Tag Archives: IFUW

IFUW March 8 2011 Update

100th Anniversary of International Women’s Day

Today, March 8th, we are celebrating the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day. When Clara Zetkin tabled the idea of an International Women’s Day, it was a very different world, with women demanding not only the vote in some countries but also shorter hours and better pay. A century later, we are still working for equality in many areas.   As we celebrate our successes, we must also re-commit ourselves to the task ahead. We have made progress, but much remains to be done… This Update gives a snapshot of the activities being organized by of some of our NFAs to celebrate what has now become a global event. Let us not forget those women, who had the courage 100 years ago to propose that every year women should celebrate on the same day to press for their demands.
Marianne Haslegrave, IFUW President

Launch of the Museo de la Mujer

The Federación Mexicana de Universitarias (FEMU) has chosen International Women’s Day for the official opening of their new Women’s Museum – “El Museo de la Mujer”. According to FEMU founding president and IFUW Vice- President, Patricia Galeana,  the museum aims both to offer a place where people can learn about the important role women have played in the development of the country, and to promote gender equality and women’s human rights.  It is only the second of its kind in all of Latin America.  Through photographs, texts, graphics and multimedia presentations, the exhibits will show situations confronting women and the feminist revolution from historical periods through to modern times. In addition to displaying the works of well-known Mexican artists, the museum will also feature a document centre and a specialized library.  We wish FEMU much success with this important initiative. 


Some of the Ways IFUW Members are Celebrating

  • In Switzerland a panel organized at the United Nations by Conchita Poncini, Coordinator or IFUW’s Representatives in Geneva, is addressing the theme of “Celebrating Women’s Rights: Higher Education – Pathway to Gender Equality and Decent Work”.  On the panel will be representatives from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Committee for the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the International Labour Office Bureau for Gender Equality and the World Bank to share their views.    Marianne Haslegrave will speak on behalf of IFUW.
  • Members in Amsterdam will celebrate 8th March with a special evening gathering where older members of the Dutch Association (VVAO) in their 70s and 80s will talk with a group of younger members, sharing stories of their student and professional lives.
  • The Canadian Federation (CFUW) is encouraging members to participate in Oxfam’s 100 Letters for 100 Years of International Women’s Day.  To mark a century of women’s achievements, members are writing letters to the their local newspapers about a woman who inspires them; their wish for women living in other parts of the world, their wish for their daughter, niece, sister or granddaughter; the moment at which they became interested in women’s rights; or what we might celebrate on International Women’s Day in the next 100 years.

IFUW’s Status of Women Committee would like very much to hear about any activities your NFA or local group organized for International Women’s Day 2011.  You can send your short articles and photos to update@ifuw.org.

Message from UN Women Executive Director, Michelle Bachelet

In her IWD message, Michelle Bachelet, said that she suspected that the courageous pioneers would look at our world today with a mixture of pride and disappointment. She noted that there has been an unprecedented expansion of women’s legal rights and entitlements, but despite progress over the last century, the hopes of equality expressed on that first International Women’s Day are far from being realized.  She pointed out that almost two out of three illiterate adults are women. Girls are still less likely to be in school than boys. Every 90 seconds of every day, a woman dies in pregnancy or due to childbirth-related complications despite us having the knowledge and resources to make birth safe.  She  remarked that women continue to earn less than men for the same work. In many countries, they have unequal access to land and inheritance rights. Women still make up only 19 percent of legislatures, 8 percent of peace negotiators, and only 28 women are heads of state or government.  She stressed that it is not just women who pay the price for this discrimination. We all suffer for failing to make the most of half the world’s talent and potential. We undermine the quality of our democracy, the strength of our economies, the health of our societies and the sustainability of peace. This year’s IWD focus on women’s equal access to education, training, science and technology underscores the need to tap this potential.

For the the full statement see – http://www.unwomen.org/news-events/international-womens-day/messages/#usg .

