Douglass Voices Heard at the UN
On March 21, 2017 DRC students attended Young Women’s Leadership and Voices at the UN. This briefing featured discussions that highlighted the importance of young women’s leadership and voices within society. Aasha Shaik, DRC’20 was invited to present due to her work on gender equality and girls’ rights as a Girl Advocate with the non-governmental organization Working Group on Girls (WGG). WGG is a coalition of more than 75 non-governmental organizations that advocate for the protection and human rights of girls and women.
Aasha first became a Girl Advocate during her junior year of high school. Her year-round advocacy work included running and speaking at large-scale United Nations events, researching and authoring policy suggestions, and lobbying UN officials on particular policies and documents. Aasha spoke on the panel about her experiences working with the Working Group on Girls, and how NGOs can be more effective in representing girls and young women in their work.
“My work at the United Nations has been incredibly formative for me, both in terms of my own confidence and skill development,” said Aasha. “Being a 15-17 year-old brown girl in high heels and a blazer lobbying officials as high as Ambassadors and event Prime Ministers forced me to hone my communication and advocacy skills on a global level.”
Douglass offers students several opportunities to visit the UN and work on UN priorities, goals, and initiatives. The college boasts its own chapter of Friends of the United Nations Population Fund, and attends briefings and sessions at the UN in partnership with other Rutgers units like the Center for Women’s Global Leadership, and the Centers for Global Advancement and International Affairs.
"Awareness is definitely a critical first step for getting involved with this type of programming at the United Nations. Since, as Girl Advocates, we are representing the needs of girls globally, we have to be aware of the status of girls around the world,” Aasha said.
“The work has also fueled my passion for political and social activism, and is even what pushed me towards my current course of study in Political Science and International Affairs. Seeing the effects of all this work has on girls from different parts of the world has been so humbling.”