Loretto Supports U.N. Endeavors Raising Up Women and Children
Loretto continues its longtime tradition of involvement in advancing the rights of women and girls through its work at the United Nations. This week Loretto at the UN was to have hosted a delegation of more than 40 participants who were to take part in the 64th annual U.N. Commission on the Status of Women March 9-21 in New York. In light of current concerns regarding coronavirus disease, it was decided that the 64th session would convene briefly for procedural actions and that the official session then would be suspended until further notification.
Among those planning to attend this year’s event included students from Loretto Academy, El Paso, Texas; Nerinx Hall, St. Louis; and St. Mary’s Academy, Denver. A smaller delegation (pictured below) consisting of several Sisters of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (BVMs), two BVM friends, two Loretto Volunteers and the Loretto at the UN Team, are in New York this week to partake in unofficial events.
Four world conferences on women have been organized by the United Nations. These conferences have taken place in Mexico City in 1975; Copenhagen in 1980; Nairobi in 1985; and Beijing in 1995. Loretto Community members participated in each of the World Women’s Conferences of the United Nations. Ginny Williams attended the first conference in Mexico in1975; Nancy Finneran was at the second in Copenhagen in 1980; Maureen McCormack and Mary Ann Coyle were at the one in Kenya in 1985; and Maureen McCormack, Marian McAvoy and Mary Peter Bruce went to the Fourth World Conference in China in 1995.
The 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing was a turning point for the global women’s movement. More than 17,000 participants attended, including 6,000 government delegates, 4,000 accredited NGO (non-governmental organization) representatives, many international civil servants and about 4,000 media representatives. A parallel NGO Forum took place near Beijing in Huairou, which gathered more than 30,000 people.
The outcome of this conference, the Beijing Declaration and the Platform for Action, was adopted unanimously by 189 countries. This agenda, according to UN Women, is considered “the most progressive blueprint ever for advancing women’s rights” and “the key global policy document on gender equality.”
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (BPfA). In 2020, UN Women and the Commission on the Status of Women was to have undertaken a review and analysis of the implementation of the BPfA and the outcomes of the 23rd special session of the General Assembly. It has called for national and regional-level reviews, the outcomes of which were to have fed into the 2020 review to be undertaken by the commission. The Loretto at the UN staff hope that dialogues between UN Women and civil society will continue both virtually and in person through summer 2020 in preparation for the 75th UN General Assembly in September, 2020.
It is no accident that March also celebrates Women’s History Month, a time to honor women and thank them for sharing their unique gifts with the world. We can all name women who have inspired us because of their actions working to create a better educated and healthier world. Loretto thanks mothers, grandmothers, ancestors and all who have shaped generations with their inspiration.