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Archive for March 15th, 2010

UN International Women’s Day 2010

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on March 15, 2010


UN International Women’s Day 2010

‘Celebrating the economic, political and social achievements

of women past, present and future’

43 Lancaster Gate, London, UK

Photo Link

A joint Universal Peace Federation and Women’s Federation for World Peace event to celebrate the UN’s International Women’s Day was held appropriately on the UK’s Mother’s Day.

Rita Payne, a former Editor of BBC Asia and currently the Chair of the Commonwealth Journalist’s Association – UK, reflected on the status of women in current developments and her own experience in the media in her speech, Women and Success – Is Hard Work Enough? ‘2010, on the face of it, is not a bad year for women’, she said, while pointing to Katherine Bigelow’s Oscar success on the eve of International Women’s Day and the passing of a Bill through the Indian Parliament to guarantee  that 1/3rd of all MPs are women. She added, ‘That there were protests and seven MPs were banned from the Indian Parliament shows that the battle for stronger representation for women is far from over.’

She referred to the raft of reviews and statistics that have emerged around Women’s Day revealing, for example, that there are more female Medical Doctor applicants than male because women have been outranking men in academic achievement.

However, she said some observers felt that former campaigning visionaries are being let down by the abuse of freedom by the laddette culture.

‘Maybe the greatest success will be when men and women are judged according to what they achieve than their gender’, she concluded. 

Her daughter suggested that, ‘Women can achieve many things but how can they do it without sacrificing the family.  Perhaps women can be more creative in addressing those needs but we won’t be able to do this without the men. We can address our needs with the help of men. Why don’t we forget about Women’s day and have a Family day instead?’

In a speech entitled ‘Women Initiating Change: The Strength of the Outsider’, Kat Callo explained the tragic cause of her work as a Trustee of Project Mosaic. Her cousin, a New York City firefighter, died in 9/11 trying to save those within the twin towers when the buildings collapsed. She began Project Mosaic, a UK-based educational charity that helps teach young people to be more tolerant of those coming from a different background – whether that’s a different race, ethnicity, religion, nationality or culture.

Violent extremism … plays on the theme of  “the outsider” – but it combines it with fear and ignorance, to creates a poisonous cocktail for our young people.

With a conversation, over a cup of tea or at a youth club or at a gathering of mothers at a refugee centre or talking with family members and friends. We are working to amplify the voice of the outsider – that person that takes a weakness and transforms it into a strength. (read more)

Hadia Saad had just returned from attending the 54th UN Congress on the Status of Women (CSW) in New York representing the Alulbayt Foundation in London. She also attended the UPF Parallel CSW event in New York. She shared about both experiences in a speech entitled, ‘Humanity Before Gender’. She said she was left with the sense that there is still a long way to go to obtain justice for women. She reflected on the position of women in Islam that tensions develop when the cultural traditions confine Islamic principles. (read more)

President of the League of Jewish Women

Mrs Ella Marks

Mrs. Ella Marks, the current President of the  League of Jewish Women (LJW), briefly described its history and activities since being founded in 1943. Stemming from a Judaic ethos, Jewish people believe that they should play an active part in the community wherever they live. The LJW has sought to educate young women to be both self supporting and train them to be active for the good of all society. The LJW is now affiliated to the National Council of Women as a consultative body. It is also very involved in interfaith meetings and activities. The LJW is a largely voluntary body that is an active community promoting service to those in need. She shared that she often reads to blind people.

Milena Ivovic commenting about the afternoon commented below, ‘It was very inspirational gathering. Women, outstanding achievers in various fields, were illustrating by their own life endeavours the greatness of human potential in each one of us. They are those who selflessly care for others in society and who know how to give from the essence. Their love and compassion certainly shed light and show the way.’

Shenaz Bunglawala

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Women Initiating Change: The Strength of the Outsider by Kat Callo

Posted by peacedevelopmentnetwork on March 15, 2010

Women Initiating Change: The Strength of the Outsider

By Kat Callo, Trustee of Project Mosaic

www.projectmosaic.net / kat.callo@projectmosaic.net

Thank you for inviting me to take part in this event for the United Nations’ International Day of Women – on the subject of celebrating the achievements of women. How fitting to celebrate this on Mother’s Day. May I first wish to all Mums a very Happy Mother’s Day!

I am a little person, involved in a small and modest initiative called Project Mosaic. This is a UK-based educational charity that helps teach young people to be more tolerant of those coming from a different background – whether that’s a different race, ethnicity, religion, nationality or culture.

One of our projects, the Global Citizen programme, sends successful people from immigrant backgrounds to give inspiring talks to disadvantaged children and young adults. Each “Global Citizen” speaker focuses on two themes. The first is to give practical advice about job hunting, higher education, developing a career and getting better connected into mainstream society. The second theme is identity and tolerance, with a look in particular at how the multiple identities enable us to make a richer contribution to society.

Our Global Citizen speakers are teaching young people how to transform an identity as “an outsider” into a powerful tool for self improvement, community service and nation building.

We all have felt, at some point in our lives, like an outsider. People from immigrant backgrounds can feel they are living on the edge within their new country. Poverty makes people feel like marginalised, left out. Women working in a predominantly male industry can feel like outsiders. Being an outsider can be lonely – but it can also be liberating.

Violent extremism also plays on the theme of  “the outsider” – but it combines it with fear and ignorance, to creates a poisonous cocktail for our young people. Sadly, it’s a type of poison that is contagious, since prejudice by one group can so easily trigger prejudice by another. After the attacks of 9-11, many Americans concluded that Muslims as a group hated Americans and wanted to kill Americans. At Project Mosaic we are working with Muslim friends in the UK, the U.S., the Middle East, Asia and elsewhere to move beyond the fear and ignorance, and break the vicious cycle of group hatred. That’s just one conversation that needs changing. There are so many others.

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