#CSW66: Impressions on the United Nations from Kansas
By Cheri Gage, CSW66 Presiding Bishop’s delegate, Diocese of Kansas (Province VII)
When I was approached by Mother Jenn Allen (Diocesan Missioner for the Diocese of Kansas and a former Presiding Bishop’s delegate with CSW Episcopal and Anglican delegations), last fall about applying to become a delegate representing our Presiding Bishop Michael Curry to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, I said …”What?” And then, “Why me?” But, Jenn+ is passionate about this work for the United Nations and her passion is contagious. I am totally surrounded by incredibly well-educated and articulate people who have a long and deep relationship with CSW, and I find that they are warm and welcoming and willing to share their time and talents with those of us who are new. I am honored to be here.
Among the highlights so far was the virtual Town Hall meeting with the Secretary General of the United Nations, Mr. Antonio Guterres. As the 9th Secretary General of the UN, he has a long and distinguished history in government and public service, and is determined to make human dignity the core of his work. In speaking to the theme of this year’s 66th session of CSW, which is “Achieving Gender Equality and the empowerment of all women and girls in the context of climate change, environmental disaster risk reduction policies and programmes”, he was bold and direct in his opening remarks. He stated that gender inequality is a matter of power and that we live in a male dominated world and culture, and THIS IS THE CAUSE OF WAR. He believes gender parity is essential for good decision-making.
The Secretary General listened carefully to the questions posed to him. In his response to a comment that we have so many great agreements already in place, he said that we don’t need to invent new things – we need to IMPLEMENT. It sounded to me that he feels in many ways we are moving backward. All the rules are being made by men in the rich countries, e.g., the G7 was all men as was G20.
“POWER IS NEVER FREELY GIVEN; POWER MUST BE GRABBED”, he said.
In the days following the Town Hall meeting, I’ve had the opportunity to listen to representatives from member states speak on the floor of the UN, have attended fascinating side and parallel events on topics ranging from women refugees from Afghanistan to Ecofeminism and Ecowomanism to the position of Rotary on climate change and gender equality, and I’ll be sharing more. Thanks for listening and thanks again to Mother Jenn for her contagious enthusiasm!
About the author: Cheri Gage, Diocese of Kansas (Province VII) is a life-long Kansan and Episcopalian. She, and her husband, Bob are the proud parents of two sons, Matthew and Andrew as well as grandparents of Jackson. Ms. Gage is a Summa Cum Laude graduate of Wichita State University where she majored in Women’s Studies and Communications. Prior to her retirement, she was the director of consulting for a national management company where she oversaw 30 consultants nationwide. After retiring she formed “Women for Women”, a program which supplies direction and support for women in poverty looking to obtain employment or improve their current employment status. Cheri serves as a delegate on the Presiding Bishop’s UNCSW 66 delegation.