United States Commission on the Status of Women
Be part of global advocacy that changes the world for women.
The United Nations 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 is a functional commission of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and is instrumental in promoting women’s rights, documenting the reality of women’s lives throughout the world, and shaping global standards on gender equality and the empowerment of women.
The Commission meets for two weeks every March in New York where representatives of UN Member States, civil society organizations and UN entities gather to discuss progress and gaps in the implementation of the 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action – the key global policy document on gender equality – 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.
YWCA Australia sends a delegation of YWCA Members to CSW every year. YWCA Adelaide provides a part scholarship for a YWCA Adelaide Member who has been a member for at least three full years, to attend as part of the YWCA Australia delegation.
2018 Delegate and YWCA Adelaide member, Jamie Macadam’s experience:
I was off to New York- twenty-three hours of flight and I was in the city that never sleeps for the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. Two weeks for governments to negotiate language around rights for rural women. Hundreds of panels, discussions and events about projects of NGOs and governments worldwide. As per the pace of the city, we got right to work at a YWCA breakfast with the Australian Government to speak about young women’s issues from around the globe. This sampling of issues ranged from unrealistic body image in Japan, teenage pregnancy in Samoa and gender-pay gaps in Australia to limited opportunity in war zones in Palestine. I saw just how passionate the young women of the YWCA are about bringing diverse young women’s voices right to the forefront of the world’s discussion on women’s rights. And that was just the first event.
What followed was a whirlwind of lectures, karaoke and late nights in the bowels of the UN building showing our support for progressive and inclusive language about women’s rights. A particular highlight for me was when the young women of the YWCA were called on to ask a question of the UN Secretary-General. We questioned the inclusiveness of the UN itself when so many of our YWCA sisters had been denied visas to even come to the USA to attend CSW.
As incredible and as glamorous as getting my own UN pass was, meeting women and hearing and sharing inspiring stories was my favourite part of the experience. It was fascinating to hear how similar our experiences as women are around the world, whether you are from Botswana or Adelaide. The energy that these women put into making the world a more inclusive and equal place invigorated me. This opportunity, given only to members of the YWCA, is one of those life experiences you will never forget. I came back from CSW a more inspired feminist than ever before and determined to fight for equality of all women.