Establishment of NGO CSW/NY
The NGO Committee on the Status of Women, NY (NGO CSW/NY) was created in 1972 as one of the NGO Committees of the Conference of NGOs (CoNGO). It was formed in preparation for the International Women’s Year (1975), the UN Decade of Women (1975-1985) and the First World Conference on Women held in Mexico City in 1975.
NGO CSW/NY was created to provide a forum for exchange of information on global women’s issues (our annual NGO CSW Forum), facilitating our global community of members, and later, assisting the international community in implementing the Beijing Platform for Action and other UN agreements.
While NGO CSW/NY has developed and grown since 1972, it has been a key platform for international advocacy toward the promotion of women’s human rights, gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.
Establishment of NGO CSW Geneva & NGO CSW Vienna
NGO CSW has expanded its international presence through the establishment of regional NGO CSW offices. In 1973, NGO CSW Geneva was established. Shortly after, NGO CSW Vienna was created in 1982.
Creation of the YLYP Program
Originally titled the ‘Young Professionals’ program, the Youth Leaders & Young Professionals program (YLYPs) quickly evolved into a vast network for professional development and an outlet to engage and empower young professionals in the discussion of women’s issues globally. As youth voices are often neglected or ignored in professional spaces, especially ones dominated by men, it was necessary to create a space to empower youth and make their voices heard.
Originally providing tools and a space to identify and promote key issues within NGO CSW and to voice these perspectives to the NGO CSW community as a collective voice, the ‘Young Professionals’ program eventually evolved into the ‘Youth Leaders & Young Professionals (YLYPs)’ program in 2020. The YLYP’s mission is to amplify the voices of youth leaders and young professionals, providing a platform for their perspectives on gender equality and channels for their advocacy at the United Nations, as well as to convene young people to consult and contribute to the advancement of the international feminist movement. Starting in 2021, the YLYPs have hosted an annual Youth Preparation Series to help our youth network prepare for the CSW and NGO CSW Forum.
Establishment of NGO CSWs in the Regions
In addition to NGO CSW Geneva and NGO CSW Vienna, the NGO CSWs in the Regions were established in 2015 to help facilitate advocacy, accountability, and implementation. NGO CSWs in Africa, Arab States/MENA, Asia/Pacific, and Latin America/Caribbean are run by local feminist activists who engage with NGO CSW/NY throughout the year and during the annual Commission on the Status of Women.
45th Anniversary of NGO CSW/NY
To honor the voices that have made NGO CSW one of the biggest platforms for women’s empowerment, a video produced by interns in 2017 commemorated the 45th anniversary of NGO CSW/NY. Here, past chairs including Mary Powers (1991-1995), Leslie Wright (2000-2003), Bani Dugal (2003-2005), Jackie Shapiro (2005-2007), Soon-Young Yoon (2011-2015), and Susan O’Malley, the 2017 chair, spoke on NGO CSW/NY and it’s reach across the globe. They highlighted accomplishments in their terms and the terms before.
Generation Equality Forum
In 2020, to mark the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action (Beijing+25), UN Women launched the Generation Equality campaign to look back at the past 25 years to evaluate progress, as well as look forward to determining concrete action on gender equality. The Generation Equality Forum (GEF) was a global gathering for gender equality convened by UN Women and co-hosted by the governments of Mexico and France, in partnership with youth and civil society. The Generation Equality movement is being continued via the Action Coalitions and Women, Peace & Security-Humanitarian Action Compact and their Commitment Makers.
To convene, mobilize, and consult with civil society, UN Women tasked NGO CSW/NY as convener of global civil society for the GEF. As conveners, we managed the Civil Society Advisory Group (CSAG) which served as the representative of civil society’s priorities for the GEF. NGO CSW/NY also convened the Advisory Working Group (AWG) which provided their recommendations and input to the CSAG. The AWG consisted of over 600 global members.
First-Ever Virtual NGO CSW Forum
The global COVID-19 pandemic affected the feminist and women’s movement activism and work in a multitude of ways. It created new inequalities and exasperated extant ones, prevented travel and in-person gatherings around the world, and wreaked havoc on our daily lives.
In this context, NGO CSW/NY made a commitment to continue engaging our members virtually in a meaningful way that would allow us to strengthen our global community and continue our activism in these unprecedented times. Thus, in 2021, we made the NGO CSW65 Forum totally virtual for the first time ever. While this was totally new territory for us, and despite pushback, the global health pandemic, and logistical obstacles, including global time zone differences, languages, and technological issues, the Forum was a success! Over 27,000 participants joined the 700+ events during the Forum, making it one of the largest gatherings of women’s movements and feminist civil society. Read the full report about the landmark NGO CSW65 Forum in 2021 here.
50 Years of NGO CSW/NY
NGO CSW/NY turned 50 years old in 2022! This golden anniversary is a major milestone that we wanted to celebrate! Throughout the year, we held various campaigns and events to look back on the memories of the last 50 years and reflect on our vision of the next 50 years.
Our first 50th anniversary celebration was our Consultation Day event at the historic Apollo Theater in Harlem. It was also our first in-person event since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, where we reunited with our local community. Watch the live stream recording of the event here.
We also created a Kudoboard for our community to share their favorite memories of NGO CSW and their vision of the feminist future. Read the responses here!