YWCAatCSW67: YWCA Leaders Advocate Together For A Gender-Equal World

This year marked the 67th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW67) and NGO-CSW forum which took place at the United Nations Headquarters, in New York for two weeks. Being hosted physically after a gap of three years due to COVID-19 pandemic and associated travel restrictions, it was heartening to note that World YWCA received requests from more than 100 women and young women from the movement to access ECOSOC seats to access the UN grounds for CSW events. World YWCA and YWCA leaders worked hard to prepare for the travel to CSW67 and managed to have CSW attended in person by more than 75 YWCA Leaders from more than 25 countries including Rwanda, Nigeria, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Fiji, Palestine, USA, Norway, Canada and Australia amongst others.

At CSW, during the two weeks, delegates and participants focussed on the priority theme, “Innovation and technological change, and education in the digital age for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls”. The World YWCA team and funded young women delegates under different leadership initiatives were planned to be a group of 12 young women and five team members. However, in total eight young women from Asia and the African region were either denied visas or could not access an appointment, even emergency appointment, despite applying for visas much in advance. While this is common for those who hold passports from what are considered as “third world” or “developing” nations, it is indeed disheartening that despite paper works and event-based travel, visa applications and travels being supported by global organisations and movements, their voices for advocacy remain distant from the very spaces that advocate for inclusion of women and young women in policy conversations. Nevertheless, World YWCA ensured this messaging around missing voices and denied visas was not left behind but ensuring mentions at every event and panel hosted and supported by World YWCA.

The CSW is the primary global intergovernmental body solely dedicated to promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women. CSW takes place on an annual basis, with representatives of Member States gathering at United Nations Headquarters in New York to assess progress on gender equality, identify issues, define global standards, and develop tangible policies to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment globally.

During the two weeks at CSW67, #YWCALeaders from around the world who could travel in person engaged in many critical dialogues and conversations. Some top highlights include:

The absence of young women and women leaders from the Global South was surely not just visible but very much spoken about at multiple sessions and in series of conversations. As we attended meetings, convened our parallel events and participated in discussions, we continued to reflect and carefully observe those who took up spaces and those who took spaces to speak on behalf of those absent. “Who gets left behind in these policy and advocacy spaces?”, was the recurring question we continued to ask and reflect upon?

World YWCA delegation together advocated everywhere through the lens of inclusion, diversity, technology, hate and racism, faith and feminism, bringing cohesive voices and shining bright within the more than 15,000 people attending the events- in person and virtually.

For a virtual experience of the events, visit our Flickr account.