Next month the UN will host thousands of women in New York and online. The huge gathering is the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). In all the talk and formulating of formal statements, there is room for hundreds of groups to host online meetings – it is wonderfully democratic to sift through all the voices and agendas.
Wherever you are, you can take part in an online discussion about violence against women, and girls, hosted by a number of Christian groups working together.
We want to be involved so we can talk honestly about what Christians are doing and to encourage more of us to understand the issues and respond.
The challenges are so vast that it might seem fatuous to have a 90 minute online event but the voices on that call deserve to be amplified.
We will hear from Gideon Para-Mallam, a campaigner in Nigeria and the UK, who highlights the pressures facing Christian girls targeted by Boko Haram and Isis. We have all heard some stories but behind the occasional flurry of news interest are weekly atrocities. Gideon’s charity (para-mallampeacefoundation.org) keeps a grim count of deaths and flagrant attacks on Christians, especially in the north.
Persecution looks different for women: Rape attacks make travel very risky and are designed to induce fear, and break up families; girls are forced out of school, sometimes forced into marriage with a Moslem man or trafficked to another region.
It is vital to equip “churches to hold the frontline of faith and freedom”, Baroness Cox from the UK House of Lords said last year.
We will also highlight the toll that domestic abuse has on women across all nations and sadly inside the Church as well. Frenchwoman, Valerie Duval-Poujol (uneplacepourelles.fr) will show how technology and simple campaigning can be effective in raising awareness and highlighting the power of working together across nations.
The voices of women in the global Baptist Church are changing perceptions, policy and practice.
Melinda Tankard-Reist from Australia is an expert in the impact of exploitative material that objectifies women and sexualises girls in order to sell products. Her campaign is called Collective Shout (collectiveshout.org) and has been very successful in shutting down exploitation.
These important contributions on the UN CSW online stage do not simply invite a shocked intake of breath. They ask us to be informed and to take action to bring transformation. Gideon, Valerie and Melinda are all effective advocates. How do they do it? This event will encourage you that we can all be involved.
We are salt and light for girls from northern Nigeria to northern Australia and everywhere where there is internet connection.
Please join the discussion on Violence against Women on Thursday March 9th at 10am EST/3pm GMT/8pm in Pakistan (check the time in your area).
Our event is called VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN – DOES TECHNOLOGY HELP OR HINDER?
You must register to take part (this is a simple and free process)
1. Go to ngocsw.org/ngocsw67
2. Click on ‘Register for the NGO CSW67 Forum’
Then you will have access to the platform for all events, messages etc (the platform for this is WHOVA – some of us may have used this before)
3. Search for our event. You can either scroll though all the events for Thursday 9th till you get to 10am and our event will be named OR enter the event title in the search line and it will pop up.
4. Click ‘Add to My Agenda’
Please tell your friends and colleagues – we have much to learn from Gideon, Valerie and Melinda.