Finding the International Women's Movement at CSW (Side Events)

By Kyla Bender-Baird

I have to admit I didn’t make it to many CSW (Commission on the Status of Women) events this year. I had the best intentions of getting the UN at least once and attending a couple of side events. Of course I made it to the side event NCRW hosted with The Opportunity Agenda, the Human Rights Project of the Urban Justice Center, and the Center for Global Women’s Leadership.  Other than that, the only event I made it to was the Center for Global Women’s Leadership (CWGL) 20th Anniversary Symposium. It was definitely worth it. The conference was packed with scholars and activists from around the world—both on stage and in the audience. I felt like I had re-discovered the international women’s movement right there in the auditorium at Hunter College. If you weren’t able to make it, CWGL has kindly posted podcasts of the panels, “featuring prominent feminist speakers from the global women’s movement reflecting on body, economy, and movement.” They’re well worth the listen!

Also, Margot Baruch and Keely Swan, CWGL staff members, wrote up a great piece about their experiences attending CSW this year. As they write,

“While we did not attend the 1995 Beijing Fourth World Conference on Women, as we were just children in elementary school at the time, we have benefited from the long-lasting impact that the BPfA [Beijing Platform for Action] has had on civil society and governments.”

These young women offer a critical insight into this annual gathering of women from across the world. While they were excited by the networking and shared strategizing and all the buzz around the new UN gender entity, Margot and Keely expressed frustration with the lack of physical space to accommodate the nearly 8,000 women and men who travelled to NYC for this meeting. Along with their commentary, Margot and Keely offer recommendations including, 

"that women’s human rights organizations bring in new voices and reconfigure their current models of leadership to include more youth from diverse backgrounds such as LGBT youth and young women of color to enable the women’s movement to grow stronger and become more dynamic."

To read, “Reflecting on Our Spaces at CSW,” click here. If you were able to attend any part of the CSW, please leave a comment discussing your experience and what you walked away with.

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