A Naga woman joined the United Nations’ largest annual gathering in New York this year on gender equality and women’s rights that reached a robust agreement highlighting the urgency of UN member states for empowering and supporting rural women and girls to achieve gender equality.
The outcome of the 62nd session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), known as the Agreed Conclusions adopted by Member States, puts forth concrete measures for women and girls that include ensuring adequate living standards with equal access to land and productive assets, ending poverty, enhancing their food security and nutrition, decent work, infrastructure and technology, education and health, including their sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights, and ending all forms of violence and harmful practices.
Naga women’s rights activist from Chizami Village (Phek district) and Program Manager at the North East Network in Nagaland, Wekoweü Tsühah, attended this year’s UN CSW in New York.
“I was there to represent the voices of rural women and girls of my community and region, and to be part of the highest global advocacy and lobby process,” said Tsühah while speaking to The Morung Express.
Member States, including India, recognized rural women’s important role in addressing hunger and food insecurity. This strong outcome provides a roadmap on next steps that governments, civil society and women’s groups can undertake to support the realization of rural women’s rights and address their needs, stated a press release from the UN Women.
“This is a great privilege and an important responsibility. To be able to meet and converse with so many women and girls from across the world who are part of a global movement for gender equality, social and ecological justice is inspiring,” said Tsühah while also describing her experience as “empowering.”
CSW is the single largest forum for UN Member States, civil society organizations and other international actors to build consensus and commitment on policy actions on this issue. More than 4,300 representatives from over 600 civil society organizations, and 170 Member States attended this year’s Commission.
“Challenges and issues of rural women and girls are similar across the world. These recommendations have to be taken up by member states like India. We will follow up with the national government to keep up with their commitments by translating them into action,” the Naga activist maintained.
Meanwhile, Executive Director of UN Women, which serves as the CSW Secretariat, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, said: “The Commission’s agreement on measures to bring substantive equality to women and girls in rural areas is a vital step forward. In the Commission’s two weeks of dialogue we have heard clearly from the women and girls themselves what they want: from the rights to own property, to the need for quality infrastructure, to the rights to make decisions about their own bodies and lives. Effective action to bring the changes they need will take the continued engagement of all partners, from governments to civil society. Rural women themselves must be able to speak up and be heard in all consultations, and youth delegations must be included at all levels. These agreements are made in the meeting rooms of New York but must take effect in the lives of women and girls we are here to serve.”