Women’s empowerment and sustainable development was the focus of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, held in New York this month. 

Now in its 60th year, the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) (external link) is dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women.

New Zealand was represented at the commission by the Ministry for Women’s Chief Executive Joanne Cribb.

Dr Cribb delivered a statement at the CSW General Discussion, where she highlighted New Zealand’s determination to address the issue of violence against women and girls and our National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security.

Dr Cribb attended several bilateral meetings to exchange best practices and ideas on issues affecting women. She also took part in side events, including speaking at an event focused on the Pacific. The recent New Zealand initiatives on countering violence against Māori and Pacific women were of particular interest to her counterparts.

More than 30 non-governmental organisations from New Zealand attended the commission from 14-24 March.  At an event hosted by the New Zealand Mission, they discussed the work the New Zealand Government and civil society are doing to achieve gender equality.

One of the highlights of the week was a town hall discussion between ministers and decision-makers from seven countries on ending violence against women and girls. 

The event, which encouraged participation through Twitter using the hashtag #endVAWtownhall (external link), saw a frank exchange of views between the panellists, many of whom shared personal stories of discrimination and violence.