Between 13th and 24th March 2017, the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) participated in the sixty first session of the CSW in New York City organized by the United Nations. The purpose of the sixty first session was to discuss progress in women’s enjoyment of their rights in the political, economic and social fields and agree on further actions that can be implemented to accelerate gender equality and women’s empowerment across the world. The session was also convened to discuss progress and gaps in implementation of the 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the key global policy document of gender equality.
The session was attended by representatives of UN Member States, Civil Society Organizations and UN entities. The delegation from Uganda included the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development, Civil Society Organizations and the Equal Opportunities Commission. The Equal Opportunities Commission was represented by the Chairperson – Mrs. Sylvia Muwebwa Ntambi and Ms. Zaminah Malole – Member of the Commission. The Chairperson was part of the Uganda delegation which organized the event.
The session involved general discussions on review of the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action and sharing of experiences and good practice on its implementation, an interactive dialogue on the empowerment of indigenous women, a dialogue on the challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals for girls and women. The session also included high level interactive dialogues among Ministers on Gender pay gaps in the public and private sectors, policies which can be used to effectively support women’s economic empowerment, how technology and innovation can be harnessed to accelerate women’s economic empowerment among others.
Hon. Janat Mukwaya – Minister for Gender, Labour and Social Development presented a document on data use for the National Gender Equality machineries and the key challenges in accessing data for monitoring the implementation of the 2030 agenda at national level.
The Equal Opportunities Commission presented a document on building alliances towards the economic empowerment of women. This was presented by Mrs. Sylvia Muwebwa Ntambi in which she articulated Uganda’s experience on how alliances can be used to promote women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work. Mrs. Ntambi took participants through the guiding principles to building alliances among which include addressing issues that impede women’s economic participation, prompting women entrepreneurship and promoting equal access to decent work. For these to be accomplished, Mrs. Ntambi explained that strategies are implemented some of which include addressing legal, regulatory and policy barriers to ensure there are no forms of discrimination that hinder women economic empowerment, promotion of Gender inclusive economic development through adopting gender inclusive programs and projects and many others. Mrs. Ntambi cited an example of the Energy for Rural transformation project which adopted gender inclusive targets like increasing the number of solar operated health centers to facilitate women delivery in rural areas.
Another strategy used to promote women empowerment is signing of declarations between institutions to create more equitable conditions for men and women in the work place. For example, a declaration signed between the Private Sector Foundation Uganda and UNDP in 2016 in which the Private Sector pledged to adopt the Gender Equality Seal Certification Programme for Public and Private Enterprises – a model pioneered by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Following each discussion, recommendations were made on the best approaches that can be used to accelerate women empowerment. Outcomes and implementation of each session are later forwarded to ECOSOC for follow up.
In closure of the event, the Ugandan delegation had a cocktail at the New York Uganda Mission
The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is the Principal Intergovernmental Body exclusively dedicated to documenting the reality of women’s rights, promoting gender equality and the empowerment of Women throughout the world. CSW is a functional Commission of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) which was established by Council Resolution 11 (2) of 21st June 1946.