NGO CSW Forum Consultation Day
March 8, 2015
The kick off event for NGO CSW, held at the Apollo Theatre on Sunday Morning was a great success. The Hall was filled, both Orchestra and Mezzanine. Participants even spilled over to the balconies alongside the stage. The emcees were Houry Geudelekian of Armenian Relief Society and Susan O’Malley, International Federation of Business and Professional Women.
Consultation Day speakers included Soon-Young Yoon, Chair, NGO Committee on the Status of Women/ New York, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Under-Secretary General, Executive Director, UN Women, Dr. Gertrude Mongella, former Under-Secretary General, UN 4th World Conference on Women. The Keynote Speaker and reciepient of the Women of Distinction Awardee for Apne AAP was Emmy award winner Ruchira Gupta, director of “The Selling of Innocents”.
Soon-Young Yoon gave a comprehensive history of Beijing + 20: from the “Platform for Action” at the World Conference in Beijing, to milestones of the past 20 years, ending in where are are today and what we’ve yet to achieve.
Phumzie Mlambo-Ngcuka projected that at our rate of progress, we will not complete the Platform for Action goals of Beijing plus 20 for another 50 years. She urges us to address economic issues in enabling women worldwide. “While we’ve made strides since 1950, it is also our job to be sure no women in left behind.. in any country.”
Keynote Speaker Ruchira Gupta won an Emmy for her documentary, “The Selling of Innocence.” She shared with us riveting stories of her time in India. How she discovered a village who unknowingly sold all their girls into prostitution. How she found these women in brothels and documented their lives during and after prostitution. “The world must change… not the women, but the world.” “The changes we’ve made are within the context of a patriarchal society” She encourages us to “not sweat the small stuff”, to pick our battles, focus on the war.
Dr. Gertrude Mongella asked if we’ve done our homework from the Beijing conference. If we’ve been doing our homework, we should not be talking about “the women”, we should be talking about “us”. To reach our goals, we need to work with “the men”. We don’t want to just support the sympathetic men, we want to be equal to “the right men”. We need women in the driver seat.
The Consultation Day ended with participants taking the train en masse to Times Square to join the women’s March and Rally for International Women’s Day.
- Reported by Pamela Tang, AWE