Monday, March 9, 2015
Blog Post 9_Shehata
I spent International Women’s Day in one of my favorite cities! Going to the Apollo Theater for Consultation Day followed by the celebration march in Times Square was such an amazing experience.
I’ve learned so much about the current challenges to implementing the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action from the knowledgeable speakers at Consultation Day. The keynote speech by Ruchira Gupta was incredibly informative and it was disheartening yet uplifting at the same time. She spoke about the prostitution of young girls in India. The youngest girl she met at a brothel was only 7 years old. When she said that, the entire room gasped all at once. What is great is that she has made so much progress in releasing her Emmy-nominated documentary titled “The Selling of Innocents” and creating an organization that helps these women to achieve four goals that they have. The four goals include education for their children, office jobs from 9-5, having their own rooms, and justice. Often times, we take many of these goals for granted. She has come a long way but there are still some involved in the UN and governments who are trying to move backwards. They are making it difficult to continue the progress that Ruchira Gupta and the women involved have worked tirelessly for and are still working hard for.
The “Beijing +20 – Voices from the Regions” panel had many diverse and influential panelists including women from Kenya, Jordan, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Argentina, Sweden, and more. They each mentioned the points that their countries need to prioritize which include poverty and healthcare, peace-building and conflict, and the economy. The discussant summarized the panelists’ points by stating there needs to be growth of women’s groups and diversity, needing to bring all these separate issues together into a global movement, needing to learn from the differences between each other, needing to have a dialogue regarding why these policies are not being implemented, needing to have a discussion about the extravagant funding of the military rather than women’s rights, and needing to realize that even though many women have been able to move forward, there will always be a gap for those women who have not seen positive changes.
My favorite part of Consultation Day was hearing Dr. Gertrude Mongella speak. She is an inspirational woman with a beautiful soul. I am going to end with something she said during her speech. We need to be careful of what we are fighting for and to be careful of what kind of men we want to gain equality with.
Tomorrow is the first day and we will undoubtedly learn much more. Wish us luck!
Here is a picture of Isabella, Dana, and I at the Celebration March in Times Square, thanks to Liv for taking the picture!