Highlights from the 63rd Commission on the Status of Women

The UN Commission on the Status of Women is a vibrant, busy atmosphere of passionate, diverse advocates and leaders from around the world. At any given time, at least five events are happening: UN official meetings, panel side events hosted by the missions of different countries to the UN, and parallel events hosted by NGOs.

UNA-USA’s delegates headed to UN Headquarters in March to attend the 63rd Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). We’ve posted our debrief call with members of the UNA Women Affinity Group, where our delegates reflected on their experiences.

The priority theme of this year’s session was social protection systems, access to public services, and sustainable infrastructure. After learning about the challenges women and girls are facing and overcoming globally, our delegates have become more informed and effective advocates for Sustainable Development Goal 5: gender equality. Here’s the rundown on what our delegates had to say:


  • Tonya Fitzpatrick (UNA-NCA) reported that in the moments before the UN Secretary-General’s session with NGO delegates, the entire room sang “Lift Every Voice and Sing” along with the Deputy Secretary-General.
  • Alexandra Figueredo (UNA Miami) reported being “totally blown away by the energy, the momentum, the power that was in the building.”


  • Tanesha House (UNA Chicago), was at CSW for 36 hours, attended eight sessions, and connected with over 50 individuals.
  • Julie Steinbach (UNA Claremont) is planning a trip in May to Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, and Berlin, and wanted to find someone to connect with while in Uganda. She succeeded and met a Nobel laureate from Libera.


  • Gillian Daley (UNA Miami and UNA FIU) said that some of the most exciting events for her were ones where she didn’t have any background in the topic. Of a side event hosted by Greece, she said, “I knew nothing about Mediterranean penal codes, but I learned so much about the issues.”
  • London Bell (UNA Detroit) was impressed by Ethiopia’s session on leadership roles for women in the governments of Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Senegal. Fifty percent of Ethiopia’s cabinet are women.

Our delegates had lingering questions: where do we go from here? Mariya Katsman (UNA Berkeley) mentioned that she would like to see more men at gatherings like CSW. UNA-USA delegates were part of the dynamic group of global change-makers that left CSW63 in a better position to make meaningful change in their communities.