Houry Geudelekian, the Chair of the NGO CSW talked about the review of the Beijing Declaration from 1995 to 2020. The NGO CSW had organized the largest gathering in March of 2020 in New York City during Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). The ultimate goal is to bring voices of women and girls globally to the UN Headquarters. In March 2020, around 20,000 women signed up to come for the CSW64 events, which was going to be the second coming of Beijing Platform for Action as we celebrate the Beijing Declaration +25. NGO CSW team alone had organized 520 panel discussions in the two weeks that the CSW64 until the arrival of silent enemy Covid-19.
It was not surprising to most of us that COVID-19 has affected us so deeply because the world was not on the right track of taking care of people and the world. We were not realizing the interconnectedness; on the contrary, we were abusing this planet and each other and really buying into this patriarchy, colonialism, capitalism. So, here we are again at the UNGA Conference for rethinking, re-galvanizing, and re-bringing women and girls and our allies, our men and boys who are on board with us because we obviously cannot do this without the collaboration of men and women.
All of the CSW64 parallel events canceled and we went completely online on Zoom right away. At the same time, Generation Equality Forum, spearheaded by UN Women and partnered with France and Mexico was still going on and moving forward aligned with the Beijing Platform for Action. For the last 25 years, we were implementing the Beijing Platform for Action, which is the strongest document for gender equality but we never knew how to hold governments accountable for implementation. There are so many amazing documents at the UN right now. Imagine if we had global health coverage and actions for climate change. What we’ve been really talking about is remodeling a shared leadership for humanity. Same applies for women and girls and how we are leading our platform going forward. So, the next CSW65 will be held 100 percent online in March 2021. But this year, the goal is not to bring voices here in the UN Headquarters in New York City, even though it’s exciting to have face to face discussions. But we have more access right now because it will be online where more people can join us because all they need is a laptop and a Wi-Fi. Now, I understand there’s also that digital difference that when people do not have a laptop and a Wi-Fi. She encouraged everybody to join the NGO CSW65 events to talk about their challenges and try to find solutions that can make change in the lives of many.
Early marriage has negative effects on any society. When you take education and her voice away from the girl, then you’re taking away that community’s force and strength. She called on all stakeholders not to give up on humanity by giving up on women and girls. In honor of Ruth Bader Ginsburg who inspired me and thousands of people by “fighting for the things that you care about but do it in a way that will lead others to join you.”