Leila Asadi, professor for human rights and Islam, traveled with four of her students, Sophomore Samantha Carter, Senior Prarthana Gurung, Junior Stacey Peros, and Senior Shirin Afsous to the United Nations in New York City, N.Y. in order to participate in the conference and to have an active voice for Iranian women, as well as women of all nations.
This February’s Commission on the Status of Women’s (CSW) 56th annual session had a piece of UMW in its involvement in bringing peace and equality to all women around the world.
CSW is a part of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). ECOSOC discusses and debates economic and social issues that lead to the assignment of policy recommendations. The conference consisted of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) around the world that came together to discuss women’s issues, rights and poverty.
“CSW has always been a voice for women from discussions on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to the drafting of other human rights international treaties,” said Asadi.
Asadi and her students attended “The Right to Participate in the CSW: the Case of Iran.” in order to fight the restrictions placed on Iranian women by the Iranian government.
Following last year’s CSW session, a group of native Iranian women that attended the conference returned home to find they were to be charged and imprisoned for attending the conference. The Iranian government is known for oppressing its citizen’s rights, especially female rights.
“This year, we were supported through other women activists to be an echo of the absent voices of Iranian women who did not participate due to governmental harassments,” said Asadi.
The students who attended the conference stated that they gained a new perspective on involvement of women’s rights.
Carter, an English, and women’s and gender studies major, said that after going to the conference she wanted to focus her career on international law.
“Though there have been many improvements in the lives of women we need to look beyond the U.S. experience,” said Carter.
Carter said that the conference she attended on behalf of women in Iran was, “moving, saddening, and inspiring.”
In the future, Carter said she would like to go again and is planning on attending next year’s conference, which focuses on eradicating violence against women and girls.
Stacey Peros, an international affairs major, said, “Although the point of CSW was to help bring solutions to countries that need reform, the conference focused more on problem’s than solutions and I also felt that many came to speak of their own agendas.”
Although there were some issues concerning agendas, Peros felt that this conference was beneficial in making changes for countries that are more developed and modern. Countries located in the Middle East, such as Iran, face more challenges, which hinder their chances of progressing.
Peros said she would definitely like to attend future conferences and would like to see more UMW students in attendance, especially male students.