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Last Updated (Saturday, 03 April 2021 12:09)

Towards a Safe, Just and Inclusive World: Women’s Participation in Decision Making

This year the United Nations Commission on Status of Women (UN CSW 65) organized virtually, from March 15-26, 2021, which is an opportunity for many of us to participate online. Thanks to the World YMCA leadership for coordinating the regions and bringing a delegation from different parts of the world to join the Virtual UN CSW 65 this year. Eleven members from APAY, mainly the Gender Equity Committee (GEC) members, attended the UN CSW 65. The UN CSW 65 invited us to initiate discourse and dialogue on an overarching theme “Women's full and effective participation and decision-making in public life, as well as the elimination of violence, for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.”

Perhaps this is the first time the Gender Equity Committee of the Asia & Pacific Alliance of YMCAs (APAY) organized a CSW Parallel Event during the UN CSW65 on March 25, from 13:00-15:00 GMT. The Parallel Event theme: “Towards a Safe, Just and Inclusive World: Women’s Participation in Decision Making” to advocate for a safe, just and inclusive world in solidarity with women worldwide. Around 45 participants attended from Africa, Asia, Europe, and North America.

Ms Youngsook CHO, Korea’s Ambassador for Gender Equality and Chairperson of International Solidarity Centre, Korea, Rev. Nicole Ashwood, Programme executive for a Just Community of Women and Men, World Council of Churches (WCC), Jamaica/ Switzerland, Ms Necta Montes, World Student Christian Federation (WSCF) former general secretary, Philippines, Dr Joycia Thorat, project & Policy Officer for the Gender Focal Point at Church’s Auxiliary for Social Action, India, Mr Nam Boo Won, General Secretary of the APAY, Korea/ Hong Kong, were the speakers of the event. Ms Siu Law moderated the event, members of the GEC- APAY, welcome greetings were were given by Dr Hahn Meerha, Chair of the GEC. The introductory remarks were given by Ms Sunita Suna, executive secretary for programs and responsible for Gender Justice Program in APAY.

The event was an opportunity and space for us to discuss the following topics to reflect together with the global community:
Towards a Safe, Just and Inclusive World: Women’s Participation in Decision Making; Generation Equality: Women’s Rights for an Equal Future; Thursdays in Black for a safe, just and inclusive world; Men’s role in creating a safe, just and inclusive word; Envisioning an inclusive world: women’s participation in decision making in ecumenical organizations.

The participants of the parallel event had the opportunity to listen, discuss and reflect on: women’s movement and women leadership; how to create a safe and inclusive space for women in a world of violence and discrimination; rights for women from the intersectional perspectives; can men play a positive role in creating a safe, just and inclusive world? The significance of creating space for intergeneration equality for rights and equal future; and the struggles, challenges for women leadership, and inclusion of diverse community within the ecumenical organizations.

The input, sharing, discussion and reflections by the speakers and participants gave us hope for a better world. Creating a better world requires mobilization, alliances and generational dialogue and solidarity; changes in policies/ strategies, political will; space for young people are some of the areas to continue to work on to translate our vision into a reality. The dialogue during the event encouraged us to continue to reflect and engage members in this journey of creating a safe, just and inclusive world.

The event was concluded by a prayer by Ms Nagako Okado, the GEC's former Chair, inviting everyone to help each other create a better world. The forum also acknowledged and thanked the GEC members' collective efforts and participation in organizing the parallel event, the staff and leadership of the World YMCA for assisting and coordinating in organizing the event and the full participation at the virtual UN CSW 65.