Open Letter to Senior Women at the UN Commission on the Status of Women

By kimberley kilgour, YWCA of New Zealand.

To the senior women who have been privileged to attend umpteen CSWs and women’s world conferences on Government delegations or with NGOs.

kimberley kilgour

kimberley kilgour

I have not come here to push you out of your position, nor have I come here to take your spotlight. We all want the same thing (to improve the rights of women in its various forms) therefore please, give us all a chance to speak and to share and do not tell us we don’t know what we are talking about.

After discussing with other young women leaders from World YWCA, it seems that our voice and our passion for action is preferred to be silenced by those within some organisations. Young women are seen to be “inexperienced” and should have better knowledge of the UN before speaking out and demanding change. It pains me to think that these more senior women think that their views and their voice should resound louder than ours. How are we meant to be effective and achieve equality for women if we cannot even work together with respect?

The young leaders of the World YWCA are doctors, scientists, economists, lawyers, and social workers. We are in touch with our community and know, through our OWN experiences and education, what the real needs of women in our nation are. We are not just here to talk; we are here to develop plans. Please take us seriously.

Failure to engage the next generation will mean the torch will not be passed on. Allowing us to sit at the table and participate in real negotiations and discussions will ensure continuation of the women’s rights and feminist movement.

Kindly recognise the sacrifice every young woman has made to attend CSW and take this into account before you speak and before you exclude. I spent over 40 hours on planes, left my seven year old son and missed the first 3 weeks of my academic year in order to be here, not to mention the community effort it took to raise the funds. I am determined that the sacrifice I made will not be in vain.