Local Girl Scouts to Represent GSSNE at the Commission on the Status of Women in New York City!
Girl Scouts of Southeastern New England (GSSNE) is thrilled that four local Girl Scouts will be representing our organization at the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in New York City from March 10 – 17, 2017.
GSSNE is one of only three Girl Scout councils (out of 112 total councils across the U.S.) selected to send girl representatives to this high profile event hosted by UN Women. The four girl representatives, Holly Viphakone, age 15 from Woonsocket, Olivia Barboza, age 15 from Cumberland, Lillian Hogan, age 16 from South Kingstown and Grace Major, also age 16 from South Kingstown, were selected from a pool of twelve passionate high school-aged Girl Scouts.
In the application process, girls expressed a wide range of concerns on the following passion points: maternal health; access to education; pay equity; LGBTQ+ justice; child marriage; and institutionalized sexism, racism, and discrimination.
Grace Major spent time living abroad and witnessed oppression firsthand. Due to those experiences, Grace commented, “I want to someday be a part of something that puts an end to child brides and promotes educating all women.”
Lillian Hogan expressed her main area of concern, “Safe and affordable education for girls in disadvantaged countries…the first step in solving most economically-based gender inequality is to allow girls around the world to receive equal education to their male counterparts.”
Olivia Barboza shared a similar awareness and expanded her view into the area of proper health care for women, noting that many girls have to miss weeks of school due to menstruation cycles. “They fall so far behind…they end up quitting. If they had proper health care, they would be able to still attend school…which in turn leads to educated and empowered women.”
Holly Viphakone expressed her hopes in how to make change in the world, stating, “I hope to someday expand the minds of the young women around the world, allowing them to fully comprehend their self-worth. Finding a way to provide good education to women around the world will help to encourage them and help them acknowledge that they possess a bright future.”
GSSNE’s four girl delegates will meet at the Statehouse with local female leaders serving on the Rhode Island Commission on Women and will also meet with female executives comprising the Bank of America’s Power of 10 group. Both groups seek to empower women in the local community.
CSW is the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women. CSW is instrumental in promoting women’s rights, documenting the reality of women’s lives throughout the world, and shaping global standards on gender equality and the empowerment of women. This year’s primary theme for the two-week session is women’s economic empowerment, and the secondary theme is challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals for women and girls.
With regard to specific discussions related to the theme of women’s economic empowerment, conversations will likely involve:
- International commitments supporting women’s economic empowerment (such as the Beijing Platform for Action, the Convention on the Elimination on All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and International Labor Organization conventions on gender equality).
- Research related to gender equality significantly contributing to advancing economies and sustainable development.
- Programs that promote women’s ability to secure decent jobs, accumulate assets, and influence institutions and public policies.
- Advocacy to measure women’s unpaid care work.
- Possible actions that allow women to more readily access paid employment.
- Challenges for particularly marginalized groups including rural women, domestic workers, migrants, and low-skilled women.
- UN Women goals of higher incomes, better access to and control over resources, and greater security, including protection from violence.
Our local girls will be attending general assembly sessions and breakout sessions focused on both themes, ultimately discussing the status of gender equality, identifying goals attained, achievements made and current efforts to close gaps and meet challenges. Our local Girl Scout representatives will have opportunities to have conversations with dignitaries, heads of state, community organizers, policy-makers, and change agents on emerging issues and trends affecting women and girls throughout the world, in addition to making future recommendations for parity.
Being part of such a high-level session will enable our local Girl Scouts to return to Rhode Island as informed global citizens and youth experts. GSSNE wishes to position our girl members as true agents of change who are equipped to collaborate with stakeholders and partners on issues such as female empowerment and leadership. Our programming models this, too, in that we are striving toward effective coalition building. GSSNE attendees will benefit from having the opportunity to witness and network with the prominent organizations, bodies, and individuals in attendance at CSW.