The 62 nd session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women that ended as of March 24th. As many will know, the Commission was created along with the UN in 1948 to be a helpful organization for women much as UNICEF has been for children, and it has been holding annual sessions at the UN every March for the last twenty years, with some 5000 usually attending and over 8000 registered for this year. The major theme for this year’s session was the rights of rural women.
For those who attended the opening session known as Consultation Day downtown at Manhattan Community College at Chambers Street in the East Village, they will know that it took place in a building two blocks in size with a large auditorium that was totally filled for the opening of CSW. There was a lively program featuring the Director of UN Women, Phumzile Llamba Ngucko, (who also has a valuable YWCA background), as one of several keynote speakers and then panels of strong global representative women and men speaking on various critical issues for several hours along with some colorful dancers at the end of the day. Some pictures of the event are included at the end of this report.
Consultation Day was followed by a gala reception on Tuesday night at St. Vartan’s Cathedral on 34th Street and also by regular briefings every day for all the delegates, with all such scheduled events arranged by the volunteer NGO CSW Committee that worked all year long to prepare for this CSW session under the leadership this year of Susan O’Malley, an educator known to many of us. One final invaluable production of this NGO CSW Committee is always the Handbook for the session with listings of over 500 programs being held during the two CSW weeks, mostly at four major locations: The Church Center across from the UN, a center at West 43 rd Street, the Armenian Center at 34th Street and the Salvation Army at 52nd Street.
Your World YWCA official delegates, Doris and Rima Salah, Catherine Hickey, and Connie Tate, along with many other WSC members and friends, attended at least 30 or more of these programs and found them to be invaluable and very well presented. The CSW Session then concluded with a set of Agreed Conclusions, which were submitted to the CSW Commission (of 45 elected commissioners) for their UN action in the next year. The Conclusions are available in an attachment of 20 pages from Connie Tate at her email for any who would like to see them. In summary, we can say that this year they include extensive and forceful recommendations for help and action on behalf of rural women with every possible assistance and remedy provided. For example, the report states that all existing laws and global agreements should apply to rural women and girls in such fields as economic relief, health provisions, environmental conditions, and the historic prejudicial treatment of women. The 62nd CSW Session was indeed a session that was badly needed and very well done.
Finally, a major highlight of the two-week event for some 60 of the World YWCA delegates and 30 members and friends of the World Service Council was the reception given by the YWCA USA and our Council at the Yale Club on Sunday after Consultation Day. This year it was attended by about 100 guests and also received a welcome sponsorship by the Oppenheimer Fund. Some of the featured speakers were Malayah Harper, General Secretary of the World YWCA, Alejandra Castillo, CEO of the YWCA USA and Natalie Fisher Spalton, one of the early interns sponsored by our WSC some 20 years ago who has gone on to a fine career that now includes work at UNICEF. This gala reception was thoroughly enjoyed by all and was a fitting tribute to the efforts of the World Service Council and the YWCA USA to support the global work of the World YWCA in some 109 countries and its strong participation at such major conferences as this CSW 62 Session at the United Nations.