WILPF at the 58th Commission on the Status of Women

Written by: Sandra Neuman

The Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) participated in this year's Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) with over 75 participants from all over the world. WILPF participants included members and partners from a wide range of countries, namely: Australia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Colombia, Eritrea, France, India, Jordan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Syria and across the USA, fostering local and global dialogue.

On March 8th, International Women's day, WILPF arranged an orientation session for its delegation. On this day, WILPF members, young and old, connected, reconnected and discussed advocacy strategies for the coming week. It was also the day we kicked off our campaign “100Women4Peace”, an exciting photo gallery of women rights advocates from all over the world sharing their support for women's power to stop war. Eager to advocate peace, gender equality and women's empowerment at the numerous CSW58 events, our participants displayed a passionate commitment to promote WILPF's key priority areas to ultimately strengthen the CSW58 Agreed Conclusions. This year, WILPF's priority areas focused on strengthening gender equality and peace in the Post2015 development agenda by recognizing the links between conflict prevention and development, building on the Women Peace and Security (WPS) agenda, financing development with disarmament, and implementing the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT).

WILPF held and co-sponsored 10 events in total during this year's CSW. Our panels showcased the powerful voices of women working for peace, disarmament and women's rights from around the world. WILPF's Secretary General, Madeleine Rees, spoke at many of our events stressing that there can be no development without disarmament and reiterating the importance of having women's participation in peace negotiations for sustainable and long-lasting peace. “When women are not represented in peace processes, it is a failure. It is absolutely vital to include women in peace negotiations”, said Madeleine Rees discussing the situation in Syria.

WILPF's PeaceWomen team (Maria Butler, Abigail Ruane, Cristina Chahine, Sandra Neuman, and Shafferan Sonneveld) monitored over 60 events during this year's CSW. Stay tuned for the CSW58 PeaceWomen Summary Report! For more information on WILPF and CSW please visit our PeaceWomen website.

CSW Highlights

Quote: “We must move past the medieval narrative that peace is only possible by negotiations among male war-makers.” – Secretary General Madeleine Rees at WILPF CSW58 event: From Bosnia to Syria: Women Organizing for Peace, Rights and Accountability.

Quote: “Gender equality is not a woman's issue – it is an issue for all.” – Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka (UN Women Executive Director) at CSW58 event: Engaging Men and Boys to achieve the Millennium Development Goals for Women and Girls.

Quote: “Peace without women is never real peace.” – Nawal Yazeji, (Syrian Women's League), at WILPF CSW58 event: Women, Peace and Security: Participation in Peace Processes.

Some Overarching Messages from CSW 58 Events

  • Design the next development agenda to prevent conflict and promote peace
  • Include a stand-alone Gender Equality goal as one of the next Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and mainstream gender throughout all other goals
  • Finance development with disarmament
  • Strengthen women's participation in peace processes for sustainable peace and development
  • Strengthen accountability for non-state actors - including international financial institutions and corporations - for women's human rights
  • Engage men and boys to promote gender equality