Sunday, March 13, 2016
Day 1- Consultation Day!
Today marks the official first day of CSW!
We went to Consultation Day today. At Consultation Day we learned a bit more about CSW, heard some amazing musicians and listened to absolutely inspiring women and men discuss various issues of gender inequality. This prelude to the rest of the week has inspired me and excited me for what’s to come. In just 6 hours on the first day I learned countless new facts and heard new perspectives and voices that I hadn’t heard thus far.
We started off today with a wonderful women musician named Gaida. She was a Syrian artist and her music was definitely beautiful! After her, we moved into a question and answer panel with 3 very distinguished individuals: La Neice Collins, Phumzile Miambo Ngouka (President of UN Women!!!) and Antonio Patriota. I was incredibly inspired by everything, but some stuff said by Antonio Patriota stuck with me.
“To exercise leadership, you talk about your strengths but also your weaknesses.” Antonio Patriota, UN Representative from Brazil, spoke to the importance of the implementation of the SDGs across all countries, regardless of development. He asserted that all countries have something to gain from their implementation and the progression that they will bring. This, to me, is extremely important. I think it is so easy for us to believe that “developed countries” are the gold standard for equality, when in fact we still have miles to go.
At 10 o’clock we were introduced to the 2 Women of Distinction awardees. Unfortunately, only one of the women could speak to us as the other women had an emergency she had to attend to. With that being said, Bandana Rana, founder of the National Network Against Domestic Violence and Saathi in Nepal, was absolutely inspiring. She spoke about her work with domestic violence in Nepal. She told us that she was attempting to make a documentary of these women’s stories but had a very difficult time getting the women she was interviewing to speak up. She told us that that the majority of the time she asked women questions, men would answer for them. As an attempt to counteract this, she began to meet women on their journeys to get water in the morning. She learned that, although their voices were silenced by the people they trusted the most, they had a lot to say on the issue of domestic violence. She learned that the most insecure place mother, sister or daughter is in her own house.
Due to this, she wanted to start a shelter and organization to help Nepali women escape their abusers. She stated that just telling these women that they shouldn’t have to deal with abuse wasn’t helping anything if they didn’t have a place to go. She was met with a lot of animosity and was told that she was interfering in “family matters”.
After this, we got to hear from a variety of women on their opinions about the saying attached to the SDG goals of “No One Left Behind”. The most impactful comment in this session, and I think the most impactful comment of the whole day, was said by Charlotte Burch of Rutgers University. She said, “We still tend to think that citizenship is about nationality, but we have to move to understand that everyone is a citizen of this world. Whether they're American, Syrian, refuges or jailed...they still deserve to have access to their basic human rights.” This quote really stuck with me and reaffirmed the importance of CSW and the WomenNC Fellowship.
I have a lot of pictures and videos, but for some reason I cannot upload them to this blog right now. I'll try again to update this tomorrow with a couple pictures and a video of the Spoken Word poets Climbing Potree!