Capitalising on its ECOSOC status* and led by President Christina Blacklaws, the Law Society sent its first delegation to the 63rd UN-Commission on the Status of Women** (UN-CSW) that took place in New York. Lizzette Robleto de Howarth (International Programmes Manager) and Stephanie Brown (International Policy Assistant for Africa, Middle East and the Americas) also attended on behalf of the Law Society. A great deal of preparation went into ensuring that we had a high profile and strong presence at this UN global conference.

Throughout the conference, from the 11-15 March 2019, the Law Society delegates actively engaged in a wide range of actions and provided daily reports on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook - the daily report can be found for donwload on the right-hand side of this page.

At the conference: 

(1)  150 information packs about the Law Society’s work were disseminated.

(2)  Three Law Society side events were organised with over 100 people participating and with President Blacklaws speaking at each event.

(3)  Over 10 bilateral meetings took place, two external speaking slots (IANGEL and IBA), and 20 external side events were attended. Included within these was the CSW63 Townhall Meeting of Civil Society with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and moderated by UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.

(4)  More than 10 high profile contacts were made, and 4 networking events attended, including the official reception at the UK Mission in New York hosted by Dame Karen Pierce DCMG with welcoming remarks given by the Duchess of Wessex.

(5)  Two “International Women and the Law” roundtables were delivered, organised by Lexis Nexis (hosted by Debevoise & Plimpton) and IANGEL (hosted by Kellye Drye & Warren), and with the participation of a total of 36 female lawyers.

We are grateful to our chairs, speakers, partners, and sponsors in the delivery of all these activities including:

  • Baroness Anita Gale
  • Zarin Hainsworth OBE, Serene Communications
  • Cecile Noel, Commissioner on Domestic Violence at the Mayor of New York’s Office
  • Tazeen Hassan, World Bank
  • Paula Tavares, World Bank
  • Professor Shruti Rana
  • Andrea Carlise, IANGEL Executive Director
  • National Alliance of Women’s Organisations (NAWO)
  • Lexis Nexis
  • International Action Network for Gender Equality in Law (IANGEL)
  • Mayor of New York’s Office
  • Debevoise & Plimpton
  • Kellye Drye & Warren
  • International Bar Association (IBA)

At the conference, “Agreed Conclusions” were also negotiated on “Social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls”. Highlights of the conclusions include:

(13) “The Commission strongly condemns all forms of violence against all women and girls, which is rooted in historical and structural inequality and unequal power relations between men and women. It reiterates that violence against women and girls in all its forms and manifestations, in public and private spheres, including sexual and gender-based violence, domestic violence and harmful practices such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation, are pervasive, underrecognized and underreported, particularly at the community level. It expresses deep concern that women and girls may be particularly vulnerable to violence because of multidimensional poverty, limited or lack of access to justice, effective legal remedies and services, including protection, rehabilitation, reintegration, and to health-care services. It re-emphasizes that violence against women and girls is a major impediment to the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls and that it violates and impairs or nullifies their full enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms.”

(19) “The Commission expresses its concern about the continuing significant gender gaps in labour force participation and leadership, wages, income, pensions and social protection, as well as access to economic and productive resources. It is further concerned about the undervaluation of female-dominated industries, unequal working conditions and limited opportunities for career advancement, as well as the growing high incidence of informal and non-standard forms of employment where women are overrepresented. It also expresses concern that these factors can restrict women’s access to social protection when entitlements are tied closely to formal employment, which can perpetuate women’s economic insecurity and poverty…”

(n) Fully engage men and boys as agents and beneficiaries of change, and as strategic partners and allies in: promoting women’s and girls’ access to social protection systems, public services and sustainable infrastructure; eliminating all forms of violence and discrimination against women and girls, in both public and private spheres, by understanding and addressing the root causes of gender inequality, such as unequal power relations, gender stereotypes and practices that perpetuate discrimination against women and girls; designing and implementing national policies and programmes that address the roles and responsibilities of men and boys, including the equal sharing of responsibilities between women and men in care and domestic work; ensuring the enforcement of child support laws; and transforming, with the aim of eliminating, negative social norms that condone violence against women and girls and attitudes by which women and girls are regarded as subordinate to men and boys.

You can find the full agreed conclusions on the right-hand side of this page.

About the ECOSOC status*

Consultative status provides non-governmental institutions with access to, not only ECOSOC, but also to its many subsidiary bodies, to the various human rights mechanisms of the United Nations, ad-hoc processes on small arms, as well as special events organized by the President of the General Assembly. The Law Society has ECOSOC status since March 2014.

About the UN Commission on the Status of Women**

The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women. Established by Council resolution 11(II) of 21 June 1946, the CSW is the functional commission of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). The CSW is instrumental in promoting women’s rights, documenting the reality of women’s lives throughout the world, and shaping global standards on gender equality and the empowerment of women.

This year, the 63rd UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) focused on the theme, “Social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls”.