Sunday, March 12, 2017
Consultation Day Experience
I could not have asked for a more thrilling first day at the UN CSW. Despite a few hours of sleep after a 5 a.m. workout, I remained in sync with the passionate Consultation Day speakers and attendants. As soon as I got to the event, I met an overjoyed woman from Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui Women’s League. The women’s league was run through a church. Even though we came from different worlds, we chatted about our past church retreats. We connected almost instantly. She told me that she came to the CSW to learn more about equal pay. She explained the regulations of equal pay in Hong Kong. She asked me questions about why I thought there was a gender gap in America. I could sense her enthusiasm of this issue by the sparkle in her eyes. Building mutual connections with strangers is what I enjoyed the most about day 1. You could engage in minimal English with people from all over the world and still share a mutual interest with them over women's issues.
My favorite part of the day was the breakout session. I had the opportunity to learn about human-trafficking, child marriage, and forced labor. One of the panelist speakers drew my attention towards this issue when she mentioned that a senator in Nigeria married a 13-year old girl and ended up leaving her for a younger child. I was astounded by this. To realize that a public official engaged in this made my stomach turn instantly.
I chose to participate in the group about child marriage because it’s the subject that I had heard least about. I was very interested in knowing more about child marriage especially after hearing the panelist explain child marriage. Luckily, most people in my group provided insight about this issue. The individuals in my group worked for the Concordia Project, in Japan, Center for Women’s Health, OSMTH, and a hospital in Nebraska. The nurse in the group mentioned a child marriage story that she knew of.
Here is the link if you’re interesting in reading it:
As a naïve young woman, I would have never thought that child marriage was an issue in America. The fact that child marriage is not discussed publicly seems disturbing. Our group generated the idea of starting an awareness campaign of the issue. Signs of child marriage would be a key focus of this campaign. Overall, we all agreed that the public needs more knowledge over this issue in order to prevent it. I just can’t imagine the idea of a child getting married before learning how to drive. One very important point that was made during this discussion was that an action plan is necessary for the child’s recovery. Helping the victim after such a traumatizing experience is crucial. I feel fortunate to have learned so many new things in just one day. I am looking forward to day 2 of CSW.