Gathering Collective Power

A report by Dawn Marie Lemonds, SI Director and participant in Virtual CSW64 Consultation Forum

“Its not New York and CSW64 – but it is the TIME!  The NGO/CSW Virtual Consultation Day provided a quick, 1.5 hour virtual forum for people to join from their living rooms, offices or coffee shops giving people the opportunity to listen and learn… perhaps the ‘new normal’ for doing business.

The online event, co-hosted  by Houry Geudelekian and Ivy Koek began with ‘Gathering Our Collective Power’ led by Mallika Dutt in conversation with Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Under­ Secretary General and Executive Director of UN Women.

A presentation was given by the Generation Equality Core Group, made up of Lopa Banerjee, UN Women; Delphine 0, France; Nadine Gasman Zylberman, Mexico; Mabel Bianco  (notes only), and Shannon Kowalski, Civil Society; Moderated by Xenia Kellner, Young Feminist Europe

The virtual meeting continued with ‘Breaking Silos: the Feminist & Women’s Movement Action Plan’ with: Soon-Young Yoon, International Alliance of Women; Melissa Upreti & Krishanti Dharmaraj, Center for Women’s Global Leadership, Rutgers Presenters: Radhika Balakrishnan, Rutgers University; Emilia Reyes, Equidad de Genera; Kelsey Romeo-Stuppy, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH).

With 600 people joining the call, high quality, informed presentations were delivered replacing what we would have seen together in New York had the event not been cancelled. Our minds and hearts were ‘set’ with a meditation and then a song by Nina Simone with the rising lyrics – ‘It’s a New Dawn, It’s a New Day, It’s a New Life for me and I’m Feeling good…”. Personally, following the Forum…..I AM FEELING GOOD, and EMPOWERED to be part of the Generation Equality Movement.

The Generation Equality Forum is a civil society–centred, multi-stakeholder, global gathering for gender equality.  The Core Group is the decision-making body for the Generation Equality Forum, and is co-chaired by UN Women, France, Mexico and two (rotating) civil society representatives, from Global North and Global South, nominated by civil society. With the Forum now well on its way, the plan is for it to be rolled out in Mexico City in May, and Paris in July.

One of the exciting aspects of this Forum is that it is truly to be an event equally shared by government and civil society – a model of shared leadership across hierarchies, and demographics.  

The UN Women website  has lots more information and you can read a terrific article – ‘Twelve Small Actions with big impact for Generation Equality’.

The Forum’s Action Coalitions aim to refocus critical issues, and are global, innovative, multi-stakeholder partnerships to mobilise governments, civil society, international organisations, and the private sector aiming to:

  • catalyse collective action;
  • spark global and local conversations amongst generations;
  • drive increased public and private investment;
  • deliver concrete, game-changing results across generations for girls and women.

The selected themes of the Generation Equality Action Coalitions, announced of the Action Coalition themes on the 15th of January,  are based on human rights principles, and through data, and consultation with international feminist groups, grassroots activist organisations, governments and other partners they are defined as:

  1. Gender-Based Violence;
  2. Economic justice and rights;
  3. Bodily autonomy and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR);
  4. Feminist action for climate justice;
  5. Technology and innovation for Gender Equality;
  6. Feminist movements and leadership.

Each Action Coalition is to launch a targeted set of actions during 2020-2025, to deliver impact on gender equality and girls’ and women’s human rights. It is noted that financing for results will be a core part of this agenda, to address systemic resource gaps (Source: UN Women)

In this small article there is not space to focus on everything from this Forum, however a few further takeaways include: 

At this time whilst we are rightfully immersed in the fight against COVID-19 – a further ‘pandemic’ continues to face women – Gender based violence.  You can take Action to help the Generation Equality Movement accelerate: Increase work on Action Coalition agenda through conversation/dialogues in your own neighbourhoods, local and national governments, and boldly hold Governments accountable to uphold and enact treaties and agreements that they have signed”.

Conference recording available HERE

Presentations are available for Mabel Bianco, Fundación para Estudio e Investigación de la Mujer;

Zaruhi Batoyan, Armenian Minister of Labor and Social Affairs

View the accompanying Powerpoint presentation HERE.

Register for the next NGO/CSW Virtual call ‘Transformation through Inter-Connectedness Workshop on Presence and Connection’ HERE

Detail: Monday 23 March, 2020, 10am EST.

Notes *This workshop, led by Mallika Dutt, aims to renew ourselves as leaders on the frontlines of transformation for gender equality. Learn practices to ground our leadership in presence and connection to build a community of care and well-being to create new paradigms for people and planet. The call will offer practical tools for mindfulness and centering, essential qualities to navigate our volatile and uncertain times.



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