INSTITUTE OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN MARY
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Mary Ward Women with Vision

Women belong in all places where decisions are being made. It shouldn't be that women are the exception.

The world, and its ways have often been contrary to this. As young women with a vision, we aspire to change this, to turn the tables so that no gender gets left behind. CSW65 gave us the platform to do so. Organised by the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women and conducted from the 15th through the 26th of March 2021, the event offered women and girls from all around the world a chance to voice their opinions and play a role in transforming society.

On the 16th, I attended the Girls’ Conversation Circle which focused on discussing the Action-Coalitions and I worked on the 4th Action Coalition, ‘Feminist Action for Climate Change’ as the co-facilitator. We established how important it is for women and girls to actively participate in the fight for climate justice and why we need to take leading roles. We discussed the young women like Greta Thunberg, Vanessa Nakate and Ridhima Pandey who are not only working towards a ‘cooler tomorrow’ but also inspiring thousands of girls to do the same.

We discussed how we need to hold big companies of the Ore Industry, Meat Industry, even Textiles Industry responsible for their emissions and control their emissions. While we condemned the acts of corporations and demand action on a global level, we also talked about the small steps that we could take as individuals. Through brainstorming together, we came up with ideas like “Meatless Mondays”, through which we would avoid all non-vegetarian foods; a weekly “Earth Hour”, wherein we unplug for one hour, at least, once every week to save electricity; switching completely or partially to solar energy; asking for the creation of “No Plastic Zones” in schools; following the three Rs and campaigning against unjust climate policies.

On the 17th, I participated in the Girls’ Caucus, where young girls like myself were given the opportunity to analyze as well as suggest amendments to the Zero Draft of the Agreed Conclusions for CSW65. I was part of the group which discussed the lack, and importance of representation of women in all spheres. We shared our personal experiences, which despite our diverse races and nationalities, were concurrent. We came up with ideas to abolish sexism at the very grassroot level by including role models of all genders in the curriculum, including neo-pronouns and their use along with traditional pronouns in pre-primary education, providing young girls a platform to make their voices heard, creating a LGBTQIA+ safe space for students, providing scholarships for girls who are financially challenged to pursue higher education, and making menstrual hygiene products free.

My experience through the CSW65 was one that not only gave me a stage to be heard, but also helped me listen to what others had to say. I learnt that the varied experiences, different points of view and unique challenges that girls face today are vastly different and yet, similar. We might not face the same challenges, but we all face them.

The Girls’ Virtual Spaces helped me connect and relate with my peers from the other side of the globe and realize that we must keep hoping and working and seizing the day because every step we take brings us closer to a better future.

To bring about a change in the way the society runs and thinks, open dialogue between people is paramount. Unless everyone’s thoughts, ideas and opinions are heard, progress of each person in a society cannot be ensured. This was the underlying idea behind the events organised at the CSW65.

Author: Ashlesha Pandey

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