Supporting Women and Girls: Update from the United Nations
By Beth BlissmanI wish to express my deep gratitude to all within Loretto who have expressed support of this important mission of our Community. I’m still a bit overwhelmed after attending the 61st Commission on the Status of Women (CSW61) at the United Nations, but here are a few thoughts and links for future action. Our small Loretto at the UN team hosted the largest delegation of Loretto students, faculty members and guests ever. Huge kudos to Loretto Volunteer Ariana Alavarez and former U.N. Representative Sally Dunne for setting up grounds passes for all 78 visitors, and special thanks to Ari for creating our first-ever Loretto at the UN CSW Orientation Guide for the high schools.
In addition to students from Loretto high schools in St. Louis, Denver and El Paso, we welcomed girls from Bishop Diego Garcia High School in Santa Barbara, Calif., and both boys and girls from Regis Jesuit High School in Denver. Together they joined the global discussion around the priority theme of “women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work.”The event took place from March 13 to 24, and the high school students joined us for the first four-to-six days of the event. The CSW is the principal global policy-making body dedicated exclusively to gender equality and advancement of women. Students enjoyed attending official meetings and side events (located inside the United Nations) and parallel events (located at various sites near the United Nations such as at the church center across from the U.N. Secretariat building). The topics of discussion were numerous and ranged from supporting women’s economic empowerment to sexual and reproductive health of women and girls to ending human trafficking and sexist hate speech. Many of the gatherings were broadcast live on webtv.un.org, where links to the events still exist. There was plenty of critical thinking and civil discourse across lines of not only gender but also religion, race, age, class/caste and political affiliation.
Just as the Nerinx, St. Mary’s and Loretto Academy students were leaving, we welcomed Alice Kitchen from Kansas City, Mo., who knows more about CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women) than anyone I know. If anyone asks what we can do in the United States to follow up on CSW61, the answer is to support any and all cities, large and small, to ratify CEDAW. Go to citiesforcedaw.org for more information.
I look forward to catching up with many of you at the Assembly this summer, and please do reach out to me if you would be interested in serving on a committee to support the work of the Loretto Community at the United Nations. Thank you, as always, for keeping us in your thoughts and prayers as we undertake this important ministry.