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Delegates sought for United Nations Commission on the Status of Women


Kara Flannery
Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW), 96 women from all 38 provinces of the Anglican Communion gathered for the Anglican Women's Empowerment held on March 4, 2006 at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City.   (Kara Flannery)

[Episcopal News Service]  Women interested in participating in the 51st United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW) as part of the Episcopal Church's delegation are invited to apply by November 15 to the Episcopal Church's Office of Women's Ministries.

The commission will meet February 26 to March 9, 2007, at the United Nations headquarters in New York City.

Delegates experience the commission's work through meetings at the U.N. and numerous parallel events and caucuses. It is anticipated that they will use their new knowledge and experience to raise awareness of women's issues and be an active voice with government officials and church leaders during the UNCSW and when they return home

View a link to the application to join the delegation and more information about the UNCSW.

In a joint effort of the Episcopal Church and the Office of the Anglican Communion Observer at the U.N., delegates from across the United States and the Anglican Communion will participate in the event. The theme for 2007 is "The elimination of all forms of discrimination and violence against the girl child."

While in New York, delegates will attend plenary sessions at the United Nations and participate in dialogue with other delegates regarding women's concerns in the Church and the world. Some will choose a particular focus to follow, such as increasing the number of women at the decision-making tables, girls' education, or human trafficking. Parallel meetings during the UNCSW are numerous and cover diverse topics providing more personal and in-depth coverage of issues taken up by the commission.

Episcopal delegates officially join the Anglican Consultative Council delegation, which in the past has included between 80 to more than 100 delegates, making it the largest non-governmental organization to participate in the commission. The meeting brings thousands of women from around the world to New York to address the challenges raised by the U.N. Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the Beijing Platform for Action (BPfA) as they affect women and children.

UNCSW was established as a commission of the United Nation's Economic and Social Council in 1946 to promote women's rights in political, economic, civil, social and educational fields.

During the 1990s, the U.N. convened a series of conferences and summits, including the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995. From this conference came the Beijing Platform for Action, specifying twelve critical areas of concern that required immediate strategic action to further the advancement and empowerment of women.

These conferences, and the progress in identifying goals at Beijing, provided the impetus for the international community to come together at the Millennium Summit in 2000. It was at this summit that the U.N. Millennium Declaration was created and the Millennium Development Goals with their measurable targets to be achieved by 2015 were set.

A resolution passed at the 75th General Convention last June in Columbus, Ohio, established the work toward achievement of the MDGs as a mission priority for the coming triennium. The work at UNCSW relates to all the MDGs, but particularly to Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women.

The participation of women from the Anglican Communion has been facilitated through the efforts of Anglican Women's Empowerment (AWE). Founded by Phoebe Griswold and a small steering committee, AWE's mission is to empower women's voices at the U.N. and within the worldwide Anglican Communion, as well as to deepen the commitment to worldwide reconciliation and shared work for peace and justice.

"If you have a passion to serve women -- in your work, your community, your world --whose lives are adversely affected by their gender, you have much to give and gain from participating," said Kathy Deasy, a 2006 delegate from Arizona.

"Women who are interested in making a difference in this unique setting are encouraged to apply to become a delegate," said the Rev. Margaret Rose, director of the Office of Women's Ministries at the Episcopal Church Center.

Contact Kim Robey at for more information.