Official Launch of CSW 65 – An in-person meeting at the United Nations HQ in NY

The official opening of the Commission on the Status of Women took place yesterday morning at United Nations Head Quarters in New York at 10.00 a.m. EDT. We heard from UN Leaders, including the Chair of CEDAW and civil society members speaking up for their communities, and other stakeholders who are committed to making gender equality a reality.

The Secretary General made a powerful statement – fully recognizing the intense suffering of women and girls during the COVID-19 pandemic and calling ‘on all leaders to put in place five key building blocks.  First, realize women’s equal rights fully, including by repealing discriminatory laws and enacting positive measures.  Second, ensure equal representation — from company boards to parliaments, from higher education to public institutions — through special measures including quotas.  Third, advance women’s economic inclusion through equal pay, targeted credit, job protection and significant investments in the care economy and social protection. Fourth, to enact an emergency response plan in each country to address violence against women and girls, and follow through with funding, policies and political will.  Fifth, to give space to the intergenerational transition that is under way.  From the front lines to online, young women are advocating for a more just and equal world — and merit greater support.’ Extract from the UN Meeting Coverage and Releases. The full recording of the session can be had at UN Web TV

The UN Secretary General: ‘The fallout from COVID 19 has shown how deeply gender inequality remains embedded in the world’s political, social & economic systems.’ Ambassador Munir Akram, Permanent Representative of Pakistan to the United Nations and President of Economic and Social Council delivered a statement calling for a New Global Compact for Women’s Empowernment Video based on an action plan to mainstream women’s participation in public life and proposing concrete measures to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls. The agreed conclusion of the 65th session could provide a concrete recommendation for framing such a global contract. Ambassador ended hoping that the international community will rise to the challenge and ensure that half of the world’s population is never again left behind.

The Executive Director of UN Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka in her statment said this is a defining moment for gender equality, change is possible, political will is critical. The full statement of her address has been posted. Towards the end a surprise for me – maybe others too – Executive Director indicated that she will be leaving UN Women at the end of this year.

Youth and NGO’s had strong voices within the opening session Listen to Renata Koch Alvarenga a Political Analyst in Brazil, Founder of EmpoderaClima Brazil, Delegate of the @girls20 Summit, and Gender Youth Activist of @unwomen #GenerationEquality

Virisila Buadromo – representing Fiji feminist NGO committed to removing discrimination against women through institutional reforms & attitudinal changes stated that “it’s time we all collectively work towards shifting the power dynamic to allow more Pacific women working at the grassroots levels to be seen and heard.”

I am following the parallel event of Mercy Global Action entitled: ‘Domestic Violence: Gender-based Violence & Degradation of our Common Home.’ From Papua New Guinea, to Peru, Argentina and Australia. The presentations are a powerful demonstation of the harm caused to communities and earth by Mega Mining and Agri Business. A globalized market system impacts the earth and women – violating them, making them invisible. Destruction of the earth and femicide are motivated by the same system. Corporate responsibiblity, gender equality and such terms are empty terms and mere words devoid of committment. Extractive industry degrades the social environment – with increases in prostitution, trafficking, the destruction of traditional culture, and agriculture. And in COVID 19 the Government of Argentina bets on the coroprate sector to pay the foreigh debt and provide for the needs of the people while devestating and polluting the enrironmental and eroding and destroying the social fabric. In the face of extractivism the solidarity of the people becomes stonger but the response is criminalization of the people and even death. Unemployment is now 40% with COVID 19. How care for the family? COVID 19 is not a democratic virus. As it is attached to the market system it has promoted inequality of access to health care, water, and food, and during the pandemic gender based violence has increased greatly. Femicide – a woman is killed every 29 hours in Argentia – is not just an Argentian problem. It is indemic througout the region. There are 11 femicide a day in Mexico and it was recalled that in September 2020 two 11 year old Argentian girls were killed by Paraguayan police.was

A strong recommendation was issued to decrease extractive mining and to develop an alternative system of production that respects people and the earth. We need to develop an alternative economy, one of care. A strong call to end institutional violence which is so frequent in the health system, especialy against indigenous women, and the injustice in judical rulings that favour the corporate sector. The event has been live-stremed on Facbook if you want to learn more.

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