I had the absolute pleasure of attending the UN Celebrations for International Women’s Day in the North Lawn Building, Conference Room 2. I add that Conference Room 4 (overflow via telecast) was also full.
The morning consisted of remarks from the Secretary General of the UN, Ban Ki-moon, the Ambassador of France, and the Executive Director of UN Women, Michelle Bachelet, who made the following statement of power with a positive visualization:
“My message today is:
We cannot move backwards, we must keep moving forward. It is what we owe to millions of women fighting for their rights around the world. There can be no peace, no progress, no equality without women’s full and equal rights and participation.
And there can be no gender equality without women’s realization. Women’s realization of their full reproductive rights, their right to sexual and reproductive health, are essential to the empowerment of women and to gender equality.
I am pleased to announce that 50 governments and the European Commission have committed to take concrete action to end violence against girls and women… Together we must keep the promise so women and girls can, one day, in this century, live free of fear and violence.”
While not named explicitly in her speech, Canada is listed amongst that 50. A full list is available online: http://saynotoviolence.org/commit. More information about the UNITE campaign can be found online: http://endviolence.un.org/ however I was unable to find a copy of the video that was shown online.
The panel that followed was on the elderly and widowed; indigenous women; women living with HIV/AIDS, and immigrant women, followed by remarks on women with disabilities. It was an excellent discussion to draw attention to those groups who are often neglected in deliberations because they are not in the mainstream/normal category.