Devan Zingler, Reflections on NGO CSW63

Now that the business of NGO CSW63 has come to an end, I have been able to take a step back and think about my experience during the two-week forum. The aspect that struck me the most was not only the convergence of different women from all parts of the globe but also the convergence of numerous different and global perspectives as well.

When attending meetings at the United Nations or listening to speakers within the UN system, one usually hears the same positions regarding the various issues related to the rights of women and girls. There is usually a collective perspective on how these issues should be handled. Because of this, it is sometimes easy to forget that the UN perspective is not the only, or even the most popular, way of how to address global problems. This is why it was so interesting to witness the advocacy for other approaches to issues or more conservative views that are promoted in the name of women’s rights.

For example, one of the arguments that I witnessed that was most fascinating to me was a pushback against state-provided child care for working mothers. The argument cited a danger to the intimate relationship between mother and child that might occur if the child spent too much time in a child care system while the mother worked. State-provided child care is usually advocated for in the UN and the women’s rights advocates involved with NGO CSW/NY. it was extremely interesting to hear a differing perspective because it had not occurred to me before. Although I may not agree with this idea, it was still an eye-opening experience that made me think more deeply about the issue of unpaid reproductive care and state-provided child care.

This experience demonstrated the fact that communication and conversation between different perspectives and the different sides of an issue are essential to our role as global women’s and human rights’ advocates. We cannot be so quick to dismiss other opinions or approaches to women’s empowerment. It’s important to listen and absorb their argument in order to 1) better inform your own argument, and 2) understand the frustrations of other people.