March 12, 2014
Communications and Marketing
Abigail B. Krusemark, a senior international relations major, is at the center of global affairs, the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. She is attending the 58th United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, advocating for gender equality for women in all regions of the world.
As a member of the United States Presbyterian Church's delegation, Krusemark represents more than 550 million people. However, her experience in Rwanda last summer gives her a perspective that increases her awareness of the importance of empowering women.
"I am also speaking on a more personal level for the women I worked with in Kigali," she says. She volunteered with Positive Change, an empowerment program for girls who are HIV-positive.
The Commission on the Status of Women is focused this year on development, particularly education and reproductive rights. Each year, the Commission's meetings conclude with recommendations to the United Nations and world community intended to achieve gender equity.
Approximately 6,000 representatives are attending, including members of 193 member states as well as U.N. entities and non-government organizations (NGOs). The 11-day conference was opened March 10 by the U.N.'s top official, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Hundreds of parallel events in focusing on efforts to bring about gender equality are taking place in New York.
"I'm learning about issues facing women and girls all over the world in an intergenerational and international context," Krusemark says. "I hope the conversation about gender equality and global women's empowerment can be a force that engages those in positions of decision-making for the long-term, and not just for these two weeks of the Commission."
She plans to continue working on global women's issues after graduation.