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Advocating for Change: Our Reflections on UNCSW68

Published on 18/04/2024 by YWCA Canada

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In March 2024, YWCA Canada gathered 20 delegates from across the country to champion our mission and values at the 68th United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW). Among them, Jenny Cloutier, Project Manager at YWCA Canada, remarkably represented our movement within the Canadian delegation. UNCSW serves as a vital nexus for connection and knowledge sharing for feminist activists and organizations from across the globe. 

The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) stands as the foremost global intergovernmental body dedicated to advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment. Annually, representatives from United Nations (UN) Member States, civil society organizations, and UN entities convene for a two-week session to review progress and identify gaps in implementing the 1995 Beijing Declaration and the outcomes of the 23rd special session of the General Assembly in 2000. Throughout this period, various side events are held at the United Nations to initiate discussions on the year’s theme. Our delegations engaged in meaningful discussions regarding international politics.  

In addition to the side events, the non-profit organization Commission on the status of women New York (NGO CSW NY) orchestrates a forum that brings together organizations worldwide, sharing their local actions and community impacts through parallel events. It was within this forum that YWCA Canada hosted an event to share insights from the National Emergency Survivor Support (NESS) Fund, with an international audience. Aline Nizigama, CEO of YWCA Canada, moderated a compelling conversation between Jenny Cloutier, YWCA Canada Project Manager and project lead of the NESS Fund, Sydney Piggott, Senior Social Impact Manager at Shopify, and Victoria Kahla, Program Manager for RiseUp! in the Asia-Pacific region at World YWCA. 

Our parallel event was full of representatives from the YWCA movement worldwide, international activists, representatives of multiple organizations, and Canadian officials. This dynamic discussion prompted several attendees to share similar initiatives from their respective countries. Notably, Canadian MPs Leah Taylor Roy and Andréanne Larouche emphasized the significance of projects like the NESS Fund and the importance of women representation in political spheres to drive gender equity in Canada forward. 

During these 5 days, YWCA Canada delegates had the privilege of meeting Canadian officials, including Parliamentary Secretary Lisa Hepfner, Senator Kim Pate, MP Arielle Kayabaga, Canadian Ambassador to the United Nations Robert Rae, Senator Marie-Françoise Mégie, and Senator Amina Gerba. We took the opportunity to share more about the movement and our diverse initiatives across the country. These meetings were incredibly fruitful and set the stage for potential collaborations in the future. 

Stay tuned for our new series of blog posts “YWCA Canada Voices at the UNCSW68” spotlighting the reflections, experiences and recommendations of this year delegates for future delegations! 

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