Commission on the Status of Women '21

What is CSW65?

Each year, the United Nations hosts the world’s biggest gathering on women’s rights – the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). It’s where global leaders, campaigners and policy-makers come together to take stock of the progress that has been made, and the work still required to achieve gender equality.

Usually, CSW takes place at United Nations headquarters in New York. This year, in light of COVID-19, almost all meetings will take place virtually from 15 to 26 March 2021.

What is the theme of CSW65?

Each year, CSW focuses on a different priority theme. This year leaders will discuss women’s full and effective participation and decision-making in public life, as well as the elimination of violence, for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.

Why do we take part in CSW?

Women’s rights organisations and networks have a key role to play in ensuring that the priorities of diverse women are properly represented at global gatherings such as CSW. Because despite the importance of reflecting real women’s circumstances in the decisions that come out of CSW, women’s rights organisations and other Civil Society Organisations aren’t allowed to be involved in the formal negotiations of the “agreed conclusions”. This is reserved for governments. That’s why we need to show up and be as vocal as we can about the key issues that affect women’s lives and where women’s rights remain at risk.

We’ve seen true progress come out of CSW. But there has also been resistance, particularly from regressive forces who threaten hard-won rights. If women’s rights advocates are missing, CSW gives those who wish to maintain the status quo of gender inequality a chance to push us backwards.

CSW week 1: 15-21 march

Young Feminist Europe had a full and busy first week of CSW65:

> As part of the Women’s Rights Caucus, we are following closely the negotiations on the agreed conclusions. We also support the Call to Action to UNmute Civil Society at CSW #UNmuteCSW65

> We have also been invited to participate in the CSO meeting with the European Delegation and were able to share some recommendations. 

> This week we had several opportunities to speak about the importance of young feminist leadership and present the #YoungFeministManifesto at three major events:

  • “Intergenerational co-leadership and mutual accountability” – A high level intergenerational dialogue between young people and policy makers during CSW 65. 
  • “Adolescents Girl Dialogue on Feminist Movements, Leadership and Accountability in Generation Equality” CSW65 side event. 
  • “Generation Equality Forum – Curtain raiser” CSW65 interactive Virtual Side Event.

> We also had the incredible honour to have been invited to a conversation on Young Feminist Leadership with the Vice General Secretary of the UN Amina Mohammed where we shared some key recommendations from the Young Feminist Manifesto as well. 

And we were also invited to speak at the event “Global Action Against Trafficking and Contemporary Slavery” by the “Youth Against Slavery Movement”. We spoke about feminist leadership and movement building in the context of modern-day slavery.

CSW week 2: 22-26 March

Week two of CSW continued to hold some exciting events, some of them co-hosted by YFE. 

During the week, we kept advocating for key demands within the young feminist manifesto, and mobilising for the Generation Equality Forum hosted by Mexico which takes place right after CSW from March 29th – 31st. As one of Action Coalition leaders for the AC on Feminist Movements and Leadership, we talked a lot about feminist leadership, intersectionality, and transformation. 

  • On 22. March we organised the launch event of the Young Feminist Manifesto
  • YFE co-hosted the Anti-Racism space on March 24th and offers a variety of workshops on anti-racism together with NGO CSW. 
  •  We joined the Vienna Café, an advocacy space to exchange with government delegates and an opportunity to share our priorities.
  • The CSW Youth Forum took place on the 25th, and we were be able to address the Young Feminist Manifesto.
  • YFE also was represented and we spoke at the side event “Navigating the Generation Equality Mexico Forum: A Preparatory Workshop for Women and Youth Peacebuilders” organized by the Global Network of Women Peace Builders. As a leader of the Action Coalition on Feminist Movements and Leadership we shared some updates from the blueprint development process, engagement opportunities during the Mexico Forum and an interactive discussion on the theme. 
  • Right after, on the final day, we co-hosted the event “Global Feminist Movement Building for Generation Equality” together with WECF and leaders from each of the Action Coalitions. Together with participants we engaged in generative dialogue and exchange on hope, rage, action, and celebration around the Generation Equality Forum and the Action Coalitions.