5 Leaders Standing Up for Women at the United Nations This Year

March 11, 2016

AAUW’s voice in activism is a powerhouse thanks to our passionate and dedicated members who make change for women and girls in their communities. This year, we are elevating our members’ voices to a higher stage, the United Nations. A team of five AAUW member leaders from across the United States will soon descend on the 60th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) at the U.N. headquarters in New York City. They will join thousands of women’s rights leaders and activists from around the world to make sure that the 17 new Sustainable Development Goals will be implemented in ways that elevate women and girls. Our team, along with NGOs from around the world, will affirm the priority theme of this year’s CSW: women’s empowerment and its link to sustainable development.

Meet your AAUW member leaders who will be advocating for women and girls at the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women.

Amy Atchison @Dr_Atchison

Amy Atchison

Growing up in a U.S. Army family, Amy Atchison moved 14 times before the age of 21. She credits living in Jordan and Saudi Arabia with sparking her interest in women’s rights. Atchison spent 10 years in the corporate workplace before returning to school to pursue her academic dreams. She received her doctorate in political science from the University of Tennessee with concentrations in comparative politics and public administration. She is currently an assistant professor of political science and international relations at Valparaiso University in Indiana. Her work has appeared in PS: Political Science and Politics, Politics and Gender, Poverty and Public Policy, and the Journal of Women, Politics, and Policy. Her main research interests are in women and politics, executive and legislative relations, and social welfare policy in advanced industrial democracies.

 Amy Blackwell @EqualityGrrl

Amy Blackwell is AAUW of Colorado president-elect and a former member of the AAUW Board of Directors. Owner of Blackwell Communications LLC, she provides marketing, communications, coaching, and research services in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields and health care. As chair of the Colorado State Board of Licensed Professional Counselor Examiners — one of six mental health regulatory boards in her state — Blackwell provides health care consumer protection. She is also certified in mental health first aid and loves snowshoeing and hiking; she often hits a nearby trail while traveling for business. A graduate of Craven Community College in New Bern, North Carolina, and the University of Houston in Texas, Blackwell has degrees in arts, history, and biology.

Elizabeth Hendrix @MaryEHendrix

Elizabeth Hendrix 2

Elizabeth Hendrix, an Alabama native, holds a doctorate in instructional leadership from the University of Alabama. She is currently completing a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Alabama, Birmingham. While attending classes, she works as a doctoral program manager and as an adjunct professor. As a child she was a national and world champion in baton twirling, and her drive for perfection persevered later in life. As an AAUW member, she has served as a national Public Policy Committee member, an AAUW Voices Project member, co-director of the Alabama Ready to Run grant-funded program, and public policy chair in two states. Moreover, she has served on several boards, including the Alabama Citizens for Constitutional Reform Foundation Board and Childcare Resources of Birmingham Board. In 2016, she was selected as a Presidential Management Fellow finalist and as a Local Government Management Fellow finalist. Hendrix has a patent and numerous awards, and her 24 publications include three books: “Minding” Knowledge: Leaving the Body Behind and Educators Learning to Be Socially Just (first and second editions).

Chiedza Mufunde @SkaChiedza

 Chiedza Mufunde 1
Chiedza Mufunde was born and raised in Chitungwiza, Zimbabwe. Her experience participating in Zimbabwe’s Child Parliament during high school has shaped her passion and interest in global policy, research, and advocacy with a focus on social policy. Her work with the Campaign for Female Education in Zimbabwe nurtured her passion for education, children’s rights issues, and the importance of investing in women to fight poverty. Through her work with numerous organizations, she has explored the intersection of health and girls’ education; teaching, mentoring, and adult literacy; and the role of individuals and organizations in shaping local, national, and global policy. During her college years at Mount Holyoke College, Mufunde was a member of the AAUW National Student Advisory Council, the Public Leadership Education Network, and the Women in Public Service Project Colloquium, where she shared the stage with feminist and activist Gloria Steinem (pictured). She also serves as the board secretary for Tariro: Hope and Health for Zimbabwe’s Orphans, a small nonprofit that provides education support for teenage girls orphaned by AIDS in Zimbabwe.

Nelda Reid @neldareid

Nelda Reid

Nelda Reid is an active community leader as a member of the AAUW Dallas (TX) Branch and the United Nations Association of the United States of America (UNA-USA). Involved with UNA-USA for more than 15 years, she is a UNA-Dallas board member and a UNA-USA representative for the South Central region. She loves the way that AAUW’s work intersects with the work of the United Nations Association, thinking globally and acting locally. Her passion is connecting people at the local level for collaborative work on the U.N. development goals, specifically on the issues of education, gender equality, women and girls’ empowerment, interfaith understanding, and climate change. She has been involved in social justice issues for many years and has been a spokesperson on the Middle East peace issue, having been part of delegation to Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza in 2002. She’s a country girl at heart and enjoys splitting time between the urban life in Dallas, the farm life in East Texas, and the wilderness of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. She is retired from teaching technology classes to high school English as a second language students.


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