Monday, March 9, 2015

Dina Shehata_Blog 10

CSW Day 2!

The day started off with the NGO Briefing in the morning. We got all the information we would need to know for the rest of our stay along with the background of CSW and the Beijing Platform for Action. What is great about CSW is the inclusion of different areas which include government meetings, side events at the UN, and NGO parallel events. All areas are represented. Additionally, there are 45 member states selected for membership of the CSW. I’m proud to say Egypt is one of those countries!

The first event I attended after the Briefing was titled “The Production of Alternative Knowledge in Egypt: Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of WMF sponsored by The Women and Memory Forum. I was very interested in attending this event to understand how my home country is involved with women’s rights. The organization had some very interesting goals and initiatives including re-reading and re-writing history by bringing feminist works into mainstream media, remembering pioneering women, and reclaiming popular culture through the re-writing of folktales and ultimately performing and telling these stories. They hosted gender workshops conducted in Arabic, created The Women and Memory Library and Documentation Center which gathered all Arabic Women’s Studies works from all Arab countries in one location, and archiving women’s voices through their oral history program. At the end of the session I asked the panel what policies and programs were being implemented to combat sexual assault and sexual violence. I was pleased to hear that the law finally criminalizes sexual assault, harsher sentences have been passed, and there are anti-sexual harassment programs on campus. This is a huge feat when considering the level of sexual harassment and assault prevalent in Egypt.  Egypt still has a long journey ahead considering the fact that women have had a voice post revolution but are not officially included in political leadership.

The next event I attended was titled “Empowering Rural Women to Achieve Food and Nutrition Security.” The panelists were from organizations such as the WFP, FAO, the World Bank (previously), and others. The goal of panel was to empower women to have food and nutrition security. In some countries, women make up more than 70% of the agriculture workforce and worldwide, women make up 43% of the agriculture workforce worldwide. From the audience, there were two women who stood out once the Q & A session began. One woman was from the Gambia while the other from Peru. The comments they made were passionate and rightfully so. They were the rural women that the session had the goal of empowering. Hearing their stories and pleas was truly eye opening.

The last event I attend was titled “Women in Political Leadership – Achieving Equality in Political Decision-Making” and the objective was to discuss the barriers for women in political leadership. There were several high profile female government officials from countries that include Algeria, Australia, Chile, Switzerland, and South Africa. Their stories and their political journeys, sometimes similar and sometimes completely different, were inspiring and motivating. After this event was over we all attended the NGO Reception where Liv taught me the secret to networking. I made such amazing contacts and I am so excited to get in contact with them.

In conclusion, today has been extremely eventful and insightful and I can’t wait for tomorrow’s sessions! 


  1. Dina--sounds like a great day--I especially found interesting your ability to better understand women's activities in Egypt--what a great way to get deep fast on something very close to home to you!!

    Can't wait to hear about Liv's networking tip--you can't have enough of those!! Take care and enjoy!!

  2. Love your description of the panel on Egypt, and the fact that part of women's equality is re-writing history and folktales. Very basic, but very effective, no doubt. What a twist on your research topic of Women and the Media--fascinating! Also appropriate to your topic, the power of personal stories and passion. Sounds like you really made great choices of sessions.

    Good luck on your presentation tomorrow. Smile!