March, as always, was a busy month for Advocacy with the Commission on the Status of Women 65 (16 – 25 March 2021) kicking off online instead of in New York. We had a massive virtual delegation of 75 delegates attending a variety of sessions over the two weeks – many at inconvenient times (gotta love time-zone differences!). The virtual engagement and awareness building of CSW in Australia has been one of the bigger positive outcomes for CSW65, as we’ve had less chance to influence and support the Australian Government, due to the virtual nature. You can read more about the UN’s Agreed Conclusions here and watch this space as leverage our experiences domestically.
As part of CSW65, Bobbie Trower, our Senior Manager of Advocacy, joined a panel with World YWCA on Diversity as a Driver LGBTIQ Inclusion in feminist and social movements, which tied into the World YWCA LGBTIQ inclusion pledge. This project has been a collaboration with former staff member and member Meaghan King, Bobbie and World YWCA. It builds on LGBTIQ inclusion resolutions from YWCA conventions in 1995 and 2015. As the largest women’s movement in the world, YWCA has a unique ability to bring activists together, no matter where they are, evolving and growing by including diverse experiences to drive change. As a movement with its roots in Christianity, to see World YWCA leading in diverse spaces to be bold and demonstrate truly inclusive advocacy for LGBTIQ people is history-making, and being able to support and influence World YWCA in progressive language and ideas is a critical part of YWCA Australia’s international advocacy and contribution to the YWCA movement.
We also featured in sessions at the CSW65 Conference in Canberra, organised by the 50/50 by 2030 Foundation and Helen Dalley-Fisher from the Equality Rights Alliance. We saw Heidi De Paglia (Women With Disabilities Australia and YWCA Young Women’s Council) talking about intersectionality and differential impacts of violence and Georgie Vine (CSW64&65 delegate) talking about improving young women’s international participation with Bobbie and CSW63 delegates Dr Romy Listo and Rooan Al Kalmashi. Bobbie got the opportunity to talk mobilising and the CBF with other change leaders and we were even lucky enough to see YWCA legend alumni in Sharon Bhagwan Rolls (Board of Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict) talking about building a culture of peace.
It has also been a tumultuous and tiring time to be a woman or person of marginalised genders in Australia over the last month, with the news from Canberra providing a timely reminder why we work so hard to fight for gender equality. Thank you to members, staff and survivors who provided videos and photos from the March 4 Justice events right around the country – if you haven’t seen the original video or the shorter poem version, I can strongly recommend you watch and share they have already gone viral but we always appreciate the support!