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Student attends 55th United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), NYC


In February 2011, WGS MA student Katie Booher was one of twenty American students selected to be part of a United Nations (UN) Leadership Practicum sponsored by the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF). Each year the UN spends two weeks focusing entirely on women through its Commission on the Status of Women. The WILPF uses its practicum to help expose university students to peace and justice efforts around the world as seen through the United Nations framework. Booher attended discussions ranging from how mobile phone technology could be used to reduce infant mortality in Bangladesh to a session titled Breaking the Cycle of Poverty for Women and Girls through Education sponsored by Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation. According to its website, the WILPF was founded in 1915 and works “to achieve through peaceful means world disarmament, full rights for women, racial and economic justice, an end to all forms of violence, and to establish those political, social, and psychological conditions which can assure peace, freedom, and justice for all.”


Booher remarks that, “While all the women I met were fascinating, I noticed a definite definition of ‘woman’ forming. Although it was never explicitly stated, we came away with an understanding that a ‘woman’ enters heterosexual relationships and eventually becomes a wife and mother. She is a victim who needs to be fought for and taken care of, and a person who is talked about rather than included in conversation. I found this to be very frustrating, but luckily I was able to work through this with the help of an older WILPF member who explained to me that the UN advances more slowly than some individual countries.”


After the UN meeting, Booher stayed in contact with WILPF and was asked to present her CSW experience, within the context of her WGS knowledge, at WILPF’s international meeting in Chapel Hill and at a UN women’s conference in Raleigh. Since then, Booher has been asked to serve on a national WILPF committee, and as an advisor to CSW. Boher says that, “I am looking forward to reuniting with some of the staff members and to another week of conversations with intelligent, fascinating university women. I kept a blog of my time before, during, and immediately after my experience with CSW, thinkingondifference.wordpress.com. If the CSW sounds like something you would be interested in, WGS distributes information in October, or check out www.wilpf.org in September for applications.”


Equality North Carolina 2011 Conference


WGS was proud to host and co-sponsor the Fifth Annual Equality North Carolina Conference and Gala, held at UNCG on November 12th. The conference is an educational and grassroots organizing tool, and employed to produce knowledge, discussion, and community action. A focus of this annual conference was LGBTQ discrimination, especially the proposed same-sex marriage amendment. Sessions addressed issues such as LGBTQ outreach, reproductive rights, school violence, social media, transgender discrimination, religious tolerance, and economic harms of the anti-LGBTQ amendment. Equality NC encourages all North Carolinians to educate themselves, and to stand up for their families and neighbors in order to defeat the amendment.


Three WGS/English Department Faculty present at the 2011 Feminisms and Rhetorics Conference


The Bi-Annual Feminisms and Rhetorics Conference was held Fall 2011 at Minnesota State University at Mankato under the theme Feminist Challenges or Feminist Rhetorics?: Locations, Scholarship and Discourse. Three faculty members working in WGS and English presented papers: Drs. Elizabeth Chiseri-Strater, Nancy Myers, and Hephzibah Roskelly. Twenty current or former graduate students from UNCG also shared their feminist scholarship, making UNCG’s Women’s and Gender Studies students a visible presence at the conference.


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