Photo by: João Vicente Costa Oliveira

Gender is way more than just women’s rights
by Camila Gomide

The pandemic has affected the world broadly and in different ways – GDL members from different professional fields have had to cancel projects, put them on hold or reorganise them for the time being. In order to ensure that the work of GDL members can continue, especially in civil society organisations that support vulnerable groups or other groups in need, the GDL has promoted projects through the Solidarity Fund. What has become of it, who has taken part in it and how has it helped? From now on we will publish reports at irregular intervals on the blog.

The first one comes from Camila Gomide, a Global Studies student at Long Island University, who through the Solidarity Fund had the chance to work at the Gender Alliance. The Gender Alliance is a cross-network initiative of members of the Global Diplomacy Lab and partnering networks.

Camila’s report:

Ever since I was a little girl, I have always dreamed of making a difference in the world. Growing up in Belo Horizonte, Brazil gave me a lot of insights into inequality and oppression. I saw that the community I lived in, where my friends, family and school were, was very patriarchal, always expecting women to serve men. I just knew that I had to do something to help change it. It made me so upset that I could not wear skirts, shorts or even dresses on public transportation because of the constant fear of being harassed. For even when I blended in as much as possible by wearing jeans and hoodies, I experienced catcalling and sexual harassment.

While I was at high school, I started to understand that it was more than just stereotypes about how I should dress. Rather, I saw that I was not taken seriously during a class or guest lectures, where my male friends always got the chance to ask their questions before I could because, for some reason, teachers took my male colleagues more seriously. It was as if my questions as a woman were less relevant, especially during business classes. Or even when I had my first start-up idea and wanted to pitch it to a professor, he kept waiting for my male colleague to pitch it to him.

That was when I decided that I wanted to study International Relations as a way to learn how to stand up for my rights and get involved in active change-making, so I could be part of the change for myself and others who have had the same struggles.

While following my path in my International Relations course, I met Dr Colette Mazzucelli, whose classes were some of the best I have ever participated in. This class was about world politics and case studies and it encouraged me to look even more for solutions. Dr Mazzucelli then connected me to the Gender Alliance, and for the first time in a while, I really felt I was part of a powerful change-making group.

In the six months that I have been working and connecting with the Gender Alliance, I have been able to participate in the most active, hands-on group sessions I have ever seen. Besides being able to apply my marketing and social media knowledge, I have also learned a lot about gender, and how to consistently work towards one goal, whether it be through organising a new event or spreading knowledge about gender.

By connecting with people from the network, I have been able to listen to many wonderful and inspiring stories. Working with the Gender Alliance feels like working for a United Nations committee, where everyone is important and has done many great things to help achieve gender equity.

The Gender Alliance has shown me that gender is way more than just women’s rights. It is a non-binary fight and, just like any other struggle, gender rights are human rights and we should all be aware of them.

Published on June 23, 2021.

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Colette Grace Mazzucelli

Prof Dr Colette Mazzucelli, MALD, EdM, PhD, is President (Academia), Global Listening Centre, and has been on Graduate Faculty at NYU New York since 2004. She is Lead Series Editor, Ethics of Personal Data Collection, Anthem Press. Colette teaches International Relations (Conflict Resolution/Europe), reaching students on several continents through her design of technology-mediated seminars for LIU Global as well as Pioneer Academics.
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