My name is Johann Bambino – first name German, last name Italian, born in UAE, raised in Qatar, and yet still an Indian citizen. I have been a part of my school’s Model United Nations program for roughly 4 years now, attending more than ten conferences, serving as a delegate, chair, ICJ advocate and even on the executive team of my school’s MUN conference. More recently I have been tasked as a Deputy Secretary General for THIMUN 2018 and I hope that our team can make it an event to remember. Through the years, like most people, I began to realize the flaws the UN harbors, but still I continue to have hope for the organization even if there are those who have considered it has failed.
I think before we proceed with this article, I have to make it abundantly clear that I am a male. Thus, this article should be seen from a male perspective. That does not mean, however, that I am necessarily sexist. Instead I wish to give those who are reading this a chance to consider a new notion: a world free from the superiority of one gender over another. On a superficial level SDG 5 means that we must achieve gender equality, we must remove those roles and stereotypes we commonly associate with a specific gender. Yet, to me this ultimately seems a bit strange as societies and people generally function based on their particular gender and the roles they associate with it. So can gender equality truly be achieved?
I think it’s important to achieve gender equality, but I also believe there are certain circumstances which readily prevent men and women from achieving this dream. While to a person like me achieving gender equality is a sensible goal and one worth fighting for, to another person in another part of the world gender equality may not be held in such high regard (and yes there are women who do not wish to be empowered).
Hence, on a personal level, SDG 5 is not simply just giving women the same rights as men, but rather convincing entire societies that this is the right thing to do. In my home country, India, the issue of women’s rights is prominent as the diversity in religion and cultural values create disputes regarding the treatment of women. The lack of education on the matter in lesser developed states in India has led many men to ill-treat women and see it as the right thing to do. The UN may do all it can to empower women, but without educating the entire world about its goodness, the world will simply remain as it is.
The UN, as well respected as it might be, is led by a generation which grew up, for the most part, in an environment where the thought of women empowerment was still in its infancy. Through Model United Nations we can plant new seeds of thought, to allow our current generation to realize the importance of SDG 5. In the Gettysburg address Lincoln said the US constitution is “dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal”. Nearly 230 years later and there is not one mention of women on that prestigious document, signed on September 17, 1787.
Thus, the barrier which my nation, the United Nations or for that matter, any nation faces is not that people do not wish to change, but rather that we have not done much to allow people to change. The current generation must be educated on the importance of gender equality through MUN as they are the one who are still changing and learning the how the world works. To ensure SDG 5 is implemented we must become a body which unites both halves of the human race.
By Johann Bambino, President of MISMUN 2016 and Senior Advisor for MISMUN 2017