Anglican voices heard at UN Status of Women meeting, Canadian delegate says

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“I think especially in a world where people wonder if religion is relevant, this is just one example that yes, we are very relevant,” says the Rev. Laura Marie Piotrowicz, the Canadian member of the Anglican Communion’s delegation to March 2017’s session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. Photo: Contributed
“I think especially in a world where people wonder if religion is relevant, this is just one example that yes, we are very relevant,” says the Rev. Laura Marie Piotrowicz, the Canadian member of the Anglican Communion’s delegation to March 2017’s session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. Photo: Contributed

The Canadian member of the Anglican Communion’s delegation to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) session this spring says she feels that, despite the enormity of the event, her group was able to have some effect on its outcome.

From March 10-24, the Rev. Laura Marie Piotrowicz, rector at St. John’s Anglican Church (Port Dalhousie), in St. Catharines, Ont., was in New York City for the CSW’s 61st meeting. Piotrowicz was attending with a group of 20 delegates from across the Communion.

The CSW itself is composed of 45 members, but the event attracted a total of about 8,000 people, Piotrowicz says—many of them representatives of a great number of other non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from across the globe.

But the Anglican group was able to involve itself in the process by, for example, submitting its thoughts on successive drafts of the CSW’s Agreed Conclusions—the summary document it releases at the end of each annual session.

“I believe that [the Anglican Communion delegation] did make a difference,” she says. “We could provide feedback to the folks who were in the room working on those conclusions…Just about every one of us was present and contributing to those conversations. So that was really quite exciting.

“I think especially in a world where people wonder if religion is relevant, this is just one example that yes, we are very relevant, we are very much tapped into issues and concerns that impact all of us.”

The primary theme of this year’s session was women’s economic empowerment. The CSW’s 45 agreed conclusions include recommendations to governments, companies and other organizations for achieving this—strengthening existing laws, improving education and putting a range of new economic and social policies in place, for example.

Piotrowicz says that, on behalf of Canadian Anglicans, she drew attention to Indigenous rights, human trafficking and also the Anglican Church of Canada’s recent humanitarian work. She and a small number of other Canadian Anglicans attending the session also met Cameron Jelinkski, a member of Canada’s permanent mission to the UN, to discuss these and other issues.

The delegation also released a statement on the meeting to the Anglican Consultative Council, the body that facilitates co-operation among members of the Anglican Communion.

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Tali Folkins
Tali Folkins has worked as a staff reporter for the Law Times and the New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal. His writing has appeared in The Globe and Mail and The United Church Observer.

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