Reflections from CSW68

Reflections from csw68

Last month Yusra Ahmed, Rajaa Berry, Aysha Dawood, Sarah Johnson, Rachel Morrison, Keziah Oduro, Fayez Sahak (virtually) and Laura Stella attended the 68th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW68) as OCIC delegates to the United Nations in New York City alongside OCIC staff Shehara Athukorala, Pragya Tikku and Kimberly Gibbons.

Our week began with the opportunity to meet with other delegates from Canada at a session led by Senator Marilou McPhedran on navigating CSW effectively, and at a reception hosted by the Permanent Mission of Canada to the UN, and the Honourable Marci Ien, Minister for Women and Gender Equality. In the following three days we attended sessions focused on Feminist Foreign Policy, Women, Peace, and Security, voices of Indigenous women and girls, SRHR, LGBTQI+ Rights, women in decision-making, strategies for engaging men in combating Sexual and Gender-Based Violence, gender-responsive financial literacy initiatives across the globe, and more.  

Throughout and following CSW our delegates shared these (and many other) reflections:

“CSW68 allowed me to connect with fellow youth delegates for meaningful exchanges and strengthened collective resolve to advocate for gender equality and women’s empowerment… leaving me feel inspired and reaffirming my commitment to contributing to a more equitable future.” – Yusra Ahmed

“I am deeply grateful for the chance to both learn from and contribute to vital conversation at CSW68… Being surrounded by such dedicated individuals amplified the impact of our collective efforts towards a more equitable world.”- Laura Stella

“I am grateful for this opportunity to be a part of a global conversation on gender equality, surrounded by amazing female leaders and advocates.”- Sarah Johnson

“I’m noticing a real drive to amplify the voices of youth, the future leaders, such that today’s makers are able to create a world which works for all. This left me optimistic for seeing what kind of true change we can create when we collaborate intergenerationally, respecting the unique contributions of everyone – at CSW and beyond.”- Rachel Morrison

“I had the privilege of joining LBTI activists to discuss research and advocacy priorities ahead of CSW69 and Beijing+30. This experience underscored the importance of relationship-building for data collection. I am committed to bringing these lessons back to my community… The biggest lesson learned is that these opportunities are not just what we make of them but how we mobilize them into action.”- Keziah Oduro

A key highlight for OCIC was co-hosting an official side event focused on ‘Achieving Women’s Economic Empowerment: Innovative Models to Addressing Unpaid Care Work’ with World Renew, Act Alliance, UN Women, the Government of Canada and the Government of Senegal at the Permanent Mission of Senegal to the United Nations. 

The event highlighted the impact of community development institutions as a force behind gender-transformative social and economic development and justice; shared best practices and lessons from grassroots-led initiatives supporting gender-transformative approaches; and promoted women’s access to social protection systems, childcare, and sustainable infrastructure. Rachel Morrison, one of five YPH co-authors of “Youth Voices for Gender Equality: The Needs and Opinions of Ontarian Youth Regarding Poverty, Institutions and Financing’, provided concluding remarks for the event, drawing links between the welcoming remarks and panelists with the perspectives of youth in Ontario. 

Stay tuned for more from our delegates, OCIC and our partners in the weeks and months to come.