PES Women host empowerment seminar at UN HQ New York
In New York, PES Women builds bridges between local communities and international decision-makers. On Wednesday 19 March at 18.00 in the UN headquarters in New York, PES Women and Vision Films presented the film "The Threshold of the Desert", followed by a debate on women’s empowerment with the participation of representatives from UN Women, UNPD and the civil society.
The event was organised on the fringe of the 58th session of the Commission on the Status of Women and co-hosted by the Romanian Representation to the UN and Her Excellency Simona-Mirela Miculescu.
The film tells the powerful story of a woman who found the inspiration and strength to break traditional chains and create a school in her village, Tinjdad in Morocco. Through education and employment, she empowered not only herself but also her community; the children and women from her village have now access to early education and employment in and around the school.
The screening of the film in the European Parliament in 2013 had already brought together European and international experts and decision-makers, on a topic that is not only of interest to women in the Middle-East but everywhere in the world.
“Last year, when I met Najat Aziz, a young dynamic woman from a rural area in Morocco, it was evident for me that her voice had to be heard. Her story inspires us to raise awareness about the reality of communities and build bridges with policy makers. This is what we are trying to do today in New York, at the heart of the global event for women’s rights and gender equality, the CSW which is now concluding its 58th session,” PES Women President Zita Gurmai stated.
Zita also underlined the need for different approaches and best practices collected through communication between civil society, experts and decision-makers. There is not one model for women’s empowerment and it is necessary to ensure a genuine exchange between countries on both sides of the Mediterranean Sea, allowing sufficient space for the specificities of each region.
Yet democracy, rule of law, social justice and equality, including gender equality remain the central values in a common vision. This means that women who have been the frontrunners of the revolution in the MENA region should remain actors of the democratisation and peace-building processes.
Zita Gurmai said: “Free access to sexual and reproductive rights and the liberty to make their own choice for their own body has been a key to women’s economic empowerment and independence in countries where this has been achieved. CSW58 concluded that the Stand Alone Goal on Gender Equality and Women’s Rights is part of the post-2015 Millenium Development Goals (MDG). But aiming to achieve the Stand Alone Goal is only the pillar of the work we have done so far and a guarantee to safeguard what we already have achieved.”
Zita Gurmai wished to thank UN Women for supporting the project of Vision Films and paid tribute to Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: “UN Women has been doing important and amazing work around the world to give women equal chances and opportunities to education and work”
Zita Gurmai also thanked “the engaged and gender sensitive Vision Film team for raising awareness on Women’s empowerment and gender equality issues and I hope that they will continue with upcoming projects such as “6 Women.”