This post is part of a series on the 54th United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. Click on a link to read further.
This morning Minister of State, Junior Cabinet Minister for the Status of Women met with Canadian NGOs who are here in New York for the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.
I was able to attend a meeting with Minister Guergis along with KateMcInturff of the Feminist Alliance for International Action. Kate made a verbal presentation to the Minister on the three pillars that the Minister has been stressing in her position directing the focus of the Status of Women Canada.
The Three Pillars as identified by the Status are…
1. Womens Economic Security
2. Ending Violence against Women
3. Increasing Women in leadership
Kate stressed the need for further and continued support of the Sisters in Spirit and Equal Voice. She stressed the need for government support of women’s organizations who represent marginalized and impoverished women, and she asked for a National Plan of Action to eliminateViolence against women.
Minister Guergis seemed to respond well to Kate. She agreed on some of Kate’s points and assured her that although they may at times have different ways of going about getting results, that it was helpful for her to know that they were working towards the same things.
Kate shared her time with me, and I wanted to support what she was saying to the Minister. Actually a lot of the “like minded” women’s groups tried to coordinate their messaging to a certain degree.
I talked to the Minister about the Center for Northern Families and the types of service we provide. I also talked about some of the successes our residents have had after going through the Women in Mining, Oil and Gas (the MOG Program) offered by our Regional Status of Women office. I also reminded her that we don’t have police in all of our communities, and told her about the death in Gameti.
The Minister surprised me by telling me that she had actually visited Yellowknife in the Summer and had traveled with our Territorial Minister, Sandy Lee. She said that she was very impressed with her and t that Minister Lee was straightforward and very aware of the issues needing to be addressed.
Minister Guergis also said that she was incredibly impressed with the MOG program and that it really reflected something that she hoped would happen more and more in Canada. That women would have the opportunity to have training and then be supported in male dominated professions. She referenced a residential program in Alberta that the construction industry of the area had partnered in where the training facility also had a residence and women were then able to have co-op daycare on site, job placement and peer support.
I suppose at the end of the day we shall see what actually happens from the conversations. Minister Guergis said that she was the first Minister to meet with NGOs at the UNCSW. I haven’t had a long enough history with this sort of thing to know if that’s the case, but if so I’m very happy that she has initiated these discussions. It seems to make a lot of sense that the Federal Minister overseeing the Status Of Women would take that opportunity to meet with women’s groups during something as significant as the UNCSW, and I am very glad that she took the time to talk with us.
I just really hope that from those conversations that Canada is able to realize concrete action!