You are on page 1of 20

UN Women Summit

Chair: Victoria Farris


UNWomenSummit

DistinguishedDelegates,
WelcometoVAMUNXXXVI!Iamsoexcitedtobeyourchairandhelpguideyou
throughwhatisboundtobeanunforgettableweekendofdebate,discourse,and
diplomacy.Beforewegetstarteddelvingintoourexcitingtopics,Iwouldliketotellyou
alittlebitaboutmyself.IamasecondyearstudenthereattheUniversityofVirginia.I
amdoublemajoringinPoliticalPhilosophy,Policy,andLaw(PPL)andPhilosophy.In
thefuture,Iplanonattendinglawschoolandpursuingacareerinsocialjustice
advocacylitigation.Myinterestsincludedebate,internationalaffairs,socialjustice,
music,food,anddogs.Iamaselfproclaimedcoffeeaddict,andwillalmostsurelybe
caffeinatedatalltimes.IamaspiritedWahoo,andwouldbethrilledtoansweranyand
allquestionsyouallmighthaveaboutUVA,orcollegeingeneral.IcompetedinModel
UnitedNationsthroughouthighschoolandfoundittobeoneofthemostrewarding
andenlighteningexperiencesofmyeducationalcareerthusfar.
Thisweekend,IwillbechairingtheUNWOMENcommittee.Wewillgenerallybe
focusingourdebateonthetwotopicsoutlinedinthisbackgroundguidebut,intypical
ModelUNfashion,youshouldalwaysbepreparedfortheoccasionalsurprisecrisisor
newsbriefing.SinceModelUNisasimulation,itisextremelyimportantthatall
delegatesremaininthecharacterofthecountrytheyrepresent.Itisalsoimportantto
maintaindecorum,inordertopreservealevelofprofessionalismandmaturity
throughoutthedurationoftheconference.
Inmyexperienceasadelegate,theactivityofModelUNisprimarilyabout
enjoyingahighlevelofdiscoursewithfellowcolleagueswhoshareaninterestin
diplomacyandinternationalaffairs.However,asIamsuremanydelegatesarealso
curiousastothewaywedetermineawardshereatVAMUN,Iwillprovideasimple
overviewofthistopic.Delegateswillbeevaluatedholistically,baseduponavarietyof
factors,includingprofessionalism,speakingability,thecapabilitytoaccurately
representandreflecttheviewsoftheirnation,andtheabilitytointeractconstructively
withfellowdelegates.Positionpaperswillalsobeconsideredwhendetermining
committeerecognitions,asthesearenecessaryinordertoreceiveanysortofaward.I
genuinelyhopethatalldelegateswillprimarilybefocusedonengagingwiththeirfellow
delegatesandfindingsolutionstosomecomplexproblems,becauseModelUNisabout
somuchmorethanthepotentialforawards.Atthispoint,Iwouldalsoliketomention
thatIconsiderModelUNtobe,firstandforemost,alearningexperience.Therefore,
delegatesinmycommitteeshouldneverbeafraidtoaskmeanyquestionstheymight
haveaboutthecommittee.Thismightbethefirstconferenceexperienceformanyof
you,andthatcanbeveryconfusing.Thereisnosuchthingasadumbquestion,andI
ammorethanhappytohelp!
IamsoexcitedtowelcomeyoualltoVAMUNXXXVI!Icannotwaittomeetallof
youandheartheamazingideasandsolutionsthateachandeveryoneofyouhasto
offer!

Best,
VictoriaFarris
Chair,UNWOMEN
vaf5ba@Virginia.edu
1


UNWomenSummit

**Delegatesofthiscommitteeshouldnotethatthetopicswewillbediscussingareboth
extremelydelicate,andshouldbehandledwiththeutmostlevelofprofessionalismand
care.Thesetopicsmaybedisturbingoruncomfortableforsomestudents,especiallyif
theyarenotaddressedwiththeproperlevelofdecorum.Itwillbeassumedthatifyou
aresigneduptoparticipateinthiscommittee,youareindeedpreparedtoexhibitthe
levelofmaturitynecessarytodiscussthesetopicsinaproperandsensitivemanner.

