57th Commission on the Status of Women

This coming week marks the 57th Commission on the Status of Women (CSW57), to be held at the United Nations in New York City. I will be joining the Soroptimist International delegation, a team of 40 women representing over 120 countries across the four Federations that make up our organization: Americas, South West Pacific, Europe and Great Britain & Ireland.

The priority theme at CSW57 is “elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls”. It is an issue that exists here in Hamilton in the forms of domestic violence and human slavery (forced marriage, sexual exploitation and forced labour). There will also be a review at CSW57 of the theme from the 53rd session regarding the equal sharing of responsibilities between women and men, including caregiving in the context of HIV/AIDS. Learn more about the issues on the UN Women: In Focus website (http://www.unwomen.org/news-events/in-focus/csw57/)»

I have been passionate about the mission of Soroptimist International and their role as an NGO at the United Nations. This year, I put my name forward for consideration and was informed that there is a lottery process within our Federation. By pure chance (or fate), there were three vacancies and my name came up! I am very excited to be attending and I will be blogging about my experience during the week (mostly in the evenings because WIFI is harder to come by than I thought).

The position Soroptimist International has taken is to abide by all previously agreed UN declarations, conventions
and resolutions relating to the elimination of all forms of violence against women and girls. Specifically:

1. Prioritise and adequately resource policies, programmes, and interventions with education, empowerment, and enabling opportunities at their core, not just for victim/survivors or perpetrators, but for all men, women, boys, and
girls as accountable community members.
2. Institutionalise the responsibilities and obligations of the State and individual members of society to actively tackle the root causes of violence against women and girls.
3. Ensure that violence against women and girls is not labelled “private” and thus out of the reach of the hands of the State and/or the community.
4. Ensure that actions taken to eliminate violence against women and girls – prevention or resolution focussed – are systems-based and holistic, rather than project-based and vertical.
5. End any and all approaches, activities, or policies which promulgate the victim/saviour dichotomy and ensure meaningful, respectful, and human rights based approaches to eliminating violence against women and girls.

“Today we are aware that one in three women will experience violence in her lifetime. We still live in a world where violence against women and girls persists as a weapon of war. We come to the 57th Session of CSW to ask the question – why?” – International President, Alice Wells

Posted in SI News.