Oakville Women to Attend United Nations Commission on Status of Women

Oakville Women to Attend United Nations Commission on Status of Women

Cheryl Hayles a member of CFUW Oakville and CFUW VP International Relations, will lead the 20-person delegation of the Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW) to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in New York City taking place from March 13-24, 2017. The CSW is the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women. Attending also from Oakville are Sandy Thompson, VP CFUW Ontario and Teri Shaw, Advocacy Chair, CFUW Ontario Council.

The discussion at this year’s session will primarily focus on:

  1. Women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work
  2. Challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals for women and girls (agreed conclusions of the fifty-eighth session)
  3. The empowerment of indigenous women

Active participation of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) is a critical element in the work of the Commis-sion on the Status of Women (CSW). NGOs have been influential in shaping the current global policy frame-work on women’s empowerment and gender equality: the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. They continue to play an important role in holding international and national leaders accountable for the commit-ments they made in the Platform for Action.

Even in wealthy countries like Canada, women’s economic empowerment, equal pay, affordable child care and access to retraining can be elusive, and women are under-represented in positions of decision making and leadership in the changing world of work. Looking closer at the progress of aboriginal women, women with dis-abilities and racialized women, the picture becomes even more dismal.

In preparation for this session, UN member states were asked to undertake internal assessments of progress in the 17 Sustainable Development Goals identified to reach gender equity by 2030. Across the board, pro-gress has been slow and uneven, some countries are further behind than others. With support of NGO’s such as the Canadian Federation of University Women the urgency of meeting these goals motivates delegates to advocate for countries like Canada to take the lead in committing to accelerating progress for women and girls in all 17 Goals.

“Attendance at UNCSW61 is a wonderful opportunity to meet women from around the world, discuss matters of common concern, and bring back information and new perspectives on issues that affect women and girls to our local community”, says Cheryl Hayles, educator and community leader in Halton Region for the past 26 years.

As an NGO having Consultative Status with the United Nations, the CFUW delegation will actively participate in discussions at CSW61. It is hoped that States will reach agreement on how developed and developing coun-tries can work together to accelerate progress to ensure gender equality and women’s empowerment remain central to the post 2016 SDG agenda as a standalone goal and Intersectional theme.

CFUW is a non-partisan, voluntary, self-funded organization with over 100 CFUW Clubs, located in every prov-ince across Canada. Since its founding in 1919, CFUW has been working to improve the status of women, and to promote human rights, public education, social justice, and peace.


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