Courtney Rau Rogers, president, LWV of Norwood, participated in the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women last March as a League representative. Here is her report:
“The moral challenge of the 21st century is gender inequality.”
Ambassador Geraldine Byrne Nason, Ireland
Chair, 62nd United Nations Commission on the Status of Women
The League of Women Voters has had a productive and important role within the United Nations, enjoying official consultative status to the Economic and Social Development (ECOSOC) organ of the UN since its ratification in 1944. LWVUN works to increase women’s leadership and participation in democratic political processes, and to promote gender equality for all women and girls. We accomplish these priorities by working with ECOSOC on promoting the UN Sustainable Development Goals and its Agenda 2030. See this link for more information on those goals.
After meeting former UN Observer Suzanne Stassevitch at Convention 2016, I was invited to participate in the 62nd Commission on the Status of Women (CSW62) as part of LWVUN’s official delegation, from March 11-23, 2018. Not all of the high level ministerial discussions were open to the public, but CSW62 sponsored dozens of official side events daily, each one focusing on work different UN member states are engaged in to accomplish the sustainable development goals in their individual countries, presenting policies and programs dealing with health care, sanitation, economic development, gender based violence, and other issues directly relating to women and girls, particularly in rural areas. Additionally, I was able to participate in panels regarding human trafficking and the #metoo movement, disability services, girls’ education, and a live town hall meeting with the Secretary General of the UN, Antonio Guterres, where he took unscripted questions from the audience. It was an exciting and hugely informative week.
LWVUN co-sponsored an official side event, Women Political and Business Leaders: Achieving Economic Solvency for Rural Women. This panel was moderated by Rosalee Keech, LWV Chief Observer to the UN, and included representatives from Canada, Fiji, Estonia, and Chile. Discussion focused on statistics that show rural women remain the poorest in their countries, and how national policies and multi-sectoral agencies help alleviate poverty for rural women. Each nation’s representative discussed specific government policies created to help with gender parity, including “gender based plus budgeting.” Participants also discussed how women’s participation in high level governmental positions is critical to democratic governance and economic empowerment.
At the close of CSW62, the Commission was able to produce Agreed Conclusions, a document which calls on the governments of member states to “strengthen normative, legal, and policy frameworks with regards to gender equality, implement economic and social policies for the empowerment of all rural women and girls, and strengthen the collective voice, leadership and decision-making for the aim of achieving gender parity and the 2030 Agenda.” You can find the Agreed Conclusions, as well as other detailed information about CSW62, at this link. In the words of Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director, UNWomen, “This is the tipping point. This is about leaving no one behind.”
Stay involved with the activities of LWVUN through the following social media channels: firstname.lastname@example.org, Facebook: LWVUS United Nations, or Twitter: @rokeech, @LeagueNValley, and the UN livestream at unwebtv.org. CSW63 will be in March 2019; staying informed and in touch with our current observer corps is a good way to get access to this amazing international conference.