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Parliamentary Delegation to the Commission on the Status of Women

BGIPU sent a delegation of four parliamentarians to the 68th Commission on the Status of Women, which was led by Alex Davies-Jones MP, and was attended by Jess Phillips MP, Baroness Hodgson of Abinger and the Bishop of Gloucester from 11-14 March 2024.

On the first day the delegation all attended the session run by UNICEF on “Celebration of the International Year of the Family”, in which Minister Lord Ahmad was a panellist. Baroness Hodgson then Chaired a session hosted by the National Alliance of Women’s Organisations (NAWO) on “Financial Provisions for Older Women” where the speakers talked about how older women tended to be worst affected by poverty, and what could be done to support them. Others attended a session on women as agents of change in conflict in relation to the October 7 attacks and how to make progress on conflict related sexual violence. This was followed by an opportunity to observe the UN Security Councils commenting on the report on sexual violence caused by Hamas, authored by Pramila Patten, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict. The day at the UN concluded with a session where the delegation were able to hear from Palestinian women and the differential impact of the war in Gaza. That evening the delegation were invited to the UK mission along with the Women’s Equality Committee to give their views on CSW and any feedback that the Minister Lord Ahmad and the chargé d’affaires could take back.

On the Tuesday the delegation attended the IPU Session on “Gender-sensitive parliaments: Advancing gender equality to end poverty”. In attendance was IPU President Dr Tulia Ackson who celebrated the celebration (not sure what you mean here) of women at her first CSW as President. The Bishop of Gloucester and Jess Phillips MP both made interventions about what could be done to help women get out of poverty. The delegation then hosted the Canadian delegation for lunch and good conversations were had amongst all.

On Wednesday the delegation attended multiple sessions, including on the role of men and masculinity in gender-based violence, women’s empowerment in Afghanistan, and Ukraine’s post war recovery, gender mainstreaming for women’s empowerment. They met with female Ukrainian parliamentarians and Ukrainian teachers from Associated Country Women of the World. Alex Davies-Jones MP chaired a NAWO session on “Empowering Women and Alleviating Poverty through Digital Technology”, Jess Phillips MP chaired a session with young people from around the world, were they discussed what young people can do to mobilise and what they wanted from their legislatures.

The Thursday wrapped up the delegations’ time at CSW, attending sessions on including “Indigenous Women in Criminal Justice Institutions”, and listening in the main CSW panel on youth. Baroness Hodgson also Chaired a NAWO session on “Mirror to Face of Poverty”.

The time at CSW also gave the opportunity for members to pass on Baroness Kennedy of the Shaws report written by Dr Ewelina Ochab from the International Bar Association Human Rights Institute on “Gender Apartheid in Afghanistan and Iran”.

The delegation all agreed that this was a worthwhile visit, and were glad to get to meet other delegates, but also to work with UK NGOs and they undertook to follow up with contacts made in the aim of getting women out of poverty.

BGIPU Secretariat