Susan Murphy, CFUW President
Today is day 4 of the 58th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, and most of CFUW’s 14 delegates have now been in New York since Saturday for the occasion. For many in our group it is a new experience, and a very confusing one. What is a parallel session? How about a side event? What really happens here at the UNCSW?
I have not been here for long, but during my first trip to UNCSW last year I was so fortunate to room with Mary Scott, a Past President of the University Women’s Club Winnipeg, and the representative for the National Council of Women Canada (NCWC) who has been attending for a number of years and is very knowledgeable. Mary is very generous in sharing her knowledge and I soaked up as much as I could.
This year’s priority theme of the session is the challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for women and girls, that are coming up on fifteen years; eight goals were announced in 2000 with high expectations of alleviating poverty by focusing on these MDGs.
To kick off an exciting two weeks, CFUW was pleased to attend the reception at the permanent Canadian Mission to the United Nations on March 10th. This gave some of our delegates the opportunity to meet other NGOs from Canada, as well as the official Canadian Delegation, including Minister Blais, Status of Women, New Bruinswick, pictured here with Faith Matchett of CFUW Moncton. The Minister of Status of Women Canada, Kellie Leitch was the guest speaker and Irwin Kotler MP from Montreal and human rights activist attended. Some of our delegates were able to sneak a photo with the Minister.
These two weeks are devoted to conversation circles, panel discussions, presentations, official statements and negotiations on Agreed Conclusions focused on the priority theme that governments can support. Today the formal negotiations begin on the Agreed Conclusions among Member State negotiators, and CFUW with NCWC, has offered a second set of suggestions on priorities this morning to Status of Women Canada. I will attend the European/North American Caucus this afternoon, where the draft Agreed Conclusions will be a topic of discussion.
Yesterday was CFUW’s and WG-USA’s joint parallel session entitled Universal Primary Education by 2020: In Peril for Girls? Hally Siddons and Leila Metcalf (r) are pictured here just before the session and the second photo of Deputy Minister of Women’s Affairs and her assistant responding to a question. They were joined by a woman from UNICEF and one from the Permanent Mission at the UN. It was an excellent workshop, one that CFUW can be proud of.
So far this has been a very interesting and exciting, as we meet women from all over the world. The other evening I met a woman from Kabul University in Afghanistan who knows both Dr. Simar and Nasima by chance, as I spoke to another new friend from San Francisco who belongs to Women Graduates-USA and is very involved with making cities CEDAW friendly….not the right term…but better for women and girls. I will check this out more when I get home.
I am really happy to be working with our colleagues from IFUW while we are here – all for a good cause. The IFUW group has delegates from England and Wales, WG-USA, Nigeria, Finland, Australia, NZ, Bulgaria, and Rwanda. Such different perspectives and all so interesting and committed.
If you’re not a member of CFUW’s Facebook group yet, make sure you join to get updates from UNCSW in real-time. We will also be compiling a newsletter when we return from UNCSW, so keep an eye out for that!
Susan Murphy, President of CFUW