Utah group empowering women celebrates chapter status

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 23 2013 7:35 p.m. MDT

This is to say nothing of the trafficking and exploitation that occur elsewhere in the world.

"It does become an overwhelming issue," said Eberhardt, who is also a professor of economics, politics and demographics of globalization at the University of Utah. "How do you combat all of this inequality and all these empowerment issues both at home and abroad?

"Oftentimes my students at the university learn about these issues and then they just sort of scratch their heads and they say, 'What do we do now?' and it's pretty typical to feel powerless."

Utah U.N. Women "puts us in a position of power to do something about it," Eberhardt said.

The first step to helping, McConkie said, begins with each individual learning about the issues that affect women in Utah, and expanding that to understand global problems.

"And as we learn about the issues, then I think that our hearts will be touched and we will be moved to action," she said. After this, people can then share their knowledge with others.

"As we become educated we bring our friends and family to the same platform. We have the ability to be change agents," she said.

People can also become members of the new Utah chapter and attend the monthly meetings, Baird said.

Each month, the Utah group highlights an organization that is working to help women and children. Those highlighted range from refugee service groups to those working to eliminate prostitution, to advocates of education for girls in Africa.

At the end of the meetings, those who attend are given a chance to act on what they have learned, whether it's writing a letter to a congressman on the night's topic, volunteering to help teach English classes or helping raise money for sewing machines in Zambia.

Board members bring with them a wide array of international, non-profit and charity experience. Three men serve on the board, and the group seeks to recruit more.

"We know women hold up half the sky but when we join together we can make a huge difference together," board member Elise Reifschneider said.

To celebrate the new chapter, the group will host an open house at 7 p.m., Thursday at the U.'s Hinckley Institute. The free event will include a presentation about the Utah chapter of the U.S. National Committee for United Nations Women and what the organization does.

Information about the group can be found on its Facebook page, www.facebook.com/USNC.UNWomenSLC.

Audio: Utah group empowering women celebrates chapter status

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