Here I was, for the first time in the nice city of Geneva, as an observer for the IFUW committee meetings and to get an introduction to the workings of the UN. I was part of a large delegation of Dutch women so I thought I could contemplate my life and the status of women, while listening!
It was not to be!
The first minute in the conference room, I was taken by surprise. The board asked everybody to participate and develop a strategic plan for the IFUW. So unexpectedly I, Edith, a Dutch grassroot member, became an enthusiastic participant for three days and, in addition, got to know fantastic women from all over the world!
We all agreed pretty fast the need and relevance for the IFUW’s cause is there but was it focused enough?
Later, the F-word was debated! Can we be Feminists and not say the word? It was a very heated moment but happily, we came to terms with it and by doing so, also realized that debating and disagreeing helps to be more honest with each other.
We drew mission trees to know why we, IFUW, are here and used a fishbone model to visualize IFUW’s weaknesses and strengths! I was in great team, Basecamp 6 I called us, and collectively we felt our input was important and we also had some good laughs!
We searched our souls, knowledge and experience to find the questions that are at the heart of the strategic plan. Who are we? What are our values and what is our vision?
At the visit to the UN we got the chance to listen to passionate and interesting speakers (despite some women having trouble staying awake after a lovely lunch in the restaurant for the delegates). We could tell our IFUW president Marianne was highly respected and very knowledgeable about the UN-secrets!!
It was very courageous of the IFUW board members to start this process and invest in the commitment to change! And I do hope we can continue in the spirit and energy of our work during these four days. I, for one, intend to stay a participative member! Away with the grassroot!