Asa Regner, Deputy Executive Director of UN Women, started our final day stating the "[she] is a fem-acrat, if that's okay." The joke, combining the roles of feminist and bureaucrat, was supposed to be light-hearted. However, the joke pushed a bigger question for me - can someone be both an activist and bureaucrat? I plan to run for local office, but I also plan to continue my work as an activist. I imagine one day that these two roles will conflict, and I am interested in the decisions that I will make when they do. Additionally, Helene Molinier, Senior Policy Advisor for Director for Innovation & Technology Facility at UNWomen, emphasized that the digital divide was caused by the infrastructure in the past, but the digital divide is created by the cost now.
The next presentation by CHOICE for Youth and Sexuality outlined five roots for meaningful youth participation: decision-making power, responsibility, voice, information, and freedom of choice. I feel that youth are often "invited" into conversations, but they are never truly heard. We need to more explicitly ask for the things that we want, because, only through direct confrontation and slight discomfort, will we be truly given a place at the table.
One of my last session was hosted by Smooth Technology in thinking through how we can use both digital and non-digital games to address community-based problems. I am invested in utilizing innovative solutions, like creating games, to address thorny problems. The session, hosted by Dave and Sadie, was inspiring, because I have spent the week hearing about traditional methods to addressing difficult issues so it was quite refreshing to hear their perspectives.
The end of CSW 63 for me has been painful - I am pained at all the difficult gender-related problems and also pained at leaving the fresh cookies at my hotel. However, the pain of difficult problems is inspiring for me. I am inspired by the activists working alongside me, the governments equally committed to change, and my WomenNC community who has been instrumental in providing me opportunities to make change on the local level.