Sunday, November 2, 2014

Justine's First Post!

What a rollercoaster October has been thus far!

It feels like a lifetime since I began the journey toward being named a CSW Fellow—from initially applying to getting through the interview process and finding out I had been selected, something I still have trouble believing!

This past week, we had our first workshop as Fellows. It was incredibly humbling to meet with my peers who will be on this road to the CSW conference with me over the next year. Each and every other Fellow is incredibly qualified for this opportunity, and inspiring with their topic selections.

The primary focus of the first workshop was to help us understand fully the commitment we were making to WomenNC over the next school year, and how much work was ahead of us. While the level of research seemed daunting to meat first, the community of leaders present at the workshop, from WomenNC and beyond, made it clear we were going to have an incredible experience along the way. After reviewing the timeline of events and discussing the CSW conference and CEDAW resolution a little bit more in depth, we moved on to developing our topic selection and ideas off of mentors attending the workshop.

Getting to speak one-on-one with Maureen was so incredibly helpful—while I have a clear passion for reproductive rights and knew I wanted to do something relating to that topic, Maureen helped me nail down a more inclusive and broader topic relating to reproductive rights, rather than focusing solely on abortion rights—something I admit I was initially gunning for.

That being said, I was initially taken aback by the hesitation on the part of some of the members of WomenNC to allow an abortion-based topic selection—though upon hearing the reasoning behind it, I understood the trepidation around the topic. As a reproductive rights advocate, I am well versed in the testy politics of abortion as a human right in the United States. It was disheartening (but expected)
to hear that the United States has yet to ratify CEDAW, primarily because of the abortion addendum relating to women’s health. On the whole, reworking my topic and having more background information regarding CEDAW only made me more eager to plunge into the research portion of this fellowship and learn how to properly advocate for CEDAW’s ratification.


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