Starting on Monday March 12, 2018, there is a two week event organized by the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, where women from around the world gather in New York City to discuss women’s rights and equality. There will be plenty of lectures, discussions, and panels discussing various topics on women’s political, social, and economic needs. On Friday March 16, I will be speaking on a panel entitled We Believe that Together Mothers and Daughters can Reach Gender Equality. This appears to be the only panel discussing the role the mother-daughter relationship plays in the fight for gender equality. And all the events are free!
What is the Commission on the Status of Women?
This is the 62nd year that the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is organizing this two week event of panel discussions on women’s rights and equality. The CSW was formed in 1947, soon after the formation of the United Nations. Its initial goal was to set standards and formulate international conventions that shone a spotlight on world-wide practices in gender discrimination. And today the CSW is a voice that tells the story of the political, social, and economic reality of women’s lives and what women require so that they can gain a more equal political voice, social rights, and economic resources. The CSW or the UNCSW as its now called is the force behind the World Conferences on Women in Mexico City in 1975, Copenhagen in 1980, Nairobi in 1985, and Beijing in 1995, as well as the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women that was adopted by the General Assembly on December 20, 1993.
Why is the UNCSW event important to therapists?
I believe that it is important that therapists put the sexual assault and gender discrimination that we hear daily in our therapy offices into a larger political and social context. Listening to panels of experts outline the reality of women’s lives helps me, as a mother-daughter relationship therapist, understand my client’s truth more clearly. It helps me see how deeply personal the political reality is my client’s life. And by connecting the dots between my client’s experiences and how women are treated within her social and political environment, I can empower her to make her voice heard and fight for her rights.
Within today’s #MeToo climate, therapists need to understand how systemic and endemic gender discrimination is. We need to be aware of beliefs and behaviors that silence and discriminate women that we have internalized and normalized from our family and society. And therapists have an important role to play in emotionally empowering women to speak up, to stop tolerating being silenced or ignored, and to identify and call out sexual harassment. This is why I became a mother-daughter relationship therapist. I wanted to empower my clients to understand themselves within their multigenerational family and the beliefs and behaviors that they inherited from their mother and grandmother. And to help them change discriminating beliefs and behaviors that are harmful to their rights and voice.
Rosjke Hasseldine is a mother-daughter relationship therapist, speaker, and author of The Silent Female Scream & The Mother-Daughter Puzzle. Rosjke teaches mental health professionals how to become a Certified Mother-Daughter Coach. www.rosjke.com