UN women’s conference draws Anglican participation

Published May 1, 2004

A United Nations conference in New York on the status of women saw significant Anglican participation, according to Elizabeth Loweth, a former executive director of the Canadian Centre for Ethics and Corporate Policy and one of four attendees from the Anglican Church of Canada.

The three-week stay in New York was “challenging, tiring and exciting,” said Ms. Loweth.

The 48th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), part of the UN Social and Economic Council, meeting from March 1 to 12, concluded with two statements urging women’s equal participation in conflict prevention and recognizing that the participation of men and boys is essential in achieving gender equality.

In addition to the main sessions of debate at the UN building, some 170 caucuses and presentations were held at the UN and other locations.

A highlight of the meeting, said Ms. Loweth, was a gathering at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine. Phoebe Griswold, lead Anglican delegate, said, “we are called to embody Christ’s reconciling love in the world.”

Ms. Loweth said Anglicans at the meeting brought a “liberal Christian perspective” that acted as a counterpoint to some of the more fundamentalist Christian groups, particularly from the southern U.S. She also said she gained valuable knowledge on such issues as trafficking in women and girls for sex slavery and forced labour, the effect of HIV/AIDS on women and access to health care for women. Upon her return to Ontario, she spoke about the gathering during a lecture on business ethics.

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