“Gender equality is more than a goal in itself. It is a precondition for meeting the challenge of reducing poverty, promoting sustainable development and building good governance.” Kofi Annan. Monday the 12th of March 2018, marks the beginning of the sixty-second session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW62) which takes place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. Up until March 23, 2018, representatives of Member States, UN entities, and ECOSOC-accredited non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from all regions of the world will work together on the CSW62’s priority theme, “Challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls.” CSW62 also evaluates the implementation of agreed conclusions from the review theme, “Participation in and access of women to the media, and information and communications technologies and their impact on and use as an instrument for the advancement and empowerment of women” which stems from the forty-seventh session.
The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women. It was established by Council resolution 11 (II) of 21 June 1946 as a functional commission of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). (UN Women) The CSW plays a major role in promoting women’s rights, documenting the reality of women’s lives throughout the world, and shaping global standards on gender equality and empowerment of women. During the Commission’s annual two-week session, representatives of UN Member States, civil society organizations and UN entities gather at UN headquarters in New York. They discuss progress and gaps in the implementation of the 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the key global policy document on gender equality, and the 23rd special session of the General Assembly held in 2000 (Beijing+5), as well as emerging issues that affect gender equality and the empowerment of women. Member States agree on further actions to accelerate progress and promote women’s enjoyment of their rights in political, economic and social fields. The outcomes and recommendations of each session are forwarded to ECOSOC for follow-up. (UN Women)
CSW62 works towards improving the lives of women and girls from all spectrums of the globe. The commission provides a unique opportunity for representatives of governments, civil society, women’s and youth organizations, the private sector, media and other stakeholders to unite and share experiences, to look at good practices and learn from each other. By coming together in this “UN” way, stakeholders give themselves the space to look honestly at the challenges that women and girls face every day across the globe. CSW62 provides the opportunity for us to work towards tangible results that make a difference on the lives of women and girls. Based on the theme of CSW62, my hope is that we will be able achieve a result that can be implemented by all and one that will make a positive difference in the lives of rural women and girls. The empowerment of all rural women and girls, their full enjoyment of all human rights and making gender equality a reality are essential to the achievement of the Beijing Platform for Acton and the 2030 agenda for Sustainable Development. All indicators that is available to us thus far shows that women and girls lag furthest behind. CSW62 reiterates our commitment to leave no one behind as we work towards achieving tangible results that can have a direct impact on this population throughout the world. In order to empower rural women and girls, we need to work towards the implementing the following;
- Decent work and social protection
- Education and training
- Sustainable energy and technology
- Clean water and sanitation
- Eliminating violence and harmful practices
- Including women in decision-making and leadership
- Increasing women’s climate-resilience
These are all areas in which rural women and girls struggle with around the world daily.
Kyle Alvarez is a Congregation of the Mission Intern and Senior Ozanam Scholar at St. John’s University
Major- Business Management/Business Analytics, Minor- Social Justice/International Studies