Five girls from the school’s Girls Learn International club spoke at, helped lead and attended events at the 57th Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations last week in New York.
This year’s theme was the elimination and prevention of violence against women.
Amanda Aizuss ’13, Sarika Pandrangi ’13, Julia Aizuss ’14, Mazelle Etessami ’14 and Sloane Wilson ’15 attended with Gender Studies teacher and club faculty adviser Malina Mamigonian. This was the second time for both seniors at the CSW.
“One of the things we learned from last year was how to determine based just on the names and descriptions of panels and who was holding them…what to go to that was worthwhile,” Pandrangi said.
Amanda Aizuss said there was a larger emphasis on what men and boys can do about the status of women.
“We’re supposed to [work] as partners, men, women, girls and boys together, and that’s when it’s successful, so we need a lot of getting men involved and getting boys involved to try to make change,” Pandrangi said.
Julia Aizuss spoke at the Girls’ Tribunal on violence in the media, schools and communities, and Amanda Aizuss attended a dinner held by the National Council for Research on Women to be recognized as among “30 Outstanding Trailblazers” who have worked to advance the cause of women.
She also moderated a panel at the Girl-Boy Dialogue, having spoken there last year.
Pandrangi presented at a fundraiser for Girls Learn International, and Etessami was a panelist at a meeting of the U.S. Mission on the last day of the trip on the media’s influence on girls.
The students heard survivors tell their stories. One memorable example, they said, was a woman from Cameroon who witnessed breast ironing as an attempt to protect girls from sexual violence.
“They’re not just stats on a page,” Pandrangi said, “These are experiences, and you’ll remember how hearing their experience makes you feel – even if you forget the specifics of the story.”
“I think that one of our goals for this year is also to get our school to understand what we’re there for, and what we’re trying to do, and join us and support us and work for the same cause that we’re working for,” she said.
“In GLI, we are advocating for the Malalas,” Amanda Aizuss said, referring to a Pakistani girl who was shot by militants for advocating women’s rights, “If you sympathize with that girl’s story, then you should be a part of GLI.”