In the lead up to International Women’s Day 2020, the Loreto network was abuzz with activity: an excellent webinar on the position of women hosted by our UN desk, Margaret Kennedy and Leoni Degenhardt commissioned as Chairs of Loreto Ministries and Mary Ward International Australia boards respectively, schools hosted Supergirl Week and Mary Ward Connect, and one of our students even spoke her truth on ABC TV’s Q&A. Past pupils returned to their schools to speak at International Women’s Day events and school leaders connected to send out a joint message of hope and empowerment. Mary Ward International Australia proudly highlighted their many projects aimed at supporting girls and women across nine countries.
This year’s International Women’s Day celebrations had an added layer of meaning as we also marked the 25th Anniversary of the 4th UN World Conference on Women held in Beijing in 1995. In her address at the launch of the Beijing +25 campaign, UN Women Executive Director, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, stated: “Our goal is to rekindle the spirit of Beijing to re-energize all of us in our work to advance women’s rights, women’s empowerment and gender equality … The vision laid out in Beijing, with 12 critical areas of concern for women, still resonates deeply around the world. It is still unfinished business.” Across these days we celebrated the many advances for girls and women since the 1990s and, at the same time, committed ourselves to renewed awareness and action for the future. Loreto Sisters around the globe prepared summaries of Progress Reports on the Implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. These summaries were used by our UN desk to prepare material for this year’s UN Commission on the Status of Women and can be accessed at https://www.loreto.org.au/justice/women-and-children/
As followers of Jesus, who treated women with justice and compassion, and as friends of Mary Ward in this Year of Verity, may every day be a day to promote the human rights of women and girls with creativity and conviction.
Feature Image: Loreto Coorparoo students celebrating Supergirl Week, 2020.