WFWPI Intergenerational Panel Highlights Value of Relationship

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by Mi Young Eaton, WFWP USA

On March 13, 2017, Women’s Federation for World Peace, International (WFWPI) began a week of activities in observance of the United Nations’ 61st Commission on the Status of Women (CSW 61) with a parallel event at the Community Church of New York in Manhattan.

The event was a panel, organized under the theme, “Women Fostering Peace and Co-Prosperity: Creating Intergenerational Collaboration Sans Arrogance.” Seven panelists, representing a wide variety of ages and experiences, answered a series of questions on the themes of cultivating a spirit of sisterhood in one’s workplace, balancing motherhood and professional life, and describing the unique challenges and opportunities of older and younger generations of women, among others.

Krista Smith, a current student at the University of Bridgeport College of Public and International Affairs, served as a co-chair of the panel. When asked about the aims of the panel, Krista shared, “We were hoping that people would be able to take the input of the panelists into their workplaces in order to interact with their colleagues in a way that would foster more sisterhood, more prosperity and collaboration; that the things that we see as women’s strengths—that the attendees would feel empowered to use them in their workplaces instead of conforming to a societal vision of what it means to be successful, or what it means to be powerful and professional.”

Jeanne Carroll, “a long-term representative of WFWPI to the NGO Commission on the Status of Women,” further clarified the aim of the event in response to an audience question on the significance of including “sans arrogance” in the panel’s title. Relating an anecdote about her son’s teaching his grandmother how to use Facebook—thereby granting her a new source of vitality and connectedness with the people she loves—Jeanne explained that that interaction would not have been possible if either party had been unwilling to come together and create a new possibility.

“A lot of times, that’s all that’s needed: a personal relationship. Instead of thinking, ‘Oh, I’m old, I can’t do that,’ you just have to find somebody who can do it….I think that that is the point. If you’re not arrogant, then you take down the barrier, and you can open up yourself to great possibilities. Whether you’re old, whether you’re young, whether you’re in-between, whether you don’t know if you’re old or young—in all of these circumstances, you can put yourself aside a little bit and open yourself to possibilities.”

Stay tuned to familyfed.org for more updates from WFWPI in the days ahead, as they continue to offer their voices to the conversations of CSW 61 and celebrate the 25th anniversary of their founding.