EWL News

Visibility and success for the European Women’s Lobby at the UN Commission on the Status of Women

[New York] The European Women’s Lobby (EWL) was very active during the first week of the 58th session on the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in New York. This annual meeting gathers all UN member states to agree on conclusions advancing women’s rights and equality between women and men. The priority theme of this year’s CSW is “Challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals for women and girls". The EWL had submitted a joint written statement together with international partner NGOs on the theme, calling for a stand alone goal on women’s rights and gender equality in the post 2015 development agenda.

During the first week of this CSW, the EWL organised a side event on 11 March on "Reaching out to the last girl: Prostitution, MDGs and the most vulnerable women and girls". A packed room listened to the speeches of the French Minister for Women’s Rights, Ms Vallaud Belkacem, and the Swedish Minister for Gender Equality, Ms Maria Arnholm, who both reiterated their commitment to see a world free from prostitution, which exploits the most vulnerable, fuels trafficking, and perpetuates gender inequality. Then, NGO representatives shared their experience and views on prostitution from the perspective of the most vulnerable women and girls: girls from Indian low casts (Ruchira Gupta, from Apne Aap), African women and girls in Europe (Virginia Wangare Greiner, from the European Network of Migrant Women) and women and girls from Canadian Indigenous communities (Cherry Smilley, from Indigenous Women against Sex Industry). Their contribution gave reality to a phenomenon that is often denied.

side event

Prostitution was high on the agenda of the NGO events. On 10 March, EWL Acting Coordinator Pierrette Pape presented the recent EP resolution on prostitution and sexual exploitation, during the side event of the Swedish EWL member SKR, together with the Swedish Women’s Lobby presenting its two campaigns on prostitution, one to get Sweden to adopt the Norwegian model criminalizing the purchase of sex abroad, and the other one calling for Corporate Sexual Responsibility from the private sector.

On 14 March, Pierrette Pape spoke at the event of the Coalition against Trafficking in Women (CATW) together with sex trade survivor Rachel Moran, on strategies to prevent AIDS and gender-based violence, including prostitution.

The European Commission was also active and asked the EWL to participate to two of its side events. On 12 March, EWL President Viviane Teitelbaum spoke about women’s rights and gender equality during an EU event on the post-2015 agenda from a bi-regional perspective (Europe and Central and South America), together with the EU Special Representative for Human Rights, Mr Lambrinidis, and officials from Costa Rica and Argentina.

On 13 March, EWL President took part to the EU event on ’The Role of Participatory Governance and Civil Society in Empowering Women: Moving Forward the MDGs, together with civil society representatives from Asia, Iran and Europe. She highlighted the need for all delegations, including the EU delegation, to develop long-term and substantive dialogue with NGOs and include women’s organisations into international discussions.

EWL President also moderated the event of the NGO CSW Forum 2014 for Europe and North America, on Monday 10 March, on "Women and the Economy, Health and Political Participation", with Ministers from Poland and Latvia, UN Women Deputy Executive Director, US Congresswoman Barbara Lee and women’s organisations representatives.

ngo briefing

The EWL took part of the daily morning NGO Briefings with the NGO CSW Committee and UN Women, to get update on the state of play of the negotiations on the conclusions. Sensitive issues, like last year, are women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights and the role of families. EWL Acting Coordinator Pierrette Pape cofacilitates the meetings of the North America-Europe NGO caucus, and compiles all recommendations and amendments on the draft conclusions.


The draft conclusions being quite strong, women’s NGOs hope that the message sent by this year’s CSW will be a strong milestone towards a new development agenda putting women’s rights and gender equality at its core.

Follow EWL activity at CSW through twitter @EuropeanWomen

#CSW58 - #EuropeanWomensVoice

The participation of the EWL to CSW was possible thanks to the support of the European Commission and the Commission Communautaire française.

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