Happy International Women’s Day

Ever since “I promise[d] to share and be a friend”, I wanted to help people.  And when “I promise[d] to do my best, to be true to myself, my beliefs and Canada…”, I knew I wanted to experience the United Nations. Today I am part of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts‘ (WAGGGS) delegation at the 57th Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) at the UN!

Saffina at CSW event in UN, New York

Saffina at CSW event in UN, New York

The theme this year at the CSW is ‘Ending Violence against Women and Girls.’   This is a topic very important to me both personally and professionally which is why I applied for this exciting opportunity.  This is an issue that affects every age, nation, region, culture, race, and class – including girls and Guiders around the world.  This was a chance to make change, lobby and influence those in power, and share with and learn from others on a global scale – how could I not apply!?

When I was six, I went to New York for the first time.  I suppose that is when my love affair with ‘the city that never sleeps’ began.  Now twenty years later, the lights, the buildings, the magic…and the UN…is even more amazing than I remember.

Maybe that’s because I have had this incredible opportunity to observe deliberations at the General Assembly and hear what each country has to say…or maybe it’s because I can attend different events with people from every walk of life and hear their personal stories and share our ideas to create a better world…perhaps it is the passionate and smart WAGGGS’ delegates I have learned from and formed great friendships with…or is it because I heard Michelle Bachelet, the first Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women, speak and inspire girls and women everywhere? Maybe it’s just the pizza… In any case this has been a wonderful and life-changing experience.

At the Commission on the Status of Women, I have learned so much and made great connections.  Every day was exciting and challenging.  By challenging myself every day, I developed excellent leadership skills.  When you are passionate about a cause, nothing can stand in your way.  I thought about the Brownie unit I lead and what kind of world I want for them.  I want them to know they can do anything.  The importance of leadership, particularly youth and female leadership is indescribable.  I was overjoyed and somewhat surprised at the number of amazing young women (and some young men!) in attendance at CSW making their voices heard. I had no idea there was such a great deal of youth involvement.  Guiders sharing their life experiences and standing up for girls rights was truly uplifting!

And because of this, when days were long and hard…I remembered how important this cause was not just to me, but to all women and girls around the world.  Before CSW, I was honestly feeling somewhat hopeless and bitter about the status of women and girls but now I am motivated, inspired, and very hopeful.  We have a great generation of girls and women leading the way.  From a whisper to a shout – we can make change!

Guest blogger Safina

Guest blogger Safina

By guest blogger Saffina.

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Happy International Women’s Day! Every year on March 8, the world celebrates International Women’s Day (IWD), which falls within International Women’s Week (IWW), from March 2nd to March 10th, 2013.  Here are some girl programming activities to help celebrate the day with girl members in Canada! Be inspired by watching this video:

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