A World of Possibilities Awaits – Become a Global Community Champion for Women’s Economic Empowerment
BPW Bowmanville member Sheila Crook (left) with BPW International's Past President, Freda Miriklis and BPW Canada's Past President, Doris Hall (right).
I, like many of you reading this blog knew that we could do better and that the time for gender equality was now. Seeing women and families continuing to experience the same challenges I encountered during my own journey to empowerment, made it clear that a different approach was needed to advance women’s economic empowerment in Canada and around the globe. It was on the heels of the Arab Spring social media phenomenon that I began a personal journey to expand my reach and discovered the UN Women Empower Women’s online platform for change.
When I read the call to become a global champion I challenged my self-doubt and completed the online application. I received an invitation to an orientation session with over 630 other applicants. Not long into the session we learned that we were being asked to participate in a month long online rally. We were introduced to our regional representatives who outlined the types of activity that we were to engage in across the rally timeframe. At the end of the rally nominees would be selected to continue their work across the next 5-6 months.
The Rally experience opened my eyes to the real potential of the Empower Women online movement and helped me to overcome my apprehensions about better leveraging social media within my own network. Participating in the Empower Women rally helped to focus my activities and opened me up to a whole new world of possibilities.
As the month progressed and I began to work my way through my list of activities. Regardless of whether my level of activity would be enough to be nominated as a Global Community Champion I was glad to have had the opportunity to participate in the rally. I was completely surprised when I saw my name on the list of 60 nominees from around the world. I thought for sure it must be a mistake. I immediately did a search on the four other nominees from my country which only made me further question my nomination.
I reached out to the other Canadian nominees and the remarkable journey of being named a Global Community Champion for Women’s Economic Empowerment began. A powerful synergy between the five Canadian Champions (Tsering Kongtsa, Yelena Maleyev, Ethel Cote’ and Zari Gill) evolved across several working sessions. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought I would find myself participating in a UN General Secretary-General High Level Panel discussion. Yet, on 6 June four of us had the privilege to come together and to share our experiences and hopes for the future. Tsering although continuing her work in Nepal, was with us in spirit.
The ongoing support and coaching sessions with the Empower Women Team across my project work has been truly amazing. So impressed with the rally experience, they supported my efforts to create a customized Empower Women Rally for my BPW Canada (Business and Professional Women) network. The results showed that almost 70% of all new registrants to the Empower Women platform from Canada during the rally period were a direct result of our Rally.
Being named a Global Community Champion provided the necessary impetus to take our work to develop a network of national Empower Women advocates to the next level. Through the support of Empower Women/UN Women and the UN Global Compact WEPs Teams we have expanded beyond our BPW Canada network to Launch a National Empower Women Strategy.
Through the Canadian Coalition to Empower Women we are fully leveraging the distinct yet powerful forces of the Women’s Empowerment Principles and the Empower Women online platform for change to engage all stakeholders across Canada to advance women’s economic empowerment. To learn more about our journey see A Guide to Launching a National Strategy to Empower Women.
Serving as a Global Champion and now an Alumni has opened up a world of opportunities. The path to achieving gender equality, poverty eradiation and inclusive economic growth is becoming clearer with even greater direction anticipated through the Secretary General’s High Level Panel recommendations.
Join the movement and step up...together we can make Planet 50-50 by 2030 a reality.