Thursday, March 16, 2017

Such an honor!

            Today was the big day! We ended up having a sizable audience of almost 40 people, which was amazing considering the event’s distance from the main UN building and its slot in the schedule. Eleanor LeCain, author of “Mayors Guide: Accelerating Gender Equality,” the fellows, Abby Bouchon Daniels, a former fellow, and WomenNC’s president Beth Dehghan spoke on our panel. Eleanor LeCain started the session with 10 steps local communities can take to establish gender equality including providing affordable childcare, tackling the wage gap, and addressing and preventing gender-based violence. These points provided an excellent framework for the specialized reports from the fellows on the gender wage gap, youth violence prevention education, reproductive healthcare for incarcerated women, and encouraging women and girls to pursue STEM fields. It was such an honor to speak on the panel and to have an audience of people from other movements to establish the principles of CEDAW in their own communities. The United States is a disgrace for not ratifying CEDAW more than 30 years ago when they first had the chance. We are one of 6 countries that has not adopted this gender equality framework for our national approach of working towards gender equality. As a nation, it seems that gender inequality is either denied or ignored, similar to how most other forms of oppression are denied and ignored. I have heard a number of people critique the United States this week for the Islamophobic travel ban and for our history in creating wars for the sake of the pursuit of profit. I have been reflecting on the fact that this conference takes place in the United States and is conducted mostly in English. The power dynamics and history of colonialism and oppression absolutely contributes to this reality and it is something I am still processing. I attended Tuesday’s events were cancelled due to the weather, but we had a productive day rehearsing our presentations, writing our blogs, and catching up on sleep and work. We now have two days left before we head home and I cannot wait to learn more.

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