While more than 4300 women and girls from 130 countries, global leaders, and NGOs participated in the 62nd Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in March, the Congregations of St. Joseph (CSJ) UN-NGO also hosted their share of visitors for this critical session.
Three groups paid a visit to the Sisters of St. Joseph: 12 young women from the ‘Outreach Discerning Life’ group at the University of Southern California; three women from the St. Joseph Worker programs of Brentwood and Philadelphia; and college students from Avila University.
Each of the groups was briefed about the CSW and this year’s theme of: “challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls.” The groups also learned the important role that the Sisters of St. Joseph play at the UN. The CSJ NGO is a member of the NGO committee on the CSW which allows them to monitor and advocate on behalf of women around the globe. According to Sister Sue Wilson (Sisters of St. Joseph in Canada) this allows the NGO to “shin[e] a light on the issues in the various countries where we live and work…”
A major part of the experience at the CSW is the exchange of stories and ideas. Sister Marianne Sennick (Brentwood) — the UN-NGO alternate representative for the Congregations of St. Joseph at the UN in New York — called the converging of so many women “empowering” and helps women to “continue their struggles to realize Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals.”
“The sharing by women of their stories, hopes, and aspirations provides a hope they can bring home,” said Sennick. Wilson called the CSW “an ideal platform for tapping the depth and breadth of issues impacting the human rights of women.”
The needs women spoke about at the CSW represent a wide array of global issues ranging from access to land in Kenya so they can raise animals and grow crops to combat gender-based violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo to equal pay and land rights in Sri Lanka to human trafficking in Eastern Europe.
Following the CSW, the commission released the Agreed Conclusions which include: access to economic and productive resources, land and natural resources, property, and inheritance rights; requests that countries provide equal access to universal healthcare, education; that women must not suffer from the social ills of early and forced child marriage, and frequent early and repeat pregnancies; among many more.
From the beginning, the Congregations of Saint Joseph – NGO at the UN – has been committed to the equality of women and children across the globe. The NGO will continue to use the experiences of the global Joseph family to lift the needs of those served and address their concerns at the UN.