IWD Message from the High Commissioner for Human Rights

Navanethem Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, saluted the women of the Middle East and North Africa, along with women all over the world who are taking great risks to stand up and fight for dignity, justice and human rights for themselves and for their compatriots. She pointed out that in Egypt and Tunisia, women were on Twitter, on Facebook, on the streets, and marching alongside men, pushing boundaries and breaking gender stereotypes, just as eager for change, for human rights and for democracy.  Ms Pillay warned, however, that the work is far from over.  In these moments of historic transition, it is important to ensure that women’s rights are not set aside as something to be dealt with after the ‘crucial’ reforms are won. Women’s rights should be at the top of the list of new priorities. She noted that while women have played an important role in the call for change, concerns have already been raised that constitutional reviews and the development of reforms are undertaken without their full participation. Only when women participate fully in policy-making and institution-building will their perspective be truly integrated. The concept of democracy is only truly realised when political decision-making is shared by women and men, and women’s full participation in institutional re-building is guaranteed.

For the full statement see http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/media.aspx?IsMediaPage=true

International Federation of University Women
10 rue du Lac, 1207 Geneva, Switzerland¦  ifuw@ifuw.org

Civil society input for UN Women – Beyond 100 days

The Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW) was among the members of GEAR (Gender Equality Architecture Reform) that recently sent suggestions for UN Women’s priorities beyond 100 days. CFUW recommended the following:

  • Meet the Millennium Development Goals with an emphasis on: Primary education for all; Elimination of violence against women and girls; Women’s economic sustainability (to eliminate poverty); Adequate food, clean water, shelter; Access to health care ‐ with special emphasis on maternal and child health, combating HIV/AIDS, and universal access to vaccinations and mosquito nets to eliminate the spread of disease.
  • Implement UNSCRs 1325, 1820, 1882, 1888 and 1889 on peace and security for women and girls.
  • Focus on the achievement of the goals of the Beijing Platform for Action and CEDAW with attention to leadership development for women.

Read the rest of this post where it was originally posted:  http://www.ifuw-forums.org/blog/2011/02/09/civil-society-input-for-un-women-beyond-100-days/

IFUW February 9 2011 Update

9 February 2011
New IFUW Programme for Action

We are pleased to announce the launching of the new IFUW Programme for Action (PfA) –
“The Power of Education in Effecting Change”.

The development of the PfA has involved our members through the on-line discussions and the input that was given during the conference in Mexico City. These ideas and suggestions have been “fine-tuned” by the Status of Women Committee, the members of which the Board wishes to thank for their hard work and innovative ideas.

The new PfA has four pillars or themes:

  • Education for empowerment and leadership
  • Education for freedom from violence
  • Education for financial independence, employment and entrepreneurship
  • Education for sustainable futures

These themes of the four pillars will form the basis of IFUW’s ongoing programme, one expected to last beyond the current triennium.

At the beginning of December 2010, we presented the cross-cutting focus chosen for IFUW’s international advocacy: “Education for the realization of the rights of women and girls”.  We hope that each national federation and association (NFA) will integrate all or part of the new PfA into their own programming and advocacy.
Marianne Haslegrave, IFUW President

What’s New on the IFUW Website

  • IFUW Programme for Action –  http://www.ifuw.org/programme/
  • This section provides suggestions for subthemes and action for the new PfA. We encourage you to check back often, as the Status of Women Committee will be posting new material regularly.
  • CSW 55th Sessionhttp://www.ifuw.org/programme
  • If you would like to know more about what will be happening at the 55th CSW Session, this page provides links to the key background documents, information about events IFUW is helping to organize, as well as a list of our delegation.
  • New IFUW Blog postinghttp://www.ifuw.org/blog
  • Ardith Toogood, CIR of the Canadian Federation (CFUW), is  guest blogger this week on Civil society input for UN Women Beyond the First 100 Days.  She shares input that CFUW has made to the new UN Women consultation process.

