Sunday, March 15, 2015

The last day of CSW - Alison

Again, I must apologize to all for the lateness of my post. The whirlwind of the last day, our flight home and the return to North Carolina got the better of me. I'm sitting now back at the Davis Library on UNC's campus reminiscing about an unbelievable last week.

For my last day of CSW, I attended an event entitled "Transilience", on trans women's rights in South Africa, the ECOSOC Intergenerational Dialogue, and an event on instilling body confidence in young girls. Transilience discussed the similarities of challenges faced by trans folks around the world. Unfortunately, the speaker said that many view South Africa as a "utopia" for LGBT people, but this just is not the case. While South Africa has a very progressive constitution, which explicitly recognizes the rights of all sexual and gender minorities, even enshrining the right for trans folks to access hormones and reassignment surgery, dangerous prejudice and violent discrimination continues on the ground.

Next, I attended the ECOSOC Intergenerational Dialogue with Beth where I was happy to hear from youth, indigenous speakers, men and a variety of other participants about the role of civil society--specifically with regards to intersectionality, inclusion and influence. One of my favorite quotes from the panel was from the young Tunisian blogger Aya Chebbi, who said on behalf of all young women "we are not leaders of tomorrow, we are the leaders of today!" It was a sentiment that resonated with me as I sat in the UN halls for the final time this week--definitely a motivation to continue to advocate and lead however I can!

Inside the ECOSOC Chamber as Lakshmi Puri, Deputy Director of UN Women, speaks.

Following this, I attended a panel on body confidence in young women sponsored by UN Women, the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts and Dove's Self Esteem Fund. I initially questioned the involvement of a corporation like Dove, but I really appreciated everything I learned at the talk. Lack of self esteem and body confidence, they explained, has been shown to make girls perform worse on intelligence tests. The UK Government even established a task force to tackle this issue. This panel made me consider the role of the media and hope that we can all teach younger generations to value much more than looks and instill confidence in ourselves.

Of course, we ended the night with Les Mis and some authentic NY cheesecake :) I cannot thank Beth, Jane and Isabella enough for guiding us on this trip--I know we all learned SO much about ourselves and our place as advocates for women's rights. Thanks again to all the mentors, especially Maureen, WomenNC Board members, and Lois for working so hard to make this life changing trip possible! We will never forget this incredibly unique opportunity and I can't wait to share with all even more about what I learned in the coming months. Thanks all who read these blogs!


  1. Thanks to you and all the Fellows for your wonderful blog posts to give all of us the feeling on many days that we were there with you. I love the quote in your post "we are not leaders of tomorrow, we are the leaders of today!" It is really a call to action, and it seems that each of you caught the fever to make a difference for equality, after your week at the UN.

    There's an additional urgency in the quote in Justine's post below "Antiquity of a prejudice is no justification for its perpetuation." We are all looking forward to hearing more from each of you at our final Reflections Workshop-Reception on March 29 and then at UNC Global on April 9, and other events where you share your experiences, your networks, and your passion for equality.

    We are proud of each of you, and appreciate your dedication and commitment to changing the world for good!

  2. I am glad that my quote resonated with you, I would have loved to meet you in person.