Editor’s note: ISACA board director Jo Stewart-Rattray has provided updates from her participation in the UN Commission on the Status of Women, which took place from 12-23 March at UN headquarters in New York.
The final week of the session brought a lot of hard work; there were times when I thought we were going backwards and other times when there appeared to be no agreement, and that consensus was a long way off.
With a looming deadline, we negotiated through the night on Thursday. Those members of the Delegation on “night shift” walked out of UN headquarters at 5:45 a.m. on Friday in the pre-dawn light with a lot of hard negotiation and high-level diplomacy still on the horizon to get all 193 member-states on the same page in relation to what the roadmap for the empowerment of rural women and girls through the use of technology would look like.
Even those of us who had pulled the night shift were back at the UN at noon on Friday. There were small group discussions and bilateral work taking place to complete the tasks at hand. Paragraph by paragraph fell under the gavel after being agreed upon, and each agreement was met by a round of applause. Then, at 3:50 p.m., the gavel fell on the final paragraph, and the conference room erupted in applause, sighs of relief, and we were on our feet hugging members of our own delegations and, in some cases, other delegations. We had made it! We had a set of agreed upon conclusions!
I felt a lump rise in my throat knowing that not only had the dreams of a 7-year-old kid from the Australian bush come true, but that kid, as an adult, had worked to make a difference for rural women and girls across the world. This has been particularly moving for me when I realized that the last time this session theme was attempted in 2012, the member-states of the United Nations were anything but united and could not agree on many of the thorny issues. There was no final roadmap as a result.
I will head home with a sense of achievement like I have never had before. I know that ISACA and the SheLeadsTech program have a place in the world at the highest level, and I will continue to strive to make a difference with our advocacy efforts. Thank you ISACA for playing such a significant role in making a dream of a lifetime come true!