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Sunday 14th March 2021

This is a pre-CSW65 blog on the CSW65  NGO CSW/NY Consultation Day.

‘There is a mountain that stands before us ……’

The opening words of a poem performed at the session which captured the essence of CSW and the reason for its existence. The NGO CSW Consultation days serve as the appetiser to the main event, held the day before CSW formally opens they provide the opportunity to set the scene and to inform and enthuse attendees.

I must admit it did seem strange participating from the comfort of my own home as opposed to the thrill of chasing across Manhattan to the Apollo Theatre and mingling with participants buzzing with excitement at the prospect of two weeks intense advocacy and action. However ,this virtual event had the advantage of opening up the space to a wider, more inclusive audience with some 25,000 advocates registered with the NGO CSW Forum and over 700 parallel events scheduled.

As I listened to the conversion between Mher Margaryan ,Chair of CSW, and Phumzile Mlambo Ngcuka, Executive Director UN Women, I was transported back to the UN and its use of language or ‘ CSW speak’, it takes a while to adjust to it but you soon pick up on the fine nuances and the careful use of phrases and words .It was evident from the conversation that the impact the current coronavirus pandemic has had on the lives of women and girls should not be underestimated, particularly in respect of caring responsibilities, educational opportunities, jobs, poverty, sexual health & reproductive rights and increased violence against women and girls both in conflict zones and domestic settings. It is imperative that women are included in development of  recovery plans and  in finding solutions.

Improvements in digital technology have been used to promote disinformation particularly gender disinformation (the ‘infodemic’). Social media targeting of women acts as a disincentive to participation in public life and needs to be addressed as part of the priority theme for CSW65 and the agreed conclusions.

A Business Plan for Gender Equality is needed. The Beijing Platform for Action whilst a great document had no implementation plan or funding stream to compliment it. The unfinished business from Beijing, the SDGs and the response to Covid need to be brought together and incorporated in a Gender Equality Plan.

This is where the Generation Equality Forum(GEF) has a key role to play .The panel discussions that followed the conversation outlined the challenges , hopes and joys of GEF and that fact that transformational change is within reach with a reimagined global contract for gender equality. Young women and girls face many challenges and one of the joys of the GEF has been listening to girls speaking from the heart.

‘There is a mountain that stands before us , only some have the opportunity to reach the top……

The failures of generations of the past will be laid upon our backs…………….

Together we shall get there, together we shall climb’.

Blog by Carwen Wynne Howells
Past SIGBI President
Member of SI Haverfordwest and District