CSW 65 ends with Agreed Conculsion on March 26 – Consensus just after 6.00 p.m.

Agreed Conclusion on “Women’s full and effective participation and decision-making in public life, as well as the elimintation of violence, for achievieng gender equality and emowernment of all women and girls” were adopted by consensus. It was quite evident from the insights gleaned from statments issued after the adoption that these were tense and difficulty negotiation. While all the negotiations were done virtually, the ususal dynamics that accompany the annual negotiations prevailed – working until 11.00 p.m. during the two weeks, and through the night on the last few days of negotiation. I am grateful that Member States stayed the course and came to consensus on the need for full and effective participation of women in decision making in public life and on eliminating violence for achieving gender equlaity.

The Executive Director of UN Women Phumzille Mlambo made a statment at the end of the session saying the the outcome document was a robust blueprint on strengthening women’s leadership and participation in public life. Read more. Having followed the session as it unflolded I found that the various country positions indiciated the red lines that are encountered in address gender equality and the ending of all violence against girls and women. While there was consensus with reservations it is quiet clear that the struggle is far from finished.

Ambassador Sautter, Germany on behalf of the EU presented its statement which was published immediately on it Website: See

Other statements generally in support came from Santiago Group, led by Chile. New Zealand spoke on behalf of the following group – Australia, Canada, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, and Iceland. UK, USA, Nigeria, Mexico, Namibia, each had statements. Other countries, each speaking individually presented reservations – Saudia Arabia, Brazil, Iran, Sudan, Egypt, Lybia, Yemin, Tunisia, Nicurguia, Iraq, Holy See, Maurentinia, and Qutar. China and Russia also made statment. See Commission on the Status of Women March 27th

What are the redlines? What are the contentious issues? Well, terms, the use of terms and the understaning of terms is the trigger for discussion, controversy, and persuasion. The terms gender, gender identity, women in all their diversity, multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination and violence, sexual identity, sexual and reproductive health and rights, and human rights defenders give rise to various interpretation – ranging from a human rights perspective to religous, cultural, and moral principles and objections. Concept on motherhood, maternity, paternity, family, role of family in society, gender as defined as male or famale, marriage only between a man and a women are pitted against human right to self expression and ability to make choices.

Other political issues surface – e.g invoking national sovernighty, whereby national laws, and religious laws are to be respected and upheld. Considerations that the agreed conclusion attempt to address a broad ranges of issues which were not the subject matter of the theme eg. climate change, women’s health, human trafficking, and unilateral financial trade agreement. There was referece to the Security Council Resolution 1325 being deleated from the document amid concerns about the impacts of conflict on girls and women and that there were attempt to unpick long standing commitments. Many times is was noted that terms used in the discussion are ambigious especially around gender identity, multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination and sexual and reproductive health and reprocuctive rights. LGBTQI+ issues are not named and in some cases event the existence of these people has been denied. I was surprised to hear that girls and women with disabilities was a contentionus issue. Further, with regard to ‘human rights defenders’ the question was asked as to why they are a special category needing attention?

I am happy that the discussion was had yet again, and that there are agreed conclusion from CSW 65. One delegate stands out for me – the delegate from Morocco who spake about the ardous hours of virtual imprisonment experinced durng the negotiation. She invited those present to imagine the imprisionment of girls and women within violent sistuation in the real world saying we hear your voice. Then she asks two quesitons, are the agreed conclusions responsive enough, are they translformative enough? She answers with a resounding NO! It is in the spirit that the women of the world unite and set out for Mexico and the launch of part 1 of the Generation Equlaity Forum on Monday March 29 – 31st.

EU Countries – a good resource for a discussion on Violence Against Women in your country!

clip_image002[Brussels, 15 November 2013] The European Women’s Lobby is pleased to introduce its latest publication Women’s Watch 2012-2013, a feminist overview of women’s rights and gender equality in 30 European countries.

This publication, available in English and French, is the first of its kind – a genuinely feminist appraisal of the situation on the ground in 30 European countries with regards to women’s rights and gender equality, judged by the yardstick of the European Women’s Lobby’s ideals. The Women’s Watch report is a snapshot of the situation during a two year period (2012-2013) and looks both at legislation and statistical data with 30 very short country pages.

The report looks at women’s situation and gender equality in three main areas: women in decision-making, women’s economic independence and care responsibilities, and violence against women and women’s sexual and reproductive rights, while also looking at the links between those areas.

With European parliamentary elections and a newly appointed European Commission coming up in 2014, the EWL, the largest umbrella organisation of women’s NGO in Europe, urges decision-makers at all levels to take into account the findings of this Women’s Watch report and to use them as a tool for change towards full equality between women and men, in all spheres of life.

Main Report Findings:

Women in decision making
Women are increasingly visible in elected office, however when it comes to real positions of decision making power; heads of political parties, senior ministries, positions on corporate boards, women disappear. The report also sees that the incremental approach to participation in decision-making without binding measures has been effective in some countries, but it concludes that this has taken decades and that as European elections approach there is no more time to waste: parity works, let’s implement it!

Women’s economic independence and care responsibilities
The report observes that the crisis and austerity policies are potentially jeopardising decades of progress towards gender equality. Women’s employment rates had been growing steadily but have stalled in the last year and the quality of women’s work is decreasing. The gender pay and pensions gap are persistent and are one facet of the impact of provision of care places for children and for the elderly on women’s lives and choices. Therefore the report demands a multi-layered approach that focuses on equality in paid and unpaid work between women and men and on the promotion of women’s economic independence.

Violence against women and women’s sexual and reproductive rights
There is still a high discrepancy between legislations addressing violence against women throughout Europe, therefore creating inequalities between women in terms of protection from violence. Violence against women also remains invisible because of the lack of data, at European and national level. This is why the EWL is calling for a European Strategy and Year to raise awareness and develop consistent action to end this pervasive violation of women’s rights. In terms of women’s sexual and reproductive rights, the report shows that the right to abortion is still not granted everywhere in Europe, and that there is an obvious lack of sexuality education, which is instrumental for achieving equality between men and women.

With European parliamentary elections and a newly appointed European Commission on the agenda in 2014, the EWL, the largest women’s NGO umbrella organisation in Europe, urges decision-makers at all levels to take into account the findings of this Women’s Watch report and to use them as a tool for change towards full equality between women and men, in all spheres of life, including public policies.

To download the Women’s Watch in PDF format, click here

Women in decision-making (ENG/FR)

Women’s economic independence and care responsibilities (ENG/FR)

Violence against women and women’s sexual and reproductive rights (ENG/FR)

For country specific pages, please click on the country Austria – Belgium – Bulgaria – Croatia –Cyprus – Czech Republic – Denmark – Estonia – Finland – France – FYROM – Germany– Greece –Hungary – Ireland – Italy Latvia– Lithuania – Luxembourg – Malta – Netherlands – Poland – Portugal– Romania – Slovakia– Slovenia – Spain – Sweden – Turkey – United Kingdom

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