World Conference on Women

 
 

Topic Summary

Topic: Sexual Violence During Wartime

Sexual violence is an egregious crime of war, a violating act that has cultural, ethnic, and psychological consequences for its victims and their communities. This is an incredibly interdisciplinary topic that will force you to directly and indirectly engage with with history, culture, public health, human rights, and, of course, economic policy and government policy.

Our first subtopic is the Mexico City policy. Many NGOs are the primary source of health care for victims of sexual assault. However, NGOs are limited in their ability to provide full and comprehensive health care because their funding often has contingencies. These contingencies have prevented NGOs from providing abortion services, offering HIV or AIDS treatment, and expanding contraceptive access.

Our second subtopic is migration. Many women and children seek asylum in times of war out of fear of or in the aftermath of sexual violence. Yet many countries do not accept gender-based harassment as a legitimate grounds for asylum. Furthermore, the very process of migration is especially dangerous for women and children, with instances of sexual assault often spiking along migration routes and in the border regions between countries.

Our third subtopic is sexual violence within global organizations.

Director’s Letter

Dear Delegates,

Hi all! My name is Madi Howard and I’m so excited to be directing the World Conference on Women for HMUN 2020.

I’m a sophomore planning to do a joint concentration in Statistics and Women, Gender, and Sexuality with a secondary in Economics. Originally, I’m from Connecticut but have lived in a variety of different places including Beijing, Lithuania, New York City, Colorado, New Hampshire, and Maine. I love hiking and being outdoors -- I get that from my dad, who actually finished hiking the Appalachian Trail this past spring! I think I’ve hiked almost every mountain in Connecticut and am always trying (some say forcing) to get my friends to hike with me. When I’m indoors, I like to cook, read, watch soccer, and binge Netflix. However, my friends would probably identify me by some of my weirder pastimes, which include watching competitive rock climbing, making hundreds of Spotify playlists, pretending to be a kombucha connoisseur, and eating tons of olives.

This is only my second year of being involved with MUN – I started just last year as an assistant director for HMUN and HNMUN. Like many of you, I was thrown into MUN without much experience and spent a couple of committee sessions feeling totally lost. Because of that, I truly want to be available and approachable -- I know better than anyone what it feels like to be overwhelmed and am here to answer any and all questions.

This year, the committee will be focused on sexual violence in times of war, a complex and difficult topic, but  an incredibly important one nonetheless. This is a unique opportunity to deeply engage with an issue that is often sidelined in high school and even college curriculums -- it is an incredibly interdisciplinary topic and will require a lot of thought, discussion, and empathy.

My top priority as a director is making sure that all delegates, new and old, feel welcome in both my committee and at the conference in general. Please, please reach out before or during conference with any questions or concerns or even just to introduce yourself!

 

Yours,

Madison Howard

Director, World Conference on Women

wcw@harvardmun.org