A CAMPAIGNER from Acomb is hoping to help shape the future of gender equality as one of only 100 UK people to attend the UN Commission on the Status of Women.

Katie McSherry, who currently works as a campaigner for Children North East, headed to New York last weekend where she is attending the event as a delegate of the UN Women UK National Committee from March 11 to March 22.

The Commission on the Status of Women is the annual international policy making forum, hosted by the UN, on progressing the rights of women worldwide.

Those who attend from member states and accredited non-governmental organisations are invited to influence, host events and contribute, with a view to agree policy and actions to achieve gender equality.

The theme for this year is social protection systems, and Katie will be showing an interest in family issues on behalf of Children North East, such as maternal rights and how children, families and single parents can be affected by cuts in public services.

Katie, a former student at Hexham’s Queen Elizabeth High School, who now lives in Newcastle, said: “I am particularly keen to attend in light of the recent visit of Philip Alston, the UN special rapporteur, on extreme poverty and human rights, to Newcastle and other parts of the UK in October 2018.

“His report on the visit raised significant concerns about poverty and inequality in the North-East resulting from Universal Credit and disinvestment in public services, and also the gendered impact of austerity on the whole. He specifically raised concerns about child poverty.

“It seems vital that work on this is followed up on various fronts and this seems one key opportunity. I’m hoping to at least write about this – and if I can, speak publicly on it.”

Katie has secured funding through the Paul Hamlyn Foundation to attend.

While she is there, her role will include attending government and NGO sponsored events, including a UN hosted event where youth get to quiz UN decision makers.

She will also speaking on a panel about the experiences of migrant women accessing services and working with experts to produce a campaign video on women’s rights.

She will be blogging her experience for UN Women UK, Children North East, and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation.