Inspired by the Commission on the Status of Women

May 17th, 2016

Women are agents of development. Realising gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls is not only a goal in itself but can lead to progress across all Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and targets. This year’s Commission on the Status of Women (CSW60) stressed this and welcomed commitments to achieve gender equality and empowerment of all women and girls as per the 2030 agenda for sustainable development.

More than 8,100 individuals represented over 180 countries at the event, which took place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 14 to 24 March. There were a record number of 220 side events.  International women rights activists took to the platform to engage policymakers in women’s issues. A benchmark was set through this year’s CSW60 as agreement was reached on the priority theme, of ‘women’s empowerment and its link to sustainable development’.

Hon. Minister C.P. Mainali presenting at CSW60 inaugural

Hon. Minister C.P. Mainali presenting at CSW60 inaugural ceremony

Around 20 individuals from Nepal attended, representing government, non-profits, civil societies and media. Women, Children and Social Welfare Minister Chandra Prakash Mainali presented on the initiation and the achievement of Nepal on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment on behalf of the government. A proud moment for Nepal was an honor to Nepali activist Bandana Rana who received ‘Women of Distinction Award 2016’ from UNDP for her fight against gender based violence and for her contribution to women’s empowerment.

During the keynote speeches I came across these statistics about women related concerns

  1. The media is a powerful player in driving women’s empowerment, but globally women’s representation in the media is 27%.
  2. Women account for 52% of the population in the United States but only 18% of representatives in the United States government are women.
  3. Female Genital Mutilation (FGM), child and forced marriage and female refugees are the major concerns in the global agenda.
  4. 240 million people are forced to migrate off their countries and 47% are women and out of them 15% are below 20 years.

Many people understand that genital mutilation and forced sterilisation are clearly a problem that plagues the modern world, but there are subtler problems surrounding rape culture, unequal pay and representation and intolerance to transgender people.

Co-operative participation

Participants from Nepal with Bandana Rana

Participants from Nepal with Bandana Rana

Similarly, there was some encouraging sharing; in South Africa, women make up 60% of co-operative members. In Japan, 95% of consumer co-operative members are women. Nearly 40% of female worker co-operative members in Spain are in leadership positions, and women represent 49% of worker co-operative members overall. Uganda has seen an increase of 132% in women’s participation in agriculture co-operatives. Women’s leadership on financial co-operative boards is 65% in Tanzania. In the United Kingdom, 41% of board members of co-operative retail businesses are women.

‘Campaign to Elect a Women UN Secretary-General’ was another attraction of the Session. Since the UN’s founding, there have been 8 individuals appointed to the role of UN Secretary-General – all of them men.  Participants exhorted UN delegates to select a woman as the next secretary general of the UN. There is no shortage of female candidates. It’s HIGH TIME, the time is NOW!

Technologies empower women

The session included technology initiatives to improve access to and control of technology for women and girls, especially in remote and marginalized areas. It also useful to use at strategy level  to integrate Gender Equality and Social Inclusion (GESI) mechanisms across the globe. This platform gave me the opportunity to share GESI related achievements on behalf of Practical Action and personal experiences in the professional journey of addressing women’s empowerment and promoting gender equality.

Participants were interested to know more about how technology empowers women and helps to reduce poverty through changes in their livelihood. The session also examined the implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), specifically Goals 3 and 5. Goal 3 cites ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being and happiness for all. Goal 5 supports gender equality across the globe. The speakers shared different perspectives about the role of each goal government, civil society, the private sector and in everyday individual practice.

Happiness and gender equality in the sustainable development goals

UNFPA efforts to end harmful practices against women and girls

UNFPA efforts to end harmful practices against women and girls

CSW60 wrapped up with the adoption of the agreed conclusions, which recognized women’s vital role as agents of development and urged gender-responsive implementation of Agenda 2030. They called for enhancing the basis for rapid progress, including stronger laws, policies and institutions, better data and scaled-up financing. For next year CSW61, the priority theme is ‘Women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work’. This will take place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 13 to 24 March 2017.

Overall, the CSW60 was amazing and I had the opportunity to meet high level UN dignitaries and country representatives. I participated in more than 50 major and side events. Profoundly, the sessions were intense dialogues and interactions with social workers all over the world.

Finally, every moment has been worthwhile and has made me wiser, stronger and richer in knowledge on women’s concerns.  I have built friendships in networks all over the world and had an inspiring and productive time. All these all experiences, expanded networks and learning will help me to promote integrated gender and socially inclusive project development in Practical Action both regionally and globally.

5 responses to “Inspired by the Commission on the Status of Women”

  1. Prakash Says:

    Good initiation and information contents Mrs. Kopila Didi..!! Keep it UP.

  2. Sara Says:

    Thanks for sharing the useful information.


    Congratulations to you. Thanks for providing us the information about the thing happened in UN meeting. It is really very interesting to know about the positions of women around the world. According to me I thought that the other half means the”the West” doesn’t have problems and situations like ” the rest” . But the problem remains every corner of the world. I was so iimpressed by the this report about the fact in empowerment and development. Keep it up and you didn’t a great work. God bless.

  4. Nelly Says:

    Kopila this is encouraging! Continue working for the good cause to see women excel in all spheres of life. There is indeed a lot to be done if women are to be uplifted! Congratulations

  5. Dr. Joyce Akumaa Dongotey-Padi Says:

    This is very inspiring. Together, women can truely do great things. Stay blessed.

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