|What I learned from the International Anglican Women’s Network
by Sayoko Ohoka
October 28, 2005
Report from an officer of Women’s Association of Anglican Church in Japan and a committee member of the gender project in NSKK
[The Nippon Sei Ko Kai - Japan]
Revd Shigeko Yamano (Tokyo Diocese) and Ms. Sayoko Ohoka (a layperson from Kyoto Diocese) participated in the UN Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW). They also joined the International Anglican Women’s Network (IAWN) which was held during the same period from Feb. 23 to Mar. 10 at the United Nations in New York. They responded to an invitation from the UN Anglican Office. Ms. Sayoko Ohoka wrote her impressions concerning the progress of the conferences in addition to several matters that were discussed at the conferences.
The Theme “Beijing + 10” was sponsored by the UN Commission on the Status of Women and had over 1800 official delegates from 165 countries and approximate 3000 participants from world wide Non Government organizations. We participated as NGO members sent from the Anglican Consultative Council.
The status of women in the UN has been greatly promoted through the past 4 conferences of the World Conference on Women. Especially, the Beijing Congress in 1995 was done on an epoch making scale. “The Beijing Action Platform” adopted in Beijing specified clearly 12 categories for improvement such as poverty, education, health, violence, armed conflict, economy, power and decision making, the structure in the social system, human rights, mass media, environment, young girls and children.
All these have been held up as the goals to improve the status of women in each country. In 2000 the UN General Meeting of the Millenium made a decision which was focused on “Millenium Development Goal”, applied from the Beijing Action Platform. The goal was for the urgent problems to be solved in the 21st century in the developing countries.
These are as follows:
1. The eradication of extreme poverty and hunger.
2. Universalization of primary education.
3. Stepping up of gender equality and empowerment to women.
4. Reduction of the death rate of children.
5. The improvement of women’s health.
6. Fight against HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.
7. Sustainable durability of environment.
8. Establishment of global partnership for development.
In this conference, each government delegate gave a presentation concerning the consequences of dealing with these urgent tasks. It also showed how they evaluated themselves in reference to the contents shown in the Beijing Action Platform. We observed these conferences while participating in side events held outside of the assembly hall sponsored by NGO from different countries. We participated in many subjects concerning women and shared our thoughts in common.
In parallel with CSW, Conference of the International Anglican Women’s Network was held. 41 women representative from 27 Anglican Provinces participated. They discussed about 12 themes of the Beijing Action Platform within groups divided into themes or regions. As the result of these discussions, we summarized the urgent problems which now women confront: “poverty”, “education”, “violence” and “the lack of policy for good quality and moderately-priced health care”. To overcome these problems, we confirmed the solidarity of all Anglican women spread over the world.
Finally we adopted the Closing Statement by ACC Representatives to the “49th CSW 2005”(Mar. 8, 2005). The statement contains that at least 30% of membership should be women in every Anglican organization where decision-making is done.
Through these conferences, I have obtained a lot of documents concerning the status of women in CSW or Anglican Women’s programs. I think these documents about the status of women might not yet be a concern in NSKK (Nippon Sei Ko Kai). I, myself, realized that only reading the documents was not enough in order to understand everything. It made me more understanding and deepened mutual fellowship when I participated in the conferences. Therefore, I wouldn’t keep these precious experiences only for myself. I will try to keep telling my experiences in order to bring people more understanding.
Overcoming all problems concerning women are not only for women, but also for all people in order to live better. So we have to go through the procedure of our required subjects. I do hope NSKK will have concrete programs for these themes and build up a system which contribute to a better and more peaceful world.
The above is a summary of Ms. Sayoko Ohoka’s report, a participant in the International Anglican Women’s Network (The 49th UNCSW in New York).
In a rapidly changing social situation today, with various values, the role of church women and how they can support the church is being determined. There will be a diversity of wide-ranging opinions regarding the activities of women in the church. Many of members of NSKK will listen and learn from the valuable report of Ms. Ohoka’s experiences during the conferences. It touched on global circumstances and movements.
We will take a step forward in solidarity with all Anglican women and others, continuously, now and hereafter.
(the Editor in Chief)
Members of the English Version of NSKK Newsletter, Summer 2005 are: as follows:
Rev. Kazuya Takeuchi, Ms. Kazuko Takeda, Ms. Toshiko Yoshimura.
Editor-in-Chief: Hajime Suzuki