2019 Commission on the Status of Women now accepting applications


Commission advocates for women’s rights and shapes global standards for gender equality and empowerment

By Scott O’Neill | Presbyterian News Service

Presbyterian delegates attend orientation for the 62nd Commission on the Status of Women (2018). Photo provided

LOUISVILLE – The 63rd Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is scheduled for March 11–22, 2019, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. The event is expected to draw representatives from member states, U.N. entities and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from around the world. Applications are now being accepted and can be accessed on the Presbyterian Ministry at the United Nations (PMUN) web page here.

In prior sessions, the CSW has focused on women and girls’ access to education and full employment, the empowerment of rural women and their role in eradicating poverty and hunger, and violence against women and girls. This year’s theme is “social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.”

The 63rd CSW will also highlight Presbyterian Women’s recent accreditation to the United Nations Economic and Social Council. This accreditation strengthens the partnership between Presbyterian Women (PW) and the PC(USA), and will also enhance Presbyterian visibility at the U.N.

“The Presbyterian delegation will be amplified at this year’s Commission on the Status of Women,” said Ryan Smith, director of PMUN. “Presbyterian Women will have its own accreditation with the Economic and Social Council and can submit their own statements and can bring up to 20 people on their own. We’re excited about this new chapter for PW and are looking forward to partnering with them in new and exciting ways with their independent accreditation. PMUN has been a primary sponsor in the past, but now we’ll be equals.”

Susan Jackson Dowd, executive director of Presbyterian Women Inc., affirmed that the accreditation was a major goal for the organization.

“Presbyterian Women has been promoting and participating in the Commission on the Status of Women for many years. Working for justice and peace is one of the four points of PW’s organizational purpose. Accreditation has been a long-term goal finally met in July 2018. We look forward to continued partnership with PMUN as PW lives into NGO status,” said Dowd.

Smith said that Presbyterians will be able to advocate for social justice issues and learn from women across the world.

The CSW is a functional Commission of the Economic and Social Council of the U.N. and is one of the U.N.’s oldest commissions. It currently consists of 45 members — 13 from Africa, 11 from Asia, nine from Latin America/the Caribbean, eight from western Europe and other nations (including the U.S.), and four from eastern Europe. Member States are elected to four-year terms.

The PMUN, PW and Ecumenical Women, an international coalition of church denominations and ecumenical organizations at the U.N., will give background information to Presbyterian delegates to make sure they are prepared to have their voices heard at the U.N.

“This is a marvelous opportunity for Presbyterians to actually speak into the knowledge we have from our partners around the world,” said Smith. “It provides a chance to learn from the global community and a seat at the table where decisions are made.”

To apply, complete the application by Nov. 1 and submit it to the PMUN at info.pmun@pcusa.org. Space is limited, so all applicants may not be accommodated.

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