**

CommitteeOverview

WelcometotheUNWOMENcommittee!Thiscommittee,alsoknownasThe
UnitedNationsEntityforGenderEqualityandtheEmpowermentofWomen,aimsto
advocatefortherightsofwomenglobally,inbothaproactiveandequitablemanner.
ThestatedgoalsofthisgeneralUnitedNationsbodyareasfollows:

Tosupportintergovernmentalbodies,suchastheCommissionontheStatusof
Women,intheirformulationofpolicies,globalstandardsandnorms.

TohelpMemberStates[oftheUnitedNations]toimplementthesestandards,
standingreadytoprovidesuitabletechnicalandfinancialsupporttothose
countriesthatrequestit,andtoforgeeffectivepartnershipswithcivilsociety.

ToleadandcoordinatetheUNsystemsworkongenderequalityaswellas
promoteaccountability,includingthroughregularmonitoringofsystemwide
progress.1
TheUNWOMENcommitteeexiststoaddressoneofthemostpressingissuesin

our21stcenturyglobalcommunitytherolethatwomenplayinavarietyofcultural,
religious,andpoliticalsettingsthroughouttheworld.Additionally,thiscommittee
servesasanadvocateforallwomen,fromyouththroughadulthood,andfromall

http://www.unwomen.org/en/aboutus/aboutunwomen


UNWomenSummit

religiousandculturalbackgrounds.TheproblemsthattheUNWOMENcommittee
facesarenumerousandmultifacetedinnature.Inparticular,therearetheproblemsof
equalityandrepresentation,whicharebroadbothinscopeandimpact.Inourmodern
globalage,theUNhasfacedseriouschallengesinitseffortstopromotegenderequality
globally,includinginadequatefundingandnosinglerecognizeddrivertodirectUN
activitiesongenderequalityissues.2 Thislandmarkcommitteeworkstobargainon
behalfofwomen,bothlocallyandglobally.
Thusfar,theUNWOMENcommitteehasmadeimmenseprogressinitsadvocacy
forwomensrightsonalargescale.Inparticular,theimplementationoftheConvention
ontheEliminationofAllFormsofDiscriminationAgainstWomen(CEDAW)andthe
BeijingDeclarationandPlatformforActionhaveseengreatsuccessinlevelingthe
playingfieldforwomeninavarietyofsocialpositionsacrosstheworld.3 Butalongwith
thesuccessesoftheseinitiativescomesaneedtopursuefurther,moresustainable
progress.Withreligiousandculturalchallengesposingaconstantthreattothefreedom
andopportunityofwomen,theUNWOMENcommitteemustbeparticularlyvigilantin
itsfightforequality.

2
3

http://www.unwomen.org/en/aboutus/aboutunwomen
http://www.unwomen.org/en/aboutus/aboutunwomen


UNWomenSummit

TopicOneFemaleGenitalMutilationinAfrica

**Delegatesshouldbewarnedthatthefollowingtopicisgraphicandpotentially
disturbinginnature.WhilethespecificdetailsofFGMhavebeenintentionallyleftout,
delegatesshouldstillbeawareofthesensitiveandpotentiallyjarringnatureofthis
topic.**

HistoryoftheIssue
TheproblemofFemaleGenitalMutilation(FGM)isonethatisatoncetroubling
andcommonplace.Withanupwardsof140millionwomenworldwide4 facingthe
consequencesofthispractice,itisoftheutmostimportancethatstepsaretakento
identify,address,andsolvethisprevalentproblem.TheWorldHealthOrganization
(WHO)definesfemalegenitalmutilationasconstituting,allproceduresthatinvolve
partialortotalremovaloftheexternalfemalegenitalia,orotherinjurytothefemale
genitalorgansfornonmedicalreasons.5 WhenunderstandingthisdefinitionofFGM,
itisimportanttonotethatthispracticeisnonmedicalinnature.Thatis,thisisa
procedurethatisperformedforcultural,social,orreligiousreasons,andislargely
unconcernedwiththehealthorwellbeingofthesubject.
InaJuly2013studyfromtheStatisticsandMonitoringSectionoftheUnited
NationsChildrensFund(UNICEF),thehistoryandpracticeofFGMwasanalyzedin
detail.InresponsetothequestionofFGM,FrancescaMoneti,UNICEFSeniorChild
ProtectionSpecialist,notesthatthereisasocialobligation,thatthepracticeis
relational.6Shegoesontodistinguishbetweenthecommonalityofthepracticeandthe

