This year, the United Nations (UN) hosted the 67th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). The CSW is the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women. 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. Eraj Waqar was a member of YWCA Canada’s delegation to the CSW. We asked Eraj to share her reflections on her experience.
My name is Eraj Waqar, and I recently attended the sixty-seventh session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW67) in New York. As a member of the YWCA Canada’s Young Women’s Leadership & Engagement Committee, attending this event was an incredible opportunity to expand my knowledge and advocacy for gender equality.
As someone who is passionate about the Sustainable Development Goals, I was excited to explore this year’s priority theme of “Innovation and technological change, and education in the digital age for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls”. The sessions highlighted opportunities, challenges, and areas for improvement needed to ensure that we move forward in this digital age without leaving anyone behind.
I attended various sessions throughout the week, including the United Nations Observance of International Women’s Day 2023, held on March 8 at the General Assembly Hall. Panel discussions emphasized creating inclusive and safe spaces for all women and girls and providing them with the right resources and access to technology without any social and gender norms and prejudice. From the opening statement, which started a message that “digital rights are women’s rights,” I learned about the importance of expanding access to the internet, increasing women’s participation in STEM, promoting digital literacy, implementing policy intervention, advocating for internet safety, and the need for the government and private sector to collaborate with women’s rights organizations to tackle technology issues.
YWCA Canada has given me great opportunities to contribute my skills and experiences to action-oriented spaces and exchange ideas and information to keep the feminist movement moving forward. I was able to network with other youth and be inspired by leaders. I would like to thank YWCA Canada for their leadership and support, which made it possible for me to be a part of this great opportunity.
As a young Muslim Pakistani – Canadian woman, I know firsthand the importance of sharing the voices of young people, particularly marginalized women and girls. Advocating for and ensuring the full and effective participation of all women at all levels, both nationally and globally, is crucial in making a difference. To achieve gender equality, we must continue to work together and understand how to implement best practices to effectively design programs and initiatives that impact different women, men and gender-diverse people. Attending CSW67 was an incredible opportunity that inspired me to continue advocating for gender equality and sustainable development goals. I can’t wait to see where this journey takes me next.