As it is for many of our friends in the women's rights community, this year's Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) was a whirlwind of feminist energy. With a growing team and program initiatives, the Center for Women's Global Leadership (CWGL) had the opportunity to hold and take part in important conversations, insightful strategy building, and celebrations of progress. Here's a peak into some of our spaces and what we've been up to.
“A VOICE UNSILENCED: SAUDI WOMEN ADVOCATING THEIR RIGHTS, 1990-2017” PUBLICATION AND LAUNCH
For the past year, CWGL has had the privilege of working with two Saudi activists, Monera Al Nahedh and Hessah Al Sheikh, who authored a report that details and assesses Saudi women’s advocacy. As CSW opened, CWGL published this report, “A Voice Unsilenced: Saudi Women Advocating Their Rights, 1990-2017” and hosted its authors, as well as other Saudi women activists. During their visit, CWGL coordinated a human rights training and meetings with NGOs and the press. “A Voice Unsilenced” was formally launched on March 13th at a panel event that was moderated by CWGL Executive Director Krishanti Dharmaraj, and included the report’s authors, Saudi activists, and Yakin Erturk, former Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women and current CWGL Visiting Global Associate. More about this project and the launch event can be found here. A digital version of the report is available online. It was also reported on in the media by The Guardian and Arab News.
MEET & GREET: FEMINIST ALLIANCE FOR RIGHTS & UN WORKING GROUP ON THE DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN IN LAW AND PRACTICE (WGDAW)
CWGL and its Feminist Alliance for Rights (FAR) hosted a Meet & Greet for the WGDAW, of which Melissa Upreti, CWGL Senior Director of Program and Global Advocacy, is a member. The event provided the opportunity to hear about the work, forthcoming priorities, and engagement opportunities of the working group.
16 DAYS STRATEGY MEETING
On March 15, CWGL held a strategic planning meeting with key partners to discuss the future direction of the 16 Days Campaign. For the past two years, the 16 Days theme has focused on ending gender-based violence in education. While that theme has resonated very strongly with partner organizations, it was agreed that the 16 Days theme ought to be responsive to movement trends. Taking inspiration from the international campaign to push the ILO to adopt a convention against gender-based violence, the 16 Days theme for the next two years will focus on GBV in the world of work.
EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR ENGAGEMENTS
CWGL Executive Director, Krishanti Dharmaraj addressed both the US Caucus and the NGO CSW Orientation. Her opening of the US Caucus framed the role of US women at CSW, specifically regarding what this means in the Trump Era. At the NGO CSW Orientation, Dharmaraj gave a tribute to the late San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee. She also presented at the annual Cities for CEDAW strategy session.
STRATEGY MEETING PARTICIPATION
CWGL recently welcomed Magali Brosio to our staff as Senior Program Coordinator, Economic Policy. As a Feminist Economist, Magali attended the ESCR-Net strategy meeting on behalf of CWGL to discuss the intersection between land and women’s economic, social, and cultural rights.
OTHER CWGL SPACES
- CWGL joined with Global Fund for Women, Urgent Action Fund, Syrian Female Journalist Network, and Women Now for Development to hold a feminist rally for Syrian women in solidarity at a time of intense human rights violations and atrocities in Eastern Ghouta.
- CWGL co-sponsored the event, "Women's Human Rights Advocacy in a Time of Backlash," which included Melissa Upreti, as a panelist. The event covered the unprecedented level of backlash toward women's activists and effective ways to strategize to maintain gains won.
- Radhika Balakrishnan, CWGL Faculty Director, spoke at an event sponsored by UN Women to discuss the latest measures in reaching gender parity within the UN system. She emphasized the important role of civil society in achieving gender parity and the critical issues of adequate financing and budget transparency for gender equality.
- Melissa Upreti spoke on the panel "Closing the Gender Gap: Achieving Gender Parity in UN Human Rights Bodies." The panel emphasized the importance of women representation in international adjudicatory and monitoring bodies as a critical component of gender equality.