Review of Good Shepherd Panel at CSW 59 Beijing+20

Flyer for panel event CSW 59 Version 3

On March 10, 2015 ‘Good Shepherd’ hosted a parallel event during CSW 59 – Beijing+20 entitled  “Advocacy and Networking Strategies for Legislative Reform: Ending Prostitution and Human Trafficking.”  The event shared a holistic approach to ending prostitution and human trafficking and shared successful strategies developed and engaged in by Ruhama, a Dublin (Ireland) based NGO which works on a national level with women affected by prostitution and other forms of commercial sexual exploitation.  Sarah Benson, CEO of Ruhama was the main panel presenter leading the discussion. The Minister of State with special responsibility for New Communities, Culture and Equality, Aodhán Ó Ríordáin attended the event and spoke in a very sensitive way of his conviction of the need for gender equality and the human rights of girls and women. The Minister said  ‘the girls I taught in Lawrence O’Toole primary school in Sherrif Street, Dublin made me a feminist, and taught me gender equality’  When I heard this I tweeted the following “Minister par excellence for gender equality. Great sensitivity to girls.’ Diane Matte, founder of CLES (Coalition against sexual exploitation) endorsed all that was shared from the Canadian perspective. Ruhama and Minister                                                           Diane, Minister Aodhán Ó Ríordáin and Sarah.

Sarah referenced Executive Director of UN Women, Dr Phumzile Mlambo-Kguka who at the NGOCSW Consultation day on March 8th said ‘while there had been some progress in the past 20 years, much of it was still WITHIN the patriarchal system. Rather than pushing for change within this system, we need to change the WHOLE PARADIGM.’  Sarah continued the commercial sex trade has to be one of the most perfect expressions of the patriarchal system – predicated as it is on the principle of male entitlement to the female body. Instead of accepting its inevitability and making efforts to simply effect change within the existing system we need to change the paradigm.  Otherwise, the ROOT CAUSES Dr Mlambo-Nguka mentioned in her speech, will never be addressed.

Change demands not just change to laws but also of change of attitudes, policies and services.  Focus needs to shift to the buyer and responses to those in prostitution need to be compassionate, supportive and resourced to support not only harm reduction work but also incorporate exiting and recovery.  What is needed is a broad holistic approach.

Taine Bien-Aime, Executive Director of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women noted the following points2015-03-10 10.15.30

  • ‘sex work’ is not work.
  • the need to invest in girls and women who exit prostitution and human trafficking
  • work with the United Nations –  reviewing language and enforcing a human rights framework
  • challenge masculinity

Diane noted that prostitution is something done to woman and is violence against women.  Prostitution is connected with racism and extreme poverty.  She called for exiting strategies and the putting of resources into organizations and services.

2015-03-10 09.31.24Winifred, Taina Bien-Aime, Sarah (at the back), Minister Aodhán Ó Ríordáin with participants.

2015-03-10 09.38.43

 

 

2015-03-10 11.07.00

 

The panel was skillfully moderated by our mission partner in New York, Nancy Fritsche Egan.  Their was some quality time for interaction of panelists and participants.

Speakers Bios are available here.

 

The Good Shepherd position paper on Prostitution of Women and Girls was distributed at the event. CLICK HERE to view.

More photographs

This event was one of several organized numerous organizations e.g. Coalition for the Abolition of Prostitution International, (CAP);  European Women’s Lobby;  Apne Aap International; Coalition Against Trafficking in Women, Space International, National Alliance of Women’s Organizations UK;  Women’s Front of Norway; and Foundation SCELLES; Swedish Women’s Lobby  to name a few. The message was strong and clear – prostitution is violence against women.

Speakers included Melissa Farley Ph.D. (USA);  Ingesborg Kraus PH.D (Germany); Rachel Moran, (Ireland) author, activist, and founding member of Survivors of Prostitution-Abuse calling for Enlightenment (SPACE International); Vednita Carter founder and Executive Director of Breaking Free (USA); Jean Enriquez, Executive Director, CATW-Asia Pacific; Esohe Aghatise, Consultant Trafficking Programmes Manager, Equality Now.

Women’s Spirituality – Pioneering and Transforming

 

???????????????????????????????Yesterday March 18th I had the privilege to moderate a panel entitled ‘Women’s Spirituality – Pioneering and Transforming’  This was a well attended event demonstrating clear interest in spirituality. It was hosted by the Society of Catholic Medical Missionaries,  aka, Medical Mission Sisters. Celine Paramundayil is their representative to the United Nations.  The event was co-sponsored by 11 other organizations.

The panelists were Miriam Therese Winter, Medical Mission Sister and Sr. Cristine Schenk, Congregations of St Joseph. Click here for the flyer for the event and bios of the speakers

???????????????????????????????Christine gave a historical context  – women in patriarchal households within the socio-political-spiritual-religious-prophetic tradition of the times of Jesus who was himself betrayed by his own political-religious institutions.  Christina then focused on the development of women’s leadership in the Graeco-Roman world, free woman, slave woman, freed woman, widows,  the house church and small business networks.

Miriam Therese in her presentation reviewed some concepts – ???????????????????????????????religion, spirituality, theology … calling for a paradigm of unity. Faith is something deeper than belief.  Faith is in the gut, in the imagination.  ‘I believe’ is patriarchal – tells us who God is. Reflections rooted in the real world, the world of now and the world of science demonstrates chaos, an evolution of consciousness and connection.  We are part of all that exists – not over and above but from within and of.  The chaos of the beginnings had an inherent capacity to organize itself.  We have the power to effect change by intentionality.  We don’t wipe out difference or impose a new order but in chaos there is a hint of the quantum reality.

The presentations were followed by lively discussion including a passionate call from a young woman for young women to engage and culminating with the following question ‘How have this same conversation with Member States present – Spirit transforming leadership into the future?’

 

Catherine Prendergast 2Catherine Prendergast, Daughters of Charity thanked the Medical Mission Sisters, Co-sponsors, panelists and participants, and brought the event to closure.

VIVAT are blessed to have a ‘camera person.’  I say a special word of thanks to Zelia Cordeiro. Great photographs!   You can enjoy them HERE

Ruchira Gupta – Keynote address delivered at the Apollo Theater on March 8th

Ruchira 3

Youtube of Ruchira’s  keynote address:

If you would prefer to read Click here

Four dreams of the women: First – Education for their children; Second – A job in the office – meaning fixed hours 9.00 – 5.00 and social security; Thirdly – A room of their own and Fourthly –  Justice meaning protection and accountability.

“We cannot create a culture of masculinity in which men get away with sexual exploitation if they pay for it.  ….If we normalize the exploitation of some women just because they are poor, or low-caste, or women of colour – we will normalize the exploitation of all.” Ruchira Gulpa

Congratulations Ruchira!