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Reflections on CSW 57

Even though the document that came out of the Commission on the Status of Women was not perfect (e.g. it did not explicitly defend girls and women from discrimination or violence based on their gender or sexual orientation) it IS a “win” for women. In her blog for a newspaper, Dr. Cheryl Saban wrote “When you contemplate what it really takes to get consensus on a …document at the UN that places accountability squarely on its 193 member states to ‘do it right, or we will call you out publically,’ just close your eyes and imagine [your national legislative body] trying to pass a bill. Now think about them doing it while they are all speaking different languages…and attempting to accomplish this mission in two weeks’ time.”  She said she was not sure the public has a sense of how complicated this whole process was…indeed, how complicated everything is at the UN!

As you read in the last Update, the topic of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) this year was on Violence Against Women and Girls. Who could disagree with ending that? The loudest disagreements came from conservative Muslim countries; at one point the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood said that adopting a proposal about equality in marriage and other human rights for women would result in “the complete disintegration of Egyptian society,” and an imam declared a fatwa. Egyptian women erupted into protests, and the strong women and men at the conference–determined to work through the problems of culture, language, and politics–worked through every word to finish an 18 page document that could be adopted by all 193 countries. Libya was the only country that did not approve, but did not block it.