Women's Leadership and Political Participation - Economic Empowerment -  
Ending Violence Against Women - Peace and Security - Governance and National Planning - Post-2015 Development Agenda and SDGs
(Sustainable Development Goals) - HIV and AIDS
Warm greetings for the new year, which has already brought its share of snow and cold for many of us!

I'm happy to report that 2015 has started off strong for USNC-UN Women. The walk season has commenced, with the Gulf Coast chapter's walk this Saturday and more walks scheduled throughout the spring.

In January, several chapters helped kick off the new Cities for CEDAW initiative, of which USNC-UN Women is a national sponsor. This grassroots movement to have CEDAW passed at municipal levels has resonated with our members and supporters, as it is a proven tool (thank you, San Francisco!) for addressing gender inequality.

The Cities for CEDAW movement also offers an ideal opportunity to remind ourselves that while UN Women's programs are found in the developing world, UN Women, as the global body for gender equality and women's empowerment, represents all women everywhere, including here in the United States. It is therefore only fitting that USNC-UN Women has taken a leading role in Cities for CEDAW. Issues such as the gender pay gap, violence against women, and equal representation on corporate boards are issues that women in the US face. They are also the same issues UN Women has addressed, whether it is at the World's Economic Forum in Davos or in front of the European Parliament.

CEDAW is the cornerstone on which all UN Women's programming is built. It can and should also be the means through which women and men here in the US can fight for women's full and equal rights.

I want to thank our local chapters for their participation in this important campaign and urge each of you to join in your chapter's events around this issue.

Maggie Signature

Did You Know?  

UN Women has secured land rights for Soulalyates women in Morocco, worked with the government of Nepal to enact legislation protecting women domestic workers, and developed the Women's Empowerment Principles to help businesses establish equity in the workplace.  
Photo Credit: UN Women

Emma Watson followed up her much publicized, game-changing He For She address in front of the United Nations with another equally impassioned speech. This one took place at the World Economic Forum (WEF) on January 23rd for the launch of the campaign's new year-long initiative.

The UN Women Goodwill Ambassador spoke in Davos, Switzerland about the far-reaching impact of the campaign to mobilize one billion men by July 2015, to stand up, speak up and take action towards the achievement of gender equality.

During her remarks, Ms. Watson noted that her UN speech was watched over 11 million times, created 1.2 billion social media conversations and encouraged men from almost every country around the world to sign on to the He For She commitment.

In Davos, Ms. Watson stated,
"It is my belief that there is a greater understanding than ever that women need to be equal participants in our homes, in our societies, in our governments and in our workplaces. And they know that the world is being held back in every way because they are not."

Expanding on He For She's call for individuals to make a personal commitment, the new year-long IMPACT 10x10x10 initiative will focus on larger organizations, engaging businesses, universities and governments to encourage them to make real commitments in order to achieve gender equality.

To learn more about the IMPACT 10x10x10 campaign, click here.
Film Credit: UN Women

Through its Fund for Gender Equality, in El Salvador UN Women helped mobilize women from 22 advocacy groups, Parliament and the Supreme Court of Justice around a law making public institutions more gender-responsive. It passed, mandating the integration of gender-specific considerations in all public policies, among other measures.

The success of the Parliamentary Women's Group in advocating the bill's passage led to official recognition, entitling it to representation on all legislative commissions, and making it the first parliamentary group to operate across party lines.

Fund support for the SUMA Initiative in the state of Michoac´┐Żn, Mexico, helped it boost the number of women in municipal governments from 5 per cent to 12 per cent, while improving the leadership skills of thousands of women.

In the Past Year, UN Women Has... 
  • Opened women's access to finance and expanding employment options in Pakistan, resulting in secure employment for 1,000 women and growing
  • Trained more than 6,000 women in marketing and business management in Ethiopia
  • Extended paralegal services for survivors of domestic violence in the marginalized Roma communities of Bosnia and Herzegovina, leading to a 50 percent increase in requests for help.

