IAW expanding CFUW’s International Footprint

Cheryl HaylesRespectfully submitted by Cheryl Hayles, VP International Relations, CFUW, Regional VP for North America, IAW

Founded in 1904 and based in Geneva, the International Alliance of Women (IAW) is an international Non-Government Organization (NGO) comprising 52 member organizations involved in the promotion of the human rights of women and girls globally. The IAW has general consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council and is accredited to many specialized UN agencies, has participatory status with the Council of Europe and is represented at the Arab League, the African Union and other international organizations.

Member organizations (Affiliates)
A society with affiliate membership is a national organization which has local branches and admits members from all over the country, is a non-partisan organization, and has objectives which correspond with those of IAW.

In the global community, respected women’s organization must encompass more than one goal to be able to advocate for women’s equity and inclusion internationally. CFUW  continues to support education both locally, nationally and internationally but  as we grow in understanding of the Sustainable Development Goals it is clear that the issues women and girls face are much greater than access to education.  Globally more girls have access to education than ever before and are out performing males in graduation rates from post secondary institutions and academic achievement.  However, even with higher education and increased entry into traditionally male dominated fields, women are still challenged to reach their potential.  The barriers that impact the well-being of women have an intersectional quality which combined present themselves as powerful blocks to women realizing their potential.  The dominant factors to gender trauma include but are not exclusive to education.

By affiliating with IAW the Canadian Federation of University Women is enlarging its advocacy footprint in order to address global issues that affect women nationally and internationally.  With increased understanding of the deficits women face and understanding that education is only one of many agents of change, we must join the larger conversation.

The Sustainable Development resolution passed at the 2016 AGM empowers the Board to seek opportunities to meet the SDGs by 2030.  Based on the pillars of engagement IAW has outlined for 2018-20 it is imperative that CFUW for the low cost of $168 annually, for the entire CFUW organization, and no per capita dues, actively participates in building international partnerships, engages in learning and leadership to stay on target for 2030.  An organization that does not learn will not grow!  Traditional practices are only useful if they can guide responses to present day challenges.

IAW has a 113-year history, an extensive network and a broad base of expertise that supports the work we must do to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 both as an organization and a nation.

The pillars for the Action Programme 2018-2020 of the International Alliance of Women are as follows:

Justice-Human rights, Peace, Economy, Elimination of Violence against Women, Health, Climate Change. 

CFUW already has resolutions specific to these pillars and therefore has engaged in affiliate membership with IAW, a highly respected organization. It is the responsibility of the Board to extend the reach of the organization to achieve our goals as a leading women’s organization in Canada and the world. Thankfully, previous CFUW Boards have encouraged affiliation with other organizations and our Constitution has no restriction to  this.

As UNCSW62 approaches we are reminded that our strength is multiplied through our affiliation with IAW.  CFUW’s “Written Statement” addressing the priority theme: “Challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls; and the review theme: “Participation in and access of women to the media, and information and communications technologies and their impact on and use as an instrument for the advancement and empowerment of women (agreed conclusions of the forty-seventh session),” is supported by IAW.  This kind of endorsement is the equivalent of 52 Non-Governmental Organizations signing on to the statement. Added to the other signatures, this amplifies our voice in the international conversation. CFUW is very fortunate to have this opportunity to grow its network!