The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women. A functional commission of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), it was established by Council resolution 11(II) of 21 June 1946.
It was that time of year again for thousands of women, activists, governments and organisations to congregate at the CSW63 event in New york. Every year for two weeks many human rights and governmental bodies meet to discuss the state of women around the world. This year WREPA had the opportunity to partner up with Rozaria Memorial Trust during the second launch of their 'NhangaBinti" space. The space was originally launched during the CSW62 event in 2018 with huge success and saw young women leaders from Africa innovating with culture to advance women's rights. The space has become a hub alongside the main CSW proceedings were young women can experience truthful, organic and intergenerational discussions centred on 5 key themes, health, technology, education and SRHR.
One of the main and present issues that emerged was the denial of visas for many young women and girls, some of whom were approved to speak on several panels during the vast number of side events offered. This issue received much recognition as delegates continued to question why an event designed to create open discussions on women's rights is being held in United States of America which is undergoing a massive retaliation towards immigrants and refugees.
The Nhanga Binti space had one week of events and discussions planned, the space saw attendance from Phumzile Mlambo Ngucka- Deputy director of UN Women, Princess Mabel of Orange-Nassau, Netherlands, many Ministers from the government of Zimbabwe, the First Ladies from Kenya, as well as Zanele Mbeki, former first lady of South Africa and founder of Women's development Bank.
Some of the main points that came out of events include:
Lucia, the young women denied a visa to attend the CSW, from Zimbabwe shared a key point that she wants her country Zimbabwe to create space for young people to engage and also wants it to be possible for young women to look to the system to provide justice and receive public services. This is an issue not only in Zimbabwe but in many other african countries
Cannot look to the UN to create solutions for problems on the continent, there is a need to identify and create innovative ways to support women and girls from within our own countries in Africa.
As we embrace a more technological world, a shift is needed in Africa where we move from just learning and using technology towards better access, owning, creating and producing our own technology.
The future is African, there is many parts of the continent that are underestimated and left untapped. Africa is rich in resources but the true wealth is in women.
We have to reclaim our mothers kitchens and reclaim our resources, being able to bring Nhangabinti to New York is great but this same concept needs to be implemented in our homes in a way that protects and supports women. We are not rural women, rural does not equal to backwardness, it is the context and environment in which rural is defined. We need to reframe and reshape the conversation from the continents point of view.
Overall, this years CSW event was one of open and honest conversation on the issues women activists, human rights supporters and young women face on a day to day basis. Creating viable and sustainable solutions is what we need to main for as the year goes on.