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Applications being accepted for the 2018 United Nations Commission on the Status of Women

More than 1,000 women expected to attend

by Rick Jones | Presbyterian News Service

Troy Byrdsong (left) and Alison Oglesby (right) discuss information they learned at the 61st Commission on the Status of Women. The two werepart of the 12-person delegation of the Racial Ethnic and Women’s Ministries of the Presbyterian Mission Agency. (Photo by Gail Strange)

LOUISVILLE – The 62nd Commission on the Status of Women is scheduled to take place at the United Nations Headquarters, March 12-23, 2018. Representatives from member states, U.N. entities and specific non-governmental organizations (NGOs), from across the world will be attending.

Presbyterians will have the opportunity to join the church’s ecumenical women partners to advocate on social justice issues. The theme is challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls.

“There’s an opportunity to gain exposure and knowledge from women around the world. This is the global gender norm setting body,” said Ryan Smith, director of the Presbyterian Ministry at the U.N. “The outcome document produced at the commission sets the standard for the world as it relates to gender equality, especially the priority theme of rural women and girls.”

The Commission on the Status of Women is a functional Commission of the Economic and Social Council of the U.N. It is one of the oldest, currently consisting of 45 members; 13 from Africa, 11 from Asia, nine from Latin America/the Caribbean, eight from western Europe and other countries (including the U.S.), and four from eastern Europe. Member States are elected to four-year terms.

The Commission’s primary focus is women’s rights and helping shape global standards on gender equality and the empowerment of women. In recent years, the Commission has dedicated its annual sessions to women and girls’ access to education and full employment, empowerment of women living in rural areas and their role in poverty and hunger eradication, and violence against women and girls.

“I think there’s an opportunity for Presbyterians to actually speak into the knowledge we have from our partners around the world,” said Smith. “There is also an opportunity to be at the table where those decisions are made and learn a lot from the global community.”

The Presbyterian Ministry at the U.N. and Ecumenical Women, an international coalition of church denominations and ecumenical organizations at the U.N. provide Presbyterian participants with background information as the commission gets underway.

“We will provide U.N. advocacy training in two steps – Presbyterian and ecumenical women’s orientation,” said Smith. “We will ensure that delegated are properly prepared and ready to have their voices heard at the U.N.”

The application deadline is November 3.

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