Commission on the Status of Women [CSW]

By : Neha Dhyani

Updated : Apr 27, 2022, 7:29

No matter your age, gender, and sexuality, everyone is entitled to equal treatment. However, even though we have entered the 21st century, providing gender equality continues to be a mammoth challenge, and girls and women are still the most marginalized groups worldwide. To bridge the gap between the theory and the social reality of women globally, the United Nations (UN) initiated the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW).

Established on 21st June 1946, the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is a global intergovernmental body currently operational under the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). The Commission works with the primary objectives of improving gender equality and women empowerment worldwide. The CSW works closely with women and has been highly influential in encouraging women and shaping their global standards.

Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) History

The 11th ECOSOC resolution established the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) or CSW. The Commission aimed to ensure that girls and women's rights are rightfully met regardless of nationality. In 1996, the 1996/6 resolution of the ECOSOC expanded the Commission. Through this expansion, it was decided that the Commission would be prominent in monitoring and reviewing progress achieved by the Commission.

The 1995 Declaration and Platform for Action held in Beijing highlighted various issues concerning the gaps in the implementation of this declaration. Thus, the 23rd General special session held in Beijing discussed emerging issues regarding gender equality and ways to accelerate this process of the global empowerment of women.

The UN representatives and advocates of women's rights and empowerment annually gather at UN NY headquarter for the annual two-week session.

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How the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) works?

The CSW or the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is committed to accelerating the implementation of gender equality and women empowerment. To ensure that the outlined targets are achieved, consistent follow-ups are done. As per the 2015/6 ECOSOC resolution, the current methodological approach of CSW involves:

  1. Interactive panel discussion and dialogue to mainstream gender equality across policies and other programs.
  2. Strengthen pollical commitment to the realization of gender equality and women empowerment.
  3. Efforts to bridge the gaps between the discussions and practices by identifying and following up on the goals.
  4. Focusing on the one-priority theme.
  5. Celebrating International Women's Day whenever the session falls around 8th March.
  6. Enhance gender perspectives in works concerning political and intergovernmental issues.
  7. Adopting unanimously agreed resolutions to promote gender equality and women empowerment.

The new multi-year program has already been highlighted in the 2021-24 three-year plan of the 2020/15 ECOSOC resolution.

Gender equality is not primarily concerned with women. But it entails the fundamental human rights issue. Denying girls and women the equal treatment they deserve is unfair and unethical. Despite this realization, girls and women continue to be marginalized and poorly treated across the globe. To achieve empowerment of girls and women and gender equality, the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) has designed multiple effective decisions to ensure this marginalized group's rights are not compromised.

The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) was established on 21st June 1946 to promote and monitor political, economic, civil, and social issues of women.

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Role of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW)

Each year, representatives of Member States gather at United Nations Headquarters in New York to assess progress on gender equality, identify challenges, and develop global standards and specific strategies for the betterment of gender equality and empowering women around the world.

United Nations agencies are active in their role in including women in development approaches, programs, and meetings. Women participate in preparatory meetings, develop strategies, hold caucuses, network on various agenda items being negotiated by multiple committees, and serve as informed lobbyists themselves at meetings.

For example, NGOs are also allowed to attend CSW meetings, participate in caucuses and panel discussions, and organize their parallel events through the NGO Council on the Status of Women in New York (NGO CSW/NY). This is especially important for a disputed territory like Taiwan, which is not a member of the United Nations. In recent years, NGOs from Taiwan, such as the National Union of Taiwanese Women's Associations, have been able to participate in CSW conferences.

Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) - Members and Representatives

The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) consists of one representative from each of the 45 member countries elected by the Economic and Social Council based on equitable geographical distribution: 13 from Africa; 11 from Asia; 9 from Latin America and the Caribbean; 8 from Western and Other States, and 8 from Eastern Europe 4.

All the members serve a four-year term.

Original Members of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW)

The first session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) (1947) had 15 members in attendance, all women:

  • Evdokia Uralova, Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic
  • Zee Yuh-Tsung, China (at the time the Republic)
  • Elizavieta Alekseevna Popova, Soviet Union
  • Graciela Morales F. de Echeverria, Costa Rica
  • Bodil Begtrup, Denmark
  • Marie-Hélène Lefaucheux, France
  • Shareefah Hamid Ali, India
  • Sara Basterrechea Ramirez, Guatemala
  • Amalia C. de Castillo Ledón, Mexico
  • Alice Kandalft Cosma, Syria
  • Mihri Pektaş, Turkey
  • Mary Sutherland, United Kingdom
  • Dorothy Kenyon, US
  • Jessie Mary Grey Street, Australia
  • Isabel de Urdaneta, Venezuela

Each session of the CSW sets a priority theme to make a bigger impact on society as the host of the world's biggest gathering on women's rights. Their prime focus is making the world a better place for both genders and abolishing oppression.

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FAQs on the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW)

Q.1) What is the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) or CSW?

The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is a global intergovernmental body currently operational under the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), aiming to improve gender equality and women empowerment worldwide.

Q.2) When was the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) established?

The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) was established on 21st June 1946.

Q.3) Which resolution established the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW)?

The 11th ECOSOC resolution established the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) or CSW.

Q.4) Where is the headquarters of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW)?

The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) annually meets at the UN New York headquarters to discuss women's rights and empowerment.

Q.5) Is participation in the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) limited to countries?

No, the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is one of the committees of the United Nations, and its participation is not limited to countries.

Q.6) How many members are there in the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW)?

The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) consists of one representative from each of the 45 member countries elected by the Economic and Social Council based on equitable geographical distribution.

Q.7) What is the contribution of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW)?

Over the years, the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) has played a remarkable role in monitoring and evaluating gender equality through research and public education.