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Big Ocean Women showcased a Model of Powerful Impact with two delegations at the United Nations’ Commission on the Status of Women (CSW61) in March.  Much of that impact resulted from generous donations by individuals and corporations, along with sacrifices made by our own members.

Big Ocean’s compelling contribution to CSW61 included the presentations given by our founder, Carolina Allen, and the eight members of our youth delegation.  We travelled on foot through a winter storm that closed the United Nations.  Some fought illness, and two mothers bravely carried bundled babies through the snow to reach the venue.  We were rewarded with Carolina’s message highlighting the crucial influence of mothers, the need for community connections, and her challenge for governments to listen to the voices of mothers.  We were reminded of the need to elevate mothers in order to elevate people everywhere.  

Later that day, our youth delegation presented.  They were beautifully prepared, poised, and inspiring as they each spoke with conviction on one of the eight tenets of Big Ocean Women. These girls, called miracles by one member of the audience, gave hope for the future.  They represented the light that shines from empowered women on an often-dark world, and they showed the powerful impact of individual women standing for faith, family and motherhood. Both presentations were shared via social media and the response was remarkable.

With this year’s theme of “Women and Girls’ Economic Empowerment in the Changing World of Work,” delegates attended sessions focused on various issues such as care work, work-life balance, gender-based violence, sex trafficking, and empowering women through education and economic policies.  Given the heavy issues that women everywhere face, there is a temptation to feel discouraged and overwhelmed by the sheer amount of suffering.  However, here at Big Ocean, we believe in the Model of Powerful Impact.  We recognize that women, operating in their own spheres, utilizing the talents they have developed and the opportunities that they have taken, inherently have the ability to touch lives in small and large ways that influence those around them and, ripple by ripple, change the world.  

At CSW61, we met women from all around the globe who are seeking solutions for women’s issues in their own communities.  There were women doctors who are educating women about the beauty of their bodies and the potential power to create life.  A young girl of 22 is helping orphans in Cameroon.  One teen was influenced by one person, her uncle, who gave her knowledge that she uses to inform would-be child brides about their choices.  There were women who have faced almost unspeakable atrocities in the United States, who choose to speak out, empowering others in an effort to save them from similar fates.

What struck me, though, was the powerful effect of the everyday moments that I witnessed. Women almost universally stopped to smile at babies, and were instantly bonded to each other by their shared motherhood.  We met mothers who exuded grace as they explained how they have steadily, quietly and firmly gone against the tide in their own country and sounded a clarion call for governments to recognize the familial and societal benefits that occur when women can choose to care for their own children.  Women showed unabashed compassion, which moved them to tears, as they listened to the terrible suffering of others, and went home with new conviction in their motherly intuition as they raise their daughters.  I saw conversations between newfound friends, hugs in the face of exhaustion, commonalities recognized, and wisdom sought.  I recognized the influence of inherently powerful women who reach out from themselves, to their families, and to the world in seemingly small ways, acting as the drops of a mighty ocean.  That impact of women gathered in unified purpose is immense.

May we all recognize the strength that we have been divinely given to improve ourselves, influence our families for good, and build the communities in which we live.  Reach out to those closest to you and share the goodness that is within you. The world needs women who prioritize what is most important to affect the cultural tide that would push us all off course.  At Big Ocean Women, we recognize the Model of Powerful Impact, and we encourage women to nurture their own faith, prioritize families and then motivate one another to do good.  This is the power that effects change, and each woman doing her part makes an impact.