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From New Scotland to New York for the 67th UNCSW

Published on 31/05/2023 by Jenny MacNeil 

In March 2023, the United Nations hosted the 67th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW). Bringing Member States, non-governmental agencies, policy makers, and various other delegates together, UNCSW is dedicated to promoting progress towards gender equality through innovation and technological change. Jenny MacNeil was a proud member of YWCA Canada’s delegation this year. We asked Jenny to share reflections on her experience.  


Still revelling in the opportunity to have been a part of YWCA Canada’s delegation to attend the 67th United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW) in New York City. As a young woman working in the not-for-profit sector, this was an empowering event to attend, learn, network, engage in and experience the UN processes. I was inspired by the diverse and passionate women I met and the knowledge I gained from their global perspectives. 

My first day at the UN headquarters began outside the security gates awaiting the rising of nearly 200 flags of Member States. As I stood there in awe anticipating all flags to rise together, the flags began to rise, but not in unison. One-by-one the flags rose; one flag at a time, one nation at a time.   

Attending the UNCSW was an opportunity for me to build my knowledge in global gender equality issues and to understand the challenges women face as innovation and digital technologies permeate everyday lives. I was able to attend panel discussions on “Innovation and technological change, and education in the digital age for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls”. Events I attended focused on women’s sexual and reproductive health, educational empowerment, impacts of conflict, and so much more. These discussions built upon the ways in which I can contribute to promoting gender equality and social justice in my own community  

The UNCSW was an opportunity to meet and build networks with other attendees through shared experiences and working towards common goals. It was inspiring to share space with representatives from YWCAs across the globe and to see their passion and commitment to the YWCA mission. An impactful reminder of the true reach of the YWCA and its global movement.   

From attending opening remarks by the Secretary General of the UN to the International Women’s Day ceremony, this experience was a powerful reminder of the progress that women have made and the work that has yet to be done.  

Following the UNCSW, I had two key takeaways: the importance of intersectionality in promoting gender equality, and young people’s crucial position in advancing this work. The conference emphasised the need for an intersectional approach to ensure voices of marginalized women and gender diverse populations are amplified and included in decision-making processes. Promoting the inclusion of young people, opportunities to share experiences, engage in discussion, and network were provided. 

I gained valuable knowledge, insights, and connections that will guide my future work towards promoting gender equality and social justice. The conference also reinvigorated my role in the YWCA movement to better the lives of women and gender diverse populations. Often, my work can feel limited to its impact on the lives of individuals in my community, but I am proud to be a part of this movement working towards a more just and equitable world for all; even if it’s 1 by 1 like those flags. 


Continue to follow Jenny’s journey on LinkedIn. 


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