Originally published on Union CSW
Lana Payne, Unifor Atlantic Regional Director
It is impossible not to be inspired by the 1000s of women who come to the United Nations every year for the Commission on the Status of Women.
They come to push the United Nations to help raise standards and equality for women around the world. And every year they make progress. They come to make demands of their governments including more than 120 trade union women from over 46 nations. As Unifor women did with Canadian and provincial government representatives.
With a special focus on empowering rural women and girls, this year’s Commission left a sense that perhaps real transformative change is upon us.
This might be related to the optimism the #MeToo movement has had on much of the dialogue taking place at the dozens of NGO-sponsored events. Women has seized on this moment.
There was a significant focus on Indigenous women and girls and the reality they face across the planet, one of exploitation, violence and higher rates of murder. But here too, women are using their voices in new and profound ways, they are organizing and mobilizing, taking political and media space and refusing to allow what often seems like insurmountable odds on the path to full equality to hamper their work.
They are like Rose, the first woman elected mayor of her Nicaraguan town. Or Lucy from Kenya who works to elect women because as she says it is critical that women are in charge of government finances. Or the hundreds of women working to end violence against women, breaking the silence and empowering others to do the same.
Women, everywhere, still fighting. Still resisting. Still living with violence. Still surviving. Still demanding. And still telling their stories. Perhaps finally this is the time of profound change. For certain, it won’t happen without all these women pushing together.