On January 20th, a group of over 120 DC area leaders, representatives of civil society and concerned citizens joined forces at an event to discuss the possibility of DC becoming the next city to pass CEDAW legislation that would fulfill three requirements of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women:
  • A gender analysis of District of Columbia operations (workforce, programs, budget)
  • An oversight body for the gender analysis
  • Funding to support the implementation of the principles of CEDAW
The United Nations Association of the United States joined the U.S. National Committee for UN Women, along with their National Capital Area chapters, in sponsoring the event.

This DC for CEDAW initiative is part of a nationwide Cities for CEDAW effort to implement local legislation.

Frustrated with the U.S. Senate, advocates for CEDAW have created a new campaign targeting cities. The goal is to build enough local, grassroots enthusiasm to get 100 mayors from across the country to sign on to CEDAW by June 2015, which then will embolden the U.S. Senate to ratify it in January 2017.

Want to Get Involved?   

Click here to find your local chapter and then join them in reaching out to  
your community leaders and mayor to sign on to CEDAW.   
The 2015 Annual Conference, Member and Board Meetings will take place on June 26-28, 2015 in beautiful and sunny Long Beach, California.  As part of UN Women's Beijing+20 campaign, the 2015 Annual Conference's theme is  Beijing +20: Empowering Women, Empowering Humanity. Picture it!

There will be activities that are being planned by the local USNC California chapters and other local USNC members after and before the conference that will be available to the conference attendees for nominal charges. The details of the pre and post conference activities will be available by April 1, 2015.

The 2015 Annual Conference Fees are as follows:
  • $100 USNC-UNW Regular Member
  • $130 Non Member
  • $155 Non Member [Conference Registration Fee + One Year USNC-UNW Membership]
  • $60 Seniors [Over 65]
  • $50 Students [ID Required at Registration]
Your conference fee will provide the following:
  • Dinner with a speaker on Friday, June 26
  • Continental Breakfast and Lunch on Saturday, June 27
  • Conference Materials
  • Exhibit Hall Pass on Saturday, June 27
The Official Conference Headquarters Hotels are:
Hyatt Regency Long Beach, 200 South Pine Avenue, Long Beach, CA 90802 -  $229/night double occupancy plus tax; we have 40 rooms at this price.

Renaissance Long Beach Hotel, 111 East Ocean Boulevard Long Beach, CA 90802 -$179/night double occupancy plus tax; we have 110 rooms at this price.

The conference timeline is subject to change, however, these are the approximate times for the activities:

Friday, June 26
8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. - Board Meeting
6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. - Dinner Celebration

Saturday, June 27
8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. - Annual Conference and Member Meeting

Sunday, June 28
9:00 a.m. to Noon - Board Meeting

Your conference committee is hard at work! Look for more exciting details soon on the USNC-UNW conference webpage. In the meantime, please direct questions about this event to Conference Committee Co-Chairs: Luci Hamilton,Treasurer@unwomen-usnc.org or Jean Jewell, JeanJewell@me.com

Imagine a world where gender equality is a reality for every woman and girl.  Join US!

Each year, USNC-UN Women chapters walk to end violence against women and girls. Please walk with them, sponsor a walker, become an event sponsor, or cheer them on.

Below is a list of the currently scheduled walks taking place around the country:
  • Gulf Coast, FL (February 7)
  • Miami, Florida (March 7)
  • Vero Beach, Florida (March 7)
  • Wilmington, NC  (April 26)
  • Washington, DC  (May 23)
  • Rochester, NY  (July 25)
  • Atlanta, GA  (TBA)
  • Salt Lake City, UT  (TBA)
  • Detroit, MI   (TBA)
Check for walk updates at www.unwomen-usnc.org/walks.

If you have question or would like to organize a walk in your area, contact walks@unwomen-usnc.org

Last fall, the United Nations Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women (UNTF) formed a partnership with Soko artisans in Kenya to create a unique pair of handmade bracelets in an effort to raise awareness and funds for UNTF. The launch took place in November to coincide with the 16-days of activism and will continue through International Women's Day in March.

The bracelets may be purchased separately or as a set ($35). They are available for sale at http://www.untfsupporters.com/.

