In response to the growing conversation about feminism and gender equality, whether at Plattsburgh State or across the globe, UN Women, the United Nations chapter solely dedicated to focusing on women’s issues, has created the “Step It Up” program, aiming for complete gender equality by the year 2030.
Announced March 11 by the group’s executive director, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, at the “Parliaments for Gender Equality: Priorities for Beijing+20 and Beyond” event in New York City, the program’s organizers are asking for governments worldwide to make women’s equality a top priority.
“In all countries of the world, women’s talents and leadership remain grossly undervalued,” Mlambo-Ngcuka said in her speech. “This unfortunately subverts the gains that we should have made from the good laws passed. There remains an unresolved clash between modern laws and customary practice, which has robbed us of the benefit of some of the critical, sometimes life-saving, laws.”
According to the UN Women website, the Step It Up program is comprised of several facets, including introducing new laws and reviewing, revising and implementing existing ones; updating or establishing new action plans, strategies and policies; enhancing women’s leadership and participation at all levels of decision-making; confronting and addressing social norms and stereotypes that perpetuate gender inequality, discrimination and violence against women and girls; launching public mobilization and national awareness-raising campaigns; and investing in gender equality at national and international levels.
As Mlambo-Ngcuka discussed in her speech earlier this month, partnership will be integral for the success of this system, recognizing that all genders must work together in equal part to reach the 2030 goal.
In addition, civilians are encouraged to take matters into their own hands. Step It Up organizers are hoping the gender equality conversation will continue and keep growing so that each citizen feels informed enough to push for better legislation and change.
Social media will also play a role. On the UN Women website, people can download images that they can then share on Twitter and Facebook showing their support for the cause.
Gender inequality is not something that the PSUC campus and community is immune to.
“People don’t take you seriously as a female in general,” said PSUC student Tenaya Blake, who serves as a teaching assistant for several of Director for the Center of Diversity, Pluralism and Inclusion J.W. Wiley’s classes. “I think people are scared of women in general. Women are winning. That’s what’s frustrating for people because they’re scared of what we’ll do.”
Campus groups and events such as the Center for Womyn’s Concerns, No More!, Take Back the Night and Shine On!, among others, are available for PSUC students who are interested in becoming involved in the fight for gender equality.
The PSUC chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. is also a vocal supporter of women’s rights. The group often hosts forums and events to allow students to think critically and voice their opinions.
Most recently, Alpha Phi Alpha hosted an event called “The Woman Barrier,” featuring a panel of female PSUC professors and faculty discussing their professional experiences.
“Gender inequality is still very apparent,” said Alpha Phi Alpha secretary Delano Wood. “We as a group really try to pay tribute to women and show appreciation for everything that they do and are faced with. We are very active in women’s empowerment.”
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