Lynne Featherstone MP (centre) with members of the youth panel on rural women
UK Equalities Minister Lynne Featherstone MP joined a youth panel and a number of guests on 15 March at the National Bahá’í Centre in London to discuss the empowerment of rural women. The minister and panellists shared insights from their participation in this year’s UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) and continued the debate on those issues within the UK.
In a dynamic series of presentations the five youth panellists explored different dimensions of the need to empower rural women around the world. Martha Saunders, European Youth Parliament member from Gloucester, raised important questions about funding.
Kit Powell of the Stroud Youth Council highlighted the need to recognize the importance of working with young people in rural communities.
Rachel Steen, a medical student from Sheffield, presented unique research findings on maternal health issues in Nepal.
Holly Smith, a sixth former from Penzance and a member of the Bahá’í community, challenged currently held ideas about development.
And the only male panellist, Iqan Fadaei – also a member of the Bahá’í community - called for a redefinition of power and its implications on sustainability.
“I was delighted to attend this event and to have the opportunity to hear the views of the youth panellists who spoke at CSW this year and in 2011,” said Lynne Featherstone. “They bring a fresh approach to the huge challenge of empowering rural women across the globe. It is crucial that young women and men such as these panellists are actively engaged in promoting the rights of girls and women at home and abroad.”
“What is unusual about this event is that not only are all the panellists young, but many of them presented at the UN when they were only 16,” commented Iqan Fadaei
The occasion was supported by the UK Bahá’í community and the National Alliance of Women’s Organisations.