By September 10, 2013 Read More →

CSW57, March 4, Day 1

The 57th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW57) began at the United Nations Headquarters in New York today. Approximately 6000 delegates have registered for this conference from around the world. The cold didn’t seem to hinder the long queues for registration.

Being held from March 4-15, the Commission comprises discussions and negotiations between member states, side events hosted by government missions and UN agencies, as well as a host of parallel events by the NGO community. This year’s priority theme is: Elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls.

The Brahma Kumaris have been active participants at the CSW for many years. This year, our delegation comprises of men, women and youth from six countries.

Men as Allies in Ending Gender-Based Violence

This was the first side event attended by Brahma Kumaris at the CSW57.

At this event two powerful and courageous women from Liberia representing WIPNET shared their own stories on how they used men as allies in order to promote gender equality and mutual understanding. Interestingly, their approach was to work with traditional leaders in their community. They shared the story of an Imam who helped them to recollect some quotations from the Koran related to women’s rights with regard to property/inheritance as well as being treated justly by men.

They also shared that they created circles of women and men which provided opportunities for both genders to come together to talk on issues such as the effect of violence on the capacity of women to procreate. They also worked with young students where they, particularly girls had the opportunity to speak about any sort of violence in their homes and schools.

Among the questions put forth to the panelists was one asking if there was any reduction in cases of violence against women since these efforts had started. What the panelist shared was that there was not been a change in violence yet, but having men and children involved in this process was already a major positive shift in their community.

Spiritual Empowerment for Women and Girls

This beautiful event was held by Won Buddhism International and the United Religions Initiative. It was nice palette of experiences from four of the major faiths.

The session started with a tibetan meditation that prepared the audience for a boost of stories related to the role of spirituality in eliminating violence against women.

In the Buddhist approach Doyeon Park, a Korean young women described the circle as a symbol of no discrimination, of continuity and interdependency. She then kindly saluted the male audience participating in the event.

The next panelist to my surprise was a first female priest, the first I ever met. Gwyneth Murphy from the Episcopal Church shared some stories of women from the Bible who had the courage to stand by their own faith and face the patriarchal legacy in Christianity.

Chabad Rebbetz relate her personal experience on how God gave 3 principles directly to women according to the jewish tradition. It is these principles that have kept the jewish tradition alive despite the struggle of their community.

The last person who spoke at the event was a male panelist, an Imam who shared the story of the Rabath, places where women were able to provide themselves with shelter and food.

Human Security: What does it mean for women survivors of violence in India?

This event was held by CordAid.

Five women from Northern India and Nepal (Bonita Acharya, Asha Kowtal, Helam Haokip and Bandana Rana) represented WinG (Women in Governance), an NGO that works with women in ‘disturbed’ areas of north-east India. Over 40 million people live in these areas which are considered “disturbed areas” because of the militarization of the zone and armed conflicts.

The panelist discussed the catastrophic impacts of militarization on women who are very often targets of increased sexual, physical and mental-emotional abuse. The lives of these women are affected very deeply. They shared the story of a women who lost her child and didn’t speak for seven years, carrying that pain within her for years. And the story of an Indian activist who has been on hunger strike for 12 years and is now being tried by the Government of India for trying to commit suicide.

Another major discussion was around the themes of displacement, impunity, inheritance related to patriarchy, casts and lack of female inclusion. The recent events that transpired in Delhi inspired these women to take immediate action to empower fellow women by giving them information and respect for the role of the mother in society and families, which is often lacking in the local culture. They also encouraged other grassroots organizations to continue to provide tools to women who are unable to be present at conferences such as these. In their closing remarks, the women said that the women’s movement is the entire civil society’s movement.

Posted in: Uncategorized

Our Privacy Policy   |   Our Cookie Policy