Arts & Culture

Student attends UN Commission on the Status of Women

University of West Florida (UWF) senior and Pensacola native Jane McCormack was selected as one of 10 delegates from the Episcopal Church to attend the 56th annual U.N. Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). The conference began Feb. 27 and concludes March 9.

Each year, the United Nations Economic and Social Council’s CSW holds a conference at the U.N. Headquarters in New York City to address gender equality and the advancement of women. Many government officials and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are present, including faith-based NGOs, such as the Episcopal Church that McCormack represented while in N.Y.

“I applied in the fall of 2011 and was selected to attend as a young adult delegate of the Episcopal Church,” said McCormack. “Faith-based NGOs are quite prominent at the event and are valued as a vital role in combating many issues.”

The focus of this year’s conference was on the topic of rural women, according to McCormack. After hearing many personal accounts and challenges from women of many cultures and social backgrounds, she was shaken.

One account was from a young Pakistani woman who had to travel nearly 14 miles to school each day to get an education. This young woman’s brother escorted her on his bicycle each day due to the unsafe conditions of the area in which they live.

“I knew evil was out there, but it’s so easy to forget,” said McCormack. “We have to stay informed.”

She said there are some remarkable women from these cultures, and it was a breath of fresh air to see these beautiful women and hear their stories of survival.

“Meeting them and being exposed to their work inspired me to pursue my education further, so that in the future I can help empower them, and as a physician, help rebuild their spirits,” said McCormack.

McCormack will graduate from UWF with a dual degree in psychology and international studies in May 2012. She is applying to medical school for the 2013 school year and dreams of becoming a child and adolescent psychiatrist.

“It was a very enlightening experience,” said McCormack. “I’ve traveled to other countries, experienced other cultures and interacted with individuals from many social classes, and still throughout the week, I was shocked with how much I learned.”

For more information on the CSW, visit