United Methodist Women Attending U.N. Commission on Women
The annual United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) will meet in New York City the first two weeks of March. The Commission will be commemorating the 15th Anniversary of the 1995 Beijing Platform for Action, a key commitment by governments guiding national and international standards for progress towards gender equality. Discussions engaging women’s progress since the 1995 gathering will happen at the United Nations, the United Methodist Women’s Church Center for the United Nations and other centers throughout the city.
United Methodist Women will have a delegation in attendance including Women’s Division Directors Emily Innes and Maggie Jackson. Delegation Division staff will be Sung-ok Lee, Harriett Olson, Kathleen Stone, Carol Barton and elmira Nazombe joined by Kim Lehmann of the General Board of Global Ministries.
The Women’s Division of United Methodist Women has formed key partnerships focusing both on ecumenical partners and women’s rights non-governmental organizations. A primary focus of the Women’s Division is how race and class affect women’s lives. Women’s Division also has a focus on how the economic crisis and the environmental crisis have been affecting the Bejing platform’s effectiveness. The delegation will be working with these groups in a variety of meetings and events during the 2010 Commission.
United Methodist Women have had a presence at the UN since its founding, and were active in the 1985 World Conference on Women in Nairobi, Kenya, where United Methodist Women and the General Board of Church & Society hosted a workshop on women and health. United Methodist Women sent a significant delegation to Beijing to attend the NGO forum and to participate in the negotiations of the Beijing Platform in 1995. Since that time, the organization has had an active presence at the UN Commission on the Status of Women, which monitors follow up and implementation.
The lens through which the Women’s Division delegation will be approaching the Commission will include:
- Understanding gender equality in context of multiple identities, including race, class, national origin
- The critical role of women’s leadership in relief, recovery and rebuilding of Haiti including women’s safety and human rights protections, not just in terms of receiving bags of food, but in directing needs and distribution of resources—sitting at the decision-making table for relief planning.
- How the potential for women’s equality is integrally linked to current global threats of climate change, the global economic crisis, war, and threats to food security. If these issues are not addressed by the U.N. and nations, women’s rights will also be set back.
- Seeing development—for women and for all peoples—as a human rights issue, not merely an economic issue, and not as a national security issue.
Be sure to check United Methodist Women website, www.umwmission.org, for articles, photos and video from the event including the Ecumenical Women’s Orientation, the Ecumenical Worship, and two workshops co-sponsored by the Women’s Division.