Global Voices Scholar represents at UN Commission on the Status of Women

21 June 2023
Empowering change on the global stage
We recently caught up with the 2023 Global Voices scholarship recipient, Sabina Patawaran, who attended the 67th Commission on the Status of Women (CSW67), the United Nation’s largest annual gathering on gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Sabina Patawaran, a third-year Bachelor of Economics student majoring in Economics and International Relations, reflects on representing Australia at the UN's Commission on the Status of Women. The experience enabled her to engage in global discussions and collaborate with like-minded individuals, gaining insights into women's empowerment and gender equality. Sabina's participation at CSW67 highlights the University of Sydney's commitment to empowering students as global citizens who contribute meaningfully to society. Sabina shares her experience at the UN, discussing how it impacted her studies and personal growth.

Forum highlights

A highlight of CSW67 was being able to enter the United Nations grounds as a civil society delegate and see what working at an international organisation really looked like. The UN isn’t the most accessible space for everyone, so being able to attend a multilateral forum was a huge privilege that I never thought I’d be able to experience.

There were many parallel events, side events and bilateral meetings that the Global Voices delegation attended throughout the week we were in New York City.

A particular meeting that stood out to me was our meeting with The Hon Dr Kevin Rudd, where the delegation got to discuss a wide variety of policy issues in Australia and how we could best drive change as young people who are still studying or in the early stages of their careers.
Sabina Patawaran, 2023 Global Voices Scholar

Key learnings

Interestingly, being in an international space like the United Nations made me appreciate just how important the domestic space is when it comes to making tangible changes on issues like gender inequality. The work that people do at the grassroots deserves more credit than what it gets.

Another key learning from my experience at CSW67 was the importance of data in tackling gender inequality, particularly within the context of technological advancement. Attending side events organised by the likes of UNESCO, the OECD, and various governments stressed the significance of data in shaping the gendered impacts of emerging technologies, as well as the need for a robust evidence base for policymaking.

Words of advice

If you’re a student who is curious, self-directed, and loves independent research and working on complex problems, the Global Voices policy fellowship would be a great opportunity for you! For those thinking of applying: don’t stress too much over whether you have a “good” topic. It doesn’t have to be super esoteric - propose a policy in an area that genuinely sparks your interest. 

Something I’ve observed about the delegates in my cohort is that, while everyone comes from very different professional backgrounds and walks of life, there is a common denominator: a passion for their topic which shows through the breadth and depth of discussions they can have about it.
Sabina Patawaran, 2023 Global Voices Scholar

To any undergrads who may be interested - don’t let your age or level of studies discourage you from submitting an application! I almost didn’t apply because, at the time, I was a second-year student and thought I wasn’t far along enough in my degree to make a suitable candidate. The policy fellowship is open for undergraduate and postgraduate students, so I encourage you to submit an application anyway!

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