4
5

http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/feb/06/whatisfemalegenitalmutilationwherehappen
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/feb/06/whatisfemalegenitalmutilationwherehappen

http://www.unicef.org/protection/57929_69881.html
4


UNWomenSummit

factthatmanymembersofpracticingpopulationsdonotendorsetheprocedure.
Monetiexplains,Theclearprogrammaticinsightfromthereportisyouhavetomake
visiblethefactthatpeopleintheirprivatespheredontsupportthepractice.So,Imay
notsupportcutting,andyoumaynotsupportit,butIseeyoucuttingyourgirl,andyou
seemecuttingmygirl,andyouthinkIsupportitbecauseyouseemecuttingmygirl
butwedonttalk.7Itisimportanttomakethisdistinctionbetweencommonalityand
approval.WhilstthepracticeofFGMitselfiscertainlycommonplaceandwidespreadin
amultitudeofAfricanandMiddleEasternnations,thepluralityorevenmajorityofthe
populationofthesenationsoftendisapproveofthepracticeitself.
WithFGMaffectingover125millionyoungwomeninalmost30countries8
throughouttheworld,thisiscertainlyastartlingproblemthatmustbeaddressedboth
quicklyandeffectivelyinordertosalvagethewellbeingofwomeninaffectednations.

CurrentStatusoftheIssue
FemalegenitalmutilationispracticedprimarilyincountriesthroughoutAfrica
andtheMiddleEast.ThiscommitteewillfocusparticularlyontheproblemofFGMin
Africannations,sincethedynamicofeachregioninwhichthisprocedureispracticed
differssogreatly.ThepracticeofFGMhasbeendeemedaviolationofhumanrights,
andhasbeenmetwithoppositionbothintheprivatesectorandfromtheUNbodyasa
whole.In1997,theWorldHealthOrganization,UNICEF,andtheUnitedNations

7
8

http://www.unicef.org/protection/57929_69881.html
http://www.unicef.org/protection/57929_69881.html


UNWomenSummit

PopulationFund(UNFPA)collaborativelycondemnedFGM.9Thepubliccondemnation
ofFGMisacrucialfirststeptowardsaddressingthisissueonabroadscale.
Additionally,therehavebeenavarietyofinitiativessetinmotion,bothfrom
withinUNbodiesandexternally,whichaimtoabolishthepracticeofFGM.Such
initiativesincludetheUNFPA/UNICEFJointProgrammeonFemaleGenital
Mutilation/Cuttingin2007theWHOsGlobalstrategytostophealthcareproviders
fromperformingfemalegenitalmutilationin2010andtheWHOscollaborative
initiative,entitledEliminatingfemalegenitalmutilation:aninteragencystatement,in
2008.10 ItisimportanttounderstandthatthespreadofthepracticeofFGMcanonlybe
counteractedbyconcertedcollaborativeeffortsofculturallysensitiveandlongterm
initiatives.
FGMisnotpurelyareligiouspractice.ItisconductedinbothmajorityMuslim
andmajorityChristianregions,anddoesnothaveabasisinreligiousdoctrine.Aschild
psychologistHaseenaLockhatstates,whenoneconsidersthatthepracticedoesnot
prevailandismuchcondemnedincountrieslikeSaudiArabia,thecenteroftheIslamic
world,itbecomesclearthatthenotionthatitisanIslamicpracticeisafalseone.11
Therefore,wemustnotoversimplifytheproblemofFGMasareligiousone.Rather,itis
importanttounderstandthesocialandculturalfactorsthatcontributetothisissueina
multifacetedmanner.

