UN Committee on the Status of Women

BPW International is an active participant at the annual Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations in New York where we take the views of our members to the highest level.

The principal output of the Commission on the Status of Women is the agreed conclusions on priority themes set for each year. Agreed conclusions contain an assessment of progress, gaps and challenges. In particular, they contain a set of concrete recommendations for action by Governments, intergovernmental bodies, civil society actors and other relevant stakeholders, to be implemented at the international, national, regional and local level.

In addition to the agreed conclusions, the Commission also adopts resolutions on a range of issues, including the situation of and assistance to Palestinian women, women and the girl child, and HIV and AIDS.The annual report of the Commission is submitted to the Economic and Social Council for adoption.

National governments are required to regularly report to the United Nations on their compliance with various UN Conventions that they have signed. Most UN Conventions have an optional protocol which is what they are measured against. Australia has signed the Convention for the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women and its Optional Protocol and the federal Office for Women is required to report on our compliance with these to a UN Committee every 4 years. 

As an ECOSOC-accredited NGO, BPW International has official representatives who attend the meeting, and we deliver events during the associated Non-Government Organisations Forum held concurrently with CSW.

Commission on the Status of Women 68th Session 2024

The 2024 CSW theme was accelerating the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls by addressing poverty and strengthening institutions and financing with a gender perspective.

Four BPWA members actively participated in New York: 

Carol Hanlon, a BPW Western Australia member and Founder/CEO of the Belmont Business Enterprise Centre and the BPW Business Incubator, regularly organised sessions at the CSW Forum in New York and involved BPW Australia members. Carol presented at the NGO CSW68 Forum on ‘Economic Empowerment of Women Entrepreneurs, Gender Equality, and Sustainable Development Goals’. 

Deggi Altangerel, President of BPW Belmont presented on the intersectional impact on women, employment, and career opportunities and strategies for equity and inclusion in workplaces and in decision-making. Sweta Gupta presented on behalf of Sudan. 

Carole Shaw was involved in the BPWI Leaders' Summit run annually in New York prior to CSW each year.  As well as being a BPW member, Carole is the CEO of Asia Pacific Women’s Watch (APWW) for the United Nations. APWW is the organisation that hosts the Asia Pacific NGO CSW events and caucuses in New York. 

Sweta Gupta, President of BPW Strathfield, attended the Commission on the Status of Women in New York in 2024.  Sweta reports that this experience significantly transformed herperspective on women's issues globally. It deepened her understanding of the United Nations and CSW's working format, the role of General Assembly discussions, the importance of side and parallel events, and the role of NGOs in these processes.  Witnessing the power and significance of a collective voice firsthand and gaining insights into various global issues was enlightening.  

Sweta also reports on her experience at the BPWI Leaders’ Summit.

Commission on the Status of Women 62nd Session 2018

In 2018 the Australian government submitted its report detailing how Australia had met its obligations under CEDAW - you can find the 2018 government report here. In addition to the government report, lots of women's organisations get together and prepare a detailed shadow report which includes data and recommendations on many areas not necessarily covered in the government report. Here you can find the 2018 shadow report. 

Commission on the Status of Women 61st Session 2017

CSW61 Theme: Women's economic empowerment in the changing world of work

The draft Agreed Conclusions issued 25 March 2017 reaffirmed the Beijing Platform for Action and the declarations of previous World Conferences on Women and reiterated the importance to the world’s women of underpinning Conventions and Protocols including the Convention for the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women and the Sustainable Development Goals.

The Agreed Conclusions recognise the structural barriers to women's economic empowerment and workplace engagement, and the impacts of: discrimination and gender inequalities; the feminisation of poverty; economic, financial and humanitarian crises; and dislocations, conflicts and disasters.  They recognise that women undertake a disproportionate share of family care duties and the need to engage men and boys as agents of change in addressing gender inequalities, and strongly condemn violence against women.

CSW61 focussed on concerns about the gender pay gap, occupational segregation, unequal working conditions and casual and inflexible work arrangements, and recognised the need for and value of investing in the advancement of women and girls.

The Commission on the Status of Women urged governments, the private sector and civil society to take a series of actions to address the identified challenges, focussed on 7 key aspects:

1.     Strengthening normative and legal frameworks
2.     Strengthening education, training and development
3.     Implementing economic and social policies for women's economic empowerment
4.     Addressing the growing informality of work and mobility of women workers
5.     Managing technological and digital change for women's empowerment
6.     Strengthening women's collective voice, leadership and decision-making
7.     Strengthening private sector role in women's economic empowerment

The key actions are detailed in the Full Report 

Dr Anu Mundkur, then Associate Director of the Gender Consortium at Flinders University, was selected to join the Australian government delegation to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women held in New York in March 2017.  BPW International conducts successful consultations, trainings and side events during the annual Commission on the Status of Women and seeks to influence the outcomes document.  Over recent years, a number of BPW Australia members have attended CSW in New York and contributed to the work of BPW International at this level. On 24 May 2017 Anu presented the symposium Reflections on the UN Commission on the Status of Women.  Link to the video: http://video.flinders.edu.au/events/ReflectionsOnTheUnitedNations_24May2016.cfm  

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