BYU Students Join UIMF in Hosting 2015 Women of the Mountains Conference

 

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UIMF promoted 2015 Women of the Mountains Conference at BYU event on gender issues

 Utah International Mountain Forum (UIMF) members had the pleasure of attending a conference held by Brigham Young University entitled “WeForShe” on December 4, 2014. Brigham Young University is one of the largest private universities in the nation and located in Provo UT approximately 10 miles from Utah Valley University. Their conference was dedicated to the 20th anniversary of the 4th World Conference on Women, which occurred in Beijing in 1995. Delegates at the conference created the Beijing Platform for Action and outlined the top 12 “critical areas of concern” for women and girls (see: http://www.un.org/womenwatch/directory/critical_areas_of_concern_30.htm ). BYU students raised awareness on twelve main issues that stand as obstacles against the advancement of women in the world. The WeForShe conference had information and booths on these issues; they included the environment, issues facing female children, armed conflict, decision making, economies, human rights, institutional mechanisms, education, violence, poverty, health and the media. There were speakers, female statistical data, and most importantly, ways to get involved in the empowerment of women.

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UIMF delegation at BYU event (L to R): myself, Jesler Molina, Henintsoa Rakotoarisaona and Tony Molina

A presentation about the Women of the Mountains (WOM) conference to be hosted by UIMF on October 7-9, 2015 was a part of the latter category. The UIMF delegation was presented by Jesler Molina, President of UIMF, Tony Medina, President of Foreign Affairs club at UVU, myself and Henintsoa Rakotoarisaona, member of the student organizing committee of the WOM conference. We were able to promote and inform the students of BYU about our upcoming conference, and rally support and new members. We used statistical data to show that when mountainous regions are emphasized, whole state economies are enriched. We compared the thriving economy of Utah as a mountainous region and explained that the application of similar values in other developing areas can and do help developing economies thrive. Furthermore, we were able to highlight how empowering women is the most important step in reviving developing economies. As women are the ones left to take care of the family while men work, we have learned that women invest what they earn back into their families. The conference was full of statistical information about the importance of women in modern day society, and we provided a way for students to get directly involved in the awareness and advancement of women.

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UIMF Booth during at BYU Event

 The Women of the Mountains conference is supported by and recognized by many high level dignitaries from the UN, World Bank, State Department, etc. By highlighting the opportunity to meet and become associates with very important people, it piqued the interest of other like-minded students at BYU. The chance to become involved in a program that involves individuals from the UN and other significant international organizations is a wonderful opportunity, and one that many students jump at. We were able to meet and converse with politically and socially minded people that were interested in helping our cause.

We are also thrilled that a group of faculty and students who are involved with the WomenStat database at BYU confirmed their desire to work with us as a part of our team and they will have a whole panel dedicated to it. It is the most comprehensive compilation of information on the status of women in the world. The Project facilitates understanding concerning the linkage between the situation of women and the security of nation-states. – See more at: http://www.womanstats.org/#sthash.uZPBZiJj.dpuf . WomenStat project was already presented at WOM conferences in 2007 and 2011 and featured in the United Nations Secretary General’s report on sustainable mountain development in 2007 as one of the examples of partnership between BYU and UVU in promoting gender agenda in the Rocky Mountain region and globally.

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UIMF delegation members (L to R) Tony Molina and Jesler Molina express support to the WeForShe campaign

UIMF, UVU, and the Women of the Mountains conference organizing committee members are grateful to our BYU colleagues for the opportunity to learn more about gender issues around the world, and to share the goals of our own conference with their students. When programs like WeForShe work in cooperation with our own programs like the 2015 Women of the Mountains conference, we are able to spread awareness of these issues and gain backing to help eradicate them. As societies join together, we will be able to have a larger impact on the issues at hand and our strength will be multiplied.

Once again, a big thank you to BYU and its representatives for organizing the conference.

Hailey Eggleston, UVU students organizing committee of the 2015 Women of the Mountains Conference

“Joining WeForShe on Facebook” https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.369192679909487.1073741828.353973014764787&type=1