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs241/en/
http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs241/en/
11
http://www.meforum.org/1629/isfemalegenitalmutilationanislamicproblem
9

10


UNWomenSummit

TheculturalpressuretoengageinFGMisstrong.Inparticular,appealstothe
idealsoffemalehonour,chastity,beauty,ensuringtheirmarriageability12oftencause
younggirlstofeelcompelledtosubmittothepractice.Forexample,tenyearold
KheiriyaAbidifromSomaliaislikesomanyotheryounggirlsopposedtotheFGM
procedure.However,thesocialpressureofhervillagecouldlikelycompelhertoallowit
totakeplaceregardless.13
Inadditiontobroadscalecollaborativeinitiatives,smallerdomesticandregional
legislativeadvancesarekeytosolvingtheproblemofFGMinaproactiveandculturally
sensitivemanner.Thusfar,26AfricanandMiddleEasternnationshavelegislatively
bannedthepracticeofFGM.14 Forexample,MauritaniahasissuedabanonallFGM
proceduresinmedicalorhealthsettings.15 Clearly,legalprohibitionofspecific
instantiationsofFGMisapositivesteptowardsobliteratingthispracticeintotality.
However,legislationssuchasthatofMauritaniacanbelimitedinscope,andcanleave
outimportantsubsectionsofthesocietiesthatstillengageinthispractice,albeitinan
unregulatedmanner.ItisperhapstheseunregulatedinstancesofFGMthatarethe
mostdangerous,andforwhichdelegatesandpolicymakersshouldbethemostvigilant.

CurrentAnalysisoftheIssue
Inunderstandingtheproblemoffemalegenitalmutilation,itisimportantto
analyzenotonlyitshorrificimplications,butalsoitsroots.Itisimpossibletofully

12

http://www.unicef.org/protection/57929_69881.html
http://www.unicef.org/protection/57929_69881.html
14
http://www.childinfo.org/files/FGCM_Lo_res.pdf
15
http://www.childinfo.org/files/FGCM_Lo_res.pdf
13


UNWomenSummit

comprehendthisproblemwithoutstudyingtheinfluentialcultural,social,andpolitical
normsthatspuritsprevalence.TheproblemofFGMisauniqueone,becauseitisboth
commonplaceandyetmetwithdisdainfromindividualswithinthepracticing
populations.TheveryindividualswhoengageinthepracticeofFGMareoften
extremelyopposedtotheprocedureitself,butfeelthatthereisnoalternative.
TheprogressthathasbeenmadethusfarwithrespecttotheproblemofFGMhas
beenrelativelyeffective.Attheveryleast,suchinitiativeshaveincreasedtheawareness
surroundingthispractice,whichseemssoforeigntomanydevelopednations,especially
thoseintheAmericasandEurope.However,theprogressdoesnotstopatlegislation.
Itisimportanttodebunkthesocialandculturalpressuresthatplayintothecallfor
FGM.Thesepressuresinclude,primarily,onesrelatingtomarriageandsuitabilityof
youngfemaleswithregardstotheprocessofcourtship.Theyarealsofoundedin
socioculturalexpectationsofproprietyandpurity.Itisthereforeimportanttoaddress
thispracticeinamannerthatissensitivetotheculturalnormsthatunderlieits
implementation.Asstatedinthe2013UNICEFreport,unlesslegislationis
accompaniedbymeasurestoinfluenceFemaleGenitalMutilation/Cuttingcultural
traditionsandexpectations,ittendstobeineffective,sinceitfailstoaddressthepractice
withinitsbroadersocialcontext.16