Bina Roy Partners in Development (BRPID)
2011 Competition Underway

IFUW’s BRPID Programme is now accepting project proposals for the 2011 competition.  The deadline for applying is 28 February 2011. BRPID supports projects empowering women and girls through education and leadership development.  NFAs in developing countries with a per capita gross national income (GNI) of 10,000 USD or less are encouraged to apply.  The grants, ranging from 1000 to 2000 Swiss francs, will be awarded on a competitive basis and will cover a twelve-month period beginning 1 June 2011. The Projects Committee is delighted with the response and is looking forward to reviewing the proposals in March.

Participants in the successful 2010 BRPID Literacy Project run by the Egyptian Association
Young Women, Bright Stars

In a recent message to the IFUW Member’s Network, Michelle Imison shared an idea young members in Australia are trying.  After the conference in Mexico, and with the sense that other women’s organizations must be having the same difficulties as our NFAs in maintaining and growing our membership, she went home and made contact with the ‘younger’ chapters of UNWomen (then still UNIFEM) and Business and Professional Women in Sydney.  She hopes they can build mutually useful relationships and networks into the future – and they’re starting with a joint event on International Women’s Day, March 8th. It’s an evening, cocktail-type event with a speaker, lucky door-prize and raffle and lots of networking opportunities. They’re deliberately keeping ticket costs low (finger food and some drinks are included), but they still hope to have money left to split three ways for the three organizations’ women’s and girls’ education projects.  They are calling their event ‘Young Women, Bright Stars’.  This is an idea that young members in other countries could also try.
Michelle Imison, Young Member, Australia
Convener, IFUW Projects Committee

International Federation of University Women
10 rue du Lac, 1207 Geneva, Switzerland
www.ifuw.org ¦  ifuw@ifuw.org

IFUW Theme Days, Regional Meeting and Found Luggage

Friday – Saturday, August 6 – 7, 2010

Ardith Toogood – CFUW CIR

After the intensity of the opening days of the Triennial Conference, the two days of themed panels, interdisciplinary seminars and workshops provided an equally busy schedule, with a more relaxed pacing for those who did not have the responsibility of presentations.

There were many choices under four main themes:
•         Advancing Women through Lifelong Learning
•         Challenges to Women’s Empowerment in the 21st Century
•         Education for Sustainable Development
•         Towards a Just Society

VP Quebec, Liette Michaud, Position Paper Presenter

Rhea Pretsell, President of CFUW Belleville and District, Position Paper Presenter

We are very proud of the excellent position papers presented by two of our CFUW members.  Liette Michaud of CFUW Montreal South Shore spoke on “Women and the Curriculum: Educational Reform in Quebec, Canada” and Rhea Pretsell of CFUW Belleville on “Sexual Violence as a Weapon of War:  The Case in the Congo.”

Lois Hunter and Joanne Craig served as rapporteurs for two of the sessions, recording the key points and discussion items covered.

I met Jan Harvey from CFUW West Vancouver who is serving as the minuting secretary of the business sessions, and Penny Henricks from CFUW Belleville.

Phyllis Scott still does not have her luggage and so she let me know that she would go out shopping for some outfits.   As I walked into the lounge on Friday evening for an informal and relaxing get-together of the Canadian delegation, she stood up when she saw me approaching and did a pirouette to show off a smart yellow top and pants.  “Oh, you found something!” I exclaimed in admiration.  “No, my luggage has finally arrived,” she said.  “I’ll be changing three times a day to use up all the clothes I packed!” Now when I wear items I lent to Phyllis, people jokingly tease, “Oh, you look great in Phyllis’s suit!”

One of the great pleasures of an international women’s conference is the opportunity for networking and learning.  It never stops.
This year we had a North America Regional Meeting with close to fifty people in attendance.  We had introductions, an outline of what CFUW and WG-USA are doing and some ideas discussed on what to pursue in the coming Triennium.  Mexico elected not to attend as their culture and language fit more closely with Latin America.

Dancers at Mexican Evening

At the Mexican Evening, we enjoyed the traditional music, dance and food of Mexico as we mingled and enjoyed the company of women from around the world.  The evening was topped off by desserts and tequila.

