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Op-Ed: Differential treatment in gender at AMUN

Ainsley Martinez

When the General Assembly Third Committee went into their first suspension of meeting, noticeable patterns between the men and women representatives arose: men talking directly to each other, women standing silently behind them. Although disappointing to be in the shadows of men, this was not the only instance of differential treatment among the sexes. Llana Svartz, a representative of Mongolia in GA Third, said she experienced various forms of misogyny in her time at the conference.

“I think there are many instances of ‘mansplaining,’” Svartz said. “There seems to be some mistrust in what I’m saying, and I think many other women have felt this.”

Another representative of the International Atomic Energy Agency, who asked to remain anonymous, agreed. She said one male representative refused to talk to her, arguably due to her gender.

“I don’t know if it’s intentional or not, but it’s underlying with misogyny I think,” Svartz said.

It is hard to know for sure if men realize how their actions impact women. It is completely possible the integrated gender discrimination in our communities contribute to their unknowing. However, these microaggressions transformed into overt forms of sexism in the anonymous messaging app, Jodel.

Representatives across AMUN targeted Svartz, oftentimes calling her by her delegation, “Mongolia.”

She said various representatives on the app told her to “‘shut the (obscenity) up,” that she was “‘girl-bossing’ too hard” and asked if they could “kick Mongolia out of the meeting.”

Frankly, those were some of the more tame comments. One response was particularly vulgar, Svartz said, relating her “stamina on the floor” to her stamina in a sexual nature.

“I speak frequently and confidently, and I think it rubs people the wrong way that I feel more comfortable speaking than other people,” she said.

She continued.

“When I see men in the room do similar things there is nowhere near as much annoyance or flack than when I do it,” Svartz said. “I don’t care. I can take the heat, but I do think there is some underlying reason why I have a little more hate about my confidence in speaking than a lot of the men in the room.”

Although Svartz received the most comments directed to her, women alike were met with similar messages on the app when giving speeches.

A solution for these issues remains unknown. Of course apps such as Jodel could be discouraged, but that would not necessarily change the prejudiced views of women for some men— or eliminate many of the microaggressions, which are arguably more impactful than hurtful words.

As for Svartz? She just wants recognition.

“People just don’t recognize it’s happening. I have not heard any formal conversation about it, so I would appreciate AMUN sharing that,” Svartz said.

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