The 59th CSW general debate took place on March 9, 2015. Member states delivered their statements on the progress of protecting women’s rights on the state and international levels. The statements aimed to present the successes and challenges in state efforts related to social protection of women. Officials acknowledged the civil society for its contribution to the preparation of the meeting and commanded UN Women for its relentless work in the realm of women empowerment.
State representatives emphasized the importance of strengthening the autonomy of women worldwide and re-affirmed their strong commitment to the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. Delegates agreed that despite the improvements in this context, the progress has been too slow and uneven. In addition, violation of the rights of women and girls remained a too frequent occurrence.
Overall, the participants of the debate underlined that the full realization of women’s rights should be realized through a range of vital initiatives. They are, but not limited to, the support of productive labor markets, strengthening of peace and security, enabling women to be masters of their sexuality and reproductive health, guaranteeing inclusive economic growth, breaking the cycle of poverty in households, focusing on gender parity, and designing more targeted polices in all areas of development. The reform of policy and legal instruments gained a particular focus throughout the debate.
Importantly, member states agreed that cultural relativism could not be tolerated in the face of violence. In order to create a more socially just society, it is essential to combat the current mindset in cultures for the benefit of the marginalized population. The most vulnerable, disenfranchised and marginalized women should be recognized and protected. More affirmative action should be taken to make sure that women have greater access to all social benefits provided by states. Capacity building of women’s organizations is of great significance. All the SDGs should contain a gender perspective. Every single goal should have a meaningful gender indicator.
Finally, states underlined that investing in women and girls paid off. Therefore, as we are about to embark of the post-2015 development agenda, it is unacceptable that the dreams of equality continue to be mere aspirations for millions of women around the world. If we want to build the future we want, it is imperative that gender equality serves as a pre-requisite for socially just development. Strong political commitment and collaborative efforts are necessary for realizing this aspiration.