Beth Olker, member of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) delegation to the 59th Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women and student at Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, reflects on her experience.
I am right smack dab in the middle of my two-week journey as a PC(USA) delegate to the United Nations’ Commission on the Status of Women. The commission this year is reviewing the statement on the Beijing Platform, a product of the Commission on the Status of Women in 1995.
This week has been a blur. A blur of meetings, panels, worship, building up a community of witnesses, and hashtags, so many hashtags. Needless to say, the busy schedule and the power of the stories that are shared have left me more than a little emotionally and physically drained by the time evening rolls around. It took all of one day of meetings outlining the violence against women, the way the media and commercialization perpetuates gender inequality, and about the darker stories surrounding UN peacekeeping missions, for me to not be entirely sure that I could handle two whole weeks of this. I felt myself searching for a magical source of strength and empowerment. And then, I found it. Found it is a bit strong because I didn’t really look, it just fell into my lap, or technically, onto my laptop.