Reflection on CSW67 Consultation Day

Consultation Day (Sunday 5 March), which marked the opening of the NGO CSW67 Forum, did not disappoint!

As in the past, Consultation Day was nothing short of inspirational, providing the background for all we have to look forward to in the fortnight ahead. Despite Consultation Day being completely virtual this year, over 500 participants attended.

The day’s events included a good mix of thought-provoking content from various speakers and subject matter experts relating to gender equality (SDG5), and more specifically, the priority and review themes for CSW67. The day was divided into three panel sessions, with breaks between major sessions and cultural entertainment (“Women Life Freedom: ArtRise Collective Projection” from San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum, and Sister Fa hip-hop performance).

The first session was a High-Level Conversation with Ambassador Ms. Mathu Joyini, Permanent Representative of South Africa to the UN, and Ms. Sima Bahous, UN Women Executive Director. The session was facilitated by Ms. Anita Gurumurthy, IT for Change Executive Director.

In this session, it was highlighted that there is a critical need to accelerate action towards achieving gender equality, as it will take 286 years to achieve SDG5 at the current rate. Another key takeaway was that we must be more supportive and inclusive of Generation Z to allow them to contribute to major issues directly impacting them, as well as allowing them to help move us forward.

The second session included an expert panel on the CSW67 priority theme. From this session, 5 recommendations for inclusion in the CSW67 Zero Draft on behalf of girls and women in all their diversity were outlined. Some of the key issues addressed were:

  • The current level of digital pollution and how it discriminates women and girls;
  • The need to develop safe, empowering spaces for women on all digital platforms;
  • The need for international standards or guidelines to safeguard women while online and offline; and
  • The need for metrics to be in place to measure progress.

For more information see the 5 recommendations here.

Calls to action expressed from this session include the need to:

  • Actively listen to women – they are best positioned to discuss how they are harmed by exclusion and discriminatory practices;
  • Create a genuine space for youth when developing policies and programs;
  • Feminise the digital economy (shift from current male-dominated perspective); and
  • Involve youth and women in all policymaking issues related to the digital world.

The final session of the day was entitled “CSW67 & Generation Equality: Committing to Achieving Global Gender Equality”. It included a panel of 9 young people from various feminist organisations across the globe, who participated in the Generation Equality Forum in Mexico and Paris. These youth have very strong ideas about how to re-establish the work identified in the 1995 Beijing Platform for Action for women’s rights and the SDGs.

Their focus is to ensure accountability for commitments already made, secure transformative new commitments, and expand global cross-sector movements for equality. They want to see a move from recommendation to action.

Consultation Day closed with an eloquent young speaker and a group of young women performing a moving Power of Women Anthem, and the official opening of CSW67.

It was reported that more than 10,000 advocates have registered to attend CSW67 in some form, be it virtually or in-person. There are a reported 400 virtual events scheduled and at least 350 in-person sessions that will take place over the next fortnight. The opportunity to connect virtually to the events makes CSW67 more accessible to those who are unable to be present in New York.

I am personally looking forward to continue learning something new each day of the forum.

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