Until Next Year!

Today is my final day at the 61st Session of the Commission on the Status of Women. What a week! I am so thankful to UNA-USA and UNA Women for providing this opportunity to chapter members and civil society. Despite all challenges, my heart is full having listened to current programs implemented to tackle gender inequalities and future progressive solutions that will help millions of women receive fair and equal pay, increase access to quality, affordable healthcare, and diminish rates of physical, emotional, and sexual violence around the world.

The final discussion I went to today perfectly summed up my week’s experience at CSW. The panel, comprised of five contributors to the recent anthology, Women and Girls Rising: Progress and Resistance Around the World, addressed policies that mandate minimum wages, equal pay, fair labor practices and protections, healthcare and reproductive freedom, family leave, and childcare. Two major policy solutions that can exponentially improve the lives of women include having access to paid leave, both medical and family, and having access to quality and affordable childcare services, including afterschool care. We are among the only developed nation that does not offer paid leave and now have to proceed to win this right on a state-level.

I am excited to bring my experiences back to Maine and share information with the UNA-Maine Chapter on how we can challenge gender inequalities from a grassroots-level. There are organizations in Maine working on these issues via direct service work and through policy change. Now, more than ever, I am prepared to connect with organizations and form alliances to protect women at both a local and international-level. My hope is to have a representative from the UNA-Maine Chapter present at every CSW from now on to continuously learn about ways in which we can be impactful in supporting and protecting women and girls.