The annual Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) 61st Session begins on March 13th and concludes Friday March 24th. The theme this year is ‘Women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work.’ There is a small of library of information on the UN Women Website Preparations i) Regional CSW61 Preparatory and Consultative Meetings ii) Multi-Stakeholder Forum and iii) Expert Group Meeting
Perspectives of NGO can gleaned from 220 statements on the Official Documents page. I would like to draw your attention to Statement No 13 in all official languages of the UN – French, Spanish, English, Arabic, Russian and Chinese. This is the statement submitted by ‘Good Shepherd.’ Does it reflect your view and experiences?
When I wrote this statement I had just listened to Ms. Dambisa Moya , a global economist speak at the Second Committee of the General Assembly. Dambisa suggested six ‘headwinds’ that indicate a growing disadvantage for women and girls seeking economic empowerment. The results of the ‘headwinds’ are i) a jobless underclass; ii) continuing population growth and underinvestment in quality education; iii) reinforcement of pre-existing obstacles to girls and women including; lack of women’s access to land rights, girls’ disproportionate time in carrying water, and increasing feminization of agriculture; the green economy/green growth has not led to more equitable land and resource distribution; iv) income inequality; v) the impact of austerity measures further impoverishes women and girls; and vi) economic policies that actually widen inequalities and impact most negatively on those ‘left behind’ posing a threat to the future of the planet.
Are the girls and women that you work impacted by one or more of these headwinds? Where do human rights and dignity, gender justice, economic justice and climate justice fit in?
Women’s economic empowerment must pay attention to the plight of girls, who are the agents of change for the future. We are calling for improved nutrition, health and education for all girls. If not today’s generation of girls will continue to populate the jobless underclass, work in the informal sector, receive low wages, be landless and be vulnerable to exploitation and gender-based violence.
The accompaniment of girls an women who are furthest behind is the hallmark of our Good Shepherd Ministries. See Maisha Documentary film based on our project in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Recall the #16Days16Stories project of the 16 Days to End Violence Against Women. Read I Have A Voice – Trafficked women in their own words These are ongoing projects addressing the headwinds on a daily basis.
What can you do: It is not too late to take the link to the statment and send it to your national delegation who are attending CSW 61. There are very specific asks at the end. i) Fully resource and implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; ii) Urgently invest in girls’ economic empowerment; iii) Challenge and dismantle the power structure that subjugate girls and women – an example of this is the new law in Ireland decriminalizing women in prostitution but persecuting the buyer of sex. A long struggle but worth the effort. When I came to the UN in 2008 Ireland had not yet ratified the Palermo Protocol (2010) and now the Nordic Model is being implemented. (2017); iv) Implement National Floors of Social Protection (ILO Recommendation 202)