Mydea Simmons (far right) is the president of Baptist Women’s Union of Western Africa. 2018 was her first time attending the Commission on the Status of Women. She was very grateful for the experience.
Here are some of the things she appreciated and learned:
· Israeli women in politics were a challenge. Such support for each other
· Enjoyed the chapel services put on each morning by Ecumenical Women
· FGM story moved me to tears to encourage me go step outside of my box
· Awareness and sensitization of issues women with disabilities have that cause isolation, marginalization and lack of basic services especially for rural women
· Speaking out, standing up, supporting each other. Stop encouraging other women to accept abuse
· Strategies... outsmart rather than fight. God has given women a special ability to do this with men. Strong, confident men lift up women.
· Kenya women sharing about the amount of legislation passed ... with the help of their men
· "The power of one." Each one plus God! Go and make a difference. If you see a need, do something!
Charles and Gertrude Chiweshe pastor a church in Zimbabwe. It was so great to have men involved in this event as well, as many times the answer to women’s issues lies in the hands of the men as much as women.
Here is something that Gertrude learned from one of the sessions called “Women as Change makers: Women Lawyers.” She learned of the importance of being the voice for another woman through dissemination of information to the less privileged woman especially in the rural areas,
She said, “I realised that village women suffer because they don’t get information hence they are disadvantaged. The other reason is because of cultural and traditional rules, Sometimes they are looked down on by the male opponents. Men will be more educated than women because they are not considered. They are also abused by the husbands and the mother in-laws.
Rural woman are violated through sex and verbal abuse. Woman who have disabled children are blamed for it. If a woman is raped by a family member it is swept under the carpet and they are not allowed to report it to the law makers, or the family is paid some money that will be the end of it, This is where Woman Lawyers come in, I think in BWA we should then have a lot of Woman Lawyers, I think then another woman will fight tirelessly to get justice for another woman.”