FEPS attends the 68th annual Commission on the Status of Women (CSW68)


The 68th annual Commission on the Status of Women (CSW68), the UN’s largest annual gathering on gender equality and women’s empowerment, took place from March 11 to March 22, 2024. The theme for CSW68 was “Accelerating the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls by addressing poverty and strengthening institutions and financing with a gender perspective“.

FEPS and PES co-organised a seminar together with the German UN-Women organisation on how to address poverty among women through progressive welfare policies. We discussed how women’s poverty is linked to the lack of gender equality and what we can do about it. Increased awareness, better education, opportunities for women to work, and entrepreneurship are important pieces of the puzzle.

FEPS played an active part in the Commission, participating in seminars, discussions, and talks with civil society organisations, government representatives, and women from all over the world.

This year FEPS was represented by its Special Advisor on Foreign Affairs, former Foreign Minister of Sweden Ann Linde who reported back the following:

“The importance of CSW cannot be overestimated. The fact that several thousands of women and ministers from all the UN member countries meet every year to discuss the situation of women has an impact. This has become increasingly important, as we are now unfortunately seeing a sharp backlash in many areas, from women’s finances to sexual and reproductive health, including the right to abortion, which has been weakened in many places.

Women and children are hit hard by wars and conflicts, a given topic at CSW. Not only of sexual violence, but also of homelessness, destroyed healthcare, and the closure of schools. This was the subject of a seminar on war-torn Mali.

The issue of Feminist Foreign Policy was widely discussed during the CSW. As co-chair of the FEPS project Feminist Foreign Policy Progressive Voices Collective, I held many talks and discussions with organisations about the real change such a policy leads to. 

I felt both proud and sad when the UN’s largest hall in the conference section was packed when Feminist foreign policy was discussed. Mexico announced that they will have a summit on FUP this summer, whilst Spain and the Netherlands discussed their new conferences, activity plans, and more on the topic of feminist foreign policy. Sweden was the first country to start feminist foreign policy, and it was a key priority when I was Foreign Minister, and an academic evaluation has shown how important this policy was for women and girls all over the world. The primary foreign policy decision made by the new right-wing government was to abolish the FFPP, removing Sweden’s involvement in this area.

It’s impossible to cover all areas that were discussed at CSW, just to mention two more – the rapidly growing problem of prostitution and trafficking, and the need for a feminist trade policy. UNCTAD organised a panel about the latter issue, where I explained what a Feminist Trade Policy would look like, and how it was implemented in Sweden”.

FEPS and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung’s Feminist Foreign Policy Progressive Voices Collective explores the future of feminist foreign policy in the EU and globally.

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