What’s been happening at the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW)?
Our amazing delegation have sent through some great updates about what happened in CSW over in New York! For a summary of the excitement over the two weeks of CSW, and to get up to speed, we have CSW guru Equality Rights Alliance’s (ERA) Helen Dalley-Fisher’s exclusive insights below! 

Week one was busy, empowering and educational, and some of highlights the included: 

  • Attending a reception at the Australian Mission, hosted by Gillian Bird, Australia’s Permanent Ambassador the United Nations.
  • Visiting YWCA Brooklyn for an impressive housing and programs tour. Did you know, they run their own social enterprise in the form of an art-deco community theatre! This amazing tour was followed by a celebratory dinner with our YWCA sisters from around the world.
  • Supporting a breakfast co-hosted by Department of Foreign Affairs & trade (DFAT) and World YWCA which showcased the successes of the YWCA RiseUp program in the Pacific and opened intergenerational discussions about leadership.
  • Attending SOO MANY parallel and side events hosted by NGOs, government and UN agencies to broaden and deepen our knowledge on issues affecting women, young women and girls!

Young women led the charge in week two as the focus turned to language negotiations. All 193 UN member states worked together late into the nights (think 3am finishes!) to achieve consensus and deliver the CSW63 ‘agreed conclusions’ which aim to set global gender equality standards.

Australia is a champion for many important issues including gender-based violence, housing accessibility, recognising the intersectionality of discrimination and the importance of human rights institutions. As a ‘civil society’ delegation, YWCAs role was to support the Australian government in their negotiations by providing advice on language, researching and referencing previously agreed international agreements and importantly, offering words of encouragement and support to the negotiating team. Also, a huge congratulations to fellow Aussie Jo Feldman (second from left in the image below) on her election to the CSW bureau!

There were intense negotiations with strong challenges to all the usual areas (sexual and reproductive rights and comprehensive sexuality education), increased pressure on areas such as women in all their diversity (the phrase ‘all women’ is being used instead), discussions around the definition of family (‘the’ family vs families). However, we saw new language adopted on infrastructure, which opens new opportunities for integrating the work of CSW and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS). We understand there is language about water, energy, renewable energy and interesting links between infrastructure planning, women’s safety, work and leadership. Particular thanks to the women who worked in New York on Indigenous language – we retained the existing language and fought off a move to restrict the substantial Indigenous paragraphs to the preamble. The existence of an operative paragraph on Indigenous women is a testament to your work and the strong support of the Australian Government in negotiations.
Thanks are also due to the strong cohort of Australian NGO representatives in New York who worked hard on language support for the Government delegation, on side and parallel events, and on building relationships. Finally, particular thanks to the members of the Australian delegation, who were strong on a range of contentious issues and provided the NGO cohort with a much needed conduit into the closed world of the negotiating room. Special mention should be made of the NGO reps on the Government delegation – Nicola Wakefield-Evans and Robyn Nolan, for their dedication to the negotiations and for keeping us all informed!

Agreed Conclusions. What did Australia agree too? Check out the video here!

Spreading the message of intersectionality – one earring at a time

Advocacy champ, Bobbie (Senior Manager, Advocacy) captured it all on camera so the experiences, connections and learnings can be brought back to our YWCA movement and members. Check out this snippet below: 

Our earring and badge collaboration with Haus of Dizzy has been wildly popular with the message of intersectionality, being worn by government representatives, sector leaders and young women everywhere!