This is the final part of a series on the 54th United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. Click on a link to read further.
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7 , Part 8 , Part 9
I will probably write more than just one post-mortem on the 54th Commission of the Status of Women for me. I’m writing while staying up too late in Calgary, waiting impatiently to be home with my kids, and have stayed up to that point that I’m scared that if I go to sleep that I will miss my plane.
I didn’t actually get to see Senator Clinton. I had referred to her in my tweets, facebook and blog as “Hillary” and some other tweeple sent out a message to people blogging and tweeting the CSW asking that we refer to the Senator by her proper title. The Feminist communication on this is that when people refer to male politicians they do so by either the proper title and last name, or simply last name.
I suppose referring to a public or professional official by their first name kind of implies a familiarity that isn’t seen as respectful as the title-last-name thing. I’m not that picky about much. I usually refer to people by name because I’m never totally sure of their proper titles (unless it’s an easy one like “president” or “minister”) and I’m usually too lazy to google.
All of that, however, is secondary to the fact that I didn’t actually get to see her address the United Nations on the last day of the CSW. I did wait for over two hours in a line where I was shouted at by UN security personnel. I started livetweeting that after one of the security guards yelled viciously at a woman who looked over seventy. She had approached the guard because she wasn’t sure which line she should have been in.
Someone told me to take his picture and put it on twitter, I tried to get a shot, but frankly I didn’t feel very comfortable *obviously* taking a picture of him. My reason being that if he would scream at an elder, the chances of him being really mean to me were high. So I stood in the line and listened to him scream at us tweeting and thinking about the irony of listening to a man in an authority position treat women (who were at this point being very well-behaved) in such an abusive manner… Considering it was a crowd of feminists, many of them dedicated to eradicating violence against women.
After a long wait I made it to the front and was able to get a ticket to the event. I hurried up to Conference Room 2 only to find another line up.
I got into the line, and the patience of the crowd was at this point growing thin. Some guy behind me tried to butt ahead, I gave him a dirty look and dramatically stepped in front of him. He behaved after that.
We continued to wait and wait.
It was past the time that Senator Clinton was scheduled to start her address. Security moved us to the doors for Conference Room 1, and then back again. By this point people were crowding into each other.
The security opened the door to Conference Room 2 to let “a few” people in, and people pushed forward.
The only thing I can compare it to is a mosh pit. not one where people are jumping around and bouncing against one another, one where we were pressed against strangers in the crowd, front to back and side to side. When the crowd moved it was like a swell in an ocean of people and we were moved.
When the door opened the swell of the crowd pushed forward, and a few of us got in to see the address, the security quickly realized the potential for the crowd to get a little out of control (although I swear that with the screamy guard everyone was being cool). Then three guards pushed back and the wave of people swelled backwards, and I moved with them, caught helplessly in the most densely packed crowd I’ve ever experienced.
After the security pushed the crowd back from the door, they padlocked the entrance and told us that there was no chance at all that any one else could get into the address. Some people got upset and started waving their tickets and demanding that the guards tell them why they would be issued tickets and not allowed into the events. Others of us felt bad for the guards who clearly had no control over how many tickets the organizers gave out, but only control over allowing access to the room in a way that didn’t violate fire codes.
So, although I didn’t get to see the Senator’s address, it was very exciting and I will keep the ticket as a keepsake of the Memory, along with my UN badge.
As far as I know, she did not announce that the United States would ratify CEDAW (the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women) as many people had rumored she would.
When I get home I’ll have to go back and read all the tweets and the blogs and the listserv announcements thoroughly to be able to do my best attempt at an “in-depth” post-mortem.
In the meantime I heard from people today that Kady O’Malley who live blogs from the Hill for CBC mentioned that Anita Neville (official opposition critic for Women’s Issues) asked Minister Helena Guergis questions on what she said to me, (and the rest of us at the Canadian Delegate Debrief) about the family values of Israel making the need for a national day care strategy there supposedly unnecessary.
You can read the live blog here:
And you can read my blog entry here (although as I read it again I became very self-conscious of how technically crappy my writing is… which makes me want to heed the advice of a few of my University profs and take an English class…):
It was really neat for me to see reference to words that I wrote showing up at the House of Commons on Parliament Hill.
It was special for me because I’m not the most educated person, and I’m not an expert on anything, I’m just a regular person who doesn’t even write very well. I’m a mom who has trouble affording child care. I work multiple jobs to give my kids a decent standard of living. I’m not really very different from most of the people I know.
Although I know that my beliefs and values aren’t held by *everyone* (and nor should they be because the world is beautiful through its diversity) but I was glad that my desire for quality, affordable, accessible daycare is a desire that many Canadians have and that this desire would go from being expressed in a Blog to being heard on the Hill was very powerful. Very Social Media to Social Action! I feel inspired, and like change can happen.
Maybe in a cheesy way, I feel like if the people of Canada can come up with a strong vision for our country, that the vision can actually *MAKE IT* to the Hill.
In my Canada, I’ll be able to afford good childcare, have decent housing and be able to work one full-time job instead of multiple jobs.
What does your Canada look like?