In certain calendars this signals the end of the week.
But more importantly, it’s the end of Week 1 on CSW67 (67th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women).
As you may know, I was selected to be a Delegate for CSW67. It’s my first time being a delegate and after week 1, what a ride it has been so far.
For those of you who don’t know what CSW is, here’s a video I found created by UN Women (please do give the video a like!):
I’ll quickly give a very brief overview of the United Nations, the SDGs and UN Women. I could go on and on about it, but it will distract from the point of this post.
The United Nations was originally founded in 1945 after World War II, originally the intention was to enable countries to cooperate on specific matters; mostly about resolving major world problems.
The first ‘UN Women’ Commission dates back to 1947; 15 women from different countries met to begin building international legal foundations for gender equality.
In the following decades, several UN offices were dedicated to various aspects of women’s rights. In 2011, these were merged to form UN Women, or the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women.
In 2015, all United Nations Member States adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. There are 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):
1. No Poverty
2. Zero Hunger
3. Good Health and Well-Being
4. Quality Education
5. Gender Equality
6. Clean Water and Sanitation
7. Affordable and Clean Energy
8. Decent Work and Economic Growth
9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure
10. Reduced Inequalities
11. Sustainable Cities and Communities
12. Responsible Consumption and Production
13. Climate Action
14. Life Below Water
15. Life on Land
16. Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
17. Partnerships for the Goals
Today, in 2023, the UN Women’s Commission is deepening and expanding the global framework for gender equality.
Facts and Figures
As you have seen, achieving gender equality is one of the 17 SDGs, these SDGs should be in effect by 2030. However, a study revealed that it could take close to 300 years at the current rate of progress to achieve this.
In fact, the study found it may even be worsening due to global crises and backlash against women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights.
CSW67 – The biggest yet
In my training before the week even began, not only did this figure stick out, but another figure also stuck out to me…
Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, the number of delegates was limited heavily to the number that could fill the hall in New York. Due to Covid, it was necessary to evolve, meaning delegates had to become more remote. As well as this evolution, they opened this the max number of delegates allowed and this number became almost unlimited.
UN Women took this literally, and opened delegation to everyone. Last year, they apparently had about 1000 people become delegates.
This year the number is 2500.
That’s 2500 people (men, women and others) who are taking part in talks that will shape policies the UN Member States will sign and adopt to bring gender equality. Globally.
The more people we have as delegates, the more chance we have of making change!
Structure of CSW67
Before I explain my thoughts and current takeaways from my experience so far, I want to briefly explain how this year is structured.
Firstly, there is an online platform which is open to all UN Women Delegates and other UN Women Volunteers who are making this happen. There are sections specifically on certain topics (called Superthreads) as well as a section on the CSW67 Events.
There are three types of Events:
1. Official UN Women Meetings – these are official negotiations and agreements are made around the central theme.
2. Side Events – Permanent Missions, intergovernmental organizations and United Nations entities hold side events on UN premises.
3. Parallel Events – Organized by NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations), this enables civil society to be part of the UN Commission on the Status of Women.
There are recommended events to join, but lots of other events throughout the two weeks, but they are all optional. It’s open to you how many you attend. In a lot of events, you have an opportunity to add to the discussion, whether on camera or through the chat or Q&A boxes, or you are welcome to use the platform to participate in discussions instead. It’s also recommended to go away with links, new connections and generally feeling empowered to make change. And at the end of CSW there will be a contribution form to fill for feedback to build on learnings for the next CSW event.
The main priority theme is: “Innovation and technological change, and education in the digital age for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.”
The review theme is: “Challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls.”
The review theme is agreeing to conclusions from the 62nd session.
Week 1 Summary
Of course, this is a summary from my perspective, so please bare in mind that other people may have completely different experiences and thus perspectives.
Throughout the whole experience so far, it is an overwhelming information dump. Let’s just say that I’m glad there are less events on at the weekend and I have time to recover! There’s a lot going on, with UN Women’s Official events, Side Events, Parallel Events, discussions on topics on the community forum, connections on LinkedIn, messages, posts, links, new opportunities, and more!
The main thing I wanted to talk about, is not only highlighting the facts and figures above; the fact we are 300 years away from global gender equality at the current rate we are working, but there is so many research areas uncovering issues that need fixing.
Here’s what I have seen so far:
* There is a gender gap on the use of technology, this is more prevalent on rural areas
* Women/Girls access technology at a later age than boys/men
* Girls appear to loose interest younger, this appears to be from stereotypes or lack of support
* There still is gender bias in tech careers/jobs, especially in leadership roles
* There is still a gender pay gap in the tech industry
* There are barriers with accessing education, especially in rural areas and low-income areas
* There are barriers with accessing funding and support for start ups, men appear to have more access than women
* There are potential gender biases in AI, machine learning and algorithms (e.g. TikTok)
* There are gender bias within targeted ads, which leads to issues of harmful rhetoric for women
* There needs to be more online safety and general social conversations in making it safer for women and girls
* There is gender bias in the entertainment industry, from funding, pay, access to exhibition space and much more.
This is just week 1. Imagine what week 2 will also bring!
My current take-aways from week 1 is that I have a LOT to think about. If anything, I have taken away even more enthusiasm to push for gender equality in my own life. Whether that is pushing for gender equality at work, in general conversation, challenging behaviour and encouraging other women to join in on the discussions and fight, but hopefully the enthusiasm to bring into my publishing business that I am still keen to set up.
I am also encouraged to join in on future discussions within UN Women and CSW, expand discussions online outside of CSW, and it has encouraged me to look into other discussions, such as climate change, world hunger and more. Helping us achieve the other 17 SDGs.
I also, have a new found interest in gender bias in AI, machine learning and algorithms. More so algorithms, as this is certainly something I have been fighting with on my social media platforms already. Who knows, maybe a PhD is in the making…
Please check out my other posts:
For those of you who like links:
History of United Nations:
History of UN Women:
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):