EWL News

CSW62: 217 years to achieve gender equality if no action taken

[Brussels, 21 March 2018] The annual Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is taking place in New York from 12-23 March 2018. In a global context of backlash, the annual CSW meeting remains a very strategic and political moment for the women’s movement to make its voice heard at international level, create accountability through new national policy statements, and partner with progressive countries to push for a new vision and good practices.

This year’s priority theme is Empowering women and girls in rural areas for which Agreed Conclusions should be reached by the end of this week. The Swedish Women’s Lobby together with the EWL submitted a statement on 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, supported and signed by other EWL members.

The EWL delegation which attended the first week (12-16 March) comprised of EWL President, Edith Schratzberger- Vecsei, Vice-President Iliana Balabanova Stoycheva, Secretary General Joanna Maycock and Senior Policy/Advocacy Coordinator, Mary Collins. EWL members from Belgium, Portugal, Sweden, Ireland, UK, Germany, Turkey, France, Finland, COPA (women’s committee of European Farmers), ENoMW, ETUC also attended. A special thanks to the EU mission in New York for providing a meeting room for members.

Some EWL delegates and members at the famous Vienna café

UN Women - new Deputy Executive Director
The former Swedish minister for Asa Regner, was designated Deputy Executive Director of UN Women a few days prior to the CSW on 7 March. As a former member of the feminist government of Sweden, we expect that she will carry this agenda with her in UN Women.

Feminist UN Secretary General
“I am a feminist” proudly declared UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, at the opening ceremony. This was very much echoed at his meeting with NGOs later in the week where he adamantly vowed to purge the UN system both internally and externally (notably peacekeeping missions) of all forms of male violence and sexual harassment by restoring confidence in the system. He also invited NGOs to “make his life difficult as Secretary General” by seeking action and accountability during his mandate.

EWL members meeting at the EU mission

Time to fully implement the Beijing Platform for Action
But it will take 217 years if no substantive action is taken to achieve gender equality! Progress is slow as the Beijing Platform for Action has yet to be fully implemented, particularly regarding economic equality and women in decision-making.
2020 – an important milestone as the UN and the world marks 25 years of the Beijing Platform for Action (Beijing +25) and the fifth anniversary of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs+5). The EWL, supported by the European/American caucus, calls for a robust UN GA Resolution confirming its commitment to the Beijing Platform for Action, an assessment of the situation to date and the setting of priorities for the next five years. It is time for the Beijing Platform for Action to be placed at the highest level of the political agenda of the UN. UN Women will be consulting civil society in the coming months to discuss what women want collectively for Beijing +25. A Resolution (proposal) for Beijing +25 will be adopted this week by the CSW and submitted to ECOSOC.

Former EWL President Viviane Teitlebaum and Pinar Özcan EWL member from ETUC
EWL members meeting at the EU mission

Outcomes – what next?
As every year, the CSW was (and continues this week) to be a hive of activity gathering up to 8000 women activists from all over the world. As always, many interesting side events were held. The question we must now ask is how do we ensure that the outcomes - Agreed Conclusions- are followed-up beyond the CSW? How do we collectively voice our priorities for Beijing +25? We cannot and will not wait 217 years for equality between women and men.
We will comment on the outcomes (Agreed Conclusions) next week.

ENoMW side event Migrant women in Sweden and Gambian women invest in local initiatives
UN Headquarters New York

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Loud and United to end violence against women and girls, European Women’s Lobby Conference, 6 December 2017, Brussels.

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