IFUW Treasurer Catherine Bell from Guess Where?


If you’ve loved the posts that Ardith Toogood has been blogging from the IFUW’s 30th Triennial Conference in Mexico City, check out the IFUW’s Conference blog here. Participants are sharing their experiences at the workshops and other events of the Conference.

Keep an eye out for Ardith’s next post!

Bienvenidos Congreso Triennial IFUW

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Ardith Toogood – CFUW CIR

The first official day of the 30th IFUW Triennial Conference is here!  More CFUW members have arrived:  Lisa Chenier of Vancouver, Rhea Pretsell of Belleville, Joanne Craig of Montreal and Muriel Smith of Winnipeg whose plane landed in the wee hours of the morning.

CFUW Members at 30th IFUW Triennial Opening Ceremony

We had our first 8:00 am CFUW caucus meeting in the lounge outside the breakfast restaurant, Cafe Miro, sharing information, making announcements and thinking about our votes for the elections.

The IFUW Opening Ceremony featured Dr. Patricia Galeana, FEMU Founding President who welcomed us to Mexico and the 30th IFUW Triennial; Minister Olga Sanchez Cordero of the Mexican Supreme Court; keynote speaker Kyung-wha Kang, United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights; a deputy for Dr. Luis Raul Gonzalez Perez of the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico and Louise Croot, IFUW President.

The speeches by Minister Sanchez and UN Deputy High Commissioner Kang

Kyung-wha Kang, UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights

were outstanding and will be made available to us for posting.  Minister Sanchez had to leave immediately following her address for an important vote on gay rights at the Supreme Court.

Olga Sanchez Cordero, Minister of Mexican Supreme Court

We were entertained by a superb a cappella sextet, Mexicalia Chorale, before the cake for the 90th IFUW anniversary celebration was brought in by the waiters.  I have a wonderful photo of a crowd of photographers, the press and members crowding around to witness the cutting of the cake.

Louise Croot and Patricia Galeana Cutting the IFUW 90th Anniversary Cake

After the tea break we heard the speeches of all the candidates for CFUW Board positions including our own CFUW member, Phyllis Scott.

Some of the CFUW delegates attended the IFUW Fellowships Program lunch and the rest of us the Bina Roy Partners in Development Program (BRPID) lunch.  In the coming Triennium, donors to the BRPID will be able to specify the project they wish to support.

Then the voting delegates had a short caucus meeting before casting our votes for IFUW President and Vice Presidents for 2010 – 2013.
Back we went to Business Session 2 for the financial report and acclamation of Catherine Bell as IFUW Treasurer, introduction of the candidates for IFUW Standing Committees and the announcement of the next IFUW President:  Marianne Haselgrave of the British Federation.

We look forward to working with Marianne and congratulate her on her new position.  We also congratulate Phyllis Scott who tied on the first ballot and narrowly missed the second.  We are very proud of you, Phyllis, and look forward to tapping into your knowledge and expertise on IFUW and international issues.

After the Tea Break I was pleased to be one of several presenters on national projects at the first Plenary Session.  My presentation on “The Collaborative Work of CFUW” will be available on the website after I return to Canada.
Then as CIR I cast the CFUW votes for the Standing Committees, grabbed a sandwich and then dashed off to the Open Session on Resolutions.
What a productive meeting!

Our adviser from the IFUW Resolutions Committee, Rae Duff from New Zealand, who had been very helpful to CFUW via email over the last few months, was with us as we heard and gratefully accepted amendments from those who came to discuss, in particular, our Climate Change proposed resolution.  Cynthia Burek who has expertise in this area, told us that the final amended resolution looks very good.  This session lasted from 7:30 – 9:00 pm.

Brenda and I were thirsty by that time and headed down to mellow out in the bar with Ruth Suderman and Sandy Millen who told us that a MAS card, available at the front desk, would save us 50% on breakfasts!  Ah, the things you learn from the wise women of IFUW!  Time for bed!

