CONGRESS at Jeju HAS CONCLUDED, our team has come back, and here are some notes and pictures
BPW New Zealand’s international success!
Late in May nine New Zealand Federation of Business and Professional Women (BPW NZ) members attended the 28th BPW International Congress 2014 in Jeju, South Korea. The framework for the five day conference was the triennial theme of “Empowered Women Leading Business: from the top, at all levels and in the community”.
The New Zealand delegation, led by Vicky Mee, the newly elected BPW NZ President, joined delegates from the 100 other countries which are affiliated to BPW International. It was a time of intense debate and consideration, of learning and building up networks and friendships.
For New Zealand it was also a time of celebration as our achievements were honoured. On the opening night BPW NZ Past President Angela McLeod, the Executive and Communications Manager for the International President’s Office, received the President’s Award for her outstanding contribution and commitment. At the gala dinner two prestigious “BPW Power to Make a Difference” awards went to New Zealand. Immediate Past President Carolyn Savage received the Excellent Advocacy for WEPs (Women’s Empowerment Principles) and President Vicky Mee and Vice-President Issues Hellen Swales received the Excellent Advocacy for Women First Prize. It was a very exciting time and one we wished we could have shared with so many members who had contributed to the awards. In particular we acknowledge Past President Dianne Glenn who made a huge contribution in the advocacy area.
BPW is now viewing the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) as the strategic framework for much of our future projects and it is used as an advocacy tool to improve the economic situation of women throughout the world. It was therefore a huge honour to receive recognition for the work done in New Zealand in conjunction with UN Women Aotearoa New Zealand, the Human Rights Commission and the EEO Trust.
Since its foundation in 1930 the strength of BPW has always lain in its advocacy. Today this continues strongly with BPW representation at UN Headquarters in New York, Vienna, Geneva; UN regional offices (UNECA, UNECE, UNESCAP, UNESCWA, UNECLAC); UNESCO, UNICEF, ILO, WHO, UNCTAD, UNIDO, FAO, UN DPI; Council of Europe; European Women’s Lobby and BPW works closely with UN Women.
Advocacy lies at the heart of BPW and BPW New Zealand has a tradition of excelling in this area. Our application in the advocacy area detailed the numerous submissions to parliamentary select committees, the work on resolutions both nationally and internationally and the increasing publicity our work was receiving. We will continue to prioritise our advocacy and look forward to working more closely with our UN representatives we met on Jeju.
New Zealand was also prominent in the General Assembly where we proposed five of the fifteen resolutions and seconded four others. Vicky Mee, BPW Franklin, proposed our three resolutions on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Hellen Swales, BPW Upper Hutt, proposed the one on Prevention of Forced Marriage. We worked with Japan on their resolution on Gender Empowerment to reduce damages by disasters and Sally Smith, BPW Warkworth, seconded this. Sally also powerfully seconded the resolution on the Prevention of Child Marriage proposed by Nigeria. Carolyn Savage, BPW Franklin, proposed and seconded the other three resolutions New Zealand was involved with which related to constitutional and operational matters. It is great that policy that will be used by our UN representatives has come out of New Zealand. We do have a voice!
Budget time saw Elaine White, BPW Upper Hutt and previous BPW NZ Treasurer, on the floor asking questions and she has subsequently been invited to be part of the BPW International Finance Standing Committee. Carolyn Savage, Immediate Past President , is joining the Environment and Sustainable Development Standing Committee and Sally Smith, BPW Warkworth, will join the Development, Training and Employment Standing Committee. Colleen Brooker, BPW Auckland, was a fount of knowledge to the delegation and her experience was used on the Nominations committee and as one of the Parliamentarians in the last General Assembly. Our delegation also put in many volunteer hours on the Credentials desk.
It was a great effort from the NZ team and we certainly got noticed! The whole team was on a high and buzzing with ideas which we look forward to sharing and putting into action now we are back home. We are empowered women and we plan to make a difference!
The New Zealand Delegation
Angela McLeod receiving the International Presidents’s Award
Sally Smith seconding Nigeria’s Resolution
Carolyn Savage, Vicky Mee, Hellen Swales, Colleen Brooker, Sandra White and Diana O’Brien proud to be receipients of two “Power to make a differnce” Awards.