Celebrities Gisele B´┐Żndchen, Teri Hatcher and Nicole Kidman have all posted images of themselves wearing the bracelets and urging their followers to support the cause.

UNTF has negotiated a reduced price for UN Women's National Committees that will allow us to retain 20% of the retail price of bracelets we purchase in bulk to sell at our events.

If any chapter is interested in making a bulk purchase, please contact Susan at
Director@UNWomen-USNC.org for more details.

On January 20th, thanks to the generosity of the Pinkerton Foundation, the breathtaking Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum in Manhattan provided the setting for an expert panel discussion and reception for Cities for CEDAW in NYC. Pamela Falk, CBS News Foreign Affairs Analyst, moderated the conversation about CEDAW from a UN Women perspective, the impact of the CEDAW ordinance in San Francisco, and the benefits of implementing CEDAW in NYC. 

Don McPherson, former NFL player, past USNC-UN Women board member, and national advocate for the prevention of sexual and domestic violence, emceed the reception.

Kudos to our own Metro NY Chapter and its co-presidents, Michelle Lira and Katherine Garcia, the Brooklyn YWCA volunteers, and NY Councilwoman Cumbo for hosting a spectacular event!

Details and photos are posted at http://www.unwomen-metrony.org/cedaw

The extraordinary creator of the award winning documentary FEMME, Emmanuel Itier, attended the DC for CEDAW event as a guest of USNC's National Capital Chapter co-president, CeCe Cole. The next day, he joined the chapter's film screening of FEMME.

Produced by Sharon Stone, FEMME is an
"inspirational voyage about women around the world who are actively transforming and healing global society of a daily basis.

In the film, Sharon Stone, Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, Gloria Steinem, and many more phenomenal women discuss religion, science, history, politics, entertainment, and the solutions to world crises. USNC chapters can contact director@unwomen-usnc.org for a copy of the film. Click here to learn more about the film.

A special Thank You to CeCe for your chapter leadership and for bringing this wonderful film and filmmaker to our attention!

Our Chicago chapter is less than a year old, but that didn't stop them from organizing a stellar
HeForShe event that brought in double their original fundraising goal! The chapter was also honored to have Cook County Commissioner and Chicago mayoral candidate, Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, speak about the importance of gender equality and issues, locally and globally.

Taking its cue from the UN Women campaign, the chapter encouraged both men and women to attend the combined Monday Night Football Party and Chicago HeForShe Campaign Launch at Morgan MFD. Two big screen, state-of-the-art TVs showed the Ravens vs. Saints game. At half-time, Emma Watson's UN Women HeforShe Campaign Launch speech played and the chapter encouraged male attendees to sign the HeforShe pledge on available laptops and the chapter banner.

In her speech, Chicago Chapter president Linsey Maughan, made sure to touch on the NFL's high-profile domestic violence cases and tie those cases in to the prevalence of gender based violence in the world. The message was that violence against women is never okay, no matter where it occurs.

Keep up the wonderful work, Chicago!

Our Southern California chapter co-president, CeCe Sloan recently spoke at the Center For Living Peace (part of the University of California, Irvine campus).

CeCe was the featured speaker at an event attended by members of our SoCal chapter, along with Domestic Abuse Awareness, Cities for Compassion, and the Orange County chapter of the United Nations Association (UNA) for a thoughtful discussion around the importance of passing CEDAW legislation at the local level.

CeCe updated the group on the new national campaign to get local cities to adopt CEDAW.
Photo Credit: UN Women


Each month, the Beijing +20 campaign spotlights Women of Achievement, featuring women and girls who have succeeded in their respective fields. This month's focus includes Karla Wheelock of Mexico who is the first Latin American woman to reach the top of the Seven Summits, the seven highest peaks on each continent of the globe.

Karla is also the first Latin American woman to reach the top of Mount Everest by the death-defying northern slope route, a feat only accomplished by a handful of fearless mountaineers. What makes Karla even more special is the fact that she is also a social entrepreneur, serving as the President of the KW Foundation, which focuses on developing leadership through youth empowerment. A motivational speaker and educator, with a law degree, Karla speaks globally about the power of education and determination.

To watch a video featuring a discussion with Karla,  click here.

