Thursday, February 28, 2008

Mira Hall's Reports from the UNCSW!

I am such a terrible blogger! Especially since aside from my participation over the next two weeks at the UN's Commission on the Status of Women Meeting, I am also finishing up my first review for the Vancouver Sun (to be published this Saturday!). This leaves me with very little time to keep everyone informed on what's going on here at the UNCSW.

Luckily, my roommate, and friend (also my cuddlebunny, but that's another story) Mira Hall from the Northwest Territories has been extensively documenting her experience and has agreed to let me post it here. I will be writing a big post over the weekend to catch you up on everything I have experience, including my interview with Gloria Steinem but in the meantime, I think Mira's posts will fill you in on what's been going on! So here it is starting with Day One!

I have now arrived in New York. It has been a Harrowing journey, filled with tears, of joy, frustration anger, and from the pungent scent of myself after 48hours in the same clothes…. Traveling.

So, *last* Friday, the news came down that the Status of Women Canada had indeed provided the funding to send me to the United Nations for the 52nd Commission on the Status of Women. This news filled me with absolute excitement, mixed with absolute panic, after all, I didn’t even have a passport.

I immediately called the Inuvik Department of Health and let them know the deal, I NEEDED to get to Calgary with my birth certificate *and* marriage certificate ASAP in order to get a passport in order to get to the commission on time. I am karmically and emotionally indebted to Inuvik. They pulled the amazing and got the certificates printed that DAY. I am so impressed! I’m totally going to write the minister when I get home because they were so amazing and fast!

Then I needed to get the ID to Yellowknife fast, so I thought of everyone I could that lives in Inuvik that could physically go pick it up and bring it to the airport, but to no avail, so as a last resort I phoned Canadian North Cargo, who were also amazing, and even drove back after there was some confusion at the Vital statistics office.

Between IHD, and Canadian North Cargo I was overjoyed at how quickly (as in within a few hours) I had my ID. So the next step was to get to Calgary, I flew out early Wednesday morning, the day after the Senate Hearing, my brother picked me up and took me directly to the passport office, giving me a day to wait and pray to God that everything would come through.

Thankfully, Friday morning, just hours before my flight to Ottawa, on route to New York, I picked up my freshly issued passport, and busted my ass to get to the airport for my flight. I am on 48 hours of wakefulness and am currently and successfully in New York, thanks to the hard work and co-operation of a multitude of forces and have completed a successful and impressive first day!

The delegation that I am with is an impressive (a very impressive) group of women aged 22-67. The women that I am here with are entrenched in all levels of feminist reform in Canada. I drank wine today with an elderly Acadian woman who has worked on gender based economic development strategies everywhere from the Maritimes to South Korea, I’m working with another who has a PHD in economics and well over thirty years spent entrenched in advocating sustainable economic development *even the Northwest Territories!* I am also here with the publisher of “Antigone” magazine, a grassroots publication for political action, and the executive director of one of the most influential women’s shelter in downtown Toronto.

I am humbled by their presence and soaking up their every words as they speak and engage in economic and political analysis of the state of our country, and the other countries represented here. This is not benign philosophical discussion; this is the grassroots for action. This is the pre-negotiation strategizing. This is where we are preparing to determine what we are going stress during the commission. It is powerful and productive, engaging, and wonderful. I am so thankful to the Status of Women, and to FAFIA for providing me the opportunity to be here.

No comments: