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Participant Voices

Foto collage: UN Women
Aili Liimakka Laue Gulnara Baimambetova Martha Ntoipo Chamathya Fernando Beatrice Shanka Fatima Gamboa Maissan Hassan Tsitsina Xavante

Each year thousands of organizations and civil society activists attend CSW. They come from across the world to share their stories and hopes, to exchange ideas, make connections and push for change. Here are a selection of blogs on what they do and hope to achieve. 

How I firmly said NO to an early and forced marriage
In the words of Martha Ntoipo, a 33-year-old Maasai activist from the United Republic of Tanzania. She works for the Pastoralist Information and Development Organization (PIDO), a community development organization which she founded in 2010, which works in the fields of health, women economic empowerment, gender equality and human rights, environmental conservation and research. 

My father told me ‘I want you to be able to help your people one day’
In the words of Samantha Ro’otsitsina de C. Juruna, a 28-year-old indigenous woman of Xavante heritage from Namunkurá community in the indigenous territory of San Marcos, Mato Grosso state, in the Amazonian region of Brazil. Trained in social services, she has a Masters in Sustainability for Indigenous Peoples and Territories. She is a member of the Comisión Nacional de la Juventud Indígena (CNJI – National Committee for Indigenous Youth) and the Red de Juventud Indígena (REJUIND – Indigenous Youth Network). 

Collecting herstories in Egypt
In the words of Maissan Hassan, a 29-year-old Egyptian woman who is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Cultural Heritage Studies. She is Programme Manager for the Women and Memory Forum (WMF), a grantee of UN Women’s Fund for Gender Equality.

We must embrace diversity by accepting our past
In the words of Aili Limakka Laue, a 33-year-old Inuit activist from Kalaallit Nunaat, Greenland (Denmark). She is studying social and political science at the University of Greenland, has been a union volunteer for almost a decade and in 2009 she was elected to the board of the National Inuit Youth Council, Sorlak. She is also a single mother of four.

In Sri Lanka’s low-income urban settlements, MDG results are a mixed bag for women and girls
In the words of Chamathya Fernando, a 20-year-old youth activist and the National Coordinator of the “Stop the Violence, I speak out for girls’ rights” campaign for the Sri Lanka Girl Guides Association, a member organization of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS). She talks about how the MDGs have impacted the lives of women and girls in an urban low-income settlement in Colombo. 

Empowering Kenya’s Maasai women through greater voice and rights
In the words of Beatrice Sisina Shanka, a 26-year-old community activist from the Inkinyie community. She works for Il’laramatak Community Concerns (ICC), a non-governmental organization that addresses human rights and development concerns of pastoralist (nomadic livestock herding) indigenous peoples of Kenya, with a focus on women and girls.

In Kyrgyzstan, we need to expand women’s access to economic resources
In the words of Gulnara Baimambetova, a 57-year-old Kyrgyz woman who has spent more than 36 years advocating for the social and economic rights of rural women through the Women Entrepreneurs Support Association (WESA), which is a grantee of UN Women’s Fund for Gender Equality.

Mayan women build integrated pathway for violence survivors in Mexico
In the words of Fatima Leonor Gamboa, a 28-year-old Maya indigenous defense lawyer who represents women survivors of violence. She works to ensure greater gender equality among Maya communities in Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula. 

The views expressed by CSW participants in these blogs are their own and may not necessarily reflect those of UN Women.

Watch short video interviews with a range of CSW participants from civil society here:

UN Newscentre Vox populi interviews with CSW58 participants from civil society
UN News Centre