A blog by Sylvia Walker, President SI St. Augustine
“In terms of its substance and energy, the Consultation Day Programme of CSW61 was impactful and entertaining. Beginning with its various Welcome Messages and Conversation, the first part of the Programme was a tour de force of strong opinions, appealing arguments, experiential narratives, and riveting poetry, all making me inwardly celebrate my first-time presence at CSW61. Here indeed was ‘church’ as the event took place on Sunday 12th March 2017 at the Stella and Danny Kaye Auditorium of Hunter College, New York City, and the congregation of diverse women being reminded that context is everything and that there must be an enabling environment for women’s economic empowerment.
I personally savoured the rhythm of the morning session as it moved seamlessly from the spoken word of prose in the speeches and conversations to the impassioned oration of Dr. Mabel Bianco, Woman of Distination 2017 Awardee, and Keynote Speaker for the Consultation Day Programme. Her intensity was followed by the articulate mellow poetry of Rupi Kaur, centering around exclusion, underpinning the theme of the panel discussion on Women’s Rights and Gender Equity in the Changing World of Work and bringing the morning to a fulsome end with its different ideologies and theories.”
After the lunch break, I participated in a Break Out group which discussed the theme Tackling Gender Violence at Home and in the Workplace, as presented by Dishad Dayani of the World Women Global Council and Raphael Crowe, Senior Gender Specialist, ILO, Geneva. Whilst the former identified a two-pronged approach involving the media and the entertainment industry for helping victims of domestic violence, the latter cited the important research conducted by the University of New South Wales on the impact of domestic violence in the workplace and it having led not only to a meeting with the Trade Union Movement but also to employees being able to get leave to take care of issues related to domestic violence.
Opportunity and freedom were the concluding motifs of the Consultation Day Programme when the sonorous voice of LeeOlive Tucker, Harlem Diva, lamented the Nina Simone version of “I wish I knew How It Would Feel to Be Free” but then immediately ignited an interactive singalong with ‘This Little Light of Mine’, Etta Baker’s ‘We Who Believe in Freedom Cannot Rest’, and finally, ‘Keep on Movin’.’” Needless to say, when we were all sung out, we were a few hundred women energized and renewed to pursue the cause of women’s empowerment at CSW61, the theme for the Consultation Programme having been Women’s Rights and Gender Equity in the Changing World of Work.
The priming was complete”.