The London Abused Women’s Centre (LAWC) and Truro, Nova Scotia’s Persons Against Non-State Torture (NST) have been invited to the Women 7 (W7) Summit in Paris, France.
LAWC said the two were the only Canadian groups among only 100 civil society organizations and activists invited to the W7 on May 9 and 10 at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris.
Following the summit, the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC) confirmed it also attended and was the only Indigenous women’s organization invited to speak, worldwide.
“We do not take these spaces for granted because we are rarely invited to actively be a part of discussions that concern the women, girls and two-spirit people that our organization represents,” Gwen Madiba with NWAC told 980 CFPL.
“This is why it is important for our Strategic Partnerships Department to make such connections to ensure that no Indigenous woman, girl or two-spirit person is left behind. As an ally, this is task that I take very seriously and I am honored to work with and for Indigenous sisters.”
According to a release, French President Emmanuel Macron has focused on women’s equality since his presidency of the G7 began on Jan. 1.
“It’s powerful for our organization to see the work of the London Abused Women’s Centre recognized internationally and speaks to the valuable work provided by our team,” LAWC executive director Megan Walker said in a statement.
Ahead of the summit, Walker said she would be attending on behalf of LAWC while co-founders of Persons Against Non-State Torture, Jeanne Sarson and Linda MacDonald, would be representing their organization.
“We are acutely aware of our global responsibility to break the silence of the reality that women and female children endure non-State torture in Canada and around the world,” Sarson and MacDonald wrote in a statement.
Several sessions and roundtables were scheduled for the first day of W7 meetings on May 9 with the aim of formulating official recommendations to submit to the G7 Ministers for Gender Equality. There was also a meeting scheduled with the Advisory Council on Gender Equality.
LAWC provides counselling, advocacy and support to women and girls over the age of 12 and provided immediate access to service to more than 8,000 women in 2018-19.
NST aims to raise awareness about “violence that manifest as torture by non-state actors—by private individuals, such as spouses, parent(s), relatives, parents’ friends, traffickers, pimps, buyers, pornographers, and others.” The group also lobbies for global legislation and informed services.
NWAC was founded to “enhance, promote, and foster the social, economic, cultural and political well-being of First Nations, Métis and Inuit women, girls and gender-diverse people within First Nations, Métis and Inuit Canadian societies.”
A previous version of this article misstated the location of NST and did not include information about the representation of NWAC at the W7.