Gulf Coast UN Women/USNC Co-Sponsors:
“Gender Rights as Human Rights: Where are We in 2016?”
Gender Rights as Human Rights – both locally and globally – was the topic of a panel discussion October 26 at the University of South Florida Sarasota- Manatee. Five panelists shared their experiences and expertise regarding women’s issues in our own local communities and in villages as far away as India and Africa. The Gulf Coast Chapter co-sponsored this event.
Scott Osborne, Esq., President of the UN Women/USNC, Gulf Coast Chapter, discussed women in India and how cultural influences can be at odds with the country’s democratic governmental and legal structure.
Osborne joined panel members Jody L. McBrien, Associate Professor at USFSM; Leen al-Fatafta, a student at New College; Phillip Wagner, Professor USFSM; and Noelle Polk Clark, Advocacy Director, UN Association, Tampa Bay Chapter.
Prof. McBrien told stories of how women with whom she works in rural Africa are making real gains by focusing on health, education and economic opportunities in their communities.
Leen al-Fatafta shared her story of being an Arab Feminist, an internal compass she was raised with and has carried with her in her travels and studies. She talked about the place of feminism throughout the history of Islam.
Prof. Wagner said the current political climate opens the door to discussion and awareness about gender equity issues. Even though many men may not be complicit in gender discrimination, he invited them to move beyond awareness and become active in being part of the solutions.
Noelle Polk Clark shared local statistics about discrimination and violence against women. She also shared how CEDAW could be an integral piece in the move toward gender equity. She encouraged attendees to press their local representatives to adopt local CEDAW ordinances. (CEDAW is the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women)