Developing Future Leaders for Gender Equity!

WomenNC 2014 fellows

2014 Fellows with Women NC staff & keynote speaker Ellie Smeal, The Feminist Majority

Member WomenNC recently hosted its annual UN Fellowship Dinner, showcasing their 2014 CSW (Commission on the Status of Women) Fellows. Since WomenNC started this

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fellowship program in 2010, NC students have used this opportunity to tie the local to the global, taking the worldwide CSW theme and connecting it to issues facing women in North Carolina. These connections have formed the basis for the students’ research, covering topics such as: maternal care; violence against women; human trafficking; rape culture; women and careers; health care access for rural women; feminism; women and technology; and the political participation of women. This year’s CSW theme is “challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for women and girls”. The MDGs are a set of goals created by UN members to focus their collective efforts more effectively as they worked to tackle some of the world’s most pressing humanitarian issues.

feminist majority vid 2014 women nc event

The five fellows this year again took on interesting and relevant research topics in which they will bring their North Carolina findings to the global CSW audience in New York later this month. This year, however, we at NCWU admit we are just a bit extra excited to hear the results of this research, as one of students chose to partner with NCWU for his project. Max Seunik, a junior at UNC-Chapel Hill, chose “UN Post-2015: Resources for Gender Equity” as his topic for his paper, in which he will argue that gender equity should be a stand-alone MDG (we couldn’t agree more on that goal). He is also using NCWU as a “model” for grassroots organizing of women around policy. Mr. Seunik was impressed with NCWU’s mission and work of bringing women’s voices to the policy table by both educating women on policy development and content, and gaining their feedback on issues that are important to them; a process that is the basis of our biannual Women’s Agenda Assemblies (coming this fall to a region/county near you!).

This year’s CSW takes place from March 10 -21 in New York City, and is an experience that has always been very educational and energizing for the Women NC fellows. When the fellows return, the papers they presented – introducing North Carolina solutions and organizations to a global audience – will be on Women NC’s website. The students will also be available for presentations to North Carolina organizations; please be sure to contact them to speak to your group.

The 2014 CSW fellows send-off was moderated by Ellie Smeal of the Feminist Majority. Ms. Smeal, JD – an activist for over 30 years – shared stories of where the movement has been and her thoughts on where she thinks it is headed; these fellows are helping to lead the way. Thanks to Women NC for their continued support of youth advocates, who we hope will be future leaders for gender equity!