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.