Tuesday, March 12, 2019
The United Nations with WomenNC: Day 3
In September, the current cohort of WomenNC Scholars was selected, with the prospect of presenting at the United Nations seeming so far away. Today, around 6 months’ worth of work culminated in WomenNC’s Cities for CEDAW event, where we presented our research to a global audience.
Before our presentations, though, we attended multiple sessions earlier in the day hosted by NGOs. The first was the NGO CSW Forum Orientation, where those who were attending the conference for the first time were given the lay of the land. The event included a multitude of speakers, but the one whose words stuck out to me most was Lopa Banarjee, Director of UN Women’s Civil Society Division. She spoke about the various aspects of social protection systems and issues that they can target, noting that “social security is the means through which societies are made to be resilient… Social security is a right, it is not a handout.” Studying social work, we are often taught these sentiments, but they are rarely framed in such a way in political spheres.
Following orientation, I was able to watch a screening of the opening ceremonies of CSW, hearing from figures such as UN Secretary General António Guterres and Chair of the Commission on the Status of Women, Ambassador Geraldine Byrne Nason. Speeches addressed the importance of CSW and its mission, particularly as we approach the Bejiing+25 conference next year. One moment that stood out to me was when the Secretary General said “CSW could also be called the Commission on the Status of Power. Gender equality is fundamentally a question of power.”
Later in the afternoon, WomenNC hosted its event on implementing Cities for CEDAW in North Carolina, allowing us to present our work to CSW attendees. There were many advocates present from San Francisco, including Robin Endres, who introduced the San Francisco model of Cities for CEDAW. It was really interesting to see the differences and similarities between various cities’ approaches to implementing CEDAW in their communities. I’m looking forward to the sessions I have chosen for tomorrow!
Outside of the UN!