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We the young men of CSW 56 appreciate the platform offered by the Commission on the Status of Women to be the first to have this opportunity to present our visions and perspectives. This statement was written in the ardent hope that our voices will propel the movement of women and girls’ rights forward towards creative solutions.
We have come here to learn, to better ourselves, and to educate others. We have come to share our own experiences, our interactions with women from other countries in our community, the stories of the women and girls we know, our mothers, sisters, friends, and neighbors. We have come to the CSW to spread male awareness and to act, because the current lack of understanding about women’s rights and international issues creates a lack of action.
As young men, we demand to be included in the discussion and advancement of women and girls’ rights internationally. As much as men are part of the problem, we are also a part of the solution. We need to reframe the discussion from a women’s issue to a human issue, where men and women, boys and girls can collaborate constructively to solve the obvious injustice that is inequality. As youth, we have a fresh unique voice that provides creative and new solutions, as witnessed in the Arab Spring.
We want our voice to be heard and demand to be taken seriously. We refuse to be brushed aside. We are ready and willing to take what we learned back to our communities, our places of faith, schools, friends, brothers and fathers. We will act as role models for other youth, to spark their interest in getting involved in international human rights. We will have the courage to proudly advocate for these issues, both personally and in our communities, and we expect the UN delegates, elected officials, and adults to do the same on both institutional and individual levels. We hope that the United Nations and the CSW, both now and in the future, will encourage direct action to secure these human rights. We hope that all countries that we represent affirm the rights of youth and women in the UN’s treaties and conventions and that institutions like our schools and governments prioritize education about gender issues.
We as young men recognize that if you are not proactive in the fight for justice and gender equality, you are complicit in a system of discrimination. We know that we can make a difference in our local communities and forward international progress of women and their rights. We are confident that we will continue to be part of the solution and not part of the problem. We demand that you do the same.