Islanders headed to United Nations to discuss women's issues

A Canadian delegation, including some from P.E.I., will be heading to New York for the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women meetings next week where the focus will be on issues facing rural women and girls.

'I can't believe I'm going to New York to discuss rurality with people from across the world'

Jillian Kilfoil, executive director of Women's Network PEI, will be part of the Canadian delegation to head to New York. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC)

A Canadian delegation will be heading to New York for the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women meetings next week and it will include some Islanders.

Jillian Kilfoil was chosen to be a part during this year's UN commission between March 12 to 16, where the focus will be on issues and challenges facing rural women and girls.

"I was born and raised in a small place and I can't believe I'm going to New York to discuss 'rurality' with people from across the world," said Kilfoil, who is the executive director of Women's Network PEI.

Sharing with others from around the world

"We're a small non-profit in a small province, we don't always get the opportunity to connect nationally and internationally with other groups."

Status of Women Canada seeks nominations for delegates to attend the UN commission every year.

I'm truly grateful, absolutely honoured and so humbled that women's network and myself would be selected.— Jillian Kilfoil, executive director of Women's Network PEI

A number of P.E.I. organizations worked together to nominate Kilfoil, in what she said was a very heartfelt pitch.

"I'm truly grateful, absolutely honoured and so humbled that women's network and myself would be selected," Kilfoil said.

The focus of the 2018 UN Commission on the Status of Women will be the challenges and opportunities for gender equality and empowerment for women in rural areas.

'A lot of listening'

Kilfoil said that it will be interesting to share her perspective but with all the other international voices on the issue she is excited to hear what others have learned.

"I'll be doing a lot of listening, to learn about those strategies in other places that we can bring back here to P.E.I.," Kilfoil said. 

P.E.I.'s 'famous five' from 1993: From left, Speaker of the House Nancy Guptill, Lt.-Gov. Marion Reid, Leader of the Opposition Pat Mella, Premier Catherine Callbeck and Deputy Speaker Elizabeth Hubley. (Supplied: Province of P.E.I.)

P.E.I.'s Status of Women Minister Paula Biggar will also be attending the UN commission. She plans to recognize the 25th anniversary of the Island's "famous five," when women held five of the top senior positions in 1993.

The government also plans to commemorate the anniversary with events throughout the year.

With files from Jessica Doria-Brown