International Conference/International Exchange

International Conference/International Exchange


Participation in the 61st Session of the Commission on the Status of Women

Date:March 13 to 24, 2017

Place:United Nations Headquarters (New York)

alt Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women, speaking at the opening ceremony

The 61st session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW61) was held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from March 13 to 24, 2017. Two members of NWEC staff, one from each the Office of Research and International Affairs and the Program Division, participated as members of the Japanese government delegation. Held with “Women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work” as its priority theme, CSW61 comprised statements by country representatives, UN entities and NGOs; voluntary presentations; ministerial round tables; and interactive and expert panel discussions. In the Review session themed “Challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals for women and girls,” which sought to evaluate progress made on previous CSW themes, participants shared their achievements with respect to the Millennium Develop Goals, the deadline for implementation of which was 2015, and challenges remaining in each country.

alt The UN Headquarters building bustling with the daily crowds

Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Motome Takisawa chaired a ministerial round table on behalf of the Japanese government. Engaging in discussion with other country representatives about what kinds of policies can effectively support the economic empowerment of women engaged in informal and non-standard work, and the impact technical advances and innovation are having on women’s economic participation, he also introduced Japanese initiatives.
In Japan’s country statement presented on March 15, Japan representative Hiroko Hashimoto cited Japan’s initiatives to restrict long working hours and promote workstyles conducive to a work-life balance. With regard to international cooperation, Japan highlighted its intention to invest three billion dollars into projects contributing to protection of the rights of women and girls living in developing nations by 2018, and the importance it places on women’s lifelong learning and furnishing a gender-sensitive education environment.

alt Japan representative Hiroko Hashimoto

On the afternoon of March 14, the ministerial round table was interrupted for three minutes for a campaign to raise awareness of the gender pay gap. On average, women only make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. When this figure is applied to an eight-hour working day, women’s labor after the first 6 hours and 10 minutes goes unpaid. According to the Global Gender Gap Report, gender wage gaps exist in every country worldwide, and at the current pace, estimates indicate it will take 70 years to eliminate this difference. Based on this fact, the Chair explained the campaign’s goals; women read magazines, posted tweets, and engaged in other “after-work” activities as a form of demonstration; and men pretended to serve drinks in paper cups emblazoned with the slogan “Equal Pay NOW!#CSW61”. The campaign concluded with the screening of a short video produced by UN Women.

alt Items distributed to appeal for elimination of gender wage gaps

alt Campaigning for elimination of gender wage gaps (German government delegation)

Numerous events are held alongside the official meetings during CSW sessions. From 3pm on March 17, representatives of the Permanent Mission of Japan to the United Nations partnered with three NGOs to hold a side event themed “The keys to the economic empowerment of women.” In addition to Japanese experts from the UN, JICA and other organizations, representatives of the French and Australian governments also made reports. Attendance at the venue exceeded seating capacity indicating the high level of interest in reports on the situations surrounding Japanese women.

alt Japan’s side event elicited a lively question and answer session

alt Attendance of young participants was noteworthy

The second week began on Monday, March 20. Despite freezing temperatures and roadsides piled high with snow from the previous Tuesday, the second week was blessed with fine weather. An interactive and expert panel discussion entitled “Enhancing availability and use of data and gender statistics to support accelerated implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” was held from 10:00 to 13:00 on March 20. Chaired by Mr. Andreas Glossner, Vice-Chair of CSW61, four panelists took to the stage to advocate the necessity of expanding the availability and use of gender statistics in terms of accelerating the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and press for governments to update their techniques for collecting data, and to strengthen liaison and collaboration.

alt Clear blue skies accompanied freezing temperatures in New York!

alt An expert panel discussion held on March 20

A General Discussion postponed because of snow was held in the afternoon, and representatives of Cameroon, Bangladesh, Singapore and several NGOs introduced initiatives they have taken in line with this year’s theme.
Discussion on the Agreed Conclusions that began the previous Friday continued on a daily basis from Tuesday, March 21. This year’s theme "Women's economic empowerment in the changing world of work" included highly contentious issues, and although the first draft was just 6 pages long, it had already grown to 30 pages by Monday 20 when each country’s amendments and additions had been made. Compilation of the agreement involved a number of steps including discussions as a group and small group discussions to gain the consensus of all countries, and meetings continued day and night (occasionally until early morning) until agreement was finally reached on March 24. Consideration of women’s economic empowerment from various angles including unpaid labor and domestic labor, harassment and violence in the workplace, equal pay for equal work, and women’s leadership in economic policy, resulted in a final document that was 19 pages in length.

alt Ongoing heated discussions to reach consensus on the Agreed Conclusions

Two weeks of meetings at CSW61 ended with its Chair, H.E. Mr. Antonio de Aguiar Patriota of Brazil selecting David Donoghue of Ireland as the Chair of the 62nd and 63rd sessions, and Vice-Chairs from Colombia and Kenya. The theme of CSW62 will be “Challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls.”

alt Chair Patriota giving his closing address at CSW61

Numerous side events organized by NGOs and parallel events hosted by other organizations were held inside and outside of the main venue during the session. These involved reports, panel discussions and workshops addressing this year’s priority theme: women’s economic empowerment, and the 17 SDGs that underpin it. Attendance at each venue exceeded seating capacity, and the two-week session reflected the fervent way in which people around the globe feel and think about gender equality.

alt A side event organized by JICA

Overcoming the barriers to women's economic empowerment for 2030, a side event co-sponsored by JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) and the OECD (Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development)
For details of CSW61 and its Agreed Conclusions, please refer to documents and videos available on the UN Women website noted below.

Available in English and other official languages

International Cooperation