Roughly one in ten women attending the 53rd session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women is part of Ecumenical Women, an international coalition of churches and ecumenical organizations.
More than two thousand women delegates come to New York from around the world to participate in the annual meeting which is taking place 2-13 March at the United Nations headquarters.
Established by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), the Commission on the Status of Women is the principal global policy-making body with regard to the promotion of gender equality and the advancement of women. Its 2009 session will focus on the equal sharing of responsibilities between women and men, including care giving in the context of HIV/AIDS.
Dr Fulata Moyo, World Council of Churches (WCC) programme executive for Women in Church and Society, is convinced that churches and faith based organizations have a particular responsibility to promote equal rights for women, because "most of the patriarchal hegemony is rooted in a biased interpretation of certain religious teachings."
The WCC has been sending delegates to the Commission's sessions for more than 60 years and is a member of the Ecumenical Women alliance, an international coalition of church denominations and ecumenical organizations that are accredited with ECOSOC.
In preparation for the 2009 session, the coalition has released the advocacy guide Faith at the UN, Gender in the Church.
It provides gender-equality action strategies for congregations, theological reflections on gender equality written by women and men from around the world, as well as an overview on how to advocate for women's rights at the UN.
For more information on Ecumenical Women at the United Nations see: http://ecumenicalwomen.org