Saturday, March 15, 2014
Thoughts from C6
Gate C6. LaGuardia International Airport. Fellows and chaperons alike sit slumped in lounge chairs like wilted bouquets of parched roses. However, while our physical comportment may appear to be weary, our hearts and minds have been nourished and rejuvenated by a week of intense stimulation and non-stop action.
Through sessions, receptions and panel events, we have been able to connect our research to broader thematic issues in the area of women’s human rights both domestically and internationally. On my part, my CSW experience became largely focused on men’s involvement in preventing violence, the Post-2015 Agenda and, surprisingly, a very strong Latin America and Canadian focus. Through connections in Brazil, I was able to meet with the Brazilian Undersecretary for Women and discuss continued efforts to eradicate gender-based violence in-country, especially in underserved urban regions. Unexpectedly, CSW also catalyzed an interest in urban spaces—issues I have long regarded as critical, but whose impacts on gender and women’s human rights I have only recently come to understand. Alongside this, upcoming and current “threat multipliers” to global crises such as climate change were a topic I pursued at CSW with much zeal.
Other issues of a more technical nature also came to the fore. For instance, during one of the High Level Panels, many subject-matter experts spoke about the extreme need of gender-dis-aggregated data in the Post-2015 Development Agenda. Highlighting the need for a “data revolution” in development that allows important stakeholders to make decisions about their development without relying on the often manipulated data that emerges from the governments engaged on both sides of the development equation; donor and aid-recipient alike. Of further importance, of course, is actually engaging vulnerable populations like women and children in crafting decision-making processes within development that are empowerment. As Sharon Bhagwn-Rolls from Fiji put it so eloquently, “women have the right to define development, not merely to be the beneficiaries of.”
The subject areas I covered were of an incredibly diverse nature. Ranging from sessions analyzing Uruguay’s progress in reaching MDG 2 and 5 to a multimedia presentation that focused on “goddess iconography” throughout human history—the diversity was immense. This underscores CSW as a whole and probably the way each of us as advocates and activists has grown and changed.
Thank you for accompanying us on this personal and professional journey. We look forward to connecting with all of you individually over the coming weeks as we share the lessons learned and reflect on our time at CSW and, indeed, throughout the fellowship as a whole.