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CSW 2018: Rutgers calls for strong agreements for all women and girls

The 62nd Commission on the Status of Women is about to start at the United Nations in New York. Member state delegates will come together at this annual conference to evaluate the progress made regarding women’s rights and gender equality, to identify challenges, to agree on global norms and to formulate specific policies to promote gender equality and the position of women across the globe.

Opportunities and challenges for rural women and girls

Each year the conference focusses on a main theme. This time the participants will discuss rural women and girls. Often, they experience different barriers accessing their sexual and reproductive rights and health. For example in education. According to IPPF, just 39% of rural girls go to school (compared to 59% in cities) and many miss out on comprehensive sexuality education because of this.

Read more about our priorities for rural women and girls at CSW.

Strong agreements about sexual and reproductive health in the agreed text

This is just one of the challenges the delegates will discuss during their ten days in New York. At the end, they need to come to an understanding on the final wording of the agreement. NGOs have the opportunity to influence this process, by working together in national coalitions and submitting suggestions for the final text, the so called ‘agreed conclusions’.

We call for recognition of the sexual and reproductive rights of women and girls in rural areas and strong agreements to improve the situation. Because women’s rights are human rights, and human rights are universal.

‘All women and girls’ really means ALL

We live in a divided world and experience shows it’s hard to reach real agreements that help women and girls. There is a lot of debating about the final wording. Sometimes it feels like hours are spent discussing minor edits or futilities, just to have sexual and reproductive rights included.

For Rutgers it’s important that all women and girls are taken into account and that their rights are acknowledged. That includes lesbian women, sex workers, girls experiencing their periods for the first time, et cetera. When we add the word ‘all’ to the text, we really mean ALL women and girls. This may seem obvious, but we can expect resistance from countries like the USA, Russia and the Vatican City. It promises to be a fierce debate.

The CSW takes place 12 to 23 March 2018 at UN Headquarters in New York.

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