Ending violence against women.

UN Commission to focus upon women’s participation and decision-making in public life.

The UN in New York is usually bustling in March with thousands of participants in the annual Commission on the State of Women (CSW).   This year, the 65th Commission will be held virtually.  The Commission runs March 15 to 26.

The theme of this year’s Commission is:

‘Women’s full and effective participation and decision-making in public life, as well as the elimination of violence, for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls”. This subject coincides with the theme for International Women’s Day, March 8, which is, Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world.”

Figure 1: UN Women image

Many countries led by women have had strong responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. In example, the leaders of Denmark, Ethiopia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, New Zealand and Slovakia have been recognized for the speed, decisiveness and effectiveness of their national responses to COVID-19.    However, as of November 8, 2020, women served as heads of state and government in only 20 countries worldwide.


The Daughters of Charity will focus upon the component of the Commission’s theme related to ending violence against women.   They will co-sponsor an event entitled, “Hidden Homelessness: Transforming Trauma to Empowerment,” with other Vincentian Family NGOs and UNANIMA International. The date and time are to be determined.

They also will co-sponsor, together with the International Presentation Association and others, a panel of speakers on the topic, “Transforming gender stereotypes:  Making the uncomfortable conversation comfortable.”  The event is tentatively scheduled for March 16, but the date and time are contingent upon approval by the Commission

Figure 2: UN Image

Statistics related to violence against women are disturbing and many sources indicate such violence has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic due to financial stress, isolation, and lockdowns. Calls to helplines have increased five-fold in some countries,according to UN Women. Non-pandemic data reflects that globally, 35 per cent of women have experienced physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence, or sexual violence by a non-partner. Nearly half (49 per cent) of all human trafficking victims are adult women. One in 10 women in the European Union report having experienced cyber-harassment since the age of 15.  In the Middle East and North Africa, 40–60 per cent of women have experienced street-based sexual harassment. At least 200 million women andgirls, aged 15–49 years, have undergone female genital mutilation in 31 countries where the practice is prevalent. (UN Women).

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