16

http://www.childinfo.org/files/FGCM_Lo_res.pdf


UNWomenSummit

GoalsoftheCommittee
TheprimarygoaloftheUNWOMENcommitteeistoadvocatefortherightsof
womeninallareasofsocietyaroundtheworld.Whenapplyingthisbroadgoaltothe
specificissueofFGM,itisessentialtodevelopsolutionsthataimtopreservethedignity
oftheyoungwomenaffectedbythispractice.Inordertoaccomplishthis,solutions
mustaimtobecompatiblewiththeculturalandsocialpracticesofthesocietyofwhich
theseyoungwomenareapart.Thatis,anyapproachthatismeanttobesustainablein
thelongtermshouldseektoincorporate,notalienate,theyoungwomenwhomitseeks
toprotect.
InaddressingtheproblemofFGMwithinthiscommittee,delegatesshould
considertherelativesocial,cultural,andgeopoliticalpositioningoftheirrespective
nations.Inparticular,itisimportanttoconsidertheprevalenceofFGMwithineach
delegatesnation,aswellasthestepsthatthesenationshavetakentoaddressthe
problem.Whiletherearefew,ifany,nationsthatwouldnotofficiallycondemnthe
practiceofFGMdejure,itisimportanttorecognizethatsomenationsstillhost
populationsinwhichamajorityofyoungwomenaresubjectedtothispracticedefacto.
ItisthegoalofthiscommitteetoaddresstheproblemofFGMinacollaborative,
diplomatic,andsustainablemanner.

QuestionstoConsider
1.HowcommonisthepracticeofFGMinyourcountry?
2.TowhatextentisFGMinfluencedbycultural,religious,andsocialnorms?


UNWomenSummit

3.HowcantheproblemofFGMbeaddressedinaculturallysensitivemanner?
4.HowcanvictimsofFGMbeprovidedwiththenecessarymedicalandpsychological
attentioninaneffectivemanner?
5.WhatstepshasyournationtakentoaddresstheproblemofFGM?

TopicTwoAddressingMenstruationinDevelopingNations
HistoryoftheIssue
Theissueismenstruationisonethatisoftenmetwithconsternationandeven
disgustbymanydevelopingsocieties.Fromthetimethatyoungwomenbeginto
menstruate,theyareostracizedfromtheircommunities,sometimesforcedtostayhome
fromschoolortoresideinseparatelivingquarters.Theissueofmenstruationisone
thatisoftenmisunderstoodinlessdevelopedcountries(LCDs).Furthermore,in
traditionallyconservativesocieties,menstruationisaproblemthatisconsideredtaboo,
andthusisnotdiscussedfreelyoropenlyeitheramongstfemalesorbetweenthesexes.
GiventhatoneofthegoalsoftheUNWOMENcommitteeshouldbetoendowfemales
withdignityregardlessofthesocietyinwhichtheyreside,itisofparamountimportance
thatthequestionofmenstruationisaddressedinarespectfulandsociallyconscious
manner.
AccordingtotheinternationaldonororganizationFemmeInternational,there
areseveralkeypointsofconcernregardingtheissueofmenstruation.Theseinclude,
butarenotlimitedto,accesstosanitationandhygieneproducts,schoolattendance,and

10


UNWomenSummit

educationalconcerns.17However,theproblemsthatwomenfacewithrespectto
menstruationaremorethanjusttechnicalinnature.Infact,thereareavarietyof
social,cultural,andreligiousbarriersthatwomenfaceregardingthisissue.For
example,manywomenwithintheIslamicandHindufaithsareprohibitedfrom
engagingintraditionalreligiouspracticeswhilstmenstruating.18Furthermore,
Venezuelanwomenarerequiredtosleepinseparatequarterswhiletheyare
menstruating.19Fromtheseexamples,itisclearthatwomenacrossamultitudeof
developingnationsareshunnedfromtheirrespectivesocietiessimplybecauseofthe
naturalandcommonplacefactofmenstruation.Whenaddressingthisconcern,itis
importanttobeculturallysensitivetothetraditionsthatcompeltheperceptionthat
menstruationisataboo,andtoworktodebunkthesetraditionsinasustainableand
effectivemanner.

