More than 100 Anglican women representing 37 provinces of the Anglican Communion arrived in New York City on February 24 for the opening of the 50th United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW) meeting. It is the largest-ever gathering of Anglican women to convene in New York.
The focus of the 2006 event, which continues through March 8, will be on gender equality, the advancement of women in the fields of education, health, and employment, and increased participation of women and men in decision-making processes at all levels.
A 4 p.m. Eucharist service held in the U.N. Chapel officially marked the opening of the UNCSW event.
Delegates will partake in an all-day orientation on February 25 at the Millennium Hotel in New York. On February 26, the women are invited to attend an NGO consultation at New York University School of Medicine to hear about this year's themes and to learn about issues and advocacy strategies. Speakers will include Jackie Shapiro, chair of Zonta International and the NGO Committee on the Status of Women, and Rachel Mayanja, assistant secretary general and special adviser to the U.N. secretary general on gender issues and the advancement of women.
Throughout the two weeks, delegates will attend daily worship, U.N. briefings, plenary sessions and caucuses.
A celebration of the 50th anniversary of the founding of UNCSW, sponsored by Anglican Women's Empowerment (AWE), 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 the discussion.
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.
Co-ordinated by the Office of Women's Ministries and the Anglican Observer to the U.N., Anglican and Episcopal women have attended the UNCSW for the past three years.
Further information about UNCSW can be found online at http://www.episcopalchurch.org/uncsw.htm