Today kicks off the 58th session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), which brings representatives from Member States, civil society, and UN agencies together in New York to review the Beijing Declaration and Platform of Action. This review provides a stage for Member States to assess progress towards and gaps in achieving gender equality for girls and women and to agree on further actions to promote women’s fullest enjoyment of their rights.
This year’s theme, “Challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals for women and girls,” will allow stakeholders to review the MDGs and the impact of this framework on the lives of girls and women.
While the MDGs acknowledged the clear connection between gender equality and development, the Goals themselves have largely failed women and girls. Since the beginning of the MDGs, important gains have been made and it’s certainly crucial to highlight them. However, this progress has not been consistent or pervasive across all issues that affect the lives of girls and women, and certain MDGs – such as MDG5, focused on maternal mortality and reproductive health – are far behind the others.
Because the MDGs will expire at the end of 2015, the theme of this CSW is timely. Member States will set the priorities for the future development architecture, or the ‘post-2015 agenda.’ This CSW is an opportunity for Members to be progressive, and advance women’s human rights.
Let’s hope we come out of CSW58 with greater attention to the areas left out of the MDGs, such as women’s unpaid care work, gender based violence, economic inequality and the wage gap, women’s political participation, and – my favourite – sexual and reproductive health and rights.
To learn more about CSW and the different side events open to the public, click here.