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    Civil Society are UN Women's "Existential Partners"

    Lopa Banerjee, Chief of the Civil Society Section of UN Women, spoke on March 13 at an NGO Morning Briefing at CSW62. She was eloquent and energetic as usual. She said that "Civil Society Organizations are our existential partners, the constituency for accountability."

    If we don’t take actions to empower rural women and girls, they will be left behind. By age 4, a girl who lives in a rural area is already working with her mother doing both paid and unpaid work. She will likely be forced into an early marriage and suffer complications of pregnancy because she is too young. She is likely to experience violence, and not likely to go to school. She will have no access to technology or organizations of allies to support any effort to change her situation. She will be locked in a vicious cycle. 

    CSW is a standard-setting body, making recommendations for policies and programs, and calling for action and implementation.

    Women’s claims will not be silenced. This is a #MeToo moment all over the world: we have seen women mobilize to take unprecendented action in Turkey, Hungary, the Pacific, Latin America. There is enormous energy for change. 

    Also on the agenda this year are preparations leading up to several important 2020 anniversaries: Beijing 25 and UN Women 10 years, SCR 1325 on Women Peace and Security 20 years, and the SDGs 5 years.    

    During the Q&A, Ms. Banerjee was asked about the issue of women who wanted to come to CSW whose visas were denied. We need to hear their voices but they are being silenced, kept out. Femnet and CIVICUS are working on a campaign to formally protest, gathering names of people whose visas were denied or who were detained at the airport. We have received some cooperation from the US Mission, and we are moving forward to discuss this with the US Mission, the CSW Bureau and the UN.


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