COLFAX — Five Girl Scouts from Girl Scouts Carolinas Peaks to Piedmont (GSCP2P) served as girl delegates at the United Nations 62nd Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in New York City March 9-16.
Cameron Shaw of Elkin, Kate Bell of Greensboro, Micaela Kolarova of Hendersonville, Cailyn Raper of Arden and Kathryn Thomas of Hendersonville joined more than 5,000 women and girls from around the world to evaluate progress on gender equality, identify challenges women and girls face, especially in rural communities, set global standards and formulate concrete policies to promote gender equality and the advancement of women worldwide.
“I was so excited at the idea of working to advance gender equality and participate in an event that inspires policy change worldwide,” said Raper. “All of us girls worked diligently to put our best foot forward while at the CSW. We were active participants during the Girls Caucus, where we suggested modifications to the conclusion document that is released at the end of the session and describes what policies should be implemented to progress our issues.”
The girls also helped craft a Girls’ Statement to be used by the CSW and attended numerous assemblies where they heard firsthand about the challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality around the globe.
“As we heard the stories of women and girls from all over the world- including a woman who survived abduction by the Boko Haram, a 12-year-old girl who was married to a 60-year-old man in exchange for a cow and became a widow a few years later and a myriad of women who spoke about lack of healthcare, educational opportunities, access to technology or clean water, victims of violence and trafficking, poverty and climate change- it became impossible to see the world in the same way,” said Carol Covington, Girl Experience manager for GSCP2P, who served as a chaperone for the girls during their trip.
During one of the sessions sponsored by Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA), Shaw was invited to participate as a panelist and give her personal experience about growing up in a rural community.
“It was intimidating to speak alongside so many talented and accomplished people, but sharing my experiences and representing girls from my area was one of my biggest accomplishments of the week,” said Shaw.
Another great learning experience during their time in New York City included lunch with GSUSA’s Chief Executive Officer Sylvia Acevedo, who inspired the girls by sharing her own journey from a young Girl Scout to CEO.
“Being able to attend the CSW was life-changing,” said Raper. “Gender inequalities are everywhere, and in almost everything, so by keeping in mind ways that these issues can be approached is crucial to creating change here at home in North Carolina. Working to educate others- even just in conversation- can make a great impact. Sharing these experiences is critical in advancing the legacy of the CSW.”