“We shall not cease from exploration…….”

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“We shall not cease from exploration… And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time” – T.S. Eliot

Dear Guest,

First and foremost, thank you for visiting the Global Citizen Forum website – and furthermore for taking the time to visit my blog. My name is Erica Catrena, and I am proud to have recently joined the GCF as a Young Persons’ Ambassador at the London Headquarters.

I keenly anticipate every journey, opportunity and achievement 2014 has in store for this bourgeoning organization. When we as Global Citizens are actively connecting, engaging and interacting with the expansive and diverse spectrum of individuals in the growing GCF network across the globe, possibilities truly do abound for collaboratively bettering and acting upon our understanding of our world and its potential.

Global Potential stands tall as an inspiring concept. However in the face of such potential stand barriers of many forms – and prominently so Gender Inequality. Reversing this image to one of Gender Equality, one may readily envision the liberation of untapped potential and the resulting catalysis of performance in numerous social, economical and political spheres.

Throughout history mankind has paid tribute to the balance and complementarity of the male and the female, both in abstract and in concrete form. Despite this, jarring differences between the genders currently prevail in important aspects of societies across the globe. Manifestations thereof may for instance be seen in educational opportunities, remuneration disparities, and employability in relation to parenthood. According to the final report of the former Equal Opportunities Commission [replaced by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) in 2006] even the UK is at least 20 years away from achieving concrete gender equality in education and employment. Even more tragically, domestic violence continues to torment developed, developing and undeveloped nations, with almost 3 million women in the UK having experienced some form of violence. In this light – looking back in time and ahead towards the future – where do we actually stand? How do we go about establishing realistic global benchmarks, and where ought we lay our milestones for the road ahead in cementing Gender Equality as a shared cornerstone of our nations?

Over the forthcoming months, I welcome you to join me on an itinerary through a series of articles exploring contemporary Gender (In)Equality. What does being a Woman signify? How do the roles of Daughter, Sister, Mother, Wife, Fellow Student, Colleague, Employee, Leader and Icon compare and contrast between and within nations and cultures, and across time to the present? What stereotypes do we harbor, and what part does the media play in shaping the roles and perceptions of Women? What legislative and administrative measures are being taken, and how do the UK Government’s initiatives – such as The Equality Act – compare with the paths pursued by other countries? What is the role of the United Nations? Questions such as these I aim to explore through research, discussion, interviews and conventions, and I warmly encourage you to engage in this exploration by communicating your thoughts, ideas, perspectives, questions, and suggestions.

Over the following two weeks, two conferences will be held at the House of Commons in London. Firstly the UN EWAV Conference hosted by the Womens’ Federation for World Peace will discuss the importance of education in the elimination of violence against women. Secondly at the Human Rights Conference taking place during UK Parliament Week a dedicated session will be held on Women’s Leadership, Peace and Democracy, sponsored by the Universal Peace Federation and the Women’s Federation for World Peace. This second event is structured to cast light upon the issues of human rights and the role of democracy in relation to inequity and inequality. Following these two events, I aim to return to you with insights and topics for further forum-based discussion.

Wishing you a positive start to your week and thanking you once again for your time in exploring the GCF page and our selection of blogs,

With best regards,

Erica Catrena


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