The United Nations’ agenda is centered on the principles of sustainable development -- measured social and economic advancement. These are goals we admire, and hope to uphold at BERMUN. We believe, however, that no amount of economic growth or political reform will ever amount to true progress as long as half of the world’s population remains both disadvantaged and disempowered. It is in this context that we have chosen the banner theme of “Women’s Empowerment: A Key to Good Governance and Socio-Economic Prosperity.”
Today, there remains much to be done in the fight for women’s rights, and thus, for the realization of the UN’s founding principles of equality and dignity for all. Though the global community has made substantial strides towards equality, women in developed countries still face institutionalized sexism: the wage gap, the lack of women in leadership positions and rampant sexual objectification. Meanwhile, in many developing countries, where women face challenges such as severe economic disadvantages, rampant sexual violence and a lack of access to education, the problems are even more glaring.
Women’s empowerment may be a key to good governance and socio-economic prosperity, but consensus is severely lacking on how to ensure that women receive equal opportunities as men. Even as we make great progress in other areas of development, issues surrounding gender can seem stagnant. Cultural mindsets and deep-rooted stigmas that perpetuate gender inequality will not disappear overnight. But just as the UN is built upon the principles of collaboration, so too can the next movement for women’s rights be a unifying one. We feel hopeful as we see millions of men and women championing gender equality. Our hope is that this BERMUN conference will help us all understand that bridging the gap between men and women is just as important as bridging gaps between nations, races or religions.
Women’s empowerment transcends the boundaries of politics, economics or social justice. The conference’s theme is not a topic that can only be addressed through political discussion, but a goal that all of us can and must work towards at BERMUN and fight for in our communities.
All the best,
The 2017 BERMUN Secretariat