Each newsletter features a different USNC volunteer so that our readers can know more about these incredible people, mostly women across the country, that help to celebrate, advocate, educate and fund raise on behalf of UN Women. Our focus in this edition is on Diane Jordan from our North Carolina chapter.

Diane is the Vice President of the Triangle Area and Treasurer of the North Carolina Chapter. Younghee Overly, our USNC board member from NC tells us that Diane has been part of the backbone of revitalizing the NC Chapter and pushing the chapter to run events that are elegant and fun to broaden their appeal.  Diane tells us that she is one of many in North Carolina who've worked hard to make the chapter what it is today.

Diane has known Younghee for many years. They worked together at IBM and, when Younghee got involved with UN Women, so did Diane. At that time she was working full-time and raising a family so her involvement was somewhat limited. Now, she is retired and when Younghee asked her to join the board, she jumped in to move the chapter forward.

Life's Basics
Where do you live? Raleigh, North Carolina, since early 80s.

Are you from there originally?
  I was born in Albany, NY.

Where else have you lived? I went to school at Stony Brook University on Long Island's north shore. I've also lived in Manhattan, NY.

What's your living situation?
Partner? I live with my husband in North Carolina.  
Kids? We have two boys, one who is in college and one who is getting ready to go off to college.
Pets? Two parakeets.

Job? I am retired and don't work otherwise. I feel like I earned my retirement.  I spent my career at IBM, first as a software programmer, then in lots of other positions, both technical and in management. The last part of my career I spent working on technology standards for the internet. It is interesting to note that when I started as a programmer, there were many women very prominent in the field of software development, more so than now. We need an ongoing emphasis on encouraging girls to pursue science and technology.
The Meatier Parts
Summarize your life in 10 words or less?  I don't think I can, but here's a try. I've had a very fortunate life, career success and prosperity. I had great opportunities and didn't have to deal with many barriers. Now I look for ways to give back, to find ways to help provide that for others.

Tell us about the person that has had the most profound impact on your life?

During the last 5 years? My sons, I have learned a great deal from them and in watching them mature. I'm very proud and it has been a privilege to raise them.  

From the beginning? My mother and not just because she was a good mother. She worked full-time. She dealt with the challenges that I experienced later in my life and I knew from her example how to deal with them. She was different from other mothers around her and gave me a set a values that included the notion that a woman can work and support a family. She had a degree and studied math. It was expected that I would go to college. It helped me to not be burdened with the guilt that other working women experience. I always expected and had a seat at the table. It should be noted that my father always encouraged and supported us and our decisions.

What is the greatest difficulty you have ever experienced in your life? How did it impact you? Balancing career and family was an ongoing challenge. Still, I worked for a company that had fabulous policies to support families, and with very encouraging colleagues. I was lucky and privileged to have that kind of supportive environment. I think you never feel you get it quite right, but in the end you see the impact and you know that it was good enough.

What is your greatest achievement in life? How did that impact you? It's hard to point to any one individual thing, but my family is happy, healthy and prosperous. I had a great career and a family that turned out pretty darned well.

What motivates you to volunteer with UN Women? Definitely a desire to give back. I have family in North Africa, friends from around the world and experience working on global projects at IBM. Through these, I've become aware of the cultural differences that impact how women are treated in different countries, even in some cases basic human rights. I feel a personal connection to the mission of UN Women to change these conditions.

If you could change one issue for women in our world, what would you change and why is it most important to you? I would establish the recognition of legal status for women. UN Women's goal of representation, both legislatively and economically is right. I find it compelling: we must get women to the table - from that could come many solutions to world/state problems.
What do you enjoy most about working with UN Women? I enjoy the board members and volunteers. There's a good balance among content, fun and critical issues.

The Little Details
Food:  Asian
DrinkI'm a tea drinker
BookCurrently reading "Orange is the New Black" and I love mysteries
Film:   Selma was very powerful!
TV Program: I've loved the PBS Roosevelt series, also enjoy Scandal & Raising Hope
Music/Artist: I like popular music, classic rock and roll
Gadget/Appliance:  I just love my pressure cooker

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