CurrentStatusoftheIssue
OnMarch13,2015,ajointcommissionoftheUnitedNationsincludingtheWater
SupplyandSanitationCollaborativeCouncil,theUNWOMENcommittee,andthe
PermanentMissionsofSenegalandSingaporehostedaforumdiscussingtaboos
regardingmenstruation.ThecouncildiscussedareportonthetopicofMenstrual
HygieneManagementBehaviourandPractices,whichincludedanalysesoffiscal,
policy,andprogrammaticconcernssurroundingtheissueofmenstruation.20 Openand

17

http://www.femmeinternational.org/theissue.html
http://www.femmeinternational.org/theissue.html
19
http://www.femmeinternational.org/theissue.html
20
http://waterforlifeconf2015.org/eng/unwomenandwsscccallforglobalactiononendingmenstruationtaboos/
18

11


UNWomenSummit

collaborativediscussionsregardingthepoliciesconcerningthisissuearecertainly
important,andcanbeconsideredapositivefirststeptowardsaddressingthisproblem
initsentirety.
Inadditiontopolicysolutions,thereareavarietyofhygieneconcernstobe
addressedsurroundingmenstruation.Inmanydevelopingnations,especiallyinAfrica,
youngwomenlackaccesstothebasicsanitarysuppliesnecessarytodealwith
menstruationinasafeandhygienicmanner.Forexample,manygirlswillmanage
theirmenstruationwithragsandnewspaper,sometimesevenresortingtomudandtree
bark.Thesemethodsareineffective,uncomfortable,andcarryastrongpotentialfor
infectionanddisease.21 Ofcourse,theprimaryreasonthatyoungwomenlackaccessto
thesesanitaryproductsiscostrelated.Thecostofmenstrualhygieneproductsisoften
soexorbitantthattheyareunattainableforamajorityofyoungwomen.Forinstance,a
packageofsanitarypadsinKenyastartsatapproximately50KSH,whichisabouthalfof
theaveragedailywageofmostunskilledworkers.22 Clearly,indevelopingnations
wheremostyoungwomenoftenmustprovidebothforthemselvesandtheirfamilies,it
isafinancialimpossibilitytomanagemenstruationinahygienicmanner.Thelackof
accessibilitytosafesanitationproductsisaproblemofparamountimportance,andone
thatmustbeaddressedbeforeanyfurtherprogresscanbemadeonthisissue.
Problemsofsanitationarecompoundedbyagenerallackofeducationregarding
reproductivehealthandsafetyinmanydevelopingnations.A2014UNWOMENstudy
entitled,MenstrualHygieneManagement:BehaviourandPracticesinTheLouga

21
22

http://www.femmeinternational.org/theissue.html
http://www.femmeinternational.org/theissue.html

12


UNWomenSummit

Region,Senegalexplorestheissueofmenstruationfromavarietyofangles,including
health.Withrespecttohealtheducationandawareness,thestudyconcluded,Girls
haveextremelylimitedinformationaboutwhytheymenstruateandhowtomanage
menstrualflowshygienicallyandsafely.Mothersandfriendsactastheirmainsourceof
information.However,thesemothersandfriendsoftenlackthenecessaryknowledge
aboutbiologicalchangesasthebodyreachespuberty,themenstrualcycle,infection
risksposedbypoorpractices,andtheabsorption,drying,andmaterialdisposaloptions
availabletogirls.23
Itisclearthatmanyyoungwomenareeitherscarcelyinformedormisinformed
regardingissuesofsexualhealthandmenstruation.Thislackofproperinformation
oftenleadstotroublinganddangerousmisconceptions,bothfrommalesandfemales,
surroundingtheissueofmenstruation.Atthispoint,manydevelopingnationsdonot
considermenstrualhygienetobeatopicofimportancewhenitcomestospreading
nationalawarenessofpublichealthissues.InSenegalinparticular,menstrualhygiene
managementisnotmentionedinanynationalorregionalpolicydocumentsinany
sector.24 Agenerallackofawarenesswithrespecttomenstruationcontributesto
widespreadconfusionandcontemptsurroundingthisissueinmanydeveloping
communities.
Inadditiontomisconceptionsregardingmenstrualhealth,thereareavarietyof
culturalconcernsthatcontributetothetaboosurroundingmenstruation.Someofthis

23

http://www2.unwomen.org/~/media/field%20office%20africa/attachments/publications/2015/07/louga_study_en_lores.pdf?v=1&d=20160115T
112335
24
http://www2.unwomen.org/~/media/field%20office%20africa/attachments/publications/2015/07/louga_study_en_lores.pdf?v=1&d=20160115T
112335

