Centering Indigenous women at the heart of building political power | #CSW62

The United Nations is currently holding the 62nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women. Citizens' Press writer Roxanne Dubois is in New York as part of a delegation of trade union women.

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On Day 1 of CSW62, Rosa Luxemburg NYC and Madre teamed up to offer “Indigenous Women Transforming Power”. Panelists were Indigenous women from different countries who shared their experiences in the quest for greater political power in the electoral sphere.

• Rose Cunningham from Nicaragua spoke about taking advantage of every political space where women demand advances that move them forward. Her community learned a lot from the unity of grassroots women, on the potential of building from the ground up. The process empowered her community and seizing the mayor’s office gave them a voice and real political power. • Lucy Mulenkei from Kenya talked about the connection between running for office and overseeing resource allocation. “We have to train and support Indigenous women at the local (county) level so that they can impact national and global politics. We also have to put women in charge of the budget.” • Aminatou Samira from Cameroon spoke to the challenges posed by the under-representation of women in politics. She stressed the need for access to education and exposure to training and advocacy for girls. “We need space to strategize together and see the next steps towards leadership roles.” • Yasso Bhattachan from Nepal spoke about getting preparing ahead for elections and putting Indigenous women at the heart of an agenda for change.

In closing, panelists made an important point about the need to build alliances with those fighting against the politicization of social movements. When Indigenous women get attacked and targeted by police forces, taking political space becomes difficult, if not impossible.

If the electoral process can be an opportunity for Indigenous women to become in charge of finances, then it can be a transformative process for the community. Full workshop feed is available at #iwtpower

 This post was originally published on Union CSW.