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【GOH Event】CSW61 Women’s Shelters Parallel Event 2017/04/21
▲A group photo of Ms. Chi and global partners of women shelters

UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) holds an internationally renowned NGO CSW event every March in New York, for the global attention on women issues, gender equality, and international development. CSW61 this year has a theme on women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work. It focuses on gender and women's economic issues, and hopes international and cross-public and private partnerships can together achieve women's equal participation in the labor market, in order to break the glass ceiling and put in the decision-making level. Therefore, women can fully protect their economic autonomy.

In response to the theme this year, the Garden of Hope Foundation (GOH) and the partner organizations in the Global Network of Women's Shelters (GNWS) including Australia, the United States and the Netherlands organized a parallel event in NGO CSW. The meeting was entitled "Economic empowerment: An important strategy for prevention of violence against women". With the experience from civil service groups which help women, they shared the social policy or new service programs in their countries on the stage, and how the policy allows women to gain economic independence, in order to move towards an independent life.

Firstly, CEO of GOH, Ms. Chi, shared the service program named “The extra mile with company” which started in 2013 catering women who have been removed from the danger of violence. In the best interests of each individual, the program provides the training services including vocational training, financial planning, business plan writing, childcare services and short-term independent dormitories with low rent. The purpose is to help women to save some money from the rent while making a transition in employment. Then, Julie Oberin from WESNET Australia, which is an alliance composed of 180 women's organizations in the country, has been funded by the government with a long-term initiative to provide online courses for women's economic safety at website eS4W. The website has four main themes: Australian women employment status, salary negotiation skills, personal financial situation assessment, pension information, and retirement preparation.

Cindy Southworth from NNEDV in the United States shared the financial management courses offered by Washington State since 2010 for women who have suffered economic abuse in intimate relationships. The course is divided into five categories include: understanding of economic abuse, entry classes of financial management, entry classes of personal credit management, personal financial configuration, budget planning. This series of courses teaches women from the most basic knowledge of money and how to use it, and help women to understand personal financial situation and asset planning. Therefore women can cut off the dependence on abusers for material and money, eventually make themselves independent.

Finally, Essa Reijmers from Blijf Groep in the Netherlands shared the launch of a service program made by the Dutch government from 2014 for a "new future" for those who have left the shelter. The training lasts 10 weeks from the understanding of themselves, review the course of life and intimate relationship until the job preparation. It is in total of six steps to re-participate in the community – begin with isolation, then being with family social friends, participating social activities, volunteer or internship training, to employment and tsustain to achieve economic independence.

To sum up, global shelter and shelter placement services for women do not only provide temporary shelter to vulnerable and disadvantaged women for emergency, but commit to assisting women to cut off economic dependence on abusers. If a country is willing to provide a systematic and long-term support for the learning network, women will have more power in financial management and can be more independent in controlling their own money. GOH believes in women’s wellbeing with financial independence!

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