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  • Writer's pictureCATHERINE BARRON '25

SUA and the Commission of the Status of Women

Walking the halls in the United Nations at the Commission of the Status of Women, the strength of the women past, present, and future is palpable. As soon as you walk in the doors you are immersed in an environment that teems with diverse cultures all united under the common passion of women empowerment. The Commission on the Status of Women is a yearly delegation of The United Nations Economic and Social Council that works to promote the United Nations fifth Sustainable Development Goal, gender equality. This commission works as a platform to share the reality of issues and conflicts women face across the globe, and is the beginning for change and progress. Power and strength radiate off the strong female leaders that raise their voice against prejudice and hate of sexism that affects each and every woman.

The very first CSW was June 21, 1946, and 2023 marks the 67th anniversary of the advent of this commission. This year's priority theme was “innovation and technological change, and the education in the digital age for achieving gender equality and the empowerment for all women and girls.” Saint Ursula Academy offers a social justice trip to attend this event in New York City, and this year seven Saint Ursula Academy students were given the opportunity to be a part of this conversation.

Overall the Commission lasts two weeks long, and people from all over the world travel to New York City to attend lectures and events concerning the status of women around the globe. Many countries and organizations are given the opportunity to share their distinct conflicts and issues, and no voice is left behind. The group of SUA students were given the experience of uniting with two other Ursuline schools from across The United States to experience and attend parts of the commission. Through this, they were able to put the Ursuline core values into action and come together as one.

The students were given a guided tour to learn about the rich history of the United Nations and how its establishment has brought progress and peace in our world. This tour gave the students a better understanding on how the very complicated United Nations worked and how each country works together to fight for a common cause. The primary thing the SUA students did at the United Nations was attend the events that were hosted by various nations. They were given the opportunity to sit in the United Nations conference rooms along with all the delegates and learn all about the impact of technology on women's rights.

Maya Chavez '25 who participated in these conferences said, “The most impactful part of the experience was getting to hear all of the talks. Not only the main events but also the side events. This allowed me to really hear and understand what these other representatives and people from these other countries and cultures wanted to say. It was a moving experience, hearing the points and arguments that I had never even thought of but are so relevant in the representatives' respected area.”

Strong female voices from Afghanistan to the United Kingdom rang throughout the halls calling for action and justice. One talk that deeply impacted the group of SUA students was an event hosted by MADRE. Camille Roman '26, a student who attended this trip, explains this event by saying, “My favorite event that I attended was a parallel event organized by MADRE. We learned about how grassroots indigenous leaders are working to help fight the effects of climate change using technology in their communities. We specifically heard from women.” Camille continues, “It was fascinating to learn about how climate change affects other communities around the globe, since my perspective is pretty limited to that of the US. It was also so interesting to see the intersectionality of feminism, climate change, technology, and indigenous communities. This theme was present all throughout the UNCSW.”

One of the speakers was a representative from Guatemala, whose voice carried passion as she exclaimed that we all must raise our voices and protect our planet for the good of the next generation. Her genuine desire for change left many people in tears, and as I sat there in awe a spark was lit inside me to follow her call for progress. This moving talk instilled in many of us the value that together we are stronger to bring peace and justice to the world.

Outside the commission students are also given the opportunity to experience New York City. Maya says, “One of my favorite memories has to be going to times square together. It was extremely fun to get to hangout and bond with everyone in the group, and to hear different peoples' reasons for coming on this trip in general.”

Overall, this experience promoted peace, called for justice, and instilled unity. It said that all young women have the responsibility to bring change and equality to our world, so our next generation can stand stronger. It was also an educational and enlightening experience because not only do you learn a lot, but was also given the opportunity to meet many inspirational women. This opportunity allows individuals to gain a new perspective and all women should get the opportunity to be empowered and uplifted by the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.

The Social Justice and Community Service Learning Department offers many trips each year to help students broaden their global perspective. This specific trip usually occurs yearly in early March, but there are various trips year around that students can get involved in. To learn about more trips go to the Community Service Learning Website in SUA Bookmarks, and also look out for any emails concerning trips for next year!

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