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Commission on the Status of Women
UN Trip Summary
Monday, February 21 , 2011
Hallie Knight Hughes, Spring 2011 LU/UN Intern
55th Commission on the Status of Women
The futures of women in the world are likely to be affected by the people in this room today. Held at the Salvation Army Headquarters in New York City, this day marks the first day for the 55th annual Committee on the Status of Women (CSW). Hundreds of people had gathered from around the world, focused on improving the lives of women everywhere.
Many prominent women were here to speak, including the former President of Chile and Under-Secretary and Executive Director to the United Nations, Michelle Bachelet. With an impressive background and well-spoken manner, Ms. Bachelet expressed the need to educate women, specifically in technology and science. In addition, she spoke of the need to eliminate barriers to education and training in these fields, as well as end violence and discrimination against women.
Following Ms. Bachelet’s inspiring speech, Dr. Kaosar Afsona took the podium. Dr. Kaosar has been the Associate Director of the Health Programme at BRAC for over eighteen years, and has degrees from both Harvard and Edith Cowan Universities. Her work focuses on increasing women’s use of technology, specifically with mobile phones. Research shows that network connections such as mobile phones increase accessibility to information, as well as provide outlets for needs like medical emergencies. Naturally, these benefits increase the quality of life for women and the community as a whole.
Panels were held later on in the conference to further discuss the CSW goals. Representatives from the Medical Women’s Association, NASA, Technion University Israel and the University of the South Pacific (Fiji) spoke on creating gender responsive products, increasing women’s employment and eliminating barriers to participation in science and technology.
Then followed a discussion on women in the UN, presented by representatives from the Center for Women’s Global Leadership at Rutgers University, Baha’I International Community to the UN and Women’s Environment and Development Organization. The conference then broke into five different groups to discuss in greater depth how to obtain the CSW goals.
At the end of the conference, student representatives from Lehigh University served as rapporteurs, presenting the various solutions and goals to the entire audience. The day had been long, but also productive. Sitting in this room of dedicated individuals, nothing was more obvious than the passion and dedication held by the people in this conference; all of which will make a difference in improving women’s lives everywhere.