13


UNWomenSummit

taboostemsdirectlyfromthewaymenstruationisdefined:theAcadmieFranaise
definesmenstrues(fromtheLatinmensis,meaningmonth)asfollows:purgations
thatwomenexperienceeachmonth.Thewordpurgations,meanwhile,isdefinedas:
anillnessthatafflictswomeneachmonth,forthisreasononlyeverexpressedinthe
pluralform.Bloodlettingshouldbe

avoidedduringthesepurgations.25

Furthermore,manycommunitiesindevelopingnationsconsidermenstruationto
beindicativeofblameworthiness,orpunishmentforamisdeed.Menstruatingwomen
inmanyAfricannationsareoftencastasideasuncleanorareshunnedassinners.26
Menstruationalsoservesasapracticalsocialbarrierformanywomen,prohibitingthem
fromparticipatinginmanydailyactivities,especiallyeducation.Becauseofthestigma
surroundingmenstruation,orbecauseofalackofpropersanitationfacilitiesfor
females,youngwomenareoftenforcedtostayhomefromschoolwhilsttheyare
menstruating.Forexample,schoolgirlsinKenyamayloseasmanyas500,000
schooldaysayearbecausetheyareunabletocopewiththeirmonthlyperiodsatschool.
27

Thefactthatfemalestudentsareforcedtomissschoolmonthlywhiletheirmale

classmatesarenotplacesfemalesataseveredisadvantageintheeducationalrealm.

CurrentAnalysisoftheIssue
Theprogressthathasbeenmaderegardingtheissueofmenstruationhasbeen
sizeable.However,effortsmustcontinueinfullforceinordertoaddressthisconcernin

25

http://www2.unwomen.org/~/media/field%20office%20africa/attachments/publications/2015/07/louga_study_en_lores.pdf?v=1&d=20160115T
112335
26
http://www2.unwomen.org/~/media/field%20office%20africa/attachments/publications/2015/07/louga_study_en_lores.pdf?v=1&d=20160115T
112335
27
http://www.femmeinternational.org/theissue.html

14


UNWomenSummit

asustainableandlongtermfashion.Indeed,themostcomprehensivesolutionstothis
issueareonesthatconsidercultural,health,andsocietalconcernsfullyandequally.
Whenaddressingthistopic,delegatesmusttakecaretoberespectfuland
professional,aswellasculturallysensitive.Innationswherereligiouspracticesor
traditionsrenderthetopicofmenstruationtaboo,itisimportanttobothrespectthese
culturaltraditionsaswellasworkingtowardssolutionsthatwillprovidewomenwith
theopportunitynecessarytolivewithinthesesocioculturalnormsinadignifiedand
healthymanner.
Whenconductingresearchonthisissue,delegatesshouldfocusonquestionsof
funding,culturalsensitivity,healthcare,accesstosexualhealthawarenessand
education.Additionally,delegatesshouldseekinsightfromNGOprogramsandprivate
donorgroupsthathaveworkedtoprovideyoungwomenwiththeresourcesand
educationnecessarytodealwithmenstruationinasafeandhealthymanner.

QuestionstoConsider
1.Howistheissueofmenstruationtreatedinyournation?Isitataboosubject,orisit
discussedfreely?
2.Whatarethelowcostsanitationoptionsavailabletoyoungwomenindeveloping
nations?
3.Howcansexualhealtheducationbeprovidedinaneffectiveandculturallysensitive
mannerindevelopingnations,especiallyintraditionallyconservativeordevoutly
religiousregions?

15


UNWomenSummit

4.Whatfurtherstepsmustbetakentoreducethestigmasurroundingmenstruationin
developingnations?

