Sunday, March 6, 2011

“A Plan for Solidarity”: Voices from the NGO CSW - GABRIELA USA and Granny Peace Brigade

After attending the Women’s International Democratic Federation (WIDF) panel discussion on “Women and Work – International Cooperation as a factor of integration and peace” on the last day of the CSW conference, Lehigh CIE had an opportunity to meet Valerie Francisco, Vice Chair of Campaigns for GABRIELA USA, and Nydia Leaf with the Granny Peace Brigade. Valerie and Nydia’s organizations, and their presence at the NGO CSW, demonstrate the diverse participation of NGOs throughout the conference to promote the advancement of women’s rights and access to education and full employment.

As a representative of GABRIELA USA, Valerie’s comments in the session provided a context to explore how the interdependence of global economic systems coupled with the historical legacy of colonialism in the Philippines have left Filipino women without access to full employment. During the WIDF session, Valerie challenged the panelists and attendees to articulate a “plan for solidarity” for how NGOs and international women’s organizations can more effectively work together in support of the advancement of women. This challenge was echoed by Nydia and her work with the Granny Peace Brigade focusing on peace education, advocacy and counter-recruitment of young people into the military in the US. These two women spoke in a common voice reflecting the need for greater collaboration among NGOs and partner organizations to promote gender equality in all sectors of society including women’s access to full employment, education, and health protection. Further, these diverse organizations, and their representatives at the WIDF session, serve as evidence that advancing the rights of women worldwide is linked greater inter-agency cooperation.

For more information on these organizations, please visit:


Granny Peace Brigade:

This rallying cry – on the last day of the CSW – illuminates the importance of cooperation and dialogue among international organizations to ensure women’s voices are heard at all levels of policy-making. For discussion: What actions are needed to actualize a “plan for solidarity” among international organizations to promote gender equality?

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