Commission on the Status of Women

iaw-anCSW59/Beijing+20 (2015)

The fifty-ninth session of the Commission on the Status of Women will take place at United Nations Headquarters in New York from 9 to 20 March 2015. Representatives of Member States , UN entities, and ECOSOC-accredited non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from all regions of the world attend the session.


The main focus of the session will be on the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, including current challenges that affect its implementation and the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of women.
The Commission will undertake a review of progress made in the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, 20 years after its adoption at the Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995.

The review (Beijing+20) will also include the outcomes of the 23rd special session of the General Assembly, the first five-year assessment conducted after the adoption of the Platform for Action, which highlighted further actions and initiatives.

The session will also address opportunities for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women in the post-2015 development agenda.
See more at this website …

Analysis of  the report of the UN Secretary General for CSW 2015

The Secretary General’s report for the session of the Commission on the Status of Women to take place in March 2015 reviews the functioning of the Commission’s methods of work in the light of experience gained, and makes recommendations for consideration by the Commission with a view to further enhancing the impact of its work.


CSW59_FINAL afbeelding

More interaction with other commissions

The report recommends that CSW interacts more with other ECOSOC commissions in order to get gender mainstreaming accepted everywhere in the UN system.
And many commissions are relevant to the work of CSW, for instance the Commission on Population and Development, the Commission on Science and Technology for Development, the Commission for Social Development, the Commission on Sustainable Development, the Statistical Commission and the Commission on Crime and Crime prevention.cedaw_animated

The report also recommends that CSW works more closely with CEDAW.

Gender Indicators

CSW worked out a minimum set of Gender Indicators together with the Statistical Commmission, and it contributed to the work of the Commission on Sustainable Development about the Social Development Goals after 2015.

A ministerial declaration rather than Agreed Conclusions

CSW is the only functional commission that concludes its sessions with ‘agreed conclusions’, which is a consensus document. Of course, from an IAW point of view, it would be better not to work by consensus, because the conclusions are necessarily watered down in the process. Other Commissions use a resolution or a ministerial declaration as the outcome of their work.
A ministerial declaration would carry more weight, and its format would be an incentive to implement it, especially if CSW decided to have a ministerial segment at the end of its session.

Expanding opportunities for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to contribute to the work of CSW

This can be done through allocating more time for interventions by non-governmental organizations during the general discussion, according greater priority to their interventions during panel discussions and granting access to negotiations to a limited number of regionally diverse representatives.

The report describes the current problems facing representatives of NGOs:
“While representatives are welcomed at formal meetings very few seats are available. Aside from the limited seating, it has been necessary under the capital master plan to restrict entry for representatives of non-governmental organizations to the building in which the formal meetings are held to two representatives per organization.
This issue hampers the efforts of non-governmental organizations to interact and advocate their views with government delegations on critical and strategic issues being discussed at the Commission.

Non-governmental organizations convene a large number of parallel events in the vicinity of United Nations Headquarters. They also frequently co-sponsor side events organized by Member States and entities of the United Nations system at Headquarters. Representatives of non-governmental organizations attend these parallel and side events in large numbers.”

Continuing the multi-year programme of work

The multi-year programme consists of a priority theme, for which the Secretary General writes two reports, a review theme and an emerging theme. However, the recommendation is that panels are more interactive and that there should be more time for non- governmental organizations (NGOs) to exert their influence.
The preparation of the emerging theme is a good opportunity for the Commission to align its thematic priorities with those of ECOSOC and other functional commissions.logounwomen

Especially convening with the Executive Board of UN-Women would be a good opportunity to further implement its mandate.
The Executive Board of UN Women consists of 41 member states and CSW of 47.
They are both elected from regional groups, so together they constitute a cross section of the member states of the UN, which should help in furthering equality.
Report of the UN Secretary-General (


The 58th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW)

New York 10 – 21 March 2014
United Nations Headquarters in New York
With our warmest thanks for Regina Smit, member of Vrouwenbelangen, The Netherlands and of Zonta, who wrote this overview of CSW58 Logo CSW

Commission on the Status of Women

Representatives of Member States, UN entities and ECOSOC-accredited non governmental organizations (NGO’s) from all regions of the world attend the session.

Every year Member States and NGO members attend the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in New York at United Nations Headquarters.
The CSW is for Governments and the NGO-CSW for NGO’s. The NGO’s are the ears and the eyes for the Governments.
This year 2014 the priority theme is: “Challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals for women and girls”.
Focus accountability and participation of women and girls in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals.

