Women Who Roar: Global Women’s Empowerment by Megan Wilde
The United Nations Women – Commission on The Status Of Women (CSW) is an annual session held at The UN Headquarters in New York, where political leaders of nations all over the world come together to address current issues that face the women in their countries.
My journey towards The UN’s CSW began with a song I composed and perform called, “Promise”. Promise is the story of a schoolgirl who becomes a victim of sex trafficking, a horrific human rights violation that is the worlds fastest growing criminal enterprise. This song lead me to working with UNICEF, and meeting with Congress to advocate legislative acts ‘Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act’ and the ‘International Violence Against Women Act.’ “Promise” landed in the hand’s of African political leaders, who honored me by inviting me to the annual UN CSW session that champions Global Women’s Empowerment.
‘Women’s Empowerment Through Education’ was the main theme of a forum lead by Pakistani Parliamentary and National Assembly Member, Aisha Sayed.
As an influential and powerful female leader – her organization has established over 300 schools, provides free legal counseling to women who are victims of sexual harassment, educates women on their rights as a means to defend themselves, and provides micro-loans to budding female entrepreneurs. As noted at the forum, the strongest difficulty facing the women her organization represents is convincing their families to allow them to receive an education – which often takes them out of the home.
I was very honored to be invited as the guest of honor to the Womens Empowerment Principles Forum by UN Global Ambassador Princess Dr. Moradeun Ogunlana and African Women’s Leadership Organization founder Dr. Elisha Attai. Princess Moradeun is the founder and CEO of African Women’s Health Project International. America produces an estimated $9 billion dollars of medical surplus annually, while developing nations suffer from a shortage of adequate funding and medical equipment.
AWHPI’s ultimate long term goal is to set up free medical clinics and hospitals in impoverished areas in West Africa (as well as The Caribbean), through bringing in highly qualified professionals within the medical community to provide volunteer services to women. Each year over 500,000 women are diagnosed with breast and cervical cancer – and 80% of them are in developing nations. AWHPI is currently installing mammogram screening machines to be implemented in West Africa.
Other notable moments of this year’s UN CSW and it’s parallel events include a screening of an upcoming movie called “Empowered” by Dr. Queen Blessing Itua – who is a recipient of The Barack Obama Lifetime Achievement Award. A forum by ECPAT featured a sex trafficking survivor – Barbara Amaya – who was trafficked in New York from the age of 12-24 years old. Despite these overwhelming obstacles, she went on to develop legislation on both state and federal level as well as receive numerous humanitarian awards.
Her journey is documented in a book she wrote entitled, “Nobody’s Girl”. A Brazilian Civil Society Delegate, Taynara Arimatea, and her delegation presented a panel entitled “Brazilian Women and the Role of Civil Society Organizations” which discussed the under-representation of women in politics in Brazil from a critical and inter-sectional perspective. Here’s to all the brave women empowering women around the world!