The main focus of the session will be on the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, which was adopted 20 years ago by 189 member states meeting in China for the Fourth World Conference of Women. The Beijing Platform provides a roadmap for the achievement of gender equality, guiding the global struggle against constraints and obstacles to the empowerment of women around the world.

Gender equality for women and girls

This year, the CSW will address current challenges that affect its implementation and the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. The session will also address opportunities for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women in the post-2015 development agenda.

During the annual two-week CSW meeting, member states, as well as representatives of United Nations entities and of non-governmental organizations such as the School Sisters of Notre Dame, will participate in the session. 

Focus especially relevant to SSND

This year’s issue is especially relevant to School Sisters of Notre Dame because “we have always believed that empowering women and girls, especially though education, is essential for the future,” said Sister Eileen Reilly, SSND, director of the SSND UN-NGO Office.

Members of the SSND delegation also will be participating in the International Women’s Day march for gender equality and women’s rights on March 8 in New York City. The march is part of UN Women’s Beijing+20 campaign, which celebrates the 20th anniversary of the historic Fourth World Conference on Women that took place in Beijing in 1995.

SSND NGO status since 1993

The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is a functional commission of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), dedicated exclusively to gender equality and advancement of women. Every year, representatives of member states gather at the United Nations Headquarters to evaluate progress on gender equality, set global standards and formulate concrete policies to promote gender equality and advancement of women worldwide.

The School Sisters of Notre Dame has been a registered NGO (non-governmental organization) with the U.N. Department of Public Information since 1993. In 1998, SSND received special consultative status with the ECOSOC.

Students attending from SSND high schools, university

High school students have a unique role to play in reminding participants that girls must not be forgotten in the push for gender equality. In addition to Sister Eileen, the SSND delegation during the first week of the CSW will include Julie Gilberto-Brady, SSND communications coordinator, and faculty and students from two SSND-sponsored high schools. Participants from Institute of Notre Dame in Baltimore are Sister Kathy Jager, SSND, and students Micayla Wilson and Corey Fletcher. Participants from Notre Dame High School in St. Louis are teachers Sandy Montgomery and Anthony (Tony) Smith and students Caitlyn Lowry, Mariajose Ortiz, Allison Moser and Linda Pham.

During the second week of the CSW, Sister Eileen and Gilberto-Brady will be joined by faculty and students from Notre Dame of Maryland University: Sister Sharon Kanis, SSND; Associate Professor Susan Barber; and students Elikem Yorm Kudjawu, Kelly Coons, Jussara Kramer, Beth Hancock, Samantha Dameron, Jennifer Ashwell, Mia Diamond, Megan Donegan and Barbara Newman. This year’s delegation from NDMU includes undergraduates as well as graduate students, and two students who will be returning for the second time. 

The congregation of the School Sisters of Notre Dame is an international community of women religious. The Sisters educate with a world vision believing that the world can be changed through the transformation of persons. The sisters and their colleagues seek to empower women, youth and persons who are poor or marginalized and strive to change systems of poverty and injustice. More than 2,500 SSNDs minister in 34 countries.

Additional information about the CSW is available at UN Women.

  - Julie Gilberto-Brady
Communications Coordinator 

Transforming the world through education