The review theme (from the agreed conclusion of the 55th session in 2011) is “Access and participation of women and girls to education, training, science and technology, including for the promotion of women’s equal access to full employment and decent work”.CSW58 Regina

Governments and NGO’s discuss and organize side events. The outcome of two weeks of discussion for the Governments are the agreed conclusions.
On Friday March 21, at 11.40 pm the Commission adopted the agreed conclusions for the 58th session of the CSW. It was a very hard fought discussion at times with much compromise, which at the end of a long two weeks, has made for a good outcome.
(Picture: Regina at CSW58).
The adopted agreed conclusions will be published at the website of UN WOMEN.

The agreed conclusions are reported for the meeting in the third commission of the United Nations (Human Rights and Women Issues) in the General Assembly in October. After adoption in the General Assembly the implementation in the governments of the states is important.

Consultation Day

Every year the NGO-CSW organizes the Consultation Day to prepare the NGO participants for the next two weeks. This year the Consultation day was held on Sunday March 9 in Coopers Union Center in New York. Zontians and members of IAW and Vrouwenbelangen attended the NGO/CSW Consultation Day.

“We need bold action” UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka highllighted the high expectations that the end of the Millennium Development Goals (MDG’s), Beijing +20 and the looming post 2015 agenda could create a moment in history for a great leap foward that would change for the better, the lives of girls and women.

What are the agreed conclusions?CSW58

In two weeks the states in the Commission will negociate about the priority theme and the review theme. The outcome is the document “the agreed conclusions”.
The Commission is deeply concerned that overall progress for women and girls across all the MDG’s, 1 till 8, remains slow and uneven.

This year twenty nine items were discussed

  • – Ensure women and girls a life free of all forms of violence and discrimination.
  • – Ensure gender equality to promote capacity building and resource distribution in: environment, education, good health, sexual and reproductive health care and rights, family planning, safe drinkwater, sanitation and housing, sustainable development, economic empowerment and economic independence
  • – Access to land, credit, information technologies, social security, decent work, equal pay for work of equal value, and universal care service, to build womens’s social and economic security and autonomy, reduce child mortality is linked to health-care services
  • – Gender equality in decision-making in all public and private sectors, as well in the household
  • – The Commission especially encourages all stakeholders to analyze current challenges and identify opportunities for accelerating actions to realize gender equality and the empowerment of girls and women of all ages and to undertake appropriate commemorative activities for the twentieth anniversary of the Fourth World Conference of Women.

Side events and Parallel events

Side events provide an exellent opportunity for Member States, UN entities, just like UNICEF, UN-Women, UNIDO, UNFPA and NGO’s to discuss themes of the Commission and other critical gender equality issues.

Vrouwenbelangen and the International Alliance of Women did present the side event “Gender Based Violence as a political Weapon” . Anje Wiersinga did organize this very succesful side event.

NGO’s did organize side events about the Arabic world, domestic workers, factory workers in Bangladesh, violence against women and girls.
The European Union did present: The role of Governance and civil society in empowering women: moving forward the MDG’s and Beyond.
The highlight of the North America/Europe Side event was, When women succeed, the world succeeds and men are important allies in breaking gender stereotypes and promoting gender equality.
Please have a look at the websites and social media.logounwomen

CSW59 in 2015

At the end we were informed about the CSW59/Beijing +20. The session will also address current challenges that affect the implementation of the Platform for Action, as well as opportunities for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women in the post-2015 development agenda.
The national and regional review processes will feed into the global review.
The 2015 CSW59 and the NGO-CSW59 will take place at UN Headquarters in New York from 9 till 20 March 2015.
Regina Smit

Please – More transparancy and respect for mores in NGO CSW community

Thursday, March 20, 2014 – This morning at the end of this mornings NGO CSWbriefing Joni van der Sand handed over a letter to the NGO Committee on the Status of Women on behalf of several ECOSOC accredited NGO’s to the chair of the Committee, Ms. Soon-Young Yoon (see picture).

The procedural errors at the NA/European/NIS caucus last week prompted some Dutch NGOs to draft the letter. We think it is very important that participants in the CSW-NGO process are familiar with the written and unwritten procedures with respect to UN in general and the CSW process in particular. It was obvious last week that several participants are not familiar with procedures (yet) and that some took the approach that the (their?) end justifies the means.syy
So we shared our concerns and formulated practical suggestions to overcome the gaps in knowledge:

– A more extended/accurate description of the caucus process
(and the distinction between a caucus and a group) at and in  Explanation of the caucus process at the NGO CSW Forum Consultation Day and during the morning NGO CSW briefings.

