AAUW at the United Nations

As a nongovernmental organization, AAUW has special consultative status with the U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs. AAUW’s representatives attend briefings, organize events, and form coalitions to take action on women’s issues such as girls’ empowerment, human trafficking, economic security, and women’s opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

AAUW advocates for U.N. policies that include women and girls, signs on to relevant documents, submits statements and research, and hosts parallel events for the Commission on the Status of Women.


Our Representatives at the United Nations

When AAUW’s U.N. representatives walk through those impressive assembly halls, they’re at work — attending briefings, organizing events, and forming coalitions to take action on women’s issues.

AAUW relies on a group of active members and staff to represent us at the United Nations, including a U.N. main representative, two youth representatives, and sometimes a girl advocate.

Gloria L. Blackwell, AAUW U.N. Main Representative and AAUW Vice President of Fellowships, Grants, and Global Programs

Gloria L. Blackwell, AAUW U.N. Main Representative and AAUW Vice President of Fellowships, Grants, and Global Programs

Gloria L. Blackwell, AAUW U.N. Main Representative and AAUW Vice President of Fellowships, Grants, and Global Program

Gloria L. Blackwell is AAUW’s vice president of fellowships, grants, and global programs, overseeing and executing AAUW’s annual $4 million in fellowships, grants, and awards. She also directs AAUW’s international collaborations, including the United Nations and other global organizations. Before joining AAUW in 2004, she was the director of Africa education programs at the Institute of International Education (IIE) managing multiple girls’ education programs in sub-Saharan Africa. Blackwell also managed international fellowships programs during her decade at IIE and has held positions as a Peace Corps staff member and volunteer in Africa.

She holds a master’s degree in education and human development from George Washington University, a bachelor’s degree in international affairs from Georgetown University, and studied at the American University of Paris. Blackwell is committed to supporting opportunities and advancement for women and girls globally. Follow @AAUWGloriaB on Twitter.

Rena Zhu and Veronica McKinny, AAUW Youth Representatives

Rena Zhu (left) and Veronica McKinny (right), AAUW Youth Representatives

Veronica McKinny, AAUW Youth Representative

Veronica McKinny is a sophomore at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, pursuing a double major in physics and cognitive science. She acts as the president of Lehigh’s Society of Physics. McKinny also serves as a teaching assistant for the department of computer science. She is an active member of her collegiate community, serving as a Camp Hawk counselor for first-year students and equipment manager for Lehigh University’s marching band.

Rena Zhu, AAUW Youth Representative

Rena Zhu is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in economics at Lehigh University and serves as a liaison for the university’s Student Senate. In this role, she communicates between first-year students and the university’s administration. Zhu has acted as both delegate and treasurer for Future Business Leaders of America Garnet Valley Chapter. In addition, Zhu is an avid dancer who enjoys participating on Lehigh University’s dance team.


Our United Nations Affiliations

The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)

AAUW has special consultative status with ECOSOC, which initiates reports, makes recommendations, and promotes respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Commission on the Status of Women

The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is the U.N. body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women. It is key in promoting women’s rights, providing data on the status of women’s lives around the world, and implementing strategies on gender equality and the empowerment of women. Every year AAUW attends this two-week convening of member states, U.N. entities, and ECOSOC-accredited nongovernmental organizations from all regions of the world. The 60th meeting of the commission was dedicated to achieving the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals.

NGO Commission on the Status of Women

For two weeks in March, the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women turns the focus of the United Nations toward gender-related issues worldwide. At the same time, civil society is given the opportunity to participate in the NGO (nongovernmental organization) CSW Forum. Joining thousands of international women, AAUW U.N. representatives, staff, and members present AAUW research and programs that help women throughout the world break through barriers.

Department of Public Information

The Department of Public Information (DPI) was established in 1946 to promote global awareness and understanding of the work of the United Nations. DPI undertakes this goal through radio, television, print, the Internet, video conferencing, and other media tools.

U.N. Women

This department works to advance the global agenda on women’s rights, gender equality, and the empowerment of women and to ensure that women’s voices are heard in international policy arenas.

Working Groups

AAUW participates in working groups at the United Nations, including the Working Group on Girls.