World YWCA at UN CSW 67

The sixty-seventh session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women will take place from March 6 to 17 and will consider the priority theme of, “Innovation and technological change, and education in the digital age for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls”.

The World YWCA will have a strong delegation of attendees as they work to achieve agreed conclusions on how to implement a process toward goals of equity and opportunity for women and girls. They will host two sessions that are listed below.

An Advocacy and Research Group has formulated key recommendations for the draft. More than 700 individuals of the global, grassroots community including members of the global NGO CSWs were consulted to understand their lived experiences and identify these critical concerns.

  1. Invest in and strengthen gender-responsive policies, programs and laws that prioritize girls and women in all their diversity. Eliminate the digital gender gap by providing them with critical digital fluency skills, ranging from basic digital literacy to advanced technical skills in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) and in information and communications technology (ICT).
  2. Develop international standards and guidelines to address and eliminate the risks to the digital privacy and safety, autonomy, and dignity of women and girls in all their diversity. Women and girls of all ages are particularly at risk for online abuse, cyberbullying and gender-based violence stemming from the pervasive sexism and misogyny on digital platforms which thwart their fundamental human rights.
  3. Ensure universal access to essential and gender inclusive public and private digital infrastructure including electricity and frontier data and Artificial Intelligence (AI) innovations to bridge existing digital divides. Guarantee access to digital technologies in rural areas and ensure equal opportunity particularly for older women and women with disabilities to be empowered with ICTs, by not only physical access and skills development, but also design that respects the needs of all people following consultation with those directly affected.
  4. Enhance official development assistance commitments and improve public finance and investments, as well as leverage private sector partnerships, for universal, affordable, equal, and unfettered access to digital technologies for women and girls in all their diversity. This can include, but is not limited to, free device distribution, creation of affordability schemes, and affordable data plans.
  5. Engage with girls and young women in the formulation, design, and development of adequately financed policies and programs that prioritize digital literacy skills, online safety, and STEM education for girls, young women and marginalized groups. Address unequal gender norms, policies and laws and lack of infrastructure that hinder girls’ access, engagement and safety with digital tools, ICT and STEM education.

Those interested in learning more should read the NGO CSW NY (NGO Committee on the Status of Women, New York), Advocacy Toolkit that informs  NGOs, civil society representatives & #feminist activists how to build their capacity to advocate for their organization at CSW.

World YWCA Sessions

March 8, 8:30 a.m.
Those who may be in New York on International Women’s Day are urged to register for the World YWCA’s exciting parallel event on Young Women Smashing Power Structures  by Feminist Consultations. This is an in person event.

March 14, 8:30 a.m.
This is a Zoom Event on Conflict, #SGBV & Technology: Learnings from Young Women in Gaza. Open to all who register.

102nd WSC Annual Meeting
Focuses on the Future


Watch now!

After two years of meeting virtually, the WSC World Service Council (WSC) gathered in NYC at the Cosmopolitan Club Oct. 28 for its 102nd annual meeting that featured World YWCA General Casey Harden and YWCA CEO Margaret Mitchell.

WSC Co-chair Mildred Morrison presided over the meeting of WSC members and many YWCA USA affiliate CEOs and volunteers. Everyone received a WSC pin and history booklet that was prepared for the 100th anniversary of the WSC. In addition, there were several books available for sale by Wanda Hendricks’ whose research on The Life of Madie Hall Xuma: Black Women’s Global Activism during Jim Crow and Apartheid included much history of the YWCA in the USA and Africa. A business meeting during the morning included updates on the work of the YWCA USA and World YWCA, followed by a luncheon and networking

The highlight of the day was an afternoon panel discussion with Casey Harden and Margaret Mitchell facilitated by YWCA Board Chair Tina Herrera. The topic was the current status of women around the globe and exploring strategies to overcome the disproportionate effects of Covid consequences, economic chaos, climate change disasters, war in Europe, Supreme Court decisions and the rise of autocracy around the world. Both Casey and Margaret talked about the critical significance for engaging Gen Z women who will plan and lead upcoming generations Alpha and Beta as a force for attaining true equity. Joining young women around the globe by building an all-encompassing communication platform that includes unifying messaging and the latest technology tools can provide powerful activism to move the needle around women’s rights.

A Commemorative Book Tells the Story of the World Service Council


YWCA members around the globe celebrate World YWCA Day annually on April 24, and this year the World Service Council is delighted to share with you a link to a Centennial Booklet marking 100 years of World Service Council service.  Compiled by Joelle Logue with contributions by many WSC members, the articles and photographs describe the many dimensions of the Council’s international reach through the World YWCA. The role WSC has played over the past century has supported critical programming efforts of the World YWCA to advance development and leadership of women and girls around the globe. The booklet, while offering the opportunity to appreciate the needs we have met along the way, is also a reminder that we must be constantly ready to meet new needs as circumstances evolve in this imperfect world.

