The Commission on the status of Women ended with a webinar by the Dominican UN NGO office. The link to the presentation on Changing the narrative one story at a time is here.
550 people registered for the event. One hundred and sixty-four people were actually able to attend. Each of the registrants received a note from DOMUNI and the link to the webinar. It was an amazing opportunity for hearing women from four different cultures share how they were working with women who were learning to claim their own inner power.
Below are a few quotes from the presenters on March 26th.
“What one would not do to a man should not be done against a woman. She must have the legal means to defend herself. This is not easy, neither in the society, nor even less in the Catholic Church. This is my main job as a lawyer: to ensure that women’s rights are respected. “
Marie Monnet, OP , Belgium
Women have a special role as life givers. In women, lies our future for the next seven generations. The drumbeat is getting stronger through this relationship with the earth. Women — grandmothers, mothers, sisters, aunties — are becoming stronger and stronger in the healing efforts they desire for themselves, their children and their families. Initiatives taken for healing include healing circles, use of rich symbols, rituals, ceremonies, songs, dances, traditions and customs which are practiced and experienced in a diversity of styles according to the tribal location and the natural gifts given by our Creator.
Kateri Mitchell, SSA, Massachusetts
“My involvement is at grass root level, it brings me face to face to the reality that is; discrimination of women, unequal treatment in the family or society, domestic violence and unequal wages they receive. Imparting knowledge has helped many women to stand on their feet and travel a road less path”
Manjula Tuscano, OP, India
“The task is very big, and the work is very strong. But we are stronger and by organizing ourselves and walking with other women we are achieving our goals. We have to make the authorities recognize them not only because we have the evidence in documents or the blows on our bodies, but also because we defend our rights. We have stood up as women because we are defending our rights with our words.
“We have stood up as women because we suffer violence that kills us. We have the right to live free and calm. That is why we must not forget to continue fighting for our lives, and for the rights we have as women.
Laura Elizabeth Diaz Gomez, Chiapas, Mexico
On behalf of the Dominicans at the UN I participated in the Working Group on Girls. It was quite stretching. I reached out to Dominican High Schools in December and received responses from Regina Dominican High School in Wilmette, Illinois as well Fe Y Alegria in the Dominican Republic. I asked the girls to participate in the Working Group on Girls Conversation Circle on March 16th. Two girls from Regina Dominican co-facilitated a conversation circle as did two girls from the Dominican Republic, Celisis Rodregiguez and Eymi Pinentel and back up girls for the global conversations, Josemerlin Alt. Pena Mejia and Lismar Taveras Florentino, and Sheyla Nicole Diaz Chalas. All the girls participated in the conversation circles in their language of choice. Sr. Nery Sori, OP, was a translator for some of the conversations.
One of the girls from Regina was a statement writer with global girls. The Girls wrote on the seven Action Coalition statements from UN Women. Here are a few comments from them about their experience at this global conversation. A copy of the final statement is linked here.
Julia Cerimele, freshman
- I learned more about the inequalities women face in all areas of life. I found it interesting to learn about other people’s perspectives on such issues and their solutions to them, and I learned more about how to find solutions to these problems.
Rebeca Marqueda, sophomore
- I am working with Mahi, a girl I met in my breakout room during the conference. She started an organization in India that helps collect female hygiene products and break down menstruation taboos. It is student led and she asked if I wanted to open a chapter of the organization here in the U.S.. I said yes and I asked Gabi to help join my efforts. I’m going to start working on the first drive very soon.
Sophia Rhoda Akosah, sophomore
- My group’s topic was gender violence. One of the essential things we touched on was education as being both the cause, “terms of lack of education,” and one of the solutions to gender-based violence. Education will grant girls the freedom to be dependable on themselves and also know their rights as females. We also amplified our voices as a community for our fellow young girls and women stacked in gender violence situations and don’t know how to get out.
Gabi Kerrigan, sophomore
- When I got on the zoom call, my eyes immediately widened from excitement that there were so many names on my screen in so many different but uniquely beautiful languages. Most of us spoke Arabic, English, or Spanish. I think that was the most exciting part for me, having always loved languages and been interested in cultures. Especially that we came together to discuss and write a statement that is so language-based. Being able to cooperate with individually accomplished and empowered girls is contagious. I experienced what it means to take action against the things that make me angry and I learned how to do it with a team next to me.
Kirka Kallioras, junior
- I learned that it is crucial to raise awareness about pressing issues regarding inequality because it can be seen in ALL parts of the world still, sadly! Early exposure to toys other than dolls, such as tool kits, legos, and building blocks, for girls is a good first step to take to familiarize them with math and science skills. As well as hiring more STEM female educators in schools to serve as role models and display to the girls that it is truly possible to be whoever they want to be.
Maeve Newton, senior
- I feel lucky and honored to have led a conversation among young women activists from all walks of life. Each of them taught me something valuable about leadership and what it means to be a woman.
Next year we hope to engage more girls from Dominican schools in the Working Group on Girls Conversation Circles. If your school is interested, please contact the UN NGO representative here at firstname.lastname@example.org. It would be terrific to welcome more girls and schools to participate in this global opportunity. All are welcome.