The sixty-third session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW63)
by Kathleen Montgomery
“Golden Rule,” a mosaic of Murano glass tile, is a representation of the Norman Rockwell painting by the same name. The mosaic is located on the 3rd floor at UN headquarters in New York City.
The UN Commission on the Status of Women was established in 1946 with a mandate to prepare recommendations on promoting women's rights in the political, economic, civil, social, and educational fields. This year's gathering, CSW63, took place in New York City during March 2019 and drew thousands of participants from around the globe. I was honored to be one of 20 delegates to this year's event representing the League of Women Voters. Our LWV delegates were a diverse group, but we were united in a commitment to educating ourselves about human rights (following the call that "women's rights are human rights"). The long-standing, stellar reputation that the League of Women Voters has at the UN made us all proud to say we were there as LWV delegates. In fact, LWVUS has been a UN Observer Group since the UN was established in 1945. To learn more about the League's history with the UN, take a look at the speech by Rosalee Keech, the LWVUS Chief UN Observer, at the UN's 70th anniversary in 2015 (a 10-minute YouTube video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n8Bc7EQJdWw).
The priority theme of CSW63 was "social protection systems, access to public services, and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and empowerment of women and girls." There were hundreds of events to choose from, including official meetings in the UN General Assembly halls, side events held within the UN complex co-sponsored with UN Member States and UN agencies, and parallel events sponsored by NGOs.
A highlight of the week was the side event co-sponsored by LWVUS and several Member States. The event, entitled "From Critical Mass to Parity: Women in Decision-Making DO Make a Difference," was moderated by Rosalee Keech, LWVUS Chief UN Observer, with an impressive panel of parliamentarians and government ministers from several Member States and leaders of UN agencies. Panelists spoke compellingly of their own challenges and successes navigating a system where women's voices are often diminished or even silenced.
As CSW63 drew to a close and LWV delegates prepared to return home, Rosalee tasked us all to "think globally, act locally!"
Reports from United Nations CSW63