The IPU held several events during the first week of the 61st session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), which took place in New York from 13 to 24 March.
IPU Secretary General Martin Chungong and the UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka held a joint press conference on 15 March to launch the 2017 edition of the IPU-UN Women Map on Women in Politics.
The IPU held its annual Parliamentary Meeting on 17 March, also co-organized with UN Women, focused on Empowering parliaments to empower women: Making the economy work for women. The event was attended by 139 members of parliament from 47 countries. Participants stressed that the elimination of gender discrimination in the law and ensuring women’s access to political decision-making were essential to creating a favourable environment for women’s economic empowerment. They also identified measures to ensure equality at work such as enacting and enforcing legislation in areas such equal pay and sexual harassment; and adopting social policies that facilitate work-life balance and equal share of unpaid care work. Finally, women need to be entitled to own property and obtain affordable credit if they are to be economically empowered. Building women’s capacity to access available opportunities was also identified as an area to be promoted by parliaments.
The parliamentary event’s conclusions will feed into the upcoming IPU 136th Assembly, when Member Parliaments will debate on a draft resolution on Promoting enhanced international cooperation on the SDGs, in particular on the financial inclusion of women as a driver of development and on Redressing inequalities: delivering on dignity and well-being for all. Watch the webcast of the Parliamentary Meeting.
The IPU also held six side events during CSW 61 in New York. Each event had around 60 participants, including MPs, government officials and civil society.
Two were on violence against women in politics. Sexism, harassment and violence against women MPs, co-organized with the Permanent Mission of Canada, looked at ways to help women MPs carry out their work freely and securely. At the event on Violence against women in politics: Name it, investigate it, eliminate it, participants looked at the factors that influence violence against women MPs and how it fits into the larger picture of violence against women. Naming and shaming all acts that target women parliamentarians, countering them with a strong response on social media and online and passing legislation to stop such acts were among the key outcomes of both side events.
Rising extremism, macro-economic policies, and the relevance of gendered analysis, co-organized with UNDP, the Permanent Mission of Denmark and the International Civil Society Network (ICAN), called for a change in macro-economic policies to address inequalities, promote fair, equitable and sustainable development for all and sustain peace and security.
Equality in politics: another 50 years to reach 50-50?, co-organized with the Permanent Mission of Trinidad and Tobago and UN Women, called for policies and legislation and political will to overcome the stagnation in the number of women elected to public office. Discussions highlighted the importance of monitoring women’s participation at the level of local governance, an effort led by UN Women.
Gender equality in nationality laws, co-organized with UNHCR, looked at reducing statelessness by giving women equal rights to confer nationality to their children. This gender-based discrimination in the law has to be addressed by parliaments and other stakeholders.
Breaking the cycle of violence against girls and boys: The role of parliamentarians, co-organized with UNICEF and the Permanent Missions of Bulgaria and Panama. The participants flagged the importance of implementing the Convention on the Rights of the Child and taking bold action to protect girls and boys from harm. This needs legislation, policies and political will.
To get a feel of the events of the week, see the Storify piece.