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Today’s parallel event I would like to talk about today is over, “Sextortion: Unmasking Hidden Corruption,” presented by the International Association of Women Judges also “Girl Speak.” I felt that these two kinda went hand in hand. Sextortion is not a legal term but is a combination of the two terms “Sex” and “Extortion.” They both touched on the abuse of the girl child by sexuall means and by forcing the girl child to engage in sexuall acts for basic daily need such as food, clothing and water by men and women of power. Some of the stories told at the “Girl Speak” were very heartbreaking. The mental and physical abuse that these girls go through is beyond what I can even fathom. These young girls should be allowed to attend school with out being assaulted by a teacher or should have access to food and clean water without having to go to a person of power and being abused just for basic needs. After reflecting on this and attending other parallel events and hearing stories, it made me realize that Natives right here in America go through this all the time, even in this day and age. I feel that the UNCSW should not forget about what’s going on here with the Native Americans as well. Native life on the “rez” and “non-native rez life.” My hopes for next year is that Native Americans will have a voice here at the UNCSW. There’s so much to tell and to get out to the rest of the world about the still on-going abuse to our people.

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Today is the first day of our parallel events. We have a busy day planned out. We started out with worship service with the Young Adults. Today was the day for the Young Adults to lead the worship service and it was awesome. My parallel event that attended today that I felt that I could relate to was “Relational Aspects of Gender Equality in Sport: Male-Female Collaborative Advocacy,” presented by Women Sport International, WSI. I was amazed by how much abuse occurs towards the female athletes. The pressures of being pushed to the limit to where their bodies are basically sacrificed. Female athletes are forced to train just as hard as men if not even harder and most coaches and sport organizations do not even take the time to check up on the overall wellness and health of the female athletes like they do the male athletes. Females are expected to take care of themsleves and keep up with the men if they want to stay an athlete. Not only do they put their bodies at risk, they are also forced to put up with sexuall harassment and much abuse. All of this causing much mental anguish for the female athletes. I feel that female atheletes should if anything be taken just as serious if not  a little more serious when it comes to mental and physical health. The female body is much different than the male body and needs a tad bit more maintenance than the male body does. Coaches, athletic organizations should find ways to ensure that female atheletes, all athletes, all recieved proper routine health check-ups and mental check-ups as well. This I feel would at least allow the athletes themselves to monitor what is going on in their mind, body, heart and soul.

Today is the first day and it’s snowing. Denyse, Jessi and I are all getting aquainted with one another and we hope to engage in as many things as possible.  Sarah took us over to the  Salvation Army Temple  where we attended the NGO consultation day. This consultation was basically an overview of what to expect through out the week. The speakers were great and very imformative. This is my first UNCSW event and I’m very excited to be here

. I am also very thankful to Sarah and the Episcopal church and the Anglican Council for having all of us.

