Commission on the Status of Women

Dear Delegates,

Hello, and welcome to the Commission on the Status of Women!

My name is Angela Guo, and I am a rising sophomore at Harvard College studying Psychology and Economics. Born in Shanghai, China, I grew up in Guangzhou, China, for seven years until I moved to the San Francisco Bay Area. In high school I was very involved in mock trial and debate, but it was not until I came to Harvard that I discovered a love for Model UN. I think that mock trial, debate, and MUN entail very similar skills, but I was drawn to the MUN community by its friendly, passionate, and fun-loving members. After serving as Assistant Director for HMUN and HNMUN as a freshman, I also became part of the Intercollegiate Model UN team that competes on the collegiate circuit. This summer, I will be teaching Chinese high school students in Beijing and China for HMUN Pegasus and Harvard Summit for Young Leaders in China. As you can see, MUN is a big part of my life, and I value how it teaches people to look at the global picture and emphasizes cooperation rather than competition.

I’m incredibly excited to be your Director for the Commission on the Status of Women. As a woman, I am naturally inclined toward women’s issues and would absolutely call myself the F word: feminist. Feminism seems to have become an unpopular word; men and women choose not to identify as feminists because the word “feminism” connotes man-hating. Part of my motivation for directing this committee is to raise awareness of gender inequality and to dispel the notion that feminism is equivalent to misandry.

In my guide and in committee, we will explore gender inequality, including its roots, manifestations in the workplace, and solutions. We will also tackle the topic of violence against women, looking at oversexualization of women as one of the major causes. I hope you take this opportunity to research the complexities of gender inequality and women’s issues, and I look forward to hearing your ideas as you discuss these topics.

Angela Guo
Director, Commission on the Status of Women
Harvard National Model United Nations 2017

Topic Area A: Gender Inequality in the Workplace

Women face gender inequality in the workplace in numerous forms, including the wage gap and the lack of representation in upper level management of firms. Across regions of the world, women’s nominal wages are about 20% lower than men’s. Much of the work women do is underpaid and involve low-status jobs; the result is that women’s per capita average earned income is far lower than men’s.

In the U.S., women actually outnumber men in colleges and graduate schools. The large wage disparity despite the fact that more women than men hold a bachelor’s degree or higher demonstrates that it is not the difference in qualifications that creates the gap in their earnings, but simply their gender.

According to UNICEF, in industrialized and developing countries alike, women generally work longer hours than men. The majority of their working hours is spent doing unpaid household work, which men spend much less time doing. Thus, the unequal division of household labor is another problem in the broader topic of gender inequality in the workplace, and the CSW needs to develop policies to address these problems.

Topic Area B: Violence Against Women

The 1993 United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women defines “Violence Against Women” as “any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life.”

Though many nations are making progress in their endeavor for women's safety, there are still large-scale cases of violence against women that fail to be brought to justice.

One cause of violence against women comes from the objectification and oversexualization of women in culture. Taking a closer look at sexual assault and rape cases in particular, the CSW will explore prevention and education programs as well as policies influencing the way women are portrayed in the media.