International Women's Day March - March 8
Solidarity for the global women's movement
The School Sisters of Notre Dame delegation at the United National Commission on the Status of Women this week attended an orientation session Sunday where Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Undersecretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women, welcomed them and encouraged their advocacy efforts on behalf of women and girls.
The SSND delegation - which includes four students from Notre Dame High School in St. Louis and two from Institute of Notre Dame in Baltimore - then joined with thousands who snaked through downtown New York City, singing and chanting for gender equality, before converging on Times Square. Also participating in or speaking at the march were Mlambo-Ngcuka and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, as well as Chirlane McCray, first Lady of the City of New York; Nobel laureate Leymah Roberta Gbowee; actors Paul Bettany and AnnaLynne McCord; and dozens of other women’s rights leaders and activists.
Messages with lasting impressions
In an evening session at Villa Notre Dame in Wilton, Connecticut, where the delegation is staying, the group reflected on their experiences, and shared the sights, sounds and words that had left an impression on them. The students noted the internationality of the event and how in just one day they had met other students and participants from Portugal, the Dominican Republic, Mozambique, Yugoslavia, Italy, Brazil and Scotland.
They noted some of the advice, encouragement and messages that will stick with them throughout the week:
"You just signed your children into a contract for poverty" - a powerful way to express the reality of being a teen mother.
"We must not fit into the paradigm. We must change the paradigm."
"Where are the girls supposed to go when the safe places are where violence occurs."