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Advocacy and education to better the lives of women: Regional director report

Nelson Daily Editor
By Nelson Daily Editor
April 27th, 2011

By Hoda Ghamrawy, CFUW

The Nelson Chapter of the Canadian Federation of University Women recently had a visit from Jeannette Mergens the regional director of BC East. 

She spoke of the importance of the Nelson chapter in the betterment of the lives of women and girls through advocacy work and through education.

British Columbia has 23 active CFUW chapters who all work on issues that affect the lives of women and girls and all have a national voice through debates, lobbying and the passing of resolutions.

Jeannette spoke of the relevancy of the CFUW in the lives of women and girls locally, nationally, and internationally. CFUW has special consultative status at the United Nations and is represented at the Sectoral Committee on Education at the Canadian Sub-Committee for UNESCO.


Who is the CFUW?

CFUW is the largest of the 79 affiliates of the International Federation of University Women (IFUW). 

IFUW works on improving the status of women and girls, promoting quality public education, human rights, justice, and peace throughout the world.

Jeannette said that at the national level, CFUW lobbies the government on many issues, from affordable housing, childcare and early childhood education, to pay equity (no, we haven’t achieved that yet) social assistance reform, student debt, and women in peace building. CFUW brings more power to its voice by partnering with other groups.


Who is the CFUW in Nelson?

CFUW is a grass roots organization. Members of the local clubs have the opportunity to put forward resolutions that, if passed at an AGM, become national policy.

Locally, the Nelson Chapter provides bursaries and scholarships to support women studying in post-secondary education at colleges, specialized training centers, and universities.

Monthly meetings provide a meeting place for friends and feature interesting speakers. Interest groups on many topics are part of every club.

The Nelson Chapter contacts MPs and MLAs to lobby on issues of concern, and reaches out to the community to support those in need.

As well, the Nelson Chapter of CFUW offers many opportunities for friendship and meaningful involvement in the community. 

Regular meetings and special functions bring together like-minded women in numerous interest groups and committees. Members are often involved in volunteer activities with other service clubs, providing opportunities for networking.


A look ahead

Jeannette Mergens said the CFUW is looking to the future.

“We are opening our membership to students and all women who support the goals of CFUW,” she said. “We are forming more partnerships at the local, provincial and national levels that enable us to work together on projects. We will continue to work for equality for women and girls the world over.”

She quoted UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon as saying that, “Equality for women and girls is not just a basic human right, it is a social and economic imperative. 

“Where women are educated and empowered, economies are more productive and strong.  Where women are fully represented, societies are more peaceful and stable.”

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