The Future Women Want

June 27th, 2012 1:45 pm

Yesterday I attended the Joint Women’s March leaving from the People’s Summit. There was a fervour of energy and passion as women and men together marched through the streets of Rio in costumes, traditional dress, union t-shirts…

WSCF at the People's Summit

This is in stark contrast to today’s activity – I’ve come to the Rio Convention Centre to participate in the Rio+20 as part of the Major Groups attending the meeting. I sit in a air conditioned, well lit room listening to a panel discussion on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment for Sustainable Development with representatives from all over the world. It’s quite the contrast. Business dress clad participants sit politely listening to the officials.

WSCF at the Rio+20

Themes of today’s panel included: Public – Community partnerships (not just Public – Private), putting women and girls at the centre of aid programs, recognising women’s creativity and initiative in order for society to flourish, and a common understanding of Green Economies and Sustainable Development. The CEO of Petrobras, one of the largest energy companies in the world, Maria das Graças Foster spoke of her experience working in an industry that is dominated by men (at 86%). She called for women to have the courage and persistence to work towards women’s rights as it depends on each one of us.

Calls for courage and persistence from a head table in light of our activities yesterday doesn’t carry the same weight as it could. What does it mean to call for women’s empowerment from a sector that puts many women at risk? A sector that challenges the livelihood of so many communities? Where do we as women find courage?

-Jill Piebiak was a WSCF representative at the Rio+20 and People’s Summit. Read more about the event on WSCFConnects.

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