The US National Committee for UN Women celebrated its 25th Anniversary as an organization. The celebration, held in New York, honored women and organizations who are making a difference towards the advancement of women around the world. Key note speaker included Lakshmi Puri, UN Women Deputy Executive Director and Assistant Secretary General to the United Nations.
Ms. Puri spoke in length about the importance of training women to be productive members of a community. She emphasized the importance of woman serving in parliament and the remarkable changes that can occur when females have a voice in their own government. Ms. Puri also touched on the many disadvantages women face, including living in poverty. According to Oxfam America in many poor communities, women play dual roles. As providers, they usually work in agriculture or other informal sectors, and they collect food, water, and fuel. As caretakers, they look after the children, sick, and elderly, as well as the home and the family’s assets.
However, socially constructed gender roles can put women at a disadvantage in the struggle to overcome poverty. Sixty-six percent of the world’s work falls on women’s shoulders, yet they earn only 10 percent of the world’s income. In the majority of countries, women’s wages are 10 to 30 percent lower than men’s. Worldwide in 2008, nearly 800 million people over the age of 15 could neither read nor write—and two-thirds of them were women.
The event also announced the President’s Award which recognized and acknowledged four past presidents of the chapter who have dedicated themselves to the advancement of women everywhere, including Norma Levitt, Ruth Zeller, Janet Stovin, and Leslie Wright. Additionally, Board of Directors’ Award was presented which included individuals and organizations whose moving, thoughtful, and inspiring work highlights the plights and achievements of women around the world.
The US National Committee (USNC) for UN Women is an independent non-profit organization that supports the mission of UN Women and social, political, and economic equality for women and girls around the world. The organization supports women of all ages to have access to education and employment opportunities, and sustainable livelihoods that enable them to live free of gender-based violence. The US National Committee for UN Women advocates for funding for UN Women through US Congress, Educates the public on global women’s issues and UN Women in communities around the country and raises private funds to support the initiatives of UN Women.