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Back to listMar 4, 2011

SGI Promotes Empowerment at the UN Commission on the Status of Women

The networking reception (Feb 24)The networking reception (Feb 24)

The 55th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) took place from February 22 to March 4 at the UN Headquarters in New York with the priority theme "Access and participation of women and girls in education, training, science and technology, including for the promotion of women's equal access to full employment and decent work."

The CSW was preceded by an NGO Consultation Day event organized by the NGO Committee on the Status of Women which gathered over 800 women from around the world and UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of the newly created UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) Michelle Bachelet. The SGI was involved in the organizing process throughout the several months of planning of the event.

The CSW is an intergovernmental body established by the UN Economic and Social Council which monitors the situation of women and promotes their rights in all societies around the world. It brought together the Member States and UN agencies, and over 1,500 NGO representatives from more than 100 countries and 350 organizations participated in the session. As a part of the effort to advance women's empowerment and participation, SGI organized several events.

Former UN Under-Secretary-General Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury giving closing remarks at the event on empowering women and girls (March 4)Former UN Under-Secretary-General Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury giving closing remarks at the event on empowering women and girls (March 4)

On February 24, SGI, Global Action to Prevent War and PeaceWomen, a project of Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, organized a networking reception. This was a follow-up of last year's celebration of the 10th anniversary of the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women and Peace and Security to provide opportunities to network and discuss on peace activism and women's leadership, and to promote greater NGO collaboration. About 50 committed women and men, including interns, government officials, women's activists and women's advocates joined. Gillian Kitley, Senior Officer at the UN Office of the Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, and Felicity Hill, former Vice President of WILPF and the founder of PeaceWomen and Reaching Critical Will, were invited as guest speakers.

On March 4, SGI organized an official parallel event titled "Empowering Women and Girls Through Dialogue: Skills to advance education, training and full-employment." This interactive workshop provided understanding, techniques and the practice of dialogue and how dialogue links with women and girls' empowerment and for advancing education, training and full employment. Former UN Under-Secretary-General Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury gave closing remarks stating that one must have courage to view others as equals and to take the initiative to engage in dialogue. He also said that, in alignment with SGI President Daisaku Ikeda's belief that dialogue is a sure and certain path to peace, the most important value of dialogue is achieving a peace which is sustainable. Participants shared that while the importance of dialogue is often recognized not much discussion on it takes place but through this workshop they gained deeper understanding of dialogue and called for more similar interactive events.

SGI also cosponsored another official parallel event organized by the Virginia Gildersleeve International Fund titled "The Cutting Edge: Technology and Its Impact on Work, Wealth, and Women's Leadership." Other cosponsors include Women's World Banking, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, National Council of Women, International Federation of University Women, American Association of University Women and Women Graduates-USA.

[Adapted from a report from the SGI UN Liaison Office, NY; photos courtesy of SGI Office of Public Information]