So… we’re back from the UN… but I want ot continue with posting Mira Hall’s updates! Here we are with Day Six:

UN day 6: The poverty frame North and south versus rural and urbanI’m sorry that this too has been late in coming. I’m sure that everyone who has been actively reading can see me running out of steam as the days packed with information regarding lots of different issues overwhelm my brain. In addition there has been stress on the home front, but I’m encouraged to know that when some people let you down, others are waiting to help lift you back up!

On Friday I attended a workshop hosted by UNIFEM on Economic literacy. I had been looking forward to it all week, and there are subsequent workshops building on the same theme. What I was disappointed with however is that the “economic” literacy aspect is focused on macro economics and inter country treatment of poverty.This results in the problem of “Poverty” being framed in terms of “North-South” relationships between countries, and the problem of poverty facing many people in the developed countries is not discussed.

I believe that if Canada and Australia had a stronger presence here at the CSW the discussion could be different, and I would be hearing things more relevant to my life.After a conversation with an Aussie from the Staticians conference, I came to hear that Canada has a strong delegation present for that event and that they are being impressively progressive on issues such as “China” and “India,” but I don’t know what the conversations are dealing with, so I can’t go into that.

However it was worthy of mention because while other countries have been quite active in promoting what they are doing within their own countries to implement “Gender Budgeting” and achieving the Millennium Development Goal 3 “Empower women and promote equality between women and men” our Country (with the exception of the NGOs) has been mute on the subject.Also among the conversational buzz is the lack of indigenous people at this conference. Should there have been more of a presence I believe that the poverty gap between “rural and urban” would have had a stronger buzz here. The Australian Statician also commented that much like he found I was lamenting Canada’s silence on the issues surrounding aboriginal populations and the extreme poverty they face, Australia is (in his experience) the same. He described it as this two faced hypocrisy where our respective government point to all kinds of help that they are giving to outside countries, while they repeatedly ignore the plight of marginalized populations within their own.

Following the fairly irrelevant (but interesting) UNIFEM presentation, that mainly focused on Latin America, and problems with the IMF and the world bank, and how richer countries have been able to avoid them, I moved onto a workshop hosted by the American Women’s Medical Association. This workshop went over the effort of many Universities across the US to include women in non-traditional fields of medicine. They spoke about Mentors and the difference between male mentors (providing assistance to young female med students) which often came in the form of practical and technical aspects of medicine, to the femal mentors who seem to provide mentorship around lifestyle issues associated with different fields of medicine.

It was really nice to see, especially because after I left the workshop Hillary Clinton was spouting election promises like “Lets make University Affordable for all our citizens!” and brought me back to the fact that I wish fervently that I could finish my degree quickly, and immerse myself in study, but the economic barrier is simply too great. Muriel Smith, a former Deputy Premier out of Manitoba provided me (kindly) with economic literacy workbooks that I plan to use in the territory when I get back. I’ve noticed that they are very relevant to Manitoba specifically, but I’m sure that with help from Statistics Canada, I can kind of modify them to reflect Territorial reality, and that as a result it could provide women who participate in the workshops with an additional picture of how economic policy plays out in the different provinces.