Feb 22, 2011

February 26, 2011

STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) panel
I arrived 5 minutes early to my first panel of the day, found a place in the front, and gazed out onto the water dividing Manhattan from Long Island. The room began to fill up with women of many nations, and age. Four young girls, high school age sat in the front of the room, looking amongst their audience preparing themselves for their speech they are about to present, these young girls voices are the voice of our future and the voice of change in the world.
Less than a quarter of women worldwide are involved in STEM, women don’t have access to STEM as men do. In the back of my mind I thought of the female population of my University. Being an Engineer major I see the increase in women in the engineering field although I have been the only female in a couple classes and have been in classes with a 15:30 ratio women to men. I have never felt less superior to males, but this may be due to the fact my father stayed home with me while my mother worked not the other way around and as a child I was sort of a tomboy.
The girls that sat in the front began to share their stories, A young high school girl named Amanda began to tell us about her involvement in Girl Scouts and a program called OST STEP where they approach education as a growing mindset involving a matched learning system her being a Kinesthetic learner she needed to use her 5 senses to learn instead of the basic worksheet lecture learning system and it worked for her. This is the approach I am use to the basic lecture worksheet, and have used this system of learning from grade school on up, I like the idea of a growing mindset and would like to try it myself.
The 2nd girl who spoke is an India Indian girl, who is a competing chess player. She has interests in the field of math and science and speaks of her sister who became a computer engineer but the customs in India is to have a arranged marriage and her parents found a suitor perfect for her, but because she was a computer engineer there were some downfalls to their customs vs. having a career; she was offered a job that made equal to more money than the suitor so she had to choose between the job offer or being married. She chose marriage, to be a stay at home mother. Now her advice to her younger sister, the girl speaking to the women of CSW, is to choose what makes her happy.
The 3rd young girl is from Indonesia her English was broken, and she spoke through a translator. Her story broke my heart in a way. Her hardships were challenging and her fight inspired me. The girls in her society are inferior to the boys, she was not able to use computers, if allowed they would only be allowed to use the computers when the boys were not using them. In the science laboratory the girls were used as lab assistance, not being in control of a experiment. She stood up to the professor and said “ I have the same two hands like boys I have the same 2 eyes like boys why can’t I run the experiment?” the teacher astounded at her bravery let her do the experiment. That goes to show standing up for our rights and speaking up can go a long way but in this particular country the women’s movement is still at a distant but with the voice of this girl is a step closer to change.
I come from a reservation, and told my mother I wanted to be a scientist as a child. I have always been good at math, and would sometimes compete with other classmates on the basic math skills, but as I got into adolescence around age 12 I realized being smart wasn’t cool and I pretended not to care about school and my grades payed for it. I completed Jr. High and went onto High School with the same mentality, I noticed other girls getting attention from the boys and I wanted the same attention, and a lot of these girls didn’t care about school and eventually dropped out and became pregnant. School wasn’t a priority for me at the time, I had my head somewhere else, chasing a boy who didn’t treat me right, wanting to be loved by him when in reality he loved to party more. This is the point where my life would take a route that I would have never dreamed of. I fell in love with school again, my days filled with a lot of writing, memorizing word definitions, reading books and actually trying in school, my grades went up and I graduated high school at the age of 18 and 8 months pregnant I continued onto college that fall semester and this became the start of my student career. The girls stories made me think of how naive I had been for not wanting the education when I was their age, I had access to laboratories and computers, I performed my own chemistry experiments in high school and college, and later interned for Argonne National Laboratory in the Chemical Science and Engineering division performing chemical experiments within the lab. This goes to show that with determination, having a voice and taking a chance, the possibilities are endless!
Denyse B.

UNCSW, Nellie Adkins

February 26, 2011

Thursday, February 24, 2011                        Nellie Adkins

As I reflect on all that I have seen and heard over the last several days since my last posting ….I am more reflective and somewhat pensive thinking as a Native Woman, on the issues presented and what has been shared with the global community.

For the last four hundred years, we as Indians have been dealing with all of the issues that are being echoed here in one form or another, so basically it is nothing new to us. Our communities have held their corporate tongues, by in large, and not openly spoken out about this burden of pain. It seems odd that the Landlords of America get little or no opportunity for press! Those of us who do dare to speak out and share are often accused of being feminazis (as women) and as rebel rousers. How can the truth of the matter from a native perspective be prejudged as wrong or too strong? Even in and particularly in the native community we are asked to be less aggressive “ don’t rock the boat”.So, I enter most forums and workshops with these things in my heart and an ear to hear and to listen to what I might be told about the road on which another put upon people are experiencing.

Yesterday evening at the UN I had opportunity to sit in on a USA forum/caucus in which the participants discussed where they were in process with goals and expectations to put forward at this Friday’s first official forum being hosted by the US consulate representatives to the UN. It was a loosely organized FYI time with some discussion towards the end on addressing the next meeting world wide on the conference of Women’s Rights and Issues which was last held in 1995. At the end of this informational there was an opportunity for comment and I felt it necessary to speak up and mention our matrilineal traditions of our Confederacy and those of our Sisters to the North in New York with the Six Nations. I spoke briefly to stress the historical and cultural significance of the system of the Clan Mothers and how it had been and effective governmental structure for hundreds of years that worked reasonably well. I mentioned the Great Law of Peace from which Benjamin Franklin and his counterparts borrowed much of the language which they then placed into written form in the language of the US Constitution.

