Happy Birthday Gloria!

Yesterday was Gloria Steinem’s 79th birthday.  Looking at the picture below, taken just 2 1/2 years ago at my ‘leaving New York party’, one might say – NOT POSSIBLE!  Gloria is truly one of the most spectacular human beings I have ever known and she is a constant source of inspiration to me.  Click here for a great article by Jessica Wakeman ( Hi Jessica ) on 15 Things to Know About Gloria, and I am adding one below!

As many of you know I collect Wonder Woman paraphernalia and I am a huge fan.  It just so happens that Gloria is one of the world’s experts on Wonder Woman. The cuffs you see me wearing were a gift from Gloria and truly, one of most special gifts I have ever received.

 

Jacki&Gloria

CSW57 and the Status of Women Worldwide

csw57_imageIn 1946, the United Nations Economic and Social Counsel established the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), and in February of 1947, an all female delegation of 15 government representatives met to discuss the issue of gender inequality and how to promote women’s rights worldwide. Since then, the CSW has continued to meet every year to further this discussion, and the 57th Session recently concluded in New York City on March 15th.

Every year the CSW names a priority theme, and this year it was the elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls. Given the daily newsfeed of violence, rape, and brutality committed against women worldwide, it is about time this issue was named a priority, and the Session concluded with a 17 page Agreed Conclusions document that “condemns in the strongest terms the pervasive violence against women and girls”. This document is the culmination of months of lobbying and two weeks of intense negotiations, and its very existence is a victory in of itself given that last year’s Session failed to come to any agreement. However, amidst the cheers and celebrations of a hard fought battle by women’s rights activists the world over, CSW’s 57th Session serves as a glaring reminder that while the battle may have been won, the war is far from over.

The language of the Agreed Conclusions document was hotly contested by representatives from Russia, Iran, Egypt, and the Holy See, as many of the more conservative countries balked at the suggestion that women are deserving of sexual and reproductive rights, equality in marriage, and that a husband does not have the right to rape his wife. The Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt even released a statement during the negotiations decrying the document, claiming that such language, “if ratified, would lead to the complete disintegration of society.” While these countries hid their objections behind claims of cultural and religious tradition, it is clear that they are simply trying to maintain the status quo at the expense of their women.

Despite the objections and negotiations, a document was agreed to that clearly outlines that violence against women will no longer be tolerated at the international level. The conclusions and agreements of this Session can now be used by governments, activists, and lobbyists as a blueprint for policy changes, educational campaigns, and to spread awareness that women and girls have the fundamental right to live without fear of violence. The document is a momentous victory in the advancement of women and girls worldwide, but the fight for equality continues so long as these sobering statistics remain.

*7 out of 10 women will experience violence in their lifetime, often at the hand of a partner or relative

*In a lifetime, 1 out of 3 women will be victims of sexual or physical abuse

*603 million women live in countries where domestic violence is not considered a crime

*Women between the ages of 15 and 44 are more likely to be killed by violence than by HIV, cancer, malaria, accidents, and war combined

*60 million girls are married off as child brides every year

We should be proud of the agreements reached this year in New York, and I congratulate the government representatives who fought for the rights of their women. However, more importantly, we must make sure that the agreements in this year’s document are used and enforced to enact real and lasting change for women worldwide. As United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon stated, “Violence against women is a heinous human rights violation, global menace, a public health threat and a moral outrage”. For the first time in history, the members of CSW are in agreement on this issue, and the time to act is NOW.

Jacki Zehner and Laura Moore

LoveUTAH GiveUTAH


This June will mark my families third year in the wonderful state of Utah, and the town of Park City.  I reluctantly moved here I have to say, but now I love it!   It has been such a blessing to live in this vibrant community filled with outdoor activities and wonderful people.

What are some of Utah’s greatest assets? Just check out the video above to find out. We have a very impressive state- between our National Parks, our world renowned ski areas, golf, biking, hiking, rafting, entertainment… You get the idea! But what makes Utah the great state this it is, is the outstanding level of community involvement and charitable giving.

A recent article published in The Chronicle of Philanthropy  said that Utah is the number one state for charitable giving in the US. Utah families claimed charitable contributions totaling 10.6 percent of their discretionary income. That is 3.5 percentage points ahead of the nearest rival, Mississippi, at 7.2 percent of discretionary income. Utah is also the number one state in the US for volunteering. According to the same report, 45% of Utah residents volunteered in 2008! Yes of course this has much,  much to do with the Mormon Church, but it applies more generally as well.

Our family has taken part in many community events such as the Live PC Give PC day which is a one­‐day virtual event that encourages the community to contribute to local nonprofit organizations through a single online giving platform. Last year summit county raised $595,642 in one day! We also participated in the Hike for Hunger organized by the Park City Christian Center , which is a family event that helps to reduce hungry both locally and globally. My husband and I are honored to serve on their board.  Their thrift store rocks! All counted there are  close to 150 non-profit groups operating in this region.

The reasons for this being todays blog is that March 22nd is LoveUT GiveUT day which marks a day of of unprecedented giving to support the organizations that make Utah special. So how can you get involved with this awesome event? Visit the LoveUT GiveUT webpage- Check out the list of nonprofits participating in the day of giving. Choose the nonprofit that aligns with your values or interests and DONATE! Its a 24-hour event so don’t miss out on your chance to make a difference in your community.

Join the conversation and spread the word on Facebook and Twitter @LoveUTGiveUT and use the #LoveUTGiveUT  hashtag to let your friends know that you are participating!

If you have not yet visited Utah add it to your list.  Whether it be to ski in the winter or hike in the summer, you will not be disappointed.