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NGO CSW FORUM
March 9, 2015 @ 8:00 am - March 20, 2015 @ 5:00 pm
United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, CSW 59
9 to 20 March 2015
When individual governments do not listen, the UN is an extraordinary arena in which to elevate issues to a world stage, to establish new social norms, and to fuel a collective moral force. Let’s look back to 1975 for inspiration. When governments met in Mexico for the first UN World Conference on Women, how many recommendations mentioned the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)? None.
CEDAW wasn’t adopted until the second UN Conference in Copenhagen in 1980.Did governments debate “gender equality” at the UN Conference on Women in Nairobi in 1985? No.The concept of gender did not see the light of day in UN documents until 1995. Today the phrase “Women’s rights are human rights” is so widely recognized that we forget how difficult it was to establish that concept a mere 20 years ago. But there it was throughout the Beijing Platform for Action. The document mentioned human rights in all of its 12 Critical Areas of Concern, making it relevant to economic empowerment, education, the girl child, political participation, and poverty. NGOs played a critical role in shaping that process. The most extraordinary example came from the regional preparatory meeting back in 1994 in Amman. Delegates sat with two documents before them—one, the NGO regional document from the civil society forum, and the other, the government draft. In many ways, the two documents carriedequal weight. Even more surprising to me was the frank and open discussion of the NGO priority topic – Violence Against Women – a subject that had traditionally been hidden from view as a private matter in most homes in that region.NGO CSW/New York is committed to doing its part in this new era for women’s human rights…..