Africa, Asia, North America


The School Sisters of Notre Dame are active in a wide variety of ministries including education, health care, social outreach and pastoral ministry.


CSW concludes work without outcome document

For more information about the 2012 CSW:
CSW website         Statement about Outcomes

SSND participants committed to continued advocacy

The United Nations Commission on the Status of Women meeting concluded this month without a finished outcome document; nevertheless, the participants from the School Sisters of Notre Dame left with a clear and urgent commitment to continue their efforts on the behalf of rural women and girls.

During the second week of the Commission on the Status of Women, the member states continued to advocate for human rights for all women, especially rural women who are often left out, said Sister Eileen Reilly, director of the SSND UN-NGO office. However, some of the negotiation failed, and no final conclusions were reached due to a lack of consensus.

“Despite this fact, issues of grave concern to rural women and girls were addressed,” Sister Eileen said. “We hope they will not soon be forgotten.”

The CSW chair will continue to work toward that consensus. Preparations already are underway for next year to try to ensure that this does not happen again.

Highlighting the importance of education, New endeavors

The members of the SSND Delegation participated in a variety of ways, always listening for how decisions made and policies implemented will affect the lives of women and girls, especially those who live in poverty. They joined with other Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to highlight the importance of education, especially in rural areas.

“I am coming away with a deeper understanding of the role of the media in the empowerment of rural women,” Sister Eileen said. “One of the sessions I participated in was a description of how one NGO uses the medium of "soap operas," written and produced to highlight issues in a specific area, as a medium to raise those issues for discussion. They follow the program with a call-in radio show to deal with issues such as domestic violence, corrupt governments, etc.”

Sister Eileen said that she was delighted to see that the new agency, UN Women, really is making a difference at the United Nations. They are very responsive and adjusted several aspects of this year's meeting to respond to feedback from last year, she said. In addition, members of UN Women were present throughout the Commission meeting – contributing, listening, and truly representing women and women's interests - as well as those of girls.

Planning for 2013

The important theme of "Eliminating All Forms of Violence Against Women and Girls" will be considered at the 2013 CSW.

 “As we move towards next year's meeting, we will be asking for input on the most prevalent forms of violence in the life and women and girls and what can be done to eliminate them,” Sister Eileen said. “What are some best practices in eliminating violence? What recommendations would we have?”

Transforming the world through education