65th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW65 2021)

2021: Priority theme: Women’s full and effective participation and decision-making in public life, as well as the elimination of violence, for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.

The 65 session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW65 2021) took place from 15 to 26 March, 2021.The CSW session occurs annually. Due to COVID-19 pandemic, the CSW65 2021 session will take place in a hybrid format, most of them being virtual meetings. 

The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is the main global intergovernmental body fully dedicated to promote of gender equality and the empowerment of women.

It was established by UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)  resolution 11(II) of 21 June 1946. It is composed of one representative from each of fifteen members of the United Nations selected by the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

The commission was established to promote women’s rights in political, economic social and educational fields. The commission also makes recommendations to the council on urgent problems requiring immediate attention on the field of women’s rights. The CSW is instrumental in promoting women’s rights, documenting the reality of women’s lives throughout the world, and shaping global standards on gender equality and the empowerment of women.

In 1996, ECOSOC in resolution 1996/6 expanded the Commission’s mandate and decided that it should take a leading role in monitoring and reviewing progress and problems in the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, and in mainstreaming a gender perspective in UN activities.

At the formal side event of the CSW65, it was discussed that the contraction of public spaces, worsened by the Covid-19 pandemic has disparately impacted sex workers worldwide. The session highlighted the importance of sex workers’ full and meaningful participation and decision-making in public life and considered laws, policies and practices that either enhance or hinder such participation. The session also highlighted the important role that feminist allies, politicians and donors can play in supporting sex workers’ political engagement and amplifying sex workers’ voices.

It was also highlighted that CEDAW Framework should be utilised to protect sex workers rights in Africa.

Lala Maty Sow who is the president and Co-founder of And Soppeku Association, Senegal and also former sex worker, called for sex workers’ equal participation in decision making.

Lala Maty Sow: President and Co-founder of And Soppeku Association, Senegal

On digital gender gaps and opportunities, there is a need for fostering equal participation and ending violence against sex workers.

It was highlighted that there is a need to mitigate online gender-based violence faced by sex workers in Africa especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It was discussed that recognising sex work as work was overdue and that sex work should be recognized as decent work as it results into making gains toward sex worker’s economic justice.

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