Wednesday, March 11, 2015

We are enough - Alison CSW Day 4

I truly wish I could explain my entire day of interesting sessions to our blog readers, but in the interest of time I will unfortunately have to cover just the highlights :) First, I attended a session hosted by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Sweden and Zambia. Listening to Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, executive director of UNFPA, call for continued focus on sexual and reproductive human rights despite current conservative pushback around the world was phenomenal. I learned there that Sweden has an officially declared "feminist government" and that Zambia is a very progressive government regarding reproductive health.

Another highlight was attending the "ministerial panel" on women and political participation. Just putting on the headset and listening to the live translation of languages (from Japanese to Arabic to Spanish) while sitting in the official government chambers was such a rush, reminding of the utterly unique privilege WomenNC provides.

My view at the ministerial panel.

I entitled this blog "we are enough," inspired by an event entitled "The Effects of Armed Conflict on the Status of Women in the Arab World." The event was sobering--bringing to light the harsh treatment and particular dangers faced by women's rights activists in Bahrain and Egypt. Following the shocking stories of violence, however, a Jordanian activist shared her conception of women's power. She adamantly stated that Arab women do not need to be "saved" or "rescued" (certainly not by war) and that Arab women are volcanoes, are changemakers, fighters, are full of potential and that women are enough. 

This resonated with me, the idea that in all sectors of life around the world, women can be empowered to improve their situation exactly how they see fit (without anyone else defining this for them) and that women are enough. It may seem like a truism, but I think women's agency is often overlooked, even here at the CSW, and the conception of self-worth is important for all areas of women's rights. I especially see this in my own research--women whose work isn't valued, whose struggle is invisible to most must appreciate that they are enough. I hope as activists that can be one of our roles: to propagate self-worth and the appreciation that all struggles and all areas of human rights are worthy of concern. Simply, to spread the realization that we are enough.

Loved these posters calling for the involvement of young women and girls displayed in the UN lobby. Dismantle this flawed and failed patriarchy!!

Tomorrow is our presentation and I do plan to attend some additional sessions. Can't wait to report back on our experience!


  1. Wow what a great mantra--especially re-inforced by the Jordanian woman's' view of Arab women--with no need to "be saved".....that says it all--hope all went well today as you were front and center!!

  2. Another example of the training our Fellows received to make that short crisp statement that "says it all". Women in conflict, though, have so many challenges that must seem insurmountable. How do they feel that "we are enough". They must be "tough cookies!" Good for them, and good for us to support their self-efforts! Love your recognition of the "utterly unique privilege WomenNC provides". You seem to be taking full advantage of it! Enjoy the rest of your week.