Jo-Ann Flora, SNDdeN: Each year during CSW, thousands of women come to New York from all corners of our world. They brighten our city with their colorful dress and personalities, and it is a treat to welcome them. But, more importantly, they bring with them all the experiences of the women they represent – struggles, achievements, aspirations – and they share with us their powerful determination to raise all women to their rightful place in society. As a participant in CSW, I hope to learn from these women, particularly in the areas of girls’ rights and human trafficking, and to catch a spark of their enthusiasm to energize my mission as a Sister of Notre Dame who strives to take a stand with poor people, especially women and children.
Pamela Stoner: I am so excited to be attending the 2016 Session of CSW and surrounding events. I hope to learn about women’s and girls’ issues in relation to the global goals on sustainable development, and to interact with others about how gender equality and empowerment in education are instrumental and central to progress on these goals. While I am disappointed that my friend Anu Puri, a college student in Nepal, is unable to attend and contribute to this session as we hoped, I am delighted that I will be attending with my daughter, Katie Blawie, and my sister, Jean Stoner. It makes this session all the more special.
Isabelle Izika, SNDdeN: I am interested in attending CSW because I learn by hearing about different experiences and women’s problems. I receive courage to teach women to address their issues, which is what I do where I work in a very rural area. Women are becoming aware. Everywhere they talk about education that empowers women. In rural areas that is not the case. Many families send boys as well as girls to school, even to higher education. But despite efforts to study, the majority of these women remains unemployed or in jobs that pay no decent salaries. Many women renounce education because they do not get the benefits. They go back to traditional practices and nothing changes. Girls do not care and in some cases get married very young. We have to keep in mind that not all women are empowered by education. It depends on where the woman is and what her conditions are.