The day began with an early morning NGO briefing in conference room 4.

We are dealing with “bread and butter issues” repeated the CSW chair, Geraldine Byrne Nason who was present briefly during the NGO briefing. She reminded those present that women’s rights are human rights and human rights are at the heart of our agenda. “The women we are working for are not here. They are the women who [for example], are stuck at home with unfulfilled dreams because child benefits do not allow them to follow their dreams.”

Also during the briefing session, the issue of visa denials was raised. The reasons for these denials varies and are frustrating. This issue is especially relevant to the SSND delegation because several students and teachers from Nigeria who had planned to be part of the SSND delegation were refused visas and are therefore not able to attend.

Members of our SSND delegation attended the Girls Caucus at 10:30am. It was held off-site at the Salvation Army auditorium. “The Girls Caucus is a public forum for girls and their allies to discuss the progress at CSW in regards to the interests and needs of girls, to review the Draft Agreed Conclusions and propose edits and new language as it relates to girls, as well as to develop advocacy strategies for CSW and beyond.” ( SSND is a member of the Working Group on Girls.

The afternoon included a townhall meeting with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres who spoke and then answered questions. Three from our delegation were able to get tickets to be in the room (capacity 400); the rest of the group participated via lifestreaming. “The truth is,” Guterres said, “that, when women are at the table, the chance of sustainable peace increases.  ….  The bottom line is simple:  when we exclude women, we all pay the price.  When we include women, the world wins.  We all win.” (Read the speech…)

Side events included Supporting single parents as a means of women’s empowerment;  Sexism, harassment and violence against women parliamentarians; How can digital technology support gender equality? and many others. Many are available to watch on UN Web TV  under “Recent Video on Demand.”

Parallel events organized by NGOs were also abundant: Young women’s roles in social protection: Through experiences in Japan (YWCA of Japan); Impact of violent extremism on women’s social protection & services (International Muslim Women’s Union); Access to quality education leads young girls to greater opportunities (Voices of African Mothers, Inc.), and many more.

Learn more:

Meet faculty members of the SSND delegation

Sister Andrea, Hungary and Sister Mirian, Brazil

Left to right: Sister Andrea and Sister Mirian

Sister Andrea (left) interviewed Sister Mirian (right).

Sister Mirian is from Brazil, and  she believes that:

“The UN has a very important mission, and it works really well. We all realize that poverty and vulnerability are ever increasing problems in our world, and there are millions of people whose cries are not heard. We SSNDs together with the UN can draw people’s attention to the injustices, to the aggression against the poor, and we can call people to work together for those lacking homes, basic rights, and the chance of a better life.”

Sister Mirian interviewed Sister Andrea:

Sister Andrea is a School Sister of Notre Dame from Hungary. She has a degree in History, and she also teaches History. For her,  the emphasis in the SSND charism upon those who are most vulnerable, the homeless and orphans is most important. She also has many concerns about the situation of many women in the world today. She believes that working with these people, is a way to keep our charism alive.