UN Headquarters, New York
Representatives of UN Member States, civil society organizations and UN entities gathered at the UN headquarters in New York from 11-22 March 2019 for the 63rd session of the Commission of the Status of Women (CSW63).
The event reaffirmed that access to social protection systems, public services and sustainable infrastructure for women and girls are key to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
About the Event and WIEGO's Involvement
This year, the Commission's annual session centres on the theme "Social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls."
Several members of the WIEGO Network attended, including WIEGO Social Protection Programme Director, Laura Alfers and representatives from the International Domestic Workers Federation (IDWF), the Self Employed Women's Association (SEWA) and the Greater Accra Market Association (GAMA). Please see below for a list of WIEGO Network delegates.
High Level UN Women
13 March 2019 (3:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.)
Social protection, public services and sustainable infrastructure: Policy coherence for the empowerment of women in informal employment
While the need to extend social protection to women in informal employment is now widely recognized, the synergies and trade-offs between social protection, public services and sustainable infrastructure for informal workers remain underexplored. Urban policies and regulations, for example, often cast informal workers as undesirable and restrict their use of public spaces, such as roadsides or markets, potentially undermining the benefits of social protection programmes aimed at stabilizing women’s incomes. Strengthening policy coherence—across sectors and levels of government—is hence critical to make social protection systems, public services and sustainable infrastructure work for women in informal employment. The panel will explore synergies, tensions and pathways to policy coherence for the empowerment of women in informal employment. It will engage member states, international organizations and civil society, including grassroots organizations of women informal workers, in an interactive discussion with the audience. View recording on UN Web TV
11 March 2019 (11:15 a.m. – 12:45 p.m.)
Conference Room A
Promoting Rights-based Social Protection Policies for Gender Equality: A Prerequisite for Social Justice and Sustainable Development
The Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) has organised a panel discussion around the theme, Promoting Rights-based Social Protection Policies for Gender Equality: A Prerequisite for Social Justice and Sustainable Development. The panel which features experts from international organisations, and government ministries is intended to provide a platform to share achievements in the promotion of rights-based social protection policies for gender equality. Director of WIEGO’s Social Protection Programme, Dr. Laura Alfers, will present on the Rights of Informal Workers in the provision of rights based social protection from a gender perspective. Read agenda
11 March 2019 (11:45 a.m. - 12:45 p.m.)
Conference Room A
The Rights of Domestic Workers across Latin America and the Caribbean: Advances and Challenges Following the Adoption of ILO Convention 189
Argentina, Ecuador, Uruguay, the International Domestic Workers' Federation, CARE and UN Women will host an interactive panel to showcase means and public policies to advance the rights of domestic workers in Latin America and the Caribbean. Register
12 March 2019 (12:30 p.m. - 2:00 p.m.)
Church Center for the United Nations, 10th Floor
Creating Shared Strategies for Sustainable Development: A Multi-Stakeholder Workshop
The Virginia Gildersleeve International Fund (VGIF) hosted a discussion on grassroots organizing and has invited WIEGO to share its experience of working with women informal workers and their organizations. WIEGO members will have the opportunity to discuss some of the emerging outcomes of the child care campaign.
12 March, 2019 (5:00p.m.)
Ford Foundation Center for Social Justice, 320 E 43rd St, New York, NY 10017
Screening of Roma
Alfonso Cuaron’s Oscar award-winning film ROMA tells the story of Cleo, an indigenous woman who works as a live-in domestic worker for a middle-class family in 1970s Mexico City. Though the film is set 50 years ago, the complexities of Cleo’s reality--the unsung heroism of her work, the duality of intimacy and distance within a family--are familiar to the more than 70 million domestic workers around the globe today. For these workers, most of whom are women, the film is both a deeply personal opportunity to see their stories on the big screen and to shine a spotlight on their broader fight for dignity, respect, and inclusion.
On 12 March 2019, the International Domestic Workers Federation and the National Domestic Workers Alliance, along with co-hosts the Ford Foundation and Open Society Foundations, hosted a screening of ROMA, which was preceded by a reception and short panel discussion with domestic worker leaders from around the world about the resonant power of the film, and opportunities to join in their fight to win new protections for this long-invisible workforce.
19 March 2019 (10:00 a.m.)
Church Center for the United Nations, 8th Floor
Dignifying Lives and Empowering Women in Waste Management
The innovative gender-sensitive solid waste management approaches being employed by Practical Action and its partners will be on showcase when the UK development charity hosts a side event, ‘Dignifying lives and empowering women in waste management’ on March 19 during CSW63.
Participants from Practical Action, including South Asia programme teams, will share gender-sensitive learning and recommendations from work with informal waste workers in Nepal, Kenya and initial findings from the Dignifying Lives project which has recently begun in Bangladesh.
WIEGO’s Global Focal Cities Coordinator, Jenna Harvey will share relevant learning from WIEGO’s programmatic work, to demonstrate the power of female waste pickers’’ collective action both globally and in cities where WIEGO works, and to share lessons on mobilizing women workers to advocate for their economic rights.
WIEGO Network Delegation
- Dr. Laura Alfers, Director of Social Protection (WIEGO)
- Rachel Moussié, Deputy-Director Social Protection (WIEGO)
- Dorcas Ansah, Accra Focal City Co-ordinator (WIEGO)
- Jenna Harvey, Global Focal Cities Coordinator
- Susan Thomas, National Health Co-ordinator (SEWA)
- Hon. Mercy Afrowa Needjan, President (GAMA)
The International Domestic Workers Federation (IDWF) will also be present at CSW63 with representation from Africa, Asia and Latin America:
- Elizabeth Tang, General Secretary (IDWF)
- Adriana Paz, Regional Coordinator for Latin America (IDWF)
- Juana del Carmen Britez, UPACP Argentina and Vice President (IDWF)
- Shirley Pryce, ExCo Member (IDWF)
- Ruth Esther Diaz de Medina (FENAMURA)
- Aida Evely Rosales de Ramos (SIMUTHRES)
- Norma Palacios Trabamala (SINACTRAHO)
- Gyanu Maya Kshetri (Home Workers Trade Union of Nepal- HUN)
- Novelita Paliosc (United Domestic Workers of the Philippines-UNITED)
- Marcelina Bautista (CACEH)
- Carema Rosa Almeida Escusa (SINTTRAHOL)
- Marciana Santander Martinez (SINTRADI)
- Ruth Namachanja Khakame (Kudheiha National Domestic Workers' Council
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.
During the Commission’s annual two-week session, representatives of UN Member States, civil society organizations and UN entities gather at the UN headquarters in New York. They discuss progress and gaps in the implementation of the 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the key global policy document on gender equality, and the 23rd special session of the General Assembly held in 2000 (Beijing+5), as well as emerging issues that affect gender equality and the empowerment.
In 2016, Renana Jhabvala, Chair of the WIEGO board, was nominated to the UN High Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment to represent the demands of women informal workers. Subsequently, in 2017, at the sixty-first session of the Commission on the Status of Women, held in New York from March 13- 24, a delegation from WIEGO, led by the then International Co-ordinator, Dr. Martha (Marty) Chen participated in the discussion around the priority theme: “Women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work.” Dr. Chen was part of a panel which focused on women and youth’s role in sustainable urbanization and poverty reduction. Marty ‘alluded to the intersectionality of gender-specific constraints and emphasized promoting a framework recognizing that dignified work is achievable via pathways to empowerment of voice, visibility, and validity.’
The priority theme for the 63rd session of the Commission of the Status of Women (CSW63), slated for March 11 – 22, 2019, is "Social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls."
Learn more about the Social Protection Programme