March 20, 2019
Report on the 2019 United Nations Commission On The Status of Women (CSW63).
Over 5,000 women from all over the world came to New York for the United Nations Commission On The Status of Women (CSW63). As a delegate with the non-governmental organization Augustinians International, I was honored to be among that number to ratify the theme of the conference, “Social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.” The assembled representatives also recommitted themselves to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially goal # 5, “Gender Equality.”
Women from every country with a UN mission gave a report on the challenges and developments related to the theme. For example, the representative from Nigeria and West African States noted that 66% of their population is young and 55% are women, many in rural communities. With a view to their development, UN Women have awarded hundreds of scholarships in various technical and vocational fields.
Other examples: The representatives from the Pacific Islands Forum reported their most significant challenge is from the climate crisis. They affirmed the Paris Climate Accord and told of the need for a greater UN presence, especially in the Northern islands. More women leaders are needed, they reported, in strategies for climate change remedies.
Women from the Arab Commission said they would adopt the CSW63 aims. They noted some Arab states have lost the progress they had made. They gave warring areas, terrorism, and immigration as some of the causes for the losses.
At a side event I met with members of my high school alma mater, Loretto Academy in El Paso, Texas. Beth Blissman, Ph.D, the representative to the UN for the Loretto Communities, organized an event with the Loretto high school students who attended the CSW63. The young women are trans-border residents. They have the ability to navigate the different yet integrated languages and cultures of the sister cities of El Paso, TX, USA and Juarez, Chihuahua MX.
The students said they were very familiar with the migrant situation on our border, but learned to ask an important new question at a UN panel discussion: “Why do the migrants come to the border?” The responses, they said, were eye opening. They learned about the migrants’ historical background in the context of US international relations and policies in the Americas.
This experience of high school students discovering the deeper reasons that affect us all is a way the United Nations prepares young men and women to enter the globalized world as informed and caring citizens.
From my perspective, I cannot over estimate the value of these courageous women in every part of the world to bring about creative change. The experience of seeing them work together is truly awesome.
“A world that is good for women is good for everyone.”
Jean Ponder Soto, Ph.D.
Augustinian International NGO Delegate to the United Nations