YWCA leaders during the Australian breakfast at CSW63 / Picture taken by YWCA of Australia

From March 8th – 15th the World YWCA and YWCA leaders from different regions of the world, gathered together with Representatives of Member States, UN agencies and other stakeholders, to raise their voices and to collectively advocate for women’s rights in the United Nations 63rd Commission on the Status of Women in New York City. This was an extremely productive week, as women and young women from many aspects of life came together in a variety of events. From organized youth forums with interactive panels of decision-makers, to a “Rise Up” breakfast with inspirational stories, to intergenerational dinners, and so much more. Together women and young women from across the globe united to work on this year’s theme of “Social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.” The global YWCA delegation worked to create spaces for women and young women to unite as one and to help define the common minimum standards of this year’s theme.

Here are just some of the amazing events that occurred throughout the week:

  • The YWCA USA and the World Service Council co-hosted a wonderful reception for all the delegates of the global YWCA movement.
  • Mary Fatiya, a young woman champion from the YWCA of South Sudan was invited to address the commission and share her story at the Opening Session alongside Muniba Mazari – National Ambassador for UN Women Pakistan
  • Together with the Government of Finland, the YWCA of Finland held the 14th International Helvi Sipilä Seminar on How Free Contraception is linked to Empowerment and Education. Jill Anami – World YWCA Sexual Health and Reproductive Rights (SRHR) Regional Coordinator – urged the international community to invest and create spaces for young women to lead and drive action towards realising their full SRHR.
  • With the support of UN agencies, the Governments of Namibia and Australia, Young Women Coordinator from YWCA of Nepal, Nirmala Gurung, addressed the importance of safe spaces to reach young women and girls in rural communities.
  • The YWCA of Nigeria hosted a parallel event on Transformative Actions Through Sustainable Empowerment Programmes For Women & Girls – during which Naomi Woyengu, young woman champion from Rise Up! rightfully stated that young women empowerment is not just a seat at the table – it should be about engaging young women from beginning to end, walking the journey with them and learning from one another.
  • Many national YWCAs hosted successful and powerful events highlighting their work, such as the YWCAs of Japan, USA and Canada.

Click here to watch a complete video summary of this week, created by YWCA of Australia!

This was a very successful week for our movement, and we are already looking forward to next year’s CSW. The United Nations 64th Commission on the Status of Women will mark the 25th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women, and will include the acceptance of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action for the advancement of women’s rights. We will continue to be a part of revolutionary events like this as we continue to transform power structures around the globe.

Do you have more highlights to share? The World Office wants to know of initiatives, updates on events, and #youngwomen success stories from member associations. If there is something that you would like us to share with the wider YWCA community, you can contact Suchi Gaur, Lead, Global Engagement and Strategic Communication (communications@worldywca.org ) for more details.