The Commission on Status of Women: Observations of a French Girl

The first day of the 53rd UN Commission on Status of Women: it’s -2°C, the snow and slush welcomes us this morning. Our mission, as it was for the Commission for Social Development, is easy: make many friends among the delegates. As in my previous blog, if you remember it well, networking is my favorite part! But at this commission, it’s not as easy – we are seated in the balcony and we are not allowed in the meeting room with the delegates. The delegates are concerned about being overrun by the over two-thousand NGOs in attendance! Believe it or not, I have some competition – but I think I am going to do well! The debate focused on the actual implementation of gender equality including the application of existing laws that have been ignored. Some countries like the Netherlands complained that policies existed to promote women to remain at work more but many prefer to stay at home anyway. Some delegates proposed tradition was the problem and government action was needed to change culture. One delegate asked: “how can governments change the hearts and minds of people?” I think and WYA would agree that it’s not the government responsibility to decide for women what occupation is worthy of their time, it is each person choice.