Reflecting on my participation at the 68th Commission on the Status of Women (CSW68): A Journey of Inspiration & Transformation.

The 68th Commission on the Status of Women (CSW68) held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City was a journey of inspiration and transformation. As I sit down to reflect on my experience, I am filled with gratitude, inspiration, and a renewed sense of purpose.

This annual gathering is a unique global platform dedicated to mobilizing change for women and girls everywhere, and I felt privileged to be selected by an organization close to my heart, United Nations Association-USA, to join a group of delegates to attend CSW68. As I reminisce about the events of the past two weeks, I realize that this is just the beginning of a continuous path of advocacy, positive impact, and global change.

A Privileged Opportunity

I was honored to be chosen as a Delegate for this distinguished commission, proudly representing UNA-USA at CSW68 and working alongside motivated group of passionate UNA women, all driven by a shared commitment to effecting change, championing the rights and roles of women worldwide and supporting United Nations’ initiatives.

A Week at the UN: Insights and Engagements

Over the course of the first week, I delved deeply into pressing global issues. Immersing myself in a whirlwind of activities, I attended high-level UN sessions and formal meetings and participated in enlightening side events that provided a comprehensive understanding of various global challenges. Each session not only offered valuable insights but also underscored the urgency and complexity of these pressing issues, highlighting the need for concerted efforts and collaborative solutions on a global scale.

Few Key Takeaways from CSW68 Side Events during the first week:

  • Gender Equality and Financial Freedom: The Nordic Council of Ministers emphasized the need for a gender-equal approach to financial freedom.
  • Eliminating Violence Against Women: The European Union and OHCHR highlighted the urgency to eradicate violence against women and girls.
  • The Care Economy: The Lebanese National Commission for Women in collaboration with Arab Women Organization and UN Women stressed the significance of fairly distributing domestic work and caregiving.
  • Gender Gap in Education: The Office of the President of the General Assembly discussed the challenges facing girls’ education globally.

Beyond the UN Walls

The learning didn’t stop within the UN premises. I was fortunate to receive invitations to attend parallel events outside the UN, which further broadened my perspective and enriched my experience. One such event was hosted by The Bahai International Community, where discussions centered around the role of institutions in women’s empowerment. I also had the opportunity to participate in insightful discussions and explore solutions to the challenges facing women in Ukraine. Listening to their stories was particularly impactful with a focus on “Strengthening the Role of Women in Reconstruction and Peace-Making Processes in Countries with Military Conflicts.”

In addition I had the privilege of being part of a parallel event hosted by UNA-USA and moderated by the inspiring Lady Tee Thompson. The event featured distinguished panelists who delved into the topic of “Advancing Gender Equality and Poverty.” Engaging with these experts and advocates provided valuable insights and allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of the interconnected issues and the multifaceted challenges that women around the world face.

Engaging with Global Leaders

A significant highlight of my first week was participating in a town hall with Secretary-General, António Guterres and civil society. I had the opportunity to make an intervention about the crucial role of the United Nations in protecting women and children in conflict zones, pushing for stronger measures and collective action.

Second Week: Equally enlightening

The second week of CSW68 was just as impactful as the first, if not more so. It was a deep dive into challenges and gaps of gender equality and a testament to the commitment and collaboration of various stakeholders in advancing gender equality and empowering women and girls globally. Through insightful panel discussions and high-level UN meetings, each day presented valuable opportunities to learn, engage, and advocate for meaningful change.

The official plenary meetings of CSW68 and parallel events organized by various organizations were equally enlightening:

  • UNICEF: Highlighted the importance of data for adolescent girls in policy-making.
  • ILO: Explored social protection measures for gender equality across all ages.
  • Government of Pakistan: Discussed challenges faced by women under foreign occupation.
  • UNFPA, UN Women, WHO: Emphasized comprehensive sexuality education to prevent gender-based violence.
  • European Parliament: Addressed care economy, gender pay gap, and economic violence against women.
  • German Federal Ministry: Shared insights on gender equality within poverty and migration contexts.
  • World Bank: Explored strategies for gender equality in the hydropower sector.

Additionally, attending General Assembly sessions, CSW68 16th Plenary meeting and other sessions such as World Water Day Event, UN Global Drug Free World Conference, Sierra Leone Mission, UN Women, Care International tackled feminized poverty through financial inclusion, and Holy See Mission & ADF International preventing exploitation in surrogacy further enriched my understanding and perspective.

Furthermore, the invitation to the UN Women Side Event, “An interactive discussion on intersectional, intergenerational, and multi-stakeholder partnerships advancing gender equality and human rights,” featuring UN Under Secretary-General and Executive Director, UN Women, Sima Bahous, was truly inspiring and I felt privileged to take part in such an event.

The final day was a whirlwind of emotions and reflections. It began with my attendance at Security Council Meeting 9584, a truly remarkable experience. Witnessing the Security Council’s proceedings, provided me with invaluable insights into their processes and the intricate dynamics of international diplomacy and decision-making The day concluded with a closing ceremony advocating for gender equality and poverty eradication, reminding us of our shared responsibility for women and girls globally.

Steps Forward

As I look back on these incredible two weeks, I am reminded that this is just the beginning of a continuous journey of advocacy, creating a positive impact, and effecting change on a global scale. It was a great learning experience interacting with local and global experts, NGO’s and government leaders and learning more about gender equality and eliminating poverty. This experience has opened my eyes to the myriad challenges facing our world and underscored the importance of collective effort and collaboration. It has inspired me to continue advocating for positive change and to play an active role in shaping a more equitable, inclusive, and sustainable future for all.

Reflecting back on the insights gained and connections made, we are reminded of the collective responsibility we share in championing the rights and roles of women everywhere. As we continue this important journey towards a more equitable world, I eagerly anticipate the weeks ahead, equipped with newfound knowledge, inspiration, and a strengthened commitment to advocating for the rights and roles of women worldwide. This commission has truly opened my eyes to the vital role of the United Nations, reinforcing my goal to persist advocating for the mission of my organization UNA-USA. By championing the United Nations, we can ensure its continued dedication to global engagement and uphold its belief that each of us has a role to play in advancing the UN’s mission and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.