Deepening understanding of global women’s issues

The SSND delegation at the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women. Front row from left: NDMU studente Micah Castelo, Gerriza Balmes and Tran Ann Bui. Back row, from left: NDMU students Christiana Showunmi, Kelly Tandan, Hillary Flowers and Megan Wood, Professor Angela Sherman and Sister Eileen Reilly, SSND.

“It’s so exciting to see them blossom as they come to new and deeper understanding of the issues that women face around the world.”S. Eileen Reilly

March 23, 2017

As the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women comes to a close, the finishing touches are being made to an outcome document of agreed conclusions that address women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work and makes recommendations for governments, the relevant entities of the United Nations system, international and regional organizations, women’s and other civil society organizations and the private sector.


The document is the fruition of two weeks of work that included high-level, round table discussions, expert panels, workshops, seminars and briefings. The School Sisters of Notre Dame have been a part of those activities with a delegation that included high school students from SSND schools during the first week and students from Notre Dame of Maryland University the second week.

As a registered NGO (non-governmental organization) with the U.N. Department of Public Information since 1993, the School Sisters of Notre Dame also have Special Consultative Status with ECOSOC, which provides them with the opportunity to submit statements for consideration by the U.N. secretary general and the CSW. SSND submitted such a statement for this session, advising the CSW to ensure that girls have a place at the table and a voice during these deliberations.

By including students in the delegation, the SSNDs provide an opportunity for future leaders to deepen their grasp of the global issues that women face, said Sister Eileen Reilly, director of the SSND UN-NGO office. This is the 10th year that the School Sisters of Notre Dame have included students in their delegation.

“Both groups of young women got totally involved in the process and are talking about the ways that what they heard at the various meeting they attended have literally changed their lives,” Sister Eileen said. “It’s so exciting to see them blossom as they come to new and deeper understanding of the issues that women face around the world.”