GCWM Delegation at the CSW, United Nations

We know that women around the world face many obstacles. We also know that if we are to reach our sisters with the gospel of Jesus we must first touch their lives at their point of need. In 1990, the General Conference Women’s Ministries (GCWM) identified six challenge issues that women face: abuse, poverty, health, lack of leadership training and mentoring, literacy, and woman’s workload. These issues affect women in and out of the Church, sometimes with equal intensity. They impact women in all countries of the world, although often to different degrees. These challenges are opportunities for outreach and witness—they help define many of the needs women face.

During the week of February, WM leaders from the General Conference, North American Division, and some overseas divisions attended the CSW (Committee on the Status of Women) Conference at the United Nations. This conference is held every year at the United Nations and is the only yearly international conference held in the United States that focuses solely on the global issues that women face.

One of the highlights of this year was networking with women from other countries and other NGOs (non-governmental organizations) that have projects or raise funds for projects to help women. Networking with these women gave us an opportunity to share information about GCWM and our initiatives in various countries. It was interesting to find out how little others know about what we do and how surprised they are that we do so much to help our sisters around the world.

Women attending from Indonesia

Since the focus of the conference was “Financing for gender equality and the empowerment of women,” it was good to be part of discussions with regards to sourcing funds for women’s projects—whether from governments, community, or NGOs.

This year GCWM presented a statement on issues women face and shared packets of resources that we have created such as our abuse brochures.

Heather-Dawn Small and Raquel Arrais
meeting new friends.

We left the conference loaded down with helpful information to share with our leaders around the world as well as a greater awareness of the immensity of the needs of women globally. What a privilege for us to attend and keep updated on these critical and challenging issues and to increase our awareness of issues women face. But even more, what an opportunity for us to increase our knowledge and stay relevant as we reach out to our sisters.

What can you do in your church and community to minister to these needs?