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Listening: Anglican women prepare for U.N. gathering

[Episcopal News Service]  The largest-ever gathering of women from around the Anglican Communion -- 96 women representing 37 provinces -- will mark the 50th Anniversary of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW), to be held in New York City from February 24 through March 8.

Gender equality, the advancement of women in the fields of education, health, and employment, as well as increased participation of women and men in decision-making processes at all levels, will be the focus of the 2006 UNCSW meeting.

"Working together, Anglican women delegates to the UNCSW are raising their voices in support of women's education and development, to combat hunger, poverty, and the spread of HIV/AIDS, and to work for equal opportunity," said Margaret Rose, director of the Episcopal Church's Office of Women's Ministries. "This event provides an opportunity for Episcopal women and men to listen to and learn from the experiences of our Anglican sisters and to strategize together for women's empowerment throughout the Communion."

UNCSW was established in 1946 to promote women's rights in political, economic, civil, social and educational fields. Since 1995, a priority has been to assess the progress of the Beijing Platform for Action, a declaration to advance the goals of equality, development and peace for all women.

Sponsored by Anglican Women's Empowerment (AWE), a celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the founding of UNCSW will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 4, at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City. The program and panel discussion will feature women from across the Anglican Communion sharing hopes and concerns for a world in which Christian faith calls them to action.

Panel moderator Abagail Nelson, vice president of Episcopal Relief and Development, will lead panelists in a discussion of what is happening in their countries, what they feel is important, what actions are making a difference, and what still needs to be done. Following the panel discussion, the audience will be asked to consider how people of faith can help to transform vision into action.

Featured guests will include Angela King, former U.N. assistant secretary general and special advisor on gender issues; Jenny Te Paa, UNCSW delegate from the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand, and Polynesia; and musician Ana Hernandez. The event is free and open to the public.

Under the auspices of the Office of Women's Ministries and the Anglican Observer to the U.N., Anglican and Episcopal delegates have attended the annual UNCSW event for the past three years.
For additional information contact Kim Robey at