The annual sessions of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women offer many opportunities for feminist social change despite challenges of access and space. Commission sessions focus on producing an outcome document, the Agreed Conclusions, that sets global norms for governmental behavior toward women and girls. Feminist advocates can influence the norms-setting process through written and oral statements, side events, briefings, and direct communications with UN member states. In addition to official meetings that are open to non-governmental organizations with accreditation to the United Nations, a parallel conference of events takes place that is open to all. The parallel conference allows feminist advocates to raise issues such as violence against women, make connections to understand the dynamics of gender inequality, promote feminist language, and learn to use UN tools to advance the well-being of women and girls. In the ferment of discussion and interaction, a global feminist collective consciousness is formed, nurtured, and promulgated. This paper will discuss the feminist origins of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, practices of Commission sessions, and limitations to non-governmental participation in the Commission negotiating process. It will offer suggestions for a more democratic United Nations that opens up sessions to feminist advocates and expands space available for Commission and non-governmental events.
Lee, S. (2019), "Opportunities for Feminist Social Change at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women", Segal, M., Kelly, K. and Demos, V. (Ed.) Gender and Practice: Knowledge, Policy, Organizations (Advances in Gender Research, Vol. 28), Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 201-218. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1529-212620190000028011Download as .RIS
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