Afterwards there were many who approached to say that they had never heard any of this nor learned this in their studies at University. Would I be willing to come to their churches, schools, groups, etc. to make this presentation for shared knowledge for their groups? Of course that would be my honor to share but why, I asked myself, with all of the information that is being placed out there for this body of women to learn in the next two weeks has our story never come to be told?

My conclusion, we have a story to tell in an educational format that must be shared. Shared in love, tough love at times perhaps, but nonetheless love. The Savior we follow taught us to treat all in love and therefore our mandate has been one that has already been given with clarity. My grandmother always said that “ you can catch more bees with honey than you can with vinegar”.

UNCSW, Elsie Dennis

February 25, 2011

This week has provided intense learning of many issues pertaining to women and girls, including concerns facing rural women, older women and widowed women. Among the many solutions discussed are increasing access to and participation in quality education, improving learning conditions, opportunities for employment, ending gender stereotypes and eliminating all forms of discrimination and violence against the girl child and women. The research shows that as economic situations improve for women they improve for the whole society as well. Thereby, all men, our brothers, must see that helping women is helping themselves as a whole. As women and girls move forward, so do our men.
As a Native woman, I have heard that many of our societies traditionally are matrilineal and matriarchal. Colonizers were uncomfortable with that mode of governance, and eventually men in many Tribes came into power as occurs in mainstream society. This is not to say that clan grandmothers and clan mothers are not respected. Women as the bearers of life have been recognized for their wisdom.
As a Christian Episcopalian, I am so very proud that our Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori is the first woman to serve in this capacity in Anglicanism’s history in the United States. She visited with our group on Tuesday this week, and thanked us for our passion and said, “We’re hoping you build relationships that change the world.”

UNCSW, Elsie Dennis

February 24, 2011

Greetings everyone … My name is Elsie Dennis and I am enrolled member of the Splatsin Band of the Secwepemc Nation in interior British Columbia, Canada. I live in Seattle, WA and am also Co-Chair of the First Nations Committee for the Episcopal Diocese of Olympia in western Washington State, and a member of the Dismantling Racism Training Team. To my knowledge, I am the first Secwepemc woman to visit the United Nations (UN) in an official capacity. I am here on behalf of the Office of the Anglican Observer to the United Nations (AUNO) as a provincial delegate to the 55th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women.
Throughout the week there are various non-governmental organization (NGO) presentations as well as Commission events we can attend. This morning, I was able to sit in on “Domestic Violence and the Criminal Justice System,” and heard presentations by women from England, Russia and Nigeria. The Haven Wolverhampton is a domestic violence service agency that provides services for victims and children of domestic violence crimes in the west midlands, a low-income urban area in England.
Advocates from Russia shared that every 40 minutes a woman is killed in a domestic violence (DV) situation, 36,000 women every day there are beaten by their husbands or partners, 2,500 children each year are killed from families that experience DV, and that 5,000 children run away each year from a DV household. A speaker from Nigeria shared that half of the woman in her country experience domestic violence.
I worked as court-based advocate for five years for the Victim Assistance Unit of our county’s prosecuting attorney’s office. We were part of a coordinated whole-system response to domestic violence including law enforcement, the court clerks, the judges, the prosecuting attorney, community and court-based advocates, batterer’s treatment providers and the probation office.
In Russia, we learned at the presentation, that there is no probation office and no legal support to help women with the court process should she choose to file charges against her batterer. Men are provided with 100 percent free legal care as defendants. The women’s advocates in Russia are seeking many legislative changes including that police cannot refuse to respond a domestic violence crime scene.
As a Native Episcopalian woman, I think it is important that we share our resources and knowledge with others in bringing Creator’s kingdom to life on earth. A loving God created us and is in each of us. Wrongdoing against one is wrongdoing against God. As Jesus instructed us, “I tell you the truth, when you did it one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me.”