(LONDON) - A VOLUNTEER nurse who works in Manchester will be attending the Labour Party’s annual conference, where she will be stressing the importance of women in leadership roles, here and in the developing world.
Cath Nixon, 30, recently returned from a volunteer placement in Nepal with leading international development charity VSO, where she took a two-year career-break from the NHS to work alongside health workers in a district hospital and across villages to improve standards of care, raise awareness of health issues and empower women to speak out for their rights.
Cath will be talking to MPs and councillors at a breakfast meeting in Manchester, hosted by VSO on Tuesday 23 September, about her experiences of volunteering in Nepal and the impact that having more women in positions of decision-making had on basic services like water provision and healthcare, as well as in tackling difficult issues such as child marriage in her community.
According to Cath: “My time in Nepal was truly invaluable. When I first arrived, many of the women I worked with felt too nervous to even introduce themselves, so it has been incredible to empower women so they feel confident enough to speak about the issues affecting them.
“If women are given the opportunity to participate and influence decision-making, it leads to more efficient, effective and responsive decisions for women, it helps progress towards gender equality and it helps transform the deep rooted social norms and attitudes that act as barriers – so it’s imperative that the need for more women in power remains on the political agenda.”
Meg Munn MP, for Sheffield Healey, Yorkshire and Humberside, will be hosting the event, and will also draw on her experience as a Parliamentary volunteer with VSO, where she worked in Kenya with VSO’s partner organisation KEWOPA (Kenyan Women’s Parliamentary Association),which aims to raise the profile and influence of female MPs.
The meeting will be held as part of VSO’s Women in Power Campaign, which is calling for political commitments to empower women, asking the next government to call on work with the UN to set ambitious new targets for women and decision-making.
VSO, along with other NGOs such as Womankind Worldwide, will also be asking Labour politicians in Manchester to commit to placing women’s empowerment at the heart of all its efforts to tackle global poverty.
For further information or set up an interview with Cath Nixon, please contact: Angela Singh, Media Officer, VSO UK on 020 8780 7368 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
VSO – Voluntary Service Overseas – brings people together to fight poverty through the lasting power of volunteering. We work alongside communities worldwide to create positive change. Our programmes are in some of the world’s poorest countries, reaching millions of people through improved access to services in education, health, HIV/AIDS, disability, and governance. VSO’s vision is of a world without poverty, but we can only achieve this by working together. www.vsointernational.org
VSO’S Women in Power campaign:
- Women are estimated to account for two-thirds of people globally who live in extreme poverty. 
- Women perform two-thirds of the world’s work, produce 50% of the food, but earn only 10% of the income and own only 1% of the property.
- 1 in 5 parliamentarians worldwide is a woman.
- Women’s influence in high level decision-making roles within the political sphere is even lower with women holding just 17% of ministerial positions around the world.
- Only 13 of 193 heads of government are women.
- At the local government level, women account for only 20% of elected councillors and they hold mayoral positions in only 10 of the world’s capital cities.
 Gender Equality & UNDP: http://www.undp.org/content/dam/undp/library/corporate/fast-facts/english/FF-Gender-Equality-and-UNDP.pdf 2011