Interfaith role in women empowerment stressed at UN

CSW60-1-webNEW YORK: United Nations Women organized annual conference of CSW 60 (Commission on the Status of Women) this year from March 14 till 24 in New York. Representatives of Member States, UN entities, and ECOSOC-accredited non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from all regions of the world attended the session. Sant Nirankari Mission being such an NGO, organized a panel discussion event on the topic of “Interfaith Role in Women Empowerment” on March 21.

The priority theme of UN Women is “Women’s empowerment and its link to sustainable development and the elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls.”

Unlike other gender equality goals set forth by the CSW for their Planet 50/50 by 2030, violence against women is not something that will end by setting strict laws alone. We need to create change in the core attitude where the violent behavior stems from. Perhaps this is why in recent years we are seeing the presence of more faith based organizations like the Sant Nirankari Mission being invited to partner with this UN initiative. Recognizing our oneness at the spiritual core and committing to a life of peaceful coexistence is what is required for violence to end.

As Dr. Iqbaljit Rai summed it up well in an interactive session the UN team attended. “The very foundation of the SNM and its followers is always to treat women with the utmost respect, regard and honor as they play a much more important role than men in all societies. Social Welfare Department of the SNM continuously works for empowerment of women in many ways. Care-giving is imbibed in the nature of its followers. Women are taking equal part in the administration and preaching of the Mission.

“SNM believes that “Equality through Spirituality” is the only way to go in future. Gender bias has no place in it. Mission followers always hold women in high esteem both in the organizational and socio-spiritual activities without any discrimination on the basis of gender.”

It was discussed that if Interfaith has to play a bigger role in achieving this goal, principles of E5 needs to be propagated, E5 which corresponds to Enhancement, Engagement, Empowerment, Equality and Empathy for all. This theme was the undercurrent in the panel discussion. Panelist for the event were the experts in this field of work: Ravi Karkara (Senior Advisor, Deputy Executive Director, UN), Shabnam Madhok (Representative, SNM), Prof. Richard Potter (Author- Authentic Spirituality), Joy Theriot and Maharoo Moshari.

Prafull Lande & Sanjeev Sagar