Thursday, May 19, 2011

Bringing CSW to North Carolinians and intersectional analyses to all

Throughout April, the 2011 WomenNC CSW Fellows and I gave presentations to North Carolinians about what we had seen and heard at the 55th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women. We each discussed sessions we attended in relation to our topics, as well as interactions we had with others present at the meetings. We did our best to bring the content and sentiments from individual sessions to our North Carolina audience so that they could better understand the relevance of CEDAW and national and international women's rights advocacy. As I sat in both of the presentations we gave in Raleigh, I realized how much more comfortable we had become speaking about our specific topics and fielding the tough questions that arise about sex trafficking and sex education policies. I thought again about how important the applied experience of attending and presenting at CSW 55 was and how it was so much more meaningful because we were totally immersed in it as attendees and presenters.

I also realized the importance of informing North Carolinians about CEDAW and women's and gender issues in North Carolina, the U.S., and internationally more frequently throughout the year and to more audiences. It is unacceptable that the issues we're talking about today have been going on for hundreds of years and that people seem surprised about rates of domestic violence, sex trafficking, and adolescent pregnancy. Because history is taught from the vantage point of men and positive discussions about sexuality and women are generally silenced, the topics that we discussed in our presentations were likely surprising and alarming. Yet, because these are historical issues, some people may have not found our musings that shocking. The point is that we need to begin educating people about multiple forms of identity and inequality on the basis of gender, race, socioeconomic status, nationality, ability, and age beginning at younger ages. My engagement in Women's Studies and involvement with various organizations that focus on minority rights have made me extremely aware of intersectional identities and inequalities, but this only occurs within a small portion of people's educational experiences. We must work to create more opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds to increase their knowledge of and/or experience with the aforementioned issues and utilize organizations like WomenNC to make this a reality.

If you'd like to learn more about our experiences at CSW and subsequent reflections, please see the following:

Look at our reflection papers and PowerPoints here:

See clips from our presentations here:

And view pictures from our presentations here:

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