– A (short) training module for facilitators of the regional caucuses, including unbiased facilitation but also clarity on procedures from the CSW organising side for the benefit of facilitators (who otherwise have no guidance available on how to sort out disagreement among participants).
– A constructive conversation, possibly via email, with representative(s) that are familiar with the process about improvements in the procedure, for instance on the subject of ensuring the inclusion of minority opinions in the consensus process, and/or ensuring that non-accredited NGOs do not dominate caucus debates let alone caucus decision making.pinkun

We firmly believe that following proper procedures by NGOs with respect to each other ultimately will strengthen joint lobby and improve the understanding between governments and civil society in the CSW-process.

We firmly believe that following proper procedures by NGOs with respect to each other ultimately We will need both to make next years CSW and the commemoration of Beijing next year a success.
We invite all of you to participate in a constructive conversation via email.

North America/Europe

In a side event on March 10  this big block of countries at CSW were discussing the following issues.

Highlights of the discussions included a focus on gender inequality and women’s empowerment in the economy, health and political participation. Although inequalities persist, these regions also offers many best practices and opportunities to ensure that gender equality and women’s empowerment are fully integrated into sustainable development and the post-2015 agenda.

On the perspective of “Economy” recommendations considered were:

increasing women’s access to quality employment and universal social protection;
reducing women’s disproportionate burden of unpaid work and labor market segregation;
countering gender stereotypes and promoting women’s representation in different professions and in senior business positions. Gender equality and empowerment of women are prerequisites for their participation in the economy, as too many women are still disproportionally involved in unpaid work, face low wages and financial insecurity.

On “Political participation” the discussions concentrated on such recommendations as:

increasing the proportion of seats held by women in national parliaments and local governments, as well as the women’s representation in the most senior decision-making positions in public institutions;
promoting women’s collective action through support to women’s civil society organizations in order to advance women’s rights and voice in all areas and at all levels;
ensuring women’s participation in decision-making in conflict-affected situations and as an integral part of the peace building process.

Regarding “Health” the participants discussed different aspects of universal health coverage in order to ensure that all people receive quality health services without suffering financial hardship.
This includes sexual and reproductive health care, family planning, routine immunizations and the prevention and treatment of communicable (HIV/AIDS) and non-communicable diseases.

CSW 2014 – three IAW Parallel Events

Tuesday 11 March 2014diane elson

CSW side event: Gender Based Violence as a Political Weapon
4:30 pm, NCC, New York City
Wednesday 12 March 2014,
CSW side event on the impact of MDG’s on rural women
8:30 amV-Hall, Armenian Convention Center, New York City

Tuesday 13 March 2014
CSW side event on the financial crisis, recession and women
2:30 pm UNCC, New York City

* Rhadika Balakrishnan, director of the Center for Women’s Global Leadership, Rutgers University and co-author (with Diane Elson, (see picture) of the book Economic Policy and Human Rights: Holding Governments to Account, on the effects of the economic recession on women, financial institutions, and human rights
* Cephas Lumina, the UN Independent Expert on foreign debt and human rights, on his report on the crisis in Greece
* Joanna Manganara, President of IAW, on the recession and women in Europe
Inga Jónsdóttir, attorney-at-law, former IAW board member, on the financial crisis in Iceland and its effects on women
* Margunn Bjørnholt, sociologist, Director of Policy and Social Research in Norway, IAW board member and acting President of the Norwegian Association for Women’s Rights, on the Norwegian “Oil Fund,” creditors’ responsibility for the financial crisis and the debt management from a human rights perspective.

On-line registration

November 12 2013 – From IAW Secretary General Mmabatho Ramagoshi
On-line registration for the Commission on the Status of Women 2014 will run from November 11th to January 27th. Several IAW members have already shown interest in participating. IAW is looking forward to interesting and informative sessions.

The fifty-eighth session of the Commission on the Status of Women will take place at United Nations Headquarters in New York from 10 – 21 March 2014.
Representatives of Member States, UN entities, and ECOSOC-accredited non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from all regions of the world attend the session.


