MARCH 2017
Jennifer Crusco
Communications Assistant

AHA Students to Attend UN Commission on the Status of Women

Demarest, NJ: This month, two students from the Academy of the Holy Angels will represent the School Sisters of Notre Dame at the 61st United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. AHA delegates Arianne Rowe and Jaya Sharma will be accompanied by history and international studies teacher Jennifer Cucchisi.

Since the Commission on the Status of Women first met in Lake Success, New York in 1947, the group has established relationships with non-governmental organizations, including the School Sisters of Notre Dame. As an accredited NGO, the SSNDs are invited to send delegates to this conference and encourage students from SSND-sponsored schools to participate.

CSW 61 will be held at the UN Headquarters in New York City from March 13-24. This year’s priority theme is women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work. According to the CSW website,, the review theme will be the challenges and achievements of the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals for women and girls, and the emerging issue will be the empowerment of indigenous women.

“This year’s theme is especially relevant to us because School Sisters of Notre Dame see our mission of education as enabling persons to reach the fullness of their potential, and in our 21st century world, we believe that the economic empowerment of women is essential if women are to thrive,” said Sister Eileen Reilly, SSND, director of the SSND UN-NGO Office.

The Bureau of the Commission is chaired by H.E. Mr. Antonio de Aguiar Patriota of Brazil. In a video that appears on the official CSW website, he points out that a 20-year review of the Beijing Platform for Action revealed that “no country has fully achieved gender equality and women’s and girls’ empowerment.” He noted that gender equality and women’s economic empowerment are vital to sustainable development and the eradication of poverty.

The CSW will include a review of the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome of the 21st special session of the General Assembly. Participants will share their experiences and practices, and will discuss new challenges and obstacles that persist. The CSW will also include round tables and interactive dialogues that cover gender gaps, policies that support women’s economic empowerment, and full and productive employment for everyone.

The group from AHA will attend the CSW from March 15-17.

“This is a great opportunity for the girls and me, and we are all looking forward to it,” Cucchisi said.

Arianne Rowe, an AHA senior from New City (NY), said, “I would just like to say that I am extremely excited and honored to participate in the conference. The status of women on the world stage is an increasingly important topic, and one that is very close to my heart, so I am proud to have been selected to go. Outside of this conference, I have been involved in Model UN since sophomore year and have done two Harvard conferences and one Rutgers conference. I have also been on the debate team since freshman year.”

Rowe has been involved in varsity fencing since her sophomore year, and is also a member of the Black and Hispanic Cultural Society.

River Vale resident Jaya Sharma is a junior at Holy Angels. She noted that the fight for the advancement of women's rights and status in society is still in progress.

“I have been considering pursuing a career in the sciences and have read that women are underrepresented in the STEM professions,” Sharma said, referring to the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. “Gender discrimination continues to exist in grant and manuscript reviewing, interviewing, and hiring. Although women make up half of the total U.S. college-educated workforce, they make up less than 25% of the science and engineering workforce.”

She added, “I hope this experience will allow me to learn and understand all the existing movements that are making a difference in the status of women and girls around the world. I am also hoping that I discover an area that will interest me so I can also focus my time and energy in the future to make a difference.”

Student participants are entrusted with sharing their experiences within their schools. The AHA delegates will make their presentation at Awareness Day, a school-wide event set for March 22.

Since 1879, thousands of women have passed through the portals of Academy of the Holy Angels high school, the oldest private girls’ school in New Jersey. Many go on to study at some of the nation’s best universities, earning high-ranking positions in medicine, government, law, education, public service, business, arts and athletics. Our goal is to provide each girl with the tools she needs to reach the fullness of her potential—spiritually, intellectually, socially and physically, by offering a first –rate education in a nurturing environment where equal importance is placed on academic excellence, character development, moral integrity and giving service to others.

Academy of the Holy Angels

315 Hillside Avenue Contact Us & Driving Directions

Demarest, NJ 07627

Phone: 201.768.7822

Contact Us & Driving Directions

Copyright 2017. Academy of the Holy Angels. Privacy Policy.