Mexican LAC Members at Opening Ceremony Aug. 5, 2010

IFUW Council Meeting and Lost Luggage

Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Ardith Toogood – CFUW CIR

The IFUW Conference registration desk is now open!  We received our conference bags, complete with all the documentation and a beautiful silver 30th Triennial pin with details in red, white and green – the colours of the Mexican flag.

At breakfast we said ‘Hello’ to Susan Murphy, VP BC who arrived first class and with a voucher since she had been delayed in Vancouver for 24 hours, Nora Kudrenecky from CFUW Kitchener-Waterloo, Antonieta Marticorena from CFUW North Toronto, Carol Hare from CFUW Mississauga.  Later, Marian Ennis, IFUW Convener of the Hegg-Hoffet Committee arrived with her husband from Vancouver.

The IFUW 90th Council Meeting – akin to our CFUW Pre-AGM Board Meeting – took place from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. with CFUW President Louise Croot from New Zealand presiding.  The Council is comprised of the Board ( the President, the four Vice-Presidents – Phyllis Scott from Canada, Marianne Haselgrave from Britain, Shirley Randall from Rwanda and Sushil Bhardwaj from India, all candidates for IFUW President 2010 – 2013 –  and Treasurer Catherine Bell from South Africa plus the CIR or designated representative from each NFA (national federation or association) who votes on behalf of her affiliate.  We have designated spots with our country’s name indicating where we should sit.  As CFUW CIR I was proud to represent Canada.

Observers were welcome.  CFUW President attended except for the period when the Orientation for First-Time Conference Attendees was held.  Lois Hunter attended the briefing for Rapporteurs.

We attended the Meet-the-Candidates gathering where our five candidates for IFUW positions were circulating with the other countries’ candidates.
In the evening, Brenda was lucky to get one of the 40 tickets available to the inaugural opening of the new Mexican Women’s Museum.  Margaritas or tequila sunrises were served for all IFUW registrants at an informal welcome in the lovely hotel lobby and bar area.  Networking, networking, networking!

Phyllis’s luggage is still missing – for four days now!  She fell on the first day in Mexico and has a sprained and bandaged ankle and bruises on hip and shoulder.  Who needs this at any time – but especially when running for President of IFUW.  We had another “choose an outfit” session in my room to ensure that she is decent (her word!) for her candidate’s speech tomorrow.  She looks positively spiffy!  Good luck, Phyllis!

IFUW Training Program and Guacamole

Ardith Toogood, CUFW Coordinator for International Relations is blogging  from the IFUW Triennial Conference in Mexico City. For more information on the IFUW click here.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Breakfast, although expensive at $20.00, was delicious and the restaurant on the lower level of the hotel is bright and cheery.  We met a few more of the Canadian delegates – Lois Hunter from BC and Sandy Millen, RD Manitoba were at a nearby table.  The card for Phyllis Scott, celebrating her birthday tomorrow, was passed around and greetings added.

There was an all day training session, Towards a Multigenerational Approach, that ran from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm.  Each IFUW affiliate could register up to four members and an unlimited number of young members to talk about membership.  CFUW participants were President Brenda Wallace, CIR Ardith Toogood, Sandy Millen and  Marianne Singh-Waraich who kindly filled in for Susan Murphy.  The session had barely begun when Sandy was summoned to the door.  The tour on which she was booked for the next day had been moved to today!  Bye Sandy – have fun!

The session was dynamic and participatory, sometimes with mixed groupings and sometimes in cohorts: Veterans of Change (1925 – 1965), Boomers ( 1946 – 1964), Generation X (1965 – 1979) and Millennials (1980 – 1999).  The Veterans were the smallest group (Speak up!  We can’t hear!) but the combined Gen X and Millennials the largest.  There will be sessions throughout the conference.

The registration desk is still not open!  First it was to be open at 8:00 am, then noon, then 4:00 pm.  Hey!  Were we not all taught as children:  when in Mexico do as the Mexicans?!

