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Mothers' Union Attends the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in New York
Mary Santo, Mothers’ Union’s Policy Adviser, is currently at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW) in New York alongside member and trustee June Butler MBE. They join women from across the Anglican Communion and thousands of others who are attending. Here they report on the opening day 11 March.
The Commission on the Status of Women brings more than 9,000 representatives from civil society organizations to the United Nations over the course of the next two weeks. This year’s theme is “social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.” This is a broad theme which touches upon many issues of importance to Mothers’ Union and its global membership.
Representing Mothers’ Union, many women from around the world gathered to observe the opening ceremony of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW) in New York, marking the start of our time together.
In his opening statement, U.N Secretary General, Antonio Guterres said, “he world must come up with robust negotiating processes to end conflicts and bring peace”, adding that women are a critical sector that must be included at all levels.
Sharing the priority areas that he felt need to be addressed, Mr Guterres said that the Commission on the Status of Women could equally be called the “Commission on the Status of Power” “…because that is the crux of the issue”. He added that “gender equality is fundamentally a question of power”, warning that the world had lost its way and there now seemed to be a pushback on women’s rights. Mr. Guterres – who called himself a “proud feminist” – contended that changing power relations, overcoming gaps and biases, and fighting to preserve gains, necessitates engaging women as equal participants in society.
“When we exclude women, everyone pays the price. When we include women, the whole world wins,” he stated.
As he ended his speech there was much applause as he vowed to support the cause of gender equality in every way, concluding that “women are key in peace building and sustainable development of the world”.
During the official opening ceremony, a minute of silence was observed in honour of the 157 people who perished in the Ethiopian air crash last Sunday, including 21 employees of the United Nations.
Mary and June from Mothers’ Union join delegates from across the Anglican Communion and womens’ organisations who are attending CSW from around the world – each bringing their own experiences of Social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. They are passionate about bringing positive change to their communities and being a part of the dialogue to urge their governments for better rights for girls and women across their life course.