Monday, 27 February 2012, marked the opening of the 56th Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. The purpose of the two-week UN meeting is to discuss progress on the Platform for Action: Take Action for Equality, Development and Peace, adopted in Beijing, China, 1995. Countries around the world committed to implementing the agreement and at the yearly UN CSW meetings, country reports are heard and negotiations to up- grade a section of the document take place, with the final document being agreed to two weeks from today. This year’s theme deals with Rural Women.
The Chair and Vice Chair set the scene. Michelle Bachelet, Executive Director of UN Women led of the speakers and called for action to remove barriers to the empowerment of rural women, work on the Millennium Development Goals, involve women in post-conflict reconstruction, work for sustainable development, improve access to health care and reproductive health care and end hunger and poverty.
Country after country reported with recurrent themes: violence against women, lack of access to credit, failure to implement the Millennium Development goals, lack of access to decision-making and more, while they agreed that women are the first to suffer from food insecurity, lack of access to land, credit and machinery, and natural disasters.
It became apparent that civil society, UN and the government must commit to working together to bring about change, if we are to see significant improvements in gender equality, economic empowerment, the eradication of poverty and food security.
You can watch a live web stream of UN CSW 2012 here.