March 9, 2023
by Dawsen Goodfellow
Today I took my first steps into the world of policy and it happened to be at the 67th United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in the middle of Manhattan in New York City. Me, a simple BYU-I student from Southern Nevada is attending the largest conference regarding the state of women and gender equality. I wasn’t expecting this at all a few months ago. It would not be an understatement to say that nearly every part of this trip was not expected at all; from the offer and decision to go, to seeing how the event plays out in person. I didn’t even know about this event until recently. I was nervous to come; everything that I had heard suggested that this would not be the friendliest place for someone like me; a straight, white, and Christian male.
What I expected was not what I experienced however; I was not expected to be received openly, and I certainly was not expecting to receive an ovation from the speakers and audience or applause for being one of the men (among many others) in attendance in the general assembly hall this morning. I was not expected to be greeted with friendly smiles or shared excitement to be in attendance of the events throughout the day. Throughout the day, I noticed a sort of general excitement to be involved in the political proceedings regarding gender equality and how to best empower women. That is the one thing we all agreed on. We may not have agreed on exactly how to best empower women or what practices will best help to protect them, but today, that mattered less than the fact that we were all on the “same side” of trying to better learn how to help women from different speakers from different countries. I still don’t know a whole lot about policy, and I’m still figuring out how this whole UN thing works, but as someone just entering this “new world,” it gives me hope that eventually we will be able to solve these larger issues we hear discussed in media these days, and that, as a man, I could have a place in doing so, along with the many women who have typically lead the charge in the past.
Dawsen is a student at Brigham Young University – Idaho and attending the Commission on the Status of Women with United Families International.