UNCSW Part 2

At the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW), there is much discussion about the issues impacting women around the world. Depending on where you are from, the issues vary in their level of impact and importance.

For example, access to affordable childcare might rank high on the list for the American mom, but for mothers in Sweden, the economics of the socialist government depend on new mothers quickly re-entering the workforce, so the social mechanisms to deliver care are solidly in place.

Sounds great, right? Well, not exactly. During my time at the UNCSW, I have engaged in discussion with moms from Sweden who are deliberate and are conflicted about this very issue. My Swedish mom friends are very aware of the studies which show that the ages of zero – to – three are critical for young children and many Swedish mothers are choosing to stay at home with their kids for these first three crucial years of development. These same social protections that afford women access to quality childcare also frown upon mothers who drop out of the national economy to stay at home with their children.

Access to an education is an issue for many women in under developed countries and is often met with unequal treatment under the law. In America, you could successfully argue that those rights are engrained in the American constitution and innate for all American women. While you can argue about the quality of a public education, it would be difficult to say that American women and girls are forbidden to go to school in the United States.  There is one issue however, that is discussed at length during the CSW which seems to be a topic without borders or boundaries – and that is Human Trafficking. Panels are conducted annually at the CSW on who is impacted by this scourge, how to help the survivors, how to negate the traffickers. This year, with the theme of the CSW being about Gender Equality and Social Protection Mechanisms – trafficking was not at the forefront, but it was there, in discussions and being talked about and what panels were addressing the issue were standing room only.

I am still haunted by a conversation we had with a Central American woman prior to a panel on women in the media.  I am not sure she was there for the information or if she was there hoping to speak to members of the media about the horrible kidnappings taking place in Central and South America and along the northern border of Mexico.  She handed us a card and spoke of how women with children, both boys and girls, are afraid to leave the house for fear their children will be taken from their arms and used as pawns at the US border by the smugglers, traffickers and cartels.  She told of how women live with this fear and that so many children have been kidnapped for these purposes…and that this is really happening.

I remain haunted by her emotional plea and passionate voice. So, if you find yourself complaining about the children who have been separated from their families at our southern border…you might want to take another look.

My Lunch with Kathie Lee

A few weeks ago I was in New York for an American Mothers conference. (Great organization with a beautiful history…more about them soon). Anyway, Kathie Lee Gifford was receiving an award and was the featured speaker at lunch…a lunch I was presiding over in my role as president of the national organization…so I got to sit by her for a while and present her with the award. But man I’ve got to tell you, she was not at ALL what I thought she would be…I have watched her on t.v. on and off for years and in my own sheltered mind I had this image of her as being …well, I don’t know how to really describe what I thought she was…but that bubble has burst.  This woman was absolutely beautiful inside and out…truly remarkable, strong and hysterical in a down to earth sort of way. And I will certainly cherish the the couple of hours I shared in her company for a long, long time.

KLG28716706683_69883e50c4DSC_0214

Dragons, Dresses and Disney World

It has been a busy month around here.

I just returned from Las Vegas and a board meeting for this organization.  It was a very productive meeting and lots of fun hanging out with some of my all-time favorite people.  I get to see these ladies roughly three times a year, but consider them some of my very dearest friends even though we all live hundreds of miles apart. They are such accomplished women in their respective fields and amazing moms who inspire me on a daily basis.

The Senator came along too and bought us a few great dinners.

He’s a keeper.

And, before my meetings even started, the Senator planned a nice, romantic evening at a fantastic steak house followed by a front row table to watch the fountains at the Bellagio…a popular attraction in the city of lights.

I think I took a million photos that evening and sent them to everyone in my contact list.  Sorry about that people!

Vegas is definitely Disney World for adults.

And, just for the record, it is also the Year of the Dragon. This is a H-U-G-E celebratory event in Las Vegas. Every hotel, restaurant, casino lobby etc. was tricked out in Chinese red combined with dragon paraphernalia.

These are just a sampling….

Oh wait…now I have moved into window shopping and the gorgeous dresses….

Which were truly amazing…

And, rather timely for me seeing that the Speaker’s Ball is tonight and if you have read any of my previous posts on that, you know I struggle with the outfit.

Hmmm…

However, this year it specifies cocktail attire on the invitation which means short NOT long so I am done here. Thank you people for making this easy on me!

I promise to share some photos of the attire, it is always a treat.

Check back with me for more on the actual event, who was there, what the buzz is on the upcoming session and, of course what people were wearing. SW