The opening of the Commission was webcast and can be found in the Archives Secretary General indicated that this is the Commission on the Status of Women. But it could equally go by another name: the Commission on the Status of Power. How apt! Because he said this is the crux of the issue! Gender equality is fundamentally a question of power. The statement of the President of the General Assembly is in Spanish. The Chair of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) Ms. Hilary Gbedemah said ‘Women are disadvantaged in social protection systems, experiencing lower coverage rates and substantially lower benefit levels. The Committee recognises that social protection policies are an important tool for reducing . poverty and gender inequality. Gender gaps in accessing social protection vary per region and country, as they are largely dependent on the characteristics of the labour market and the structure of the social security system.’ See the full text If you wish to see who is who with regard to Women’s and Girls Leadership at the United Nations review the panel line up. Dubravka Šimonović, Special Rapporteur on violence against women also made a Statement. If you prefer to read an account rather than watch the webcast go to UN Meeting Coverage
While there is optimism and hope for a good outcome many sharing and stories tell of backlash against gender equality. ” As push back against women’s rights around the world threaten to reverse hard-won gains, conviction and political courage must drive forward progress and build on achievements, high-level speakers pledged at the opening session of the sixty-third session of the Commission on the Status of Women.” … “United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres said that when women are excluded, everyone pays, also warning that the world today is witnessing a deep, pervasive and relentless push back on women’s rights. “We will push back against the push back,” he pledged, adding that the United Nations is also making progress in achieving gender parity.” All quotes from the UN Meeting Coverage link above
In January 2017, I participated in a global consultation on Social Protection and Diakonia at Sigtuna, Sweden, hosted by the Church of Sweden. The word ‘Diakonia’ is a Greek term and equates with ‘ministry.’ People from twenty countries gathered to discuss the issue of social protection and ask what is the role and voice of church and faith based actors in the issue of social protection – and how to relate this to the responsibility of States to fulfill everyone’s right to social protection. Among the participants were members of Norwegian Church Aid. Good Shepherd had long -standing relationships with them dating back to the early days in Ethiopia when they funding Bethlehem Training Center.
It was a privilege for me to be invited to participate in the discussion and reflection integrating scripture and social policy. The statement is the outcome. I suggest that this could be a reflection/prayer/discernment document for use by sisters and mission partners on social protection and taxation. It is certainly integrating spirituality and social policy and the sustainable development goals. As you know I have been a long time advocate on the need to implement national floors of social protection – moving from poverty to prosperity.
A video and statement has been prepared – and are now in three languages – English, Spanish and French.
We call on churches and faith based organizations everywhere to stand up and demand for fair redistribution of wealth and social protection as a matter of social justice and human rights. We affirm that social protection is an essential requirement for a just society, regardless of nationality, legal citizenship or the level of economic development in a country. We also believe that taxation is a fundamental instrument for redistribution and for financing the common good so that all can have life in dignity.