Monday, February 21, 2011

The 55th NGO Convention on the Status of Women Consultation Day was held on a cold and snowy day in New York City. Hundreds of women arrived, with more than a few braving the snowy day in platform stilettos. Young women and old flocked to the conference, representing a legion of countries and ethnicities—beaming, dedicated, inspired.After an introduction from Vivian Pender (President, NGO/CSW Chair), Michelle Bachelet (the first woman President of Chile and now Executive Director and Under-Secretary-General for UN Women) gave an inspiring presentation on women and girls’ access to education, employment and decent work. What struck me as an important part of her speech was her conclusion that grassroots movements play a catalyzing role in development. Next Dr. Kaosar Afsana took the floor, discussing how the reception of women’s health services could be improved through mobile technology, citing Bangladesh as a prime example.The program continued with four notable speakers, (Eleanor Nwadinobi, Shelley Canright, Miriam Erez, and Akanisi Kedrayate Tabualevu) discussing such vital topics as accessibility of education and technology to women as well as programs designed to increase the interest and relevance of science to school-age girls and women.Many people were friendly; women would just walk up to me and ask how I was doing. The atmosphere was happy and many discussions were going on in little groups everywhere. My favorite part was when we did the breakout sessions and we talked among ourselves on these issues with people from all over the world. Along with being an enjoyable experience, it was also an enlightening one—stressing the need for solidarity across all borders for the betterment of women.

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