I guess before I go any further with this adventure, I should explain why I am here in New York.
I have been selected to be one of 11 youth delegates attending the UN’s Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) on behalf of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS). This event will be held at the UN headquarters in New York at the start of March 2013. CSW is the body that focuses on gender equality at the United Nations, and every year, representatives of UN Member States gather to evaluate progress on gender equality, identify challenges, set global standards and formulate concrete policies to promote gender equality and advancement of women worldwide.
WAGGGS sends a delegation of young women to CSW to ensure the voices of girls and young women are heard at the UN. Each year the CSW focuses on particular gender equality issues. This year Member States will discuss the ‘elimination and prevention of forms of violence against women and girls.’
In the UK, my Brownie unit took part in the pilot of WAGGGS' Stop the Violence Campaign non-formal education syllabus, Voices Against Violence. Over five weeks, we looked at issues such as gender stereotyping, personal space and bullying. We did lots of discussion activities and games, and we had a visitor from Edinburgh Women's Aid who talked to us about the work that they do with female victims of violence.
|My Brownies' thoughts about what can hurt girls|
|My Brownies' ideas about personal space|
Violence against girls and women is one of the most widespread violations of human rights around the world. For example:
- UN Women estimates that up to six out of ten girls and women globally will be subject to violence or abuse in their lifetime
- Domestic violence is the single biggest cause of injury and death to girls and women aged between 15 and 44 worldwide
- 60 million girls are sexually assaulted at or on their way to school each year
- Women and girls constitute 80 per cent of the estimated 800,000 people trafficked annually, with the majority trafficked for sexual exploitation
- More than 60 million girls worldwide are child brides, married before the age of 18
- In post-conflict and disaster situations girls and women are at high risk of violence and sexual assault
There are no global campaigns dedicated to ending violence in all its forms against girls and young women, and this is one of the reasons that WAGGGS, representing over 10 million girl guides and girl scouts in 145 member organisations around the world, has to take action.
If you have not already visited the campaign website, please go to www.stoptheviolencecampaign.com to add your voice to the global call to action. You can also find out more about the campaign and what WAGGGS are doing around this subject, and follow me here for more information about our lobbying efforts at CSW!