Priority theme: Challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals for women and girls
Review theme: Access and participation of women and girls to education, training, science and technology, including the promotion of women’s equal access to full employment and decent work (agreed conclusions from the fifty-fifth session)
Emerging issue: To be determined.grotezaalvn

Dear ECOSOC-accredited NGOs,

You are invited to participate in the fifty-eighth session of the Commission on the Status of Women, to be held from 10 to 21 March 2014 at United Nations Headquarters in New York.

Limitations on the number of participants per organization
Your organization may pre-register up to 20 individuals. We kindly ask that organizations keep the numbers to a minimum because of increasing demands on limited space.

New pre-registration deadlines – 11 November 2013 to 27 January 2014
All participants must be pre-registered by 27 January 2014. Once all required information has been entered into CSO-Net, a letter confirming the participant’s pre-registration can be printed and used in obtaining a visa, if necessary.
Go to:

The address where the participant will be staying in New York during the session needs to be added in the system prior to onsite registration. Once this information has been entered, a grounds pass form can be printed. Participants will be required to show these forms at onsite registration.

Please note that participants may need a secondary pass to gain access to open official meetings of the session. In such case, one or two secondary passes per organization will be distributed at or near the registration site.

Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka

PhumzileOn 30 August 2013, just one week after officially taking over leadership as the Executive Director of UN Women, Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka graciously invited civil society to an open dialogue to discuss the priorities and expectations of civil society organizations.
Ms Mlambo-Ngcuka voiced that the pre-2015 and post-2015 stages provide a unique opportunity to take the women’s rights agenda to new heights. She stated that there needs to be broader involvement of civil society groups, including the most marginalized. Her vision is to sustain and strengthen solidarity with groups who cannot be at the table.


The deadline to submit written statements for CSW 58 is 25 October, 2013

Online Submission of Written Statements from NGOs in consultative status will be accepted from 10 October to 25 October via CSO-Net (
Statements should not exceed: 2000 words:
general consultative status (ECOSOC, DPI, etc.) // 1500 words: special consultative status


CSW News in reverse chronological order


What happened during the Commission on the Status of Women 2013 ?

March 16 2013 – There is an Agreed Document!

Muslim states agree to ‘historic’ UN statement on women.
March16, 2013, 11.04 AM: Muslim and western nations on Friday overcame deep divisions to agree a historic United Nations declaration setting out a code of conduct for combating violence against women. Iran, Libya, Sudan and other Muslim nations agreed to language stating that violence against women and girls could not be justified by “any custom, tradition or religious consideration.”

Western nations, particularly from Scandinavia, toned down demands for references to gay rights and sexual health rights to secure the accord after two weeks of tense negotiations between the 193 UN member states. Some 6,000 non-government groups were in New York for the Commission on the Status of Women meeting. Cheers and wild applause erupted when the accord was announced in the UN headquarters late Friday.michellebachelet

Michelle Bachelet (picture), executive director of UN Women, said it had been an “historic” meeting. It was announced straight after that Bachelet would be leaving her post. She is expected to return to politics in Chile where she has already been president.
Iran, the Vatican and Russia and other Muslim states had formed what some diplomats had called “an unholy alliance” to weaken a statement calling for tough global standards on violence against women and girls.
They had objected to references to abortion rights and language suggesting that rape includes forcible behavior by a woman’s husband or partner. Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood called the proposed UN document un-Islamic and warned it would lead to the “complete degradation of society.”

With Norway and Denmark leading a European alliance with North American nations calling for tough language, right up to the final hours it had appeared that the meeting would fail. The last attempt by the UN commission to agree a declaration on violence against women in 2003 ended in failure.

“The commission urges states to strongly condemn all forms of violence against women and girls and to refrain from invoking any custom, tradition or religious consideration to avoid their obligations with respect to its elimination,” said the accord.
It added that states should “devote particular attention to abolishing practices and legislation that discriminate against women and girls, or perpetuate and condone violence against them.” Countries should “address and eliminate as a matter of priority domestic violence,” went on the declaration.
“This is all language that makes Iran and other hardline Muslim states bristle,” said one western diplomat in the meeting.

The conference had been made more emotive by the Taliban attack in October on 15-year-old Malala Yousafzai for her promotion of girls’ education in Pakistan and widely publicized gang rapes in India and South Africa. A World Bank report has estimated that more women between the ages of 15 and 44 die in rapes and domestic violence than from cancer, car accidents, war and malaria combined.lenelyda2

March 14 and 15,
Statement of feminist and women’s organisations on the very alarming  trends in the negotiations of outcome document of the 57th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women

March 15 – This statement was re-released today and signed by an overwhelming number and diversity of organizations, including IAW  and people from all around the world. Deliberately not naming and shaming any specific countries nor regions, it is directed to those who attempt to re-open established international agreements.

