By Mariam Ghushchyan, aged 21, Youth Activist, World Vision Armenia
As a young woman and activist from Armenia, being able to attend the United Nations 61st Commission on the Status of Women (UN CSW61) in New York last month was important and inspiring. I had the opportunity to connect with people from around the world and the honor of hearing government officials, representatives of international development organizations and activists share positive steps and challenges in achieving gender equality.
I also had the opportunity to speak at World Vision’s panel on Caring for Equality, an initiative that works with women, men and youth to address gender-based violence and prevent prenatal sex selection in Armenia. Alongside representatives from World Vision, UNFPA and Promundo, I was able to share my own transformational experience and those I have witnessed in my family and my community as a result of World Vision’s work. My key message was that the young generation can bring the changes necessary to advance equality in our society. We need to challenge things we take for granted - things that people believe they cannot change.
This was my first exposure to an international event of this scale. As a young activist, being a part of this conference was incredibly useful, motivational and enlightening. I was amazed to see how similar the problems are that women face around the world. Equal pay and access to employment were discussed among other issues indicating how the world is still on its way to finding solutions to this and many other problems.
The UN CSW61 gave a platform for a wide group of individuals, organizations and governments to share a meaningful discourse between participants representing different cultures and provided an opportunity to learn about tools and promising practices used around the world promote gender equality. It inspired me to be more actively engaged in addressing gender justice and motivate other young women and men to work together in achieving true equality.
Two of the most important questions that inspired many of us were; “If not me, then who? If not now, when?” I carry these questions with me with the hope that they continue to inspire me to work on promoting gender equality in Armenia.
About the author
Mariam Ghushchyan is an active participant of the Caring for Equality's Youth group and the local Young Women's Christian Association where she supports vocational training for women and awareness raising events. Mariam studies English language and cross cultural communications.