I have the pleasure of writing once again for The Link in the hope of keeping you all informed, sharing some key information and it gives me the chance to share my thoughts with you all.
Firstly, what a paradox – Turkey was the first country to ratify the Istanbul Convention, and now the first to withdraw. Due to the annulling of the ratification, there was a huge increase in attendance at CSW65 as sessions specifically focused on this situation. Women around the world had already come together for CSW65, so it was a perfect opportunity to address this annulment, the result was women were ready to continue the fight for human rights.
Soroptimists in Turkey were immediately jeopardised by the decision to withdraw from the Istanbul Convention, yet our Turkish sisters didn’t give up. Witnessing the outcries and calls for support from our members illustrated that the fuel to fight for women’s rights, which are human rights, still burns fiercely within our organisation. At the monthly online Union Presidents’ meeting, the newly elected Turkish Union President, Sevil Koca gave us a clear update; the best way to help is through education, educating and demystifying the Istanbul Convention. By doing this, it will educate those around us to support and uphold the Istanbul Convention as it remains under threat in other countries today. By understanding what and how the Convention serves women, we can defend it as there are extremist views today who falsely claim the Convention is in breach of religious and social rules.
I am excited about the upcoming online sessions open to all members in April. We start of April 20th with a session on Leadership with my friend, and expert leadership & executive coach, Frank Cummins. And I am so pleased to welcome back Emily Sahakian (who was with us for the Communications Panel at the Holistic Training 2020), on April 22nd and 29th, she’s going to further our knowledge in Branding and Communications. Go here for more information on how to attend these sessions which are open to all members: https://www.soroptimisteurope.org/soroptimist-space/
At the initiative of 1st Vice President Rita Nogueira Ramos, on International Women’s Day 2021, we endorsed the SI Statement as submitted to the United Nations ECOSOC for the sixty-fifth session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW65). This Statement was sent with an accompanied letter from me to specific commissions and officials. We have received from the office of Ms Ursula von der Leyen an acknowledgement appreciating our commitment and activities.
As membership remains a key focus to us all, I must highlight I had the honor and pleasure of handing over a charter, online of course, to two clubs. On January 16th to Milano Net Lead and on April 10th to Young Soroptimist Amsterdam. Congratulations to both Unions and boards. I am so much enjoying being part of our charter ceremonies, and there are more to come soon!
Stay healthy and safe,