Bella Brown

Firstly, I would like to thank NAWO for accrediting me and Zarin Hainsworth and Serene Communications for enabling me to attend CSW62. I am very grateful for all the support from Zarin, Soroush and the many others involved before, during and after CSW. I wanted to attend CSW because I have always been an impassioned, intersectional feminist, and felt incredibly lucky to be given this opportunity. I knew that attending would be life-changing and eye-opening, and it really, truly was. Before we left to go to New York City on the 9th of March, there were many things to do to prepare. I was one of the delegates running the blog, so it was my job to set it up, get the website indexed on search engines, and post and maintain the blog. This process was incredibly rewarding and I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the statistics of people visiting our site from all over the world, and the feedback received. In the months leading up to CSW, Zarin held workshops at our school to give us an understanding of what we would be doing and what CSW was about. This was very interesting, especially the discussion work where we split into groups and discussed questions from a written paper. As well as this, we all practised our speeches and received feedback before going, which was lovely as we all got to hear each other’s speeches and support one another, as well as learning from one another and of course amending our speeches.

Throughout the week at CSW while we were there, I learned so much it’s hard to know where to begin. It was not just content that we learnt, but skills too. I’ve never been particularly good at talking to people I don’t know, so I really feel like over the course of CSW, I vastly improved at this. I was pretty terrible at networking, but I did manage to talk to people and I am trying to view this as a learning experience- I feel a little more confident at speaking to strangers now. At the beginning of the week, I was scared to contribute to the discussions at events and at the briefings because I felt like maybe it would be assumed (because of my age) that I was not knowledgeable and that my opinions were not valid. However, as the days went by, I began to feel much braver and in the round table GEO meeting especially, felt my contributions were articulated well and valued by the others at the meeting. Hearing from so many people from all over the world has really broadened my perspective. There were so many powerful, inspiring women who completely and utterly blew me away with their kindness, bravery and optimism, who had overcome so many adversities to get to where they were, and I felt so incredibly lucky to even be in the same room as them. I feel very equipped with new knowledge and people’s stories to share, and change other people’s perspectives and opinions through sharing what I have learnt.

CSW really made me realise how privileged I am; I knew it before, but now I truly realise the extent of it.

I am going to use my voice, my privilege, and everything I have to try and make a difference for women around the world who have not been as fortunate as I have. I have spoken to my family and we are planning to work out what we can do as a family to help others in our community and globally. As well as this, me and some of the others on the trip are planning to create a zine or other creative project, with some of the women we met at CSW, in an attempt to create a digestible, attractive source of information to encourage more people of our age group to realise the value of feminism, what it is really about, and the absolute necessity of more youth involvement in the fight for justice. This was highlighted at CSW- our generation are the future, and we must be involved. I am hoping to talk to some of the younger students so they can properly understand what CSW is about and so that they can make the most of the amazing opportunity being offered to them. As a group, we are holding a mini CSW conference at school, which I am looking forward to very much. Finally, I am hoping that we can fundraise within the school and outside of our community too to benefit others across the world in the fight against injustice.