25th Sep, 2010

CFHI Convenes UN Forum on MDG 3 Empowerment of Women

Earlier this month on September 15, 2010, CFHI convened a Forum on the Empowerment of Women, at the United Nations in New York.  The purpose of the event was to increase awareness of the United Nations Millennium Development Goal #3, to Promote  Gender Equality and Empower Women.

Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury, former Under-Secretary General and High Representative for the Least Developed Countries, moderated a panel of women representing Panel of Speakers at CFHI Forum on the Empowerment of Women 2010 UN New Yorka cross section of leadership roles.  As world leaders met this past week to discuss the MDGs, this Forum, held a week in advance,  provided an opportunity for the voices of women from everyday life t be heard.  Co-sponsoring NGOs included the NGO Committee on Spirituality, Values and Global Concerns, The International Center for Good Business, The Institute of International Social Development, and The Spiritual United Nations.  Panelists included M. Christine MacMillan, Commissioner, Director of the International Social Justice Commission of the Salvation Army, Monika Mitchell, Executive Director, Good Business International, Hema Pandey, India Coordinator, Child Family Health International, and Jessica Evert, MD, Medical Director, Child Family Health International.

The Title of the Forum was Successes and Challenges of Women in Leadership Roles in Traditionally Male-Dominated Environments.  As women are increasingly taking on leadership roles, it becomes important for them to share their experience.  The panelists spoke with examples from their own lives and the audience was invited to share their comments and life experience as well.

We were especially happy to welcome our India Coordinator, Ms. Hema Pandey who was visiting from New Delhi.  Hema is responsible for coordinating six CFHI Global Hema Pandey Speaking and Jessica Evert at CFHI Forum on the Empowerment of Women 2010 UN New YorkHealth Immersion Programs taking place in Mumbai, Pune, Delhi, Dehradun, and Rishikesh, as well as multiple ongoing community health projects.  In the course of this work, she manages a group of five local CFHI Medical Directors, all of whom are men.  Ms. Pandey spoke of using a cooperative style of working that invites the participation of those she works with thus creating a joint feeling of ownership.  This being her first trip outside of India, Ms Pandey said she was surprised to find that women in the United States also felt that they were still struggling to achieve gender equality.

As the Forum drew to a close, there was a common expression of the panelists and the audience that this Forum should become and annual event until 2015, the target year for the Millennium Development Goals.

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[...] CFHI Convenes United Nations Forum on Millennium Development Goal 3 — Empowerment of Women.  Local women leaders including CFHI's [...]

[...] Each woman who has come to Sulabh relates an incredible journey.  Each CFHI student in the Public Health and Community Medicine Program in Delhi are given opportunities to interact and learn more about Sulabh and how it is run, and personally experience how Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak’s  dream, “To Make India Scavenger Free” can change the lives of an entire community.  Even though scavenging human waste became illegal in India in the late 1970’s and early 80’s it still exists in rural areas to this day.  As a result of this collaboration, more than 60 women have participated in vocational training and live an entirely new way of life in the town of Alwar.  A life that promises ‘ripples of opportunity and hope’ for these women’s children and their children’s children.  What I have seen here today is not just a form of economic emancipation, but a true form of social emancipation, and women's empowerment. [...]

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