GuidelinesforResearch
WhenconductingresearchforanyModelUNconference,itisimportanttodirect
yourresearchfromtwoends:researchintotheperspectiveofyourrepresentednation
andintothetopicsthemselves.Clearly,thesetwoendswilloverlap,butitisimperative
thatyouestablishaknowledgebaseoneachindividuallybeforeconsideringcohesive
solutions.
Intermsofsources,itisimportanttoconsiderbothcredibilityand
professionalism.Asageneralrule,.comsourcestendtobelessreliablethan.orgor
.edusites.Additionally,youshouldalwaysstayawayfromWikipedia,unlessyouare
simplyperusingthesitetofindgeneralinformationonatopic.Whenresearchingfor
yourpositionpaper,youarebothpermittedandencouragedtoutilizethesourcesIhave
drawnfrominthisbackgroundguide(footnotedattheendofeachpage).
CountryspecificresearchcanbefoundonsitessuchasCIAWorldFactbook,which
providesrelevantinsightonavarietyoftopicsrelatedtoeachcountry.
Whenconductingtopicspecificresearch,youshouldbethinkingintwoways.
First,youshouldseektodevelopadetailedunderstandingofthetopicsandtherelated
problemstheyinvolve.Second,youshouldbefindingsourcesthatleadtopotential
solutionstotheproblemsyouhaveidentified.Thisdualapproachtotopicresearchwill

16


UNWomenSummit

renderyoumoreawareoftheintricaciesofthetopicaswellaspreparingyouwith
potentialsolutionstopresentincommittee.
Aftermentioningtheresearchofsolutions,Idofeeltheneedtomentionapolicy
thatwillbeupheldincommittee:noprewrittenresolutionsareallowed.Thatis,
althoughyouareencouragedtocometocommitteewithideasofpotentialsolutions,you
arenotpermittedtowriteoutresolutionsofanyformbeforecommitteesessionbegins.
Ihopethatyoufindyourresearchprocessbothenlighteningandfulfilling.
Shouldyouhaveanyquestionswhatsoeverduringthisprocess,pleasedonothesitateto
reachouttome.ItismyjobasChairtoansweranyquestionsyoumighthave(no
matterhowbigorsmall!)tothebestofmyability.Iverymuchlookforwardtolearning
fromyourideasandtheresearchyoubringtocommittee!

17


UNWomenSummit

Bibliography
AboutUNWOMEN,accessedJune02,2016,
http://www.unwomen.org/en/aboutus/aboutunwomen

Femalegenitalmutilation,lastmodifiedFebruary,2016,
http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs241/en/

FemaleGenitalMutilation/Cutting:Astatisticaloverviewandexplorationofthe
dynamicsofchange,lastmodifiedJune02,2016,
http://www.childinfo.org/files/FGCM_Lo_res.pdf

IsfemalegenitalmutilationanIslamicproblem?,lastmodified,February04,2016,
http://www.meforum.org/1629/isfemalegenitalmutilationanislamicproble
m

Menstruation,Development,andWomensRights,accessedJune02,2016,
http://www.femmeinternational.org/theissue.html

NewUNICEFreportonfemalegenitalmutilation/cutting:Turningoppositioninto
action,accessedJune02,2016,
http://www.unicef.org/protection/57929_69881.html

UNWomenandWSSCCCallforGlobalActiononEndingMenstruationTaboos,
accessedJune02,2016

Whatisfemalegenitalmutilationandwheredoesithappen?,accessedJune02,2016,
http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/feb/06/whatisfemalegenitalmutil
ationwherehappen

WSSCCandUNWOMEN,MenstrualHygieneManagement:BehaviourandPracticesin
theLougaRegion,Senegal

18

We appreciate your feedback about our conference. Please


direct all inquiries and comments to our Secretary-General.
Gary DePalo
Secretary-General
vamun.sg@gmail.com
You can also contact us at the mailing address below:
VAMUN c/o The International Relations Organization at
the University of Virginia
PO Box 400435
Newcomb Hall Station Charlottesville, VA 22904-4435

Non-Affiliation Statement
Although this organization has members who are
University of Virginia students and may have University
employees associated or engaged in its activities and
affairs, the organization is not a part of or an agency of the
University. It is a separate and independent organization
which is responsible for and manages its own activities and
affairs. The University does not direct, supervise or control
the organization and is not responsible for the organizations
contracts, acts, or omissions.