“We, the undersigned organisations and individuals across the globe, are again concerned that the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is wavering in its commitment to advance women’s human rights as demonstrated in the constant negotiation of the language in the outcome document.
On the occasion of celebrating the International Women’s Day we call on the states to reaffirm its commitment to agreed upon standards in promoting women’s human rights as articulated in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the International Conference on Population and Development Programme of Action as well as other international humanitarian and human rights law. violenceunite

We say NO to any re-opening of negotiations on the already established international agreements on women’s human rights and call on all governments to demonstrate their commitments to promote, protect and fulfill human rights and fundamental freedoms of women.

We commend those states that are upholding women’s rights in totality. We urge states to reaffirm standards that they have agreed to. Considering the lack of an outcome document last year we hope that this is not the pattern when it comes to advancing women’s human rights agenda. Women’s human rights are not to be negotiated away.

March 12 – Briefing by the European Union

Regarding the 3rd reading of the draft agreed conclusions, the general feeling is that time is becoming a problem. The reading is going slow. Most important points:  there are a number of difficult paragraphs, including those on SRHR, sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI), sovereignty and cultural and religious customs vs. the law.
* The EU likes adding internate partnerships, because domestic violence does not cover everything.
* Adding text on early and forced marriage is for the EU a priority.
* Text on protecting women human rights defenders, an amendment of the EU itself, is difficult to explain.
* The EU will say no to the sovereignty paragraphs and an new paragraph was composed.

Libyan mufti issues a fatma

March 11 – Libya’s supreme religious cleric is calling on Muslim nations to reject a United Nations document on women’s rights, saying that it counters Islamic law. Mufti al-Sadiq al-Ghiryani issued a fatma, or religious edict, against the document set to be signed by nations at the 57th session of the Commission on the Status of Women this month.
While Islamic jurisprudence prefers witnesses for a divorce, the mufti says the U.N. document insists on judicial interference.
The edict criticizes the 11 March document’s references to inheritance and its equating of men and women. Al-Ghiryani says this puts full burden on women to share equally in terms of domestic spending.
The mufti also condemns the document’s wording on sexual freedoms and the rights of children born out of wedlock.

UNWomen March2012soon

March 8 – At the morning briefing on Friday, UNWomen represented by Loba Banerjee, who is responsible for the contact with civil society, underlined the importance of UNWomen and the NGOs working together. ” Never doubt our commitment” and “we’ll do everything in our power, and if UNWomen and civil society are not together, it will not work.” In this connection she made reference to Michelle Bachelet’s very strong statements. They can be found on the UNWomen website.

Harmful traditional practices

Lene Pind writes: “At the German House they had organized a side event on harmful traditional practices. It was literally sickening to listen to the stories especcially from Africa. The Declaration on Elimination of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), adopted in December 2012, states that FGM is a violation of human rights.

Dr. Kouyare from the Inter-African Committee mentioned that Africa has 13,000 traditional harmful practices, of which 11.000 are directed against women. Early marriage is a key issue for many African and other NGOs. with 400 million women between 20 and 30 who were married as children. Early marriage – down to the age of 8-10 – leads to rape, domestic violence, unwanted pregnancies etc. etc.”

UN Women Song –  March 8 – Listen on International Women’s Day to the UN Women Song on:

IAW – three side events

Prosecuting Gender Based Crimes before the International Criminal Court , IAW Side Event by Susanne Riveles

One of three IAW side events that were organized by members of IAW during the CSW57, in New York. This one was by Dr. Susanne Riveles (see picture), IAW board member from the US.
March 5 – The panelist Jelena Pia-Comella, program director of the Coalition for the International Criminal Court (CICC) in NY, spoke about the inclusion of gender provisions in the Rome Statute (RS), the treaty that created the ICC and defined its principles.
The ICC is the first permanent international judicial body capable of trying individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes when national courts are unable or unwilling to do so.

