“At the conclusion of the 57th session of the Commission on the Status of Women, UN Women welcomes the outcome of the meeting. The Agreed Conclusions are a testimony to the commitment of Member States to do the right thing, to prevent and eliminate violence against women and girls. In the last two weeks during the meeting in New York, and in the lead-up to this session, we witnessed global engagement and mobilization, high-profile advocacy by civil society, and determined leadership by many Member States. Expectations of the world’s women and girls were extremely high for this session of the Commission.”
An excerpt from the UN Women press release, of March 15th, these words echo Executive Director Michelle Bachelet’s closing statement, where she expressed thanks and reflected on the purpose and outcomes of the Commission on the Status of Women:
It is a tribute to this Commission that since its first session 66 years ago, it has welcomed representatives of civil society, in a model of inclusion. I pay a special tribute to the thousands of civil society representatives who came here and raised their voices.
The interest and attendance at this 57th session of CSW reflects the importance in all of our countries of the urgency to end violence against women and girls. The world has been watching us. We came here two weeks ago with the opportunity, and the obligation, to do all we could to protect the rights of women and girls, the right to live in dignity, free of violence and discrimination. People expected action and we have no right to let down the world’s women. And we have not failed them. Yes, we did it!
Sixty-six years ago, the Commission on the Status of Women met for the first time with 15 member States in attendance. Since then, we have witnessed critical gains in ensuring that women enjoy the same human rights as men. Today 131 member States attended the 57th session of this Commission.
Since its inception, this Commission has moved forward, guided by the principle articulated in the UN Charter — the principle of the equal rights of men and women.
Today, 66 years later, the world is far different than it was then.
Last year the member states did not agree and no outcome document was completed. There was a time last week when it was thought it may be the case again this year, where it was better to maintain existing agreements than agree by consensus to a loss of rights. It is my joy to announce that on Saturday an agreement was reached. Apparently there was a closed door session and sometime after that a cheer could be heard from behind closed doors. I understand that all the points Soroptimist International was lobbying for were accepted into the final document. It was a whirlwind week, and I am thankful that there was an outcome.
What happens next? We find ways to hold Canada accountable.