GLI members attend Commission on the Status of Women Conference

By Keane Muraoka-Robertson

Five members of the Girls Learn International club attended the Commission on the Status of Women Conference from Feb. 27 through March 2 in New York. The conference is held annually by the United Nations to collect international views on women’s rights, including those from governmental organization and state commissions.

GLI is an international organization that encourages leadership and dedication among young women. There are GLI chapters throughout the United States that are paired with schools in countries where girls struggle to receive an education. Recently, GLI became a member of the Feminist Majority Foundation.

“Our organization is mostly about creating awareness and learning about human rights and problems that we can take action to solve,” Club Adviser Malina Mamigonian said.

Amanda Aizuss ’13, Katie Golden ’13, Tiggy Menkir ’14, Sarika Pandrangi ’13 and Kacey Wilson ’13 attended the conference, chaperoned by Mamigonian and Ina Coleman, Wilson’s mother, who is the California Regional Director for GLI.

“The Commission on the Status of Women is an annual conference that the United Nations holds to collect the views of people from around the world,” Mamigonian said.

At the conference, GLI members helped draft a proposal to improve the economic and social status of girls around the world, which was read by the UN commission.

Club members presented on a food security panel and participated in boy-girl dialogues.

They also attended various panels on violence against women, forced marriage and on economic issues facing rural women.

Aizuss also gave a speech about what economic empowerment means to her.

“If you live in a rural area or in other countries, you are exposed to one way of thinking,” Aizuss said. “A lot of girls don’t realize that they should be able to go into whatever profession they want to and their gender shouldn’t limit or determine what you can do with your life.”

Former English teacher Martha Wheelock, who is on the board of the Feminist Majority Foundation, proposed the creation of a GLI chapter at Harvard-Westlake.

Upon the completion of the GLI curriculum, which includes lesson plans and projects, the Harvard-Westlake chapter will be partnered with a school in a foreign country that it will fundraise for.