Empowering voices for gender equality: Caitlyn Robinson's journey with Girls' Brigade at the UN

16 May 2024

Empowering voices for gender equality: Caitlyn Robinson's journey with Girls' Brigade at the UN Image

In March this year, members from branches of the international Girls' Brigade convened in New York City for the United Nations (UN) Commission on the Status of Women, one of the world's largest global gatherings dedicated to gender equality issues.

Having regularly convened online since September last year, the team was anticipating the opportunity to meet face-to-face, and Caitlyn Robinson, who attends Real Life Christian Church (formerly Logan UC), was a member representative.

Caitlyn said a significant aspect of our journey was navigating her role as a faith-based representative at the UN.

"António Guterres is strongly advocating for faith-based organisations like Girls’ Brigade to go to the United Nations," she said. "I have to ask myself, what does that look like? What role can a Christian organisation play at the UN, which operates as a secular entity without allegiance to any particular religion but is dedicated to serving the disadvantaged and vulnerable."

Throughout the week, the team participated in sessions held at the UN headquarters, engaging with their respective countries' UN Permanent Representatives to advocate for gender justice. They also spoke at various events organised by other faith-based organisations.

To amplify the voices of younger women of faith, the Delegation of Hope hosted its event as part of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UN CSW).

Caitlyn said being in the Uniting Church gave her insight and made her feel she could be a key contributor.

"I've found the Uniting Church to be open-minded, focused on mission, and committed to social justice," she said. "I feel the Uniting Church is always looking outward, seeking where the Holy Spirit is needed and how we can address spiritual needs."

Caitlyn began each day with worship alongside Ecumenical Women, a global alliance comprising various church denominations and ecumenical organisations. Their sessions took place at the Church Centre for the United Nations, a dedicated building for faith-based organisations operating within the UN.

She said that on the first morning, they were asked to turn towards a stained-glass window created for the Women's Division of the United Methodist Church, depicting "Man's Search for Peace" in the shape of an eye.

"The eye was designed to symbolise how faith-based organisations at the UN observe the world and closely monitor global affairs," she said. "The eye is also there to remind us that as representatives of faith-based organisations, the world is watching us."

Learn more about Girls'​ Brigade: https://girlsbrigade.org.au/

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