Ten Christendom College students participated in the 53rd Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) at the United Nations in New York City from March 7 to 14. Working with the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM), the students spoke with delegates and participated in the commission’s various meetings.
The students had the opportunity to lobby and provide moral support and research for those delegates who wished to defend traditional values. They also sat in on open conferences and NGO (non-governmental organizations) meetings.
The CSW gathered 192 national delegates and 5000 representatives of non-governmental organizations.
“It’s pretty much a big feminist shindig,” Senior Josepha Bertolini said. “There is a lot of pushing of ideologies without a sense of how the different nations are run. Motherhood is a taboo word. They try to deny that there are any natural differences between men and women. Motherhood was equated with unpaid caregiving as they advocated for more daycare so that women could leave the home.”
“It’s very bleak,” Senior James Tillman said. “The new US delegation appointed by President Obama is a Margaret Sanger biographer. They are really pushing their agenda down the throat of other nations.”
This caused a lot of resentment among the delegates. “The smaller nations feel bullied by the US and the EU,” Tillman said.
According to Bertolini, many liberal NGO representative were afraid of them. “They don’t like it. It makes them uncomfortable. It makes them aware that the pro-life and pro-family movement knows about what they’re doing, so it puts pressure on them on this already intense situation,” she said.
Students worked all hours of the night.
“We were up until five or seven in the morning on some nights,” Junior Tyler Ament said. “We needed to be there because we were making a difference. There are so few pro-life NGO representatives that our team of ten was a formidable force.”
In an email to the students that participated, C-FAM Director of Government Relations Samantha Singson told students, “You gave up your time, energy and resources in order to defend life and family at the UN and we thank you for your dedication. Our presence was felt and more than one delegate made it a point to compliment the [representatives] from Christendom College. As individuals, you were all outstanding, but the Christendom group dynamic was unprecedented. Your help during the week was invaluable and it was a pleasure working with all of you.”
Bertolini said that the experience was both eye-opening and life-changing. “It’s so awesome. You meet so many people from around the world. The practical knowledge you gain is amazing. It’s such a great thing for us Christendom students to do. College students are so young and idealistic, so it helps you to realize that there are so many other ideologies out there that are just as persistent, if not more, than you are.”