On February 20, more than 275 people gathered to discuss advocacy, issues affecting women’s rights, and gender equality. The event titled Girls Stand Up! was co-sponsored by Pace’s department of Women’s and Gender Studies and the Working Group on Girls (WGG), a coalition of nongovernmental organizations concerned with women’s issues.
Michelle Bachelet, former President of Chile and current Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), opened Sunday’s session with an inspirational keynote speech aimed at empowering women. Following several workshops, Laymah Roberta Gbowee, Executive Director of the Women Peace and Security Network Africa and gender equality advocate, closed the day by speaking on a woman’s need to fight for her beliefs.
Pace student Sarah Leclerc wrote on the Dyson College blog about Gbowee’s address to the attendees, “She said that one individual or group cannot solve every single thing that’s wrong with the world; we must find an issue that most resonates with us (i.e. unequal pay between men and women) and fight hard to change such inequality or oppression. Maybe once that particular problem is solved, we can move on to another issue, but we absolutely must ‘fight for what we believe in.’ As Gbowee stated: ‘it’s time to stop being pretty, and start being active.’”
The event invited participants from 45 non-governmental organizations to prepare them for the 55th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, which took place February 28 in New York City.