Watching the daily news of harrowing events in Ukraine with devastating impact throughout Eastern and Western Europe reminds us of our historic roots when the YWCA was asked to help rebuild YWCAs in Europe after both World Wars. It is in this same context that the WSC has created a special Emergency Fund available to help national associations in those countries that are serving women and girls impacted by this conflict. What this unimaginable crisis has taught us is that life can be perilous and no one knows where in the world the next natural or man-made disaster may occur to which the YWCA will need to respond.  Thus, the sustaining flexibility of the WSC in cooperation with the World YWCA is a resource that must be prepared to respond.

As you review the Centennial Booklet with this link keep in mind the importance of our global movement and consider making a generous donation to the World Service Council so it can continue to be a supportive arm with a long reach.

WSC Launches Next Century of Service

Members of the World Service Council, YWCA USA and World YWCA members and guests came together virtually for the 101st meeting of the Council Oct. 22, 2021 to kick off our next century of service. Calling on all generations of visionaries, the event aspired to re-imagine a more equitable world for women and girls.

Keynoting the event was Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, who just stepped down as Executive Director of UN Women where she has served since 2013. Considered one of our own, Phumzile was Youth Director at the World YWCA from 1983 to 1989 during which time she focused on job creation for young women and promoted development education in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. In her address Phumzile spoke about the illusion of equality that some women in the world might have while ignoring the numbers that accurately dispute that fact. She emphasized that while women and girls continue to make progress they have not come far enough. Representation of women leaders is a problem with only 24% percent as global leaders politically and only 10% leading in the private sector. She added that not only did the pandemic disproportionately affect women negatively citing increased gender-based violence and lost income, but women are under-represented in fixing what occurred during the pandemic. Digital literacy and limited access to virtual platforms created enormous lost revenue for women. It is time for intergenerational leaders across the world to join together to address these issues and the YWCA has always been a foundational model for putting women in spaces where they are heard.

Attendees also heard updates from World YWCA General Secretary Casey Harden, and YWCA USA National Board President Tina Herrera on their plans moving forward in these challenging times. Casey assured all that the World YWCA was able to quickly transition to a virtual model during the pandemic with new ways of sharing and communicating. She stated that the World YWCA is not static but is “humming and moving,” and she thanked the World Service Council for its efforts to support the YWCA in having a safe space leadership model and for supporting its ground work.

In addition, perspectives were shared on a foundation from which to build by former World General Secretary Musimbi Kanyoro who served in that role for eight years, World YWCA President Mira Rizeq, a longtime General Secretary of YWCA Palestine, plus Muna Killingback, one of the first interns to serve at the World YWCA.

To get a younger perspective we explored how to strategize on what lies ahead for women and girls with a panel of young women featuring Annie Priyanka Kumar from YWCA Secunderabad and Hannah Athaliah James from YWCA Papua New Guinea. Musimibi joined the panel as well and Muna moderated asking insightful questions. Discussed were challenges in how to transform power structures, eliminating privilege in decision-making instances, gaining financial independence, overcoming western patriarchal norms that came with colonization and elevating voices outside of political structures. It was noted that the World YWCA had the foresight to always lead the world on issues that barred women from equal status – all members having an equal number of votes at the table, addressing child care spaces for women, and denying privilege and promoting inclusion in all its policies.

A highlight of the meeting included honoring exceptional past Chairs of World Service Council, Joyce Mims and Connie Tate. These women have been true leaders whose devotion and dedication to the work of the Council has maintained the international support that began a century ago while reinforcing the strong bond between the YWCA USA and the World YWCA.

In addition, Dr. Wanda Hendricks, who attended the 2018 World Service Council Annual Meeting, spoke about her book, The Life of Madie Hall Xuma:  Black Women’s Global Activism During Jim Crow and Apartheid, which is about to be released. The book follows Madie Hall from her YWCA experiences in the USA to her marriage to Dr. Alfred B. Xuma and her move to South Africa, where she was involved with starting YWCA groups in villages. It continues with her role on the World YWCA Executive Committee, plus international leadership roles on women’s rights, etc. More information can be found on the Illinois press website 

This event, guided by current World Service Co-chairs Elaine Carlson and Mildred Morrison, was a true celebration of the work we’ve done during our first century while we ardently explored new ideas and actions for the century ahead. View the presentation below.

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"We must accept the fact that things are different there is a higher need to give young women equal access to technology however, the occupation in Palestine remains the biggest issue for this & all sorts of restrictions. " Tamar Haddad Author & Gender, Manager at ELCJHListen to #YW4A conversation on Conflict, SGBV and Technology: Learnings from Young Women in Gaza.📺Watch the recording 👉 ... See MoreSee Less
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On #InternationalWomensDay, we are celebrating Casey Harden, General Secretary of World YWCA. Learn how Casey has been a champion for women and girls through her service to YWCA at the local, national, and international level: #WomensHistoryMonth #WHM2023 #IWD2023 ... See MoreSee Less
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