Gender provisions in the Rome Statute (RS) of the International Criminal Courtsusanne1

By April 2012 , ten years after the ICC came into force, 139 countries had signed the treaty but only 121 had ratified the Rome Statute, the US among the latter.  The Rome Statute recognizes rape, sexual slavery , trafficking, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy and enforced sterilization as mass crimes. The RS recognizes gender based crimes and sexual violence as war crimes , crimes against humanity mainly, and not as collateral acts of war.

Impunity for rape as a weapon of war could become an occurrence of the past. By ratifying the Rome Statute and its landmark gender provisions, states can protect women’s rights and ensure justice for grave gender-based crimes.
John Washburn, convener of the American Non-Governmental Organizations Coalition for the ICC (AMICC) spoke about the role the US government has played from the establishment of the court to the Obama administration’s policy towards the ICC, which he described as being more positively engaged in the Assembly of State Party’s meetings despite not being a signatory yet.
He stressed the important role of Non Governmental Women’s Organizations in providing the right input and information for their national delegations at the CSW57.
Both panelist reiterated that being free of violence against women is a basic human right that is not negotiable.
They pointed out that the women’s organizations should use their own language to better convince local parliamentarians.

We had learned that the ICC still faces many challenges in effectively investigating and prosecuting these crimes. But the hope was that in time the law will help to change human behavior. The very informative presentations and the concrete suggestions by the panelists for raising awareness about the court were well received by the audience.
They inspired a lively Q and A session.
Picture: Susanne Riveles

 The Council of Europe Convention Violence against WomenBettydoornenb 32

March 7 – The side event was organised by Anje Wiersinga and Betty Doornenbal (see picture), and called the Istanbul Convention because it was drafted in Istanbul. It went very well. Anje’s Turkish friend Serap and also Karin Nordmeyer of the INGO Conference talked about the treaty. Turkey was the first country to sign and ratify it, to adjust its laws according to the Convention and made a plan to deal with violence against women and domestic violence.
What can NGO’s do to support the signing and ratification of this Convention? They can write a letter to parliamentarians and to their government to sign/ratify it. They can stimulate organising workshops for parliamentarians, provided for by the Council of Europe. The convention, when implemented, will end impunity. It is also the first international binding document that gives a definition of gender’. The convention can be acceded to by any country once it is entered into force. It is really a wonderful convention. You can look it up at

The third IAW side event was organised by Mmabatho Ramagosh: “It takes the whole village to end violence against women and girls”.  A holistic approach.  Speakers: Mmabatho Ramagoshi, South Africa; Georgette Taku: Cameroon; Dr Vijaya Laskshmi: India. Moderator: Lene Pind: Secretary General: Denmark.
Picture:  sizani ngubaneIAW member Sizani-Ngubane

All India Women’s Conference organised a side event on: on “Fighting Violence against Women – Strategies and Partnerships”. With Asha Deshpande and Sudha Acharya.

March 7 – CSW is attracking atttention in the Press this year.

The International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), held in Cairo in 1994, is considered a landmark meeting. It linked development with population, and acknowledged that women’s ability to control their own fertility and the elimination of violence against them should be “cornerstones” of policy.

179 governments signed up to a 20-year action plan that included the provision of universal access to family planning, sexual and reproductive health services, and upholding women’s reproductive rights. The ICPD agreement was endorsed the following year at the UN fourth world conference on women in Beijing and at subsequent conferences.

However, ensuring women have rights over their body is not welcomed in some quarters. At Rio+20 last year, there was disappointment that the phrase “reproductive rights” was removed from the final summit document. At the time, the former Norwegian prime minister,
Gro Harlem Brundtland, criticised UN Women for omitting the phrase from its Rio call to action, saying it represented a retreat from previous agreements .
There is a danger that the same thing could happen at this year’s CSW. In a copy of the draft document (pdf of the non-annotated draft), seen by the Guardian, member states, including Russia, Malta and the Vatican, which has a seat on the UN as a non-member permanent observer state, are trying to erase mention of sexual and reproductive health and rights from the final document.
The Holy See also wants to change the wording of the text from reaffirming commitments made in Beijing to just recalling they were made.jetbcsw2

March 6 – Dutch Minister of Education, Culture and Science Jet Bussemaker  (picture) said in her speech: “Religion and culture can never be an excuse to look away from violence against women and girls”. She scrutinizes stigmatization, violation of women’s rights, and impunity.  Our societies must also be willing to look at underlying causes of violence, to the systems that facilitate this and to the factors that makes women – particularly migrants, refugees and women in conflict – vulnerable. Such as financial and social dependence, no access to education, and forced marriage.”