Friday, April 15, 2016

Reflecting and Reaffirming Gender-Safe perspectives: Final Post

It is hard to believe that today is our last official day of our WomenNC fellowship. It has been just over a month since we left for CSW in NYC, and many of the lessons I have gained from this fellowship are continuing to inform my decision-making processes as I navigate the job and career search. 

There have been so many avenues by which to gain experience from in this process. Firstly, just the community I have found in both the other fellows as well as the mentors and staff within WomenNC has been incredible. Not only has their insight and passion for various facets of women's human rights inspired me, their dedication to organizing has also moved me in so many ways. During my time in college, while I have pursued various projects and opportunities to allow me to better understand the injustices of the world, it is easy to get trapped in the bubble of campus and become disconnected from the "real" world. The powerful women leaders involved in this fellowship have shown me that when we have collective willpower and time devoted to causes close to our hearts, amazing outcomes are bound to happen. I am so honored to have built community with these women, and to have benefitted from their wisdom. It has certainly inspired me to pursue community organizing and activism on a local level once I graduate. 

Secondly, the experience of getting to know the subject matter of my policy brief topic has been so valuable. Not only did I become familiar with a new platform of writing, I can now say that I have a working knowledge of a very critical women's human rights issue right here in NC, and was able to develop ideas for how to combat it. The experience of being an undocumented women in NC is one that I will never be able to truly understand, the strife and obstacles to well-being are numerous and difficult. However, I will now serve as a life-long advocate for this population, and hopefully my body of knowledge will only grow. 

Lastly, the tumultuous and incredible experience of the actual CSW60 conference in New York is one that has left a lasting impression. Yes, I gained practical skills in networking and public speaking, but more importantly I developed a stronger sense of hope. It can be so tempting to dissolve into despair when one really attempts to understand the massive human rights violations occurring against women all over the world. However, the collective energy, passion, and determination that I observed at CSW60 was immensely powerful, and truly cemented for me that it is possible to mobilize to affect change in women's rights. I heard perspectives from local, on the ground leaders, to high level officials, and it was evident that each individual had locked on a path for sustainable change.

What this fellowship has really provided for me is the opportunity to realize that I will include a gendered perspective in all work and activism that I do in my life. Gender oppression exists at almost all levels of social interaction in some form, in every country in the world. I will continue to incorporate gender safe interventions in all forms of global health interventions I pursue in my lifetime. 

I cannot express my gratitude enough for the opportunity to be apart of this fellowship experience. I have been supported in such valuable ways, I have grown as an activist, and I have garnered new hope for ways we can improve the well-being of women across the globe.  

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