Over 90 Soroptimist delegates will be heading to New York in just over a week, for the start of the Commission on the Status of Women 2018 (CSW62). Here, we interview SI Director of Advocacy, Bev Bucur, who discusses the importance of CSW, her expectations for this year and she also shares memories of previous CSW events.
Q: Why is CSW so important to SI?
A: CSW is important because it is exclusively dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. CSW tells the story of women’s lives throughout the world and measures progress towards the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. It is important for Soroptimist International to be present and be the Global Voice for Women.
We are living in troubling times, where we are seeing many countries rolling back protections for women and girls. It is important that we stand with the thousands of women who attend CSW, and those at home, to make sure the world knows we are watching and will speak out against injustices. Our collective voice is important in improving the status of women.
Q: What is your experience of CSW – would you share a memory with us please?
I attended my first CSW in 2008, when there was a much smaller Soroptimist delegation. The Priority Theme was Financing for Gender Equality. I remember one parallel event held in the Church Centre in particular. The panel consisted of women from Sub-Saharan Africa, and they were discussing the need for women to be included in decision making when money is allocated for community projects. They told the audience that when the money goes to the men in the communities the women never see it. They said that they are the ones who are responsible for growing and putting food on the table, fetching water, and taking care of their families and they must be included in making the financial decisions. The men present listened, but it is now 2018 and nothing much has changed. This session was a powerful reminder of the need for gender equality and the harsh realities many women face in their daily lives.
Q: This is your first CSW as International Director of Advocacy, what are you most looking forward to? What are your goals?
I am looking forward to seeing all my Soroptimist friends from around the world. I am also looking forward to seeing all of our UN representatives who will be present. I learn so much from them each time I see them.
My goals are to make sure the delegation has a successful experience at CSW with effective communication, organisation and networking opportunities. I also hope to develop a relationship with partner organisations to for shared events at CSW63 and other UN Meetings.
Q: How important is the Soroptimist delegation – what significance does their presence have at the event and why?
We have over 90 Soroptimists attending CSW from around the world this year. These dedicated Soroptimists have funded their travel to New York for this event and they are here because they want to make a difference in the lives of women and girls worldwide. They represent the thousands of Soroptimists who are not able to come to New York, but work in their local communities to help women and girls. Their presence is significant because each Soroptimist will take what she has learned back to her community and inform others of the issues that continue to face women and girls and the solutions and best practice models that can be implemented to achieve gender equality, increasing our collective voice.
Q: Do you have any advice for the delegation on how to make the most of their time at the event?
To get the most out of attending CSW it is necessary to plan ahead. Review the calendar of events and choose sessions ahead of time. For many side events in the UN, it is necessary to RSVP. If you wait until the day of the session they will be filled. You might also choose events at one or two locations. If you pick events in many locations in one day, you will probably not get to many of them.
Part of the joy of attending CSW is meeting other Soroptimists. You will find the Soroptimists you meet to be interesting women with many talents. Get to know someone new. Introduce yourself to other NGOs and learn about what they do. You don’t ever have to be alone unless you want to be. Tell someone new about Soroptimist International every day.
I always save some time for fun. I try to see at least one play, go to a new jazz club and try a new museum. There is so much to do in New York that no one should ever feel bored. I have 3rd row seats to see Denzel Washington in the Iceman Cometh and I hope to go to the Red Rooster in Harlem for Jazz this year. We have some great suggestions from the Soroptimists from SI New York this year. Check out the CSW62 Delegates Pack for suggestions.
Q: How can Soroptimists who are not visiting New York this year, support the work you are doing and advocate?
Soroptimists can learn about what happens in the UN by signing up for the UN Journal to learn about the programme of meetings and agendas. You can watch the United Nations live or on-demand by watching UN WEB TV. Visit the SI website – specifically the section dedicated to CSW62 to learn about activities at CSW and the UN centres throughout the world.
Most of all get involved at the local and national level in issues that that that affect women and girls. What are the gender specific issues in your community? Inform others through your Soroptimist club activities, write letters to government officials, make your voice heard.
Members can find out more about CSW by watching the CSW webinars which will be recorded and made available on the SI website. Look out for information on our Facebook Page.