Phyllis’s luggage is still not here.  I invited her to choose whatever she liked from my closet.  She looks a whole lot better in my clothes than I do!  Went to her room to say “Hello” to Roberta Brooks, IFUW Assistant Treasurer and a Past President of CFUW.

Everyone was a bit weary and jet-lagged and since the skies were beginning to cloud over, we decided to try the other restaurant in the hotel.  Zoom – down to the lobby in the glass elevator.  There we met Mary Hall, CFUW member who is IFUW Resolutions Convener and her hubby with Griselda Kenyon, Past President of IFUW – and then Gail Roussy and Margaret Binek just back from touring – and then outside the restaurant Florine Swanson, President of Women Graduates-USA and Board member Janet Heineke – and then Linda Patzold and Grace Stapleton, RD Newfoundland and VP Atlantic.  It was better than a family reunion!

Ahhh – a slow and delicious meal of Spanish cuisine – and bring on some more guacamole!  Then off to our rooms to check Blackberry messages, work on Netbooks and prepare for next day’s agenda  before lights out.

Ardith Toogood Blogs from IFUW Conference in Mexico City

Ardith Toogood, CUFW Coordinator for International Relations will be blogging a series of posts  from the IFUW Triennial Conference in Mexico City.

Bustling street in Mexico City.

Mexico City Here  We Come!
Ardith Toogood – CFUW CIR
Monday, August 2, 2010

The skies were clear as we winged our way south to the site of the 30th IFUW Triennial Conference in Mexico City.  Brenda Wallace, our CFUW President and leader of the CFUW delegation to the Conference had flown to Toronto the day before from Regina so that she could meet me for today’s morning flight.  Liette Michaud – Chair of the CFUW Education Committee, was diverted from Montreal to the same flight, and Marianne Singh-Waraich also flew with us.  Marianne is a candidate for the IFUW Resolutions Committee.

Yeah!  There is the coastline of Mexico silhouetted sharply against the blue waters of the Gulf of Mexico.  Fernanda, my seatmate who is a delightful Mexican young woman just graduated with a degree in psychology, had given me a crash course in basic Spanish en route, and had enquired about the IFUW papers I was reading.  Naturally, this led to details of how to join (either the Mexican Federation or IFUW as an at-large member if Fernanda followed her dream of a masters degree in Barcelona!  Emails and business cards were exchanged.  Now she was bidding us adios as we deplaned to warm and sunny Mexico City.

We spent the rest of the day checking in to the Melia Reforma Hotel with its quick and smooth glass elevators that race you through the soaring atrium 20 stories high, past terra cotta planters flowing with plants at every level.
Off we went on a walking tour of the old section of the city, popping into 16th century cathedrals, milling with throngs of families, tourists and lovers catching kisses as they waited for traffic lights.  Soon we were on cobblestone streets blocked off from regular traffic to create wide walkways.  Where on earth was that restaurant that the hotel had recommended!  And didn’t the sky look rather threatening?

Oh no!  The rain came down in torrents as vendors covered their wares in the market area and magazine and bookstalls lining the streets pulled down their doors.  We huddled in a printhshop doorway as rain turned to driving hail.  Brenda said that she felt right at home!  In a lull we dashed to the next doorway that happened to be a museum.  No, we learned that we could not get a taxi there, but the proprietor took pity on us and led us through the cloisters on and on for about a block or two inside the museum to huge bolted large red door that led out onto the street just a sprint from the  restaurant.

Alas, it was just a coffee shop – but we needed one!  Relaxing, getting acclimatized to the altitude and admiring the view out over the high patio, we waited until the rain stopped and then walked back to the hotel for dinner.
Phyllis Scott, candidate for IFUW President, was here and had been since yesterday, but her luggage had still not arrived from Vancouver.  Later, when I checked my email, there was a message that Susan Murphy’s plane was overbooked by half and she was delayed 24 hours, meaning that she would miss the first day of the Conference Training Program on multi-generational membership.  What a day!