Community Leaders and Rural Women Bear Fruit at UN Meeting
Meet Nelcia Robinson, 64. Ms. Robinson is a community educator from Kingstown, St. Vincent who has been involved in the Commission on the Status and Role of Women since attending the Beijing Women’s Conference in 1995.
She treasures these annual global gatherings for policy-makers at the United Nations to learn from other women. “I get training in terms of my ability to lobby the government,” Ms. Robinson said. She has learned to tell the government officials, “You have agreed to this platform for action. You have signed on to it. I’ll also inform the community people and encourage them to lobby the government.”
The special focus at the 2012 Commission on the Status of Women is rural women. This hits home for Ms. Robinson.
“Our populations are mostly rural They are playing a vital role, yet are subject to issues women face – violence, poverty, poor health, without getting the opportunities for their voices to be heard. For example, the rural women produce foods others need to live healthy lives. Yet rural women face many health problems. However they are not aware that the solution lies in the food they produce. They do not make full use of the vegetables and fruits they produce.”
The fruits of next week’s UN gathering will be the empowerment and participation of community leaders like Ms. Robinson who brings the realities, concerns and voices of rural women to the international table.
Mary Beth is a writer for the Women's Division.