Days in Izmir, Turkey — International Council of Women, 34th General Assembly

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The General Assembly of International Council of Women meets every three years, this year in Izmir, Turkey from May 30 to June 5. ICW affiliated members have the opportunity to assess the achievements, evaluate the progress, and define goals and strategies.

The most impressing components of the G.A. were the reports of the National Councils of Women; the Development Projects Presentation; the Regional Council Meeting – APRC and the final Farewell Ceremony.

Through the reporting process, member councils, including Indonesia, Korea, Germany, Italy, New Zealand, South Africa and Great Britain etc. were able to share in their achievements future plans and concern. (Although some progresses made by German working on “Blue Books”; New Zealanders doing “White Paper” of gender equality; 5 million South Korean members being united in South Korea and Lebanese striving for the Lebanese women’s children to Lebanese nationality, some countries like South Africa still have the poor record of violence against women.

During the Development Projects Presentation as NCW Victoria we found we could draw lessons from the report given Monica Tolmanfrom( NCW Great Britain). She shared her experiences of working with the young women’s section of the National Council of Women of Great Britain – National Council of Young Women (NCYW). The NCYW intergenerational seminars are held at school for girls from the age of 16 to 18. With the subjects picked from the UN CEDAW (Convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women) by a speaker, girls in different discussion groups have the chance to discuss the ideas and then to present in public, for example on the benefits and disadvantages of being a girl in UK. Some schools now are running seminars themselves.

At the end of the GA, Julie Morris, President, National Council of Australia warmly invited those in attendance to be part f our National Council of Australia conference in Melbourne from October 11-13. Part of the program in Izmir was the ICW Asia Pacific Regional Council( APRC) meeting. It brought Council members from South Korea, New Zealand, Thailand, Indonesia, Taiwan, South Africa and Australia etc. together to evaluate their achievements and thus to reinforce the ties of friendship. Women trafficking and climate change are the two major concerns for most of them. Vanessa from New Zealand told us their Cultural Appropriate Service called Gandhi Nivas to place women and children, the victims first; to identify violence early and intervene immediately; to offer culturally appropriate support, crisis intervention and counseling. Dr Montip Tabucanon, NCW Thailand and President ICW APRC, said,  “Women as a group are often more vulnerable to climate change impacts due to gender norms and discrimination that result in greater drudgery and a skewed decision of labor….the future APRC is to encourage our network to host the forum to discuss the new growth strategies that harness women’s talents, innovation and leadership to combat with climate change”.

The final day of the GA on June 5 is the adoption of ICW – CIF Standing Committee’s Plans of Action and Objective and Farewell Ceremony. Four portfolios including General wellbeing, Health, Environmental issue and Habitat have been discussed and passed by the conference. The farewell for Cosima Schenk and a welcome for new president Jung Sook Kim reminded many people the past days and also showed them the different future.  (from Yvette W.)

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