6 Things We Learned at the Teen Orientation of the 59th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women

"A woman's place is in the house...The House Of Representatives" A girl's place is at the UN!

On Sunday March 8th 2015, BALI CEO+Founder, Liz Abzug, and her staff invited BALI Alumnae to the Teen Orientation of the 59th CSW where Liz Abzug spoke on a panel about her experience participating in the world renowned UN Women’s Right conference in Beijing in 1995 with her mother, Bella Abzug.

This is where Hilary Clinton coined the phrase, “WOMEN’S RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS.” This was our namesake, Bella’s, saying that she shared with Hilary Clinton, as she introduced the First Lady of the United States to hundreds of international NGO delegates attending this monumental conference!

We spent the morning learning about how critical our voices as young women are to the Women’s Movement today, and we had the opportunity to meet some of the most influential Women’s Rights leaders of the 21st century whose work and mission is directly geared toward the advancement and prosperity of GIRLS!

After lunch, the BALI girls joined forces with hundreds of other girls and took the streets of New York City during the March For Gender Equality and Women’s Rights!


1) March 8th is International Women’s Day and the kick-off to the 59th CSW.

International Women’s Day is a day to celebrate the inspirational women and girls in your life, honor the millions of girls around the world that do not yet know the freedom you have, and celebrate your sheroes who have paved a pathway for you to pursue your dreams.

2) Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka told us to be DRAMATIC.

Girls are often stigmatized for being too “dramatic,” “bossy,” or “emotional,” but UN Women leader, Miss Mlambo-Ngucka, encouraged us to embrace this stigma and be DRAMATIC enough to lean on our leaders and demand that our voices be heard. Be DRAMATIC enough to create a positive change in your school, family, and community. Be DRAMATIC in all that you do.

 3) Intersectionality means HOPE for a new generation.

Intersectionality is a big word bantered around in feminist dialogue, and like the word “feminism,” it has many meanings to many people. Intersectionality is a term we use to deconstruct feminism and recognize that women’s lives and needs differ around the world and even right in your community. Intersectional feminism considers all facets of a woman’s person that inform her life, status, and access to resources such as race, ethnicity, age, gender transitioning, sexual preference, socio-economic status, citizenship, and many more factors.

4) Step it up, boys!

Boys aren’t just invited to the conversation, we need them to join the conversation and make the world a better place for girls to help us achieve full equality.

Check out UN Women #HeforShe campaign, and encourage the boys and men in your life to step it up and speak out!

 5) What happened in Beijing 20 years ago?

Our namesake, Bella Abzug, and her daughter, Liz Abzug, BALI founder+CEO traveled to Beijing to lead the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. At this particularly special UN conference, Bella led the Women’s Linkage Caucus and introduced Hilary Clinton to thousands of NGO representatives that we’re invited to participate and now have delegate status at official UN conferences.

Thousands of global and local NGOs  are improving the lives of women and girls everyday, and Bella knew how important it was to bring NGO leaders to the table.

6) Where were the girls at Beijing?

Liz shared that although there were young women at the Beijing conference, there were few young GIRLS!  Today at the Teen CSW delegation, we can really feel progress, but there is much more work to be done! The Working Group on Girls, the Bella Abzug Leadership Institute, and many organizations alike are sparking this long overdue change and inviting us, girls, to share stories about our lives, and what we need to resolve in order to have equal rights to our boy classmates.


 Erica Forman (BALI Board Chair),Teresa Younger (Ms. Foundation,President/CEO),Liz Abzug (BALI CEO/Founder), Anastaysia Tsoi (BALI Alumna), Patti Russo (Executive Director, Women's Campaign School at Yale), and Cynthia McKnight (BALI Board Member). 

UN Commission on the Status of Women--Beijing + 20 celebration of Bella's leadership at The last UN International Women's Conference on the 1995 UN platform for Action on Women hosted by BALI at the historic Eleanor Roosevelt House in NYC.