The 62nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) concluded March 23rd after a long week of negotiations. The CSW is the principal global intergovernmental body dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women. Observers claim it was one of the most successful commissions in recent years, in terms of process and outcome. This session focused on the challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls, a population all too often disregarded and amongst those most left behind.
“It is proving increasingly difficult to discuss sexual and reproductive health and rights in UN texts. Sexual orientation, gender identity and sexuality education are also particularly hard to address. These concepts are seen as a threat to so-called ‘traditional family values’, Senator and Prof. Dr. Petra De Sutter explained. “Family is understood as a unit with a male breadwinner and the woman in the role of house wife”.
An important win for women’s rights activists at the 61st session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women as the Commission recognized sexual and reproductive health and rights as human rights of women, “that include their right to have control over and decide freely and responsibly on all matters related to their sexuality, including sexual and reproductive health, free of coercion, discrimination and violence, as a contribution to the fulfilment of their economic rights, independence and empowerment”.