Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) 61st Session – March 13 – 24, 2017


Spanish link

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?


French Link

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)                                                               csw61-banner-en

English Link

E-Discussion on Women and Poverty

29th Congregational Chapter Direction Statement   ‘We work zealously with women and children, especially those who are ….oppressed by abject poverty.  We support projects for economic justice, confront unjust systems…”

Here is an opportunity for you to express your views based on your vast experience of working with women living in abject poverty.  In doing so you are influencing policy and confronting unjust structures. 

From 11 January to 12 February 2010 the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Department for Economic and Social Affairs (UN/DESA) will jointly organize an e-discussion on Women and Poverty. The e-discussion aims to provide critical policy messages and an action agenda to the Commission on the Status of Women’s 15 year review of the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action (1 to 12 March 2010); ECOSOC Annual Ministerial Review (28 June – 3 July 2010); and the High-level Plenary Meeting of the sixty-fifth session of the UN General Assembly, focused on the Millennium Development Goals (September 2010).  Go to this website, scroll to the bottom of the page and sign up for the discussion.  In replying in the box Organization please enter Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Good Shepherd.   This is our organizational name at the United Nations.   

Here is a quote from the facilitators note:  “Please help us bring new thinking and new ideas to the policy debate about poverty reduction, gender equality and women’s empowerment, drawing on experience with implementing the Bejing Platform for Action and the Millennium Development Goals. Share your innovative ideas, research and good practice examples with policy-makers, researchers, and practitioners around the world, and help make a difference in the fight for gender equality and eradication of poverty.”

10 Days of Action June 16 – 26 in the lead up to the UN Conference June 24-26,%20June%2016.EML?Cmd=open

10 Days of Action: Countdown to Commitments is a collaborative effort by organizations and networks advocating for a more just, equitable and sustainable global economy and includes the Feminist Task Force-GCAP, Social Watch, ITUC, ICAE, FES, Women’s Working Group on Financing for Development, IBON Foundation, NGO Committee on Financing for Development, and the major global coalitions of the Global Social Economy Group and the Global Crisis group, among others TBC.

The ‘10 Days of Action’ begins with a focus on the Day of the African Child to raise awareness on how the economic crisis is hitting the most vulnerable and marginalized the hardest, such as children, women, small farmers and the working poor, among others.   With close to a billion people living on barely a meal a day, and millions living on $2 a day, the financial and economic crisis is reversing progress and putting millions back into poverty.

The UN Conference will be the first opportunity for all countries – developed and developing nations alike – to have a seat at the table to discuss possible solutions to this systemic crisis.

10 Days of Action includes many event focused on the following themes:
16 June – Take action on the Day of the African Child
17 June – Take action on climate change
18 June –Take action to the right to quality public education
19 June – Take action on the Millennium Development Goals
20 June – Take action to highlight the voices of the people most affected by the crisis
21 June – Take action on gender equality and women’s rights
22 June – Take action to protect migrant workers during the crisis
23 June – Take action to support civil society solutions to the crisis
24 June – Take action to demand a restructuring of the global financial architecture
25 June – Take action to promote decent work and social protection
26 June – Take action to ensure a representative voice of the G192 at the UN Conference

Check out the ‘10 Days’ CALENDAR OF EVENTS and BLOG at: