Poppy Ulett

I would like to thank Zarin Hainsworth of Serene Communications for giving me the incredible opportunity to attend CSW62 and also to Widows for Peace through Democracy for accrediting me and making my trip possible.

The prospect of going to New York and attending the commission really excited me. The fact that I was given such a unique opportunity to attend such a prestigious event didn’t fully sink in until I was there in the UN headquarters on the first day. Looking back on my experience I did not realise the depth and enormity of the event and the diverse range of people that I would meet and interact with throughout my time.

During my time at CSW my eyes were truly opened to the vast scale of global gender equality issues than I had previously been exposed to before in FEMSOC and back in my small community. The issues that particularly struck me were the strong problems surrounding widows and also the setback women have had in developing countries with ICT. These really stayed with me as the many moving stories I was told surrounding forced marriage and then later widowhood, are matters which are not usually publicised or frequently discussed. In particular I learnt from Alas Sima Estoto, the project coordinator of Naserian[1] based in Tanzania, the problems the women face with mobile phone technology in the Maasai tribe. The fact that women have access to mobile phones in rural communities has carved the pathway towards their empowerment. However, he explained how there are not enough solar panels to be able to charge the mobile phones for all of the community which has become a pressing issue.

This gave me a new perspective about how many projects are able to provide women with the tools they need to help get them onto the right track but they are not always sustainable or are often faced with loop-hole challenges. These aren’t often addressed and the public are not usually aware of them. This has also helped me to realise that these kinds of problems are the ones that need to be raised and I can help organisations come up with solutions to tackle them, through my own work back at home and beyond.

From my visit I have been inspired to be more active and go out and seek the solutions to the necessary changes which I learnt about over the incredible 5 days I was at the UN. I also feel more confident as a young woman that my opinions will be listened to and taken into account by governments and NGO’s as a result of speaking at the Soroptimist International [2] side event. Furthermore, I am also definitely considering changing my EPQ topic title to reflect on the gender equalities that women are facing in rural areas and exploring this in even more depth.

As a result of meeting Sande Hart, director of women and girls at Charter for Compassion International, at Emily’s event, we have been offered the opportunity to attend The Parliament of World’s Religions in Toronto, Canada. This would further my involvement within the essential gender equality movement and in helping to achieve 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the SDGs.

[1] http://naserian.org/?page_id=109
[2] https://www.soroptimistinternational.org