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 a 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 Health 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.