The Beijing Changier Education Foundation Held a Side Event During the 68th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women, Focusing on Women's Empowerment and Gender Equality


On March 22, the Beijing Changier Education Foundation, as an organization with special consultative status to the United Nations Economic and Social Council, held a side event during the 68th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW68). The theme was "Accelerating the Achievement of Gender Equality and Enhancing the Empowerment of Women and Girls," where experts and scholars from various countries, along with youth representatives, shared proposals and suggestions to support women's empowerment and gender equality.

Zhang Yinyun, Chairman of the Beijing Changier Education Foundation, delivered a keynote speech on maternal love education at the side event. She pointed out that the Beijing Changier Education Foundation is initiating a new strategy centered on maternal love education. The plan includes establishing the philosophical-level maternal love universities, the technical-level maternal love academies, and the grassroots-level maternal love communities to manifest the dignity, social status, and pivotal role of mothers, effectively empower them, and accelerate the promotion of gender equality. Zhang Yinyun expressed the hope that through narrating mothers' stories, spreading the philosophy of maternal love education, and elevating mothers' roles and dignity, a world where all women are able to embrace their inner potential can be created.

Dr. Yuan Qian, Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, Co-Chair of the Massachusetts General Hospital Food Allergy Center, Harvard Medical School and Senior Clinical Physician in Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, expressed his intention to fully leverage the resources of Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology to foster effective collaboration, sharing knowledge, resources, manpower, and technology on a global scale with the aim of improving the health of women and children. He further pointed out that in order to improve maternal health, as well as to foster both the physical and mental well-being of babies, the society should address the significant inequalities and injustices in health care for women, which requires comprehensive measures, including increasing vaccination rates, strengthening maternal health services, enhancing the quality of medical facilities, and raising public health awareness.

Gender expert and former gender advisor for the UNICEF Susan Kendall pointed out that the challenge of persistent gender inequality is particularly prominent among low socio-economic groups. Economic empowerment is fundamental to women's empowerment, and addressing poverty is crucial for achieving gender equality. She further proposes from the perspectives of "gender-responsive policies," "women's participation," "education and skill development," and "cross-sectoral collaboration": to create an enabling environment for empowering women through the implementation of policies and practices promoting gender equality; to ensure that both women and men have access to decent work, with a priority focus on women living in poverty; to provide training and opportunities for women to enter middle and high-skilled occupation to increase wages and improve conditions; and to establish multi-sector partnerships to enhance the coherence and consistency of policies, jointly advancing the cause of gender equality.

Darlene Morse, leader of the Employers Association of the Northeast (EANE) and a member of the board of directors for the Holyoke Community Education Project in Massachusetts, expressed that education is a critical factor in advancing the development of women and girls. Through early vocational education, women and girls can acquire knowledge, skills and confidence, providing broader employment and development opportunities, so as to better fulfill their potential, enhance their social status, and contribute to the development of society.

At the side event, several youth representatives shared their experiences and insights on how to promote gender equality and women's empowerment.

Milton Academy's Chinese-American student Oliver Sin believes that education is the cornerstone of women's empowerment and independence, and literacy is a critical step in achieving this goal. Women's literacy is not just about the ability to read and write; it is also a tool for empowerment that can open doors of opportunity that were previously closed. By enhancing women's literacy, countries can create more development opportunities for them, leading to better lives for them and their families.

Ziv Luo, a Chinese student at Brandeis University in the United States, shared his personal growth experience, and believes that efforts should be made to eliminate stereotypes of men and women in society, promote intertwined equality methods by challenging unequal and unjust gender norms, provide economic empowerment for women, and advocate for women's leadership.

Liyan Sun, a Chinese American student at the Hill School in Pennsylvania, expressed that we should fully utilize the internet and social media platforms to combat human trafficking activities against women and girls more effectively, to raise awareness among potential female victims, and strive to create a safe social environment for women.

Tianyue Zhang, a Chinese-Canadian youth, shared her observation and experiences of gender inequality in life and studies. She firmly opposed the unjust deprivation of girls' equal right to education and the discriminatory allocation of educational funds based on gender. She advocated for fair investment in girls' education to accelerate the progress towards gender equality; proposed legislative reforms to eliminate legal barriers preventing girls from receiving education; stressed the need to raise social awareness and eliminate obstacles to girls' education due to cultural norms, economic restrictions, and discriminatory measures; and called for an increase in leadership opportunities for girls in education, ensuring they have equal chances to exercise leadership roles.

Joseph Olivier Mendo'o, Head of the African Youth Delegation in China, Doctoral Candidate of Law at Peking University, and International Chief Volunteer of Changier, chaired the meeting. Sun Jianing, Li Haoyuan, and Fan Xiao, students from Beiwai College, Beijing Foreign Studies University, provided simultaneous interpreting for this conference.

The side event was organized by Emma Chen-Banas, United Nations representative and CEO of Beijing Changier Education Foundation, and Honorary President of the American Chinese United Association of Massachusetts during the CSW68 held at the UN headquarters in New York. Chinese overseas and prominent Chinese-American representatives including Pan Jing, XINDI LU, Chen Cheng, Meng Hong, Dai Hongfeng, Lin Hong, Du Xian, Lea Rundblad, Nie Shanshan, Wang Wanyi, Zhao Juanjuan, Sun Li, Zhou Lihua, and Jiang Aihua participated in the in-person meetings.

Organizer Emma Chen-Banas said: "Changier has always been actively involved in United Nations affairs, and we strive to bring Changier's successful experience to developing countries, allowing Changier to flourish and yield results all over the world." Delegate Chen Cheng stated: " This two-week conference discussed women’s rights, gender equality, especially girls’ struggle for equal educational opportunities. It made me understand that global actions to invest in women are inspiring!" Lea Rundblad and Dai Hongfeng expressed that this side event provided them with an opportunity to deepen their understanding of the specific challenges faced by women around the world and to participate in and support the call for a ceasefire in Gaza. They hope to continue to enhance their awareness of women's issues in the future and to exert their influence in the philanthropic cause of advancing gender equality and improving women's status. Johns Hopkins University graduate student Lin Hong reflected that by listening to experts share about various forms of gender discrimination and unfair treatment at the conference, she has gained a deeper understanding of the challenges and predicaments women face across different fields and cultural backgrounds. At the same time, she also felt the unity and resonance of the participants. Everyone is pursuing a common goal and working hard for it. This gives her a strong belief that change is possible and will be achieved.

The Session of the Commission on the Status of Women took place from March 11 to March 22 at the UN Headquarters in New York under the priority theme, "Accelerating the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls by addressing poverty and strengthening institutions and financing with a gender perspective." The side event organized by the Beijing Changier Education Foundation were an important part of this session.

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