The UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW 62)

The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is the largest annual gathering of the international women’s movement at the United Nations. It provides a unique opportunity for leaders in gender equality and women’s empowerment to come together on a common platform to influence the UN agenda. The CSW is the principal intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and empowerment of women. It is instrumental in documenting the reality of women’s lives throughout the world, and shaping global standards of gender equality and the empowerment of women.

The UN Charter established the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) to coordinate the economic and social work of the United Nations. It is one of the six main organs of the United Nations and is responsible for promoting higher standards of living, full employment, and economic and social progress; identifying solutions to international economic, social and health problems; facilitating international cultural and educational cooperation; and encouraging universal respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. ECOSOC’s purview extends over 70 per cent of the human and financial resources of the entire UN system.
Soroptimist International (SI) is an ECOSOC member.

The sixty-second session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW ) took place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from March 12-March 23, 2018. The priority theme was ‘Challenges and Opportunities in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls’. The CSW 62 was attended by Representatives of Member States, UN entities and ECOSOC accredited non-governmental organisations (NGO’S ) from all regions of the world.

Dr. Daphne Pillai was selected to be a delegate of Soroptimist International of Great Britain and Ireland (SIGBI) at the CSW 62. She blogged on the various UN parallel sessions in which she participated which were published in the SIGBI newsletter and the SIGBI website.

She attended the following sessions and all her blogs written on the following subjects were successfully published.

    • Prevention of trafficking of rural girls and women
    • Internet Generation as Pioneer: Rural Women’s Opportunities and Challenges
    • What women leaders must do to be more visible in the media
    • Addressing the diverse needs of isolated rural women: Successful interventions
    • Consultation Day
    • Ending Violence against children

Dr. Pillai also made a presentation on ‘Challenges and Opportunities in achieving Gender Equality and Empowerment of Rural Women and Girls’. Daphne Pillai, Founder President SI-Bombay-Chembur presented the challenges faced by rural women and girls in India with case study references to successful Soroptimist projects in her region of Mumbai- India. These initiatives have been meeting the very real needs of the women and were identified through participatory consultations and evidence based need assessments. The top priorities requested by these rural women and girls were support to improve their spoken English skills and development of practical skills which would enable them to generate independent income.These community level grassroots interventions are great examples of Soroptimists’ aims: educating, enabling and empowering “ in action” and were contrasted by Dr Pillai with what can often be rhethoric in the plethora of government regulations which are passed though not often implemented as evidenced by the C&AG’s independent report.

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