Wednesday, March 5th

I’m finally blogging about the actual day I am living…

This morning we got to sleep in a bit since we didn’t need to be at the CCUN chapel until 8am.  WAHOO!!

The Ecumenical Worship service led by the World Council of Churches

The Ecumenical Worship service led by the World Council of Churches

The service was led by the World Council of Churches and the World Federation of Christian Students.  It was a fun service full of dancing and singing – following the theme of the Phoenician Woman.

After worship Lydia and I walked to find the Swedish Mission because I needed to pick up a ticket to their Side Event.  We finally found it and went up to the 46th floor where we were actually able to pick up a ticket for Lydia as well!

photoun13At 10:30 a.m. I went to to a Parallel Event called “Preventing Violence Against Women and Girls by Ending Early Marriage” sponsored by World Vision and Girls Not Brides.  It was interesting to hear from an organization that I have worked with before on their work with young girls caught in early marriages.  It was also interesting to hear about the cultural and social structures that are keeping this system of child marriage from ending.  We learned that many (I can’t find my note with the exact amount, but I will let you know when I find it) young girls were married within 6 months of the Tsunami, and that a lot of child marriages happen in a very close time period to disasters and crisis because marriage is seen as a safety for the girls.  These organizations are working with communities to change the mindset about child marriage because it needs to come from within the community.  Some communities have signed agreements that they will not have child marriage in their community, which puts pressure on men to not marry young girls.

Lydia and I went to lunch at Olympia cafe and I got chicken teriyaki (I hope you are all appreciating my notes about when and what I ate….I just wanted to remember…thanks for your help…)

UN Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson

UN Deputy Secretary General Jan Eliasson

After a speedy lunch we went to a Side Event called “From Prevention to Response:  Mobilizing Men and Boys” put on by the Swedish Mission and Norden.  This event was the gender equality government agencies from Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark, and Iceland (I was pretty excited about the last one since I’ve been there and have a special place in my heart for Iceland and Icelandic people).  The Deputy Seceratary General of the United Nations, Jan Eliasson made the opening statements! (This was pretty exciting, although Courtney is getting angry that I keep happening to be at events with big names…)

Sweden focused on engaging more fathers to take parental leave because this increases engagement with their children as well as taking on household duties.  She also spoke about the need to promote non-violent masculinity and have treatment programs for perpetrators.

Finland talked about the need to change the idea of it being okay for boys to fight and be violent.  They have “The Boys House” which sends the message that boys have the right to change the stereotype.  The issue must matter to men.

Norway spoke about people thinking that they ARE gender equal, but they do still have their problems.  They focused on making men caregivers and changing the structure.  They also reminded us that boys can also be victims of the forced marriage and the involvement in honor killings.

Denmark focused on changing the attitude to say it is masculine to say no to violence to women.

Iceland spoke about rehabilitation programs for perpetrators.  There is a men’s group in the federation of feminists in Iceland.  And finally she focused on looking into the world of violent pornography.

photoun14At 2:30 p.m. we went to the Presbyterian Women’s Parallel Event: “From Hurt to Hope: Women of the Church Confronting Institutional Violence”.  The panelists shared personal and heard stories from within the United States.  One of the major themes that I pulled from this event was the economic inequality in service occupations such as hotels.  We learned that many hotels have cut back on housekeeping staff while giving the individuals more work each day.  Not only does this cause stress, but physical injury as well.

At 6:00 p.m. we had an Ecumenical Women’s Dinner, after which we headed back to the hotel to unwind and hangout.

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