Women Graduates-USA held its 3rd Annual General Meeting on Saturday, September 25 beginning at 11:00 a.m. EDT until 12:30 p.m. EDT. The meeting took place by conference call. More than 40 members participated.
The annual business meeting took up the first 30 minutes followed by up-dates on our 3 program focuses – CEDAW, Trafficking of Women and Girls, and Education of Women and Girls. (see AGM Presentations in the sidebar to the left).
An .mp3 recording of the teleconference is available. Send an e-mail to: email@example.com for information about how to download it.
Women Graduates-USA sharpened its’ program focus considerably following the AGM, convened just a year ago in Long Beach. The program portion of the 2010 AGM will demonstrate just how that focus has sharpened , as well as what the impact of the program issues could be for the individual member, especially the member who really wants to make a difference!
For WG-USA one of the most important actions to occur at the recent Triennial Conference of the International Federation of University Women was the unanimous passage of a resolution dealing with trafficking of human persons. The resolution resolves that:
While the passage of this resolution constitutes an organizational “success” it is apparent that much work remains to be done by WG-USA members here in our own country.
For instance, member of WG-USA, Camille MacDonald-Polski, in an extremely well prepared presentation in Mexico City, directed member attention to two pieces of legislation which are making their way through Congress and which require monitoring, HB2985 and HB 5575.
MacDonald-Polski also addressed the role of the multi national corporation in the protection of women’s rights. She noted that while it is absolutely accepted that direct foreign investment is a good thing since it increases purchasing power, it is less noticed that increased .purchasing power, or that increased development often leads to privatizing natural resources. Often, she said, the state which increases the power of the multi national fails to protect the most vulnerable, women and children. Corporate social responsibility is not legally binding, so the protection of women and children is not legally binding. Many social ills result, including a scramble for diminishing natural resources, a lack of access to land ownership, the exclusion of women from decision making structures, the use of children as laborers, and the overburdening of women. In the IFUW presentation MacDonald Polski urged that concerted efforts be undertaken to include all stakeholders so that the resulting relationship be regarded as symbiotic rather than self reliant.
The AGM segment dealing with trafficking will only touch briefly on the many personal actions the individual members can undertake in their own community. However, it will urge that such action be undertaken and will refer interested persons to the links to be found on the web site.
Alice Dahle, program committee member whose special passion is the ratification of CEDAW, will provide for us an update on the current status of this issue. Its ratification is the second program focus for the WG-USA organization, (its passage certainly would address some of the issues which surround trafficking.)
Jackie Shahzadi, and Kathleen Laurila representing the program interests of our organization in work which leads toward access to education for women worldwide, attended an IFUW session in which many valuable strategies offered in the newly published and released IFUW handbook on education advocacy were described. WG-USA member, Alicia Baucom, was on the IFUW task group that wrote this. This handbook will be described in the third AGM segment dealing with program.
WHAT WOULD ALL THIS BE WITHOUT PEOPLE? REAL, LIVE, VITAL WOMEN WHO CARE?
The final aspect of the program portion of the AGM will share some of the insights obtained through personal discussions and interviews carried out with members of NFA’s from such diverse locations as Nepal, Kenya, Uganda, Thailand, India, Germany and Canada.
The forty minutes at the AGM devoted to program should be an interesting, exciting and intellectually “rich” time!