The WomenNC CSW Leadership Training Program is a competitive application-based comprehensive leadership development opportunity for college and university students. The aim of the program is consistent with the organization’s vision: to raise a generation that honors women’s human rights.
The program is comprised of several parts. First is a 4-part workshop series at which student scholars are trained to be advocates, social scientific researchers, and public speakers in addition to learning about the United Nations, particularly about the power and influence of the Commission on the Status of Women. Then, over a five-month period, scholars engage in research about the status of women in particular North Carolina communities.
Last year’s foci include significant work in Durham where scholars Jada Hester of North Carolina State University, and Amy Jiang and Amelia Steinbach of Duke and have, respectively, produced actionable research about the racialized gender gap, lack of appropriate computer science curricula to attract and retain women in the Durham Public School System, and the how the intersectionality of the HIV diagnoses, intimate partner violence, and lack of affordable housing combine to disadvantage women in this area. Sara Darwish of North Carolina State University has studied the issue of menstrual equity on public university campuses, paying particular attention to her own campus; and Kaitlyn Galindo of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has explored the myriad barriers to full equality faced by immigrant women in the Raleigh area. Finally, our scholars from Bennett College have together produced research that considers the many aspects surrounding pregnancy and childbirth for incarcerated women, focusing their inquiry in the Guilford County region.
Many of our scholars were mentored by social scientific researchers from RTI’s Global Gender Center. Under the direction of Dr. Wenedee Wechsberg, Dr. Felicia Browne, Julia Brinton, Venita Embry, Brittni Howard and Leslie Turner were paired with student scholars who shared their research interests in order to produce the work that will be showcased on February 28th at the 10th Annual Local to Global Forum in Cary.
This research was also presented at the United Nations 63rd Annual Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) conference in March where, along with advocates from San Francisco, they spoke to the theme of this year’s conference: how, through its expression by young people, social protection systems, access to public services, and sustainable infrastructure can encourage gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.
In Cary, to a North Carolina audience, and in New York, to a global one, scholars participated in the engaged research and public policy advocacy that has been a hallmark of WomenNC since its inception. Once back from the CSW conference, scholars used their research once again, employed their public speaking and advocacy skills they have learned and practiced, to engage local elected officials and bodies to change policies and budgets to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women.
The CSW Leadership Training Program has come full circle: North Carolina scholars work on issues of particular concern to citizens of the state, they then bring their voices, research, and policy initiatives to a global audience at the United Nations, and finally, with new knowledge gained from interaction with their global peers, they then return to the state ready to advocate for change to improve the lives of women and girls back home.
UN CSW Priority Themes
- 63rd CSW 2019: Social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.
- 62nd CSW 2018: Challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls.
- 61st CSW 2017: Women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work.
- 60th CSW 2016: Women’s empowerment and its link to sustainable development.
- 59th CSW 2015: “Beijing +20: the Commission will review progress made in the implementation of the Beijing Declaration & the Platform for Action, 20 years after its adoption at the Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995.”
- 58th CSW 2014: “Challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG)* for women and girls.”
- 57th CSW 2013: “Elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women & girls.”
- 56th CSW 2012: “The empowerment of rural women and their role in poverty and hunger eradication, development and current challenges.”
- 55th CSW 2011: “Access and participation of women and girls to education, training, science and technology, including the promotion of women’s equal access to full employment and decent work.”
- 54th CSW 2010: “Commission on the Status of Women will undertake a fifteen-year review of the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the outcomes of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly.”