The 52nd Commission on Women (CSW) was held at the United Nations headquarters in New York from the 25th of Feburary to the 7th of March, 2008.
The CSW was well attended as the opening session was expanded to two main UN conference rooms to enable all the people to hear the opening comments and speeches. The World Youth Alliance International interns and staff were situated in Conference Room 4 of the United Nations as the Secretary General Ban Ki–moon launched a multi-year global campaign bringing together the United Nations, governments and civil society to stop violence against women.
The World Youth Alliance CSW group
As stated by Mr. Ban, “This is a campaign … for women and girls who have the right to live free of violence, today and in the future. It is a campaign to stop the untold cost that violence against women inflicts on all humankind. We know that gender inequality is hampering progress toward the Millennium Development Goals – our common vision to build a better world in the 21st Century…Violence against women is an issue that cannot wait. A brief look at the statistics makes it clear. At least one out of every three women is likely to be beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused in her lifetime. Through the practice of prenatal sex selection, countless others are denied the right even to exist. No country, no culture, no woman young or old is immune to this scourge. Far too often, the crimes go unpunished, the perpetrators walk free”.
Violence against women is a serious issue and it is essential to be addressed at an international and national level. The campaign will run until 2015, the same target year as the internationally agreed aims known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
The WYA International Interns at the United Nations
Mr. Ban ended the speech by blowing a whistle. This simple act of blowing a whistle was to communicate that the silence of violence against women is over. The conference room that I was in broke out in applause as Mr. Ban walked from the podium and handed whistles to delegates.
The speech that the Secretary General gave was very powerful and poignant. It was a very inspiring and motivating experience to be part of. After the campaign was launched an overwhelming and stimulating vibe traveled throughout the United Nations as people scattered to attend conferences, workshops, panels, speeches and meetings.
(Left to Right) Me and Irene in Conference Room 4 at the UN
The overall theme of the 52nd CSW was Financing for Gender Equality. The World Youth Alliance International interns and staff attended conferences, meetings and met contacts from other NGO’s and governmental delegates.
I enjoyed attending the Asia Pacific workshops, panels and caucuses. The Asia Pacific caucus was well attended as women and men from all over the region contributed to the discussions and planning of the language. It was in the Asia Pacific caucus and workshops that I learnt some of the important issues of this region.
I learnt some of the best skills and information from attending the CSW. I would recommend anyone to attend and be part of the CSW if you have a passion for women’s issues or are just looking to learn more skills, networking and international and national gender issues.