New theme requires new commitments
The theme of the Commission on the Status of Women this year focused on innovation and technological change and education in the digital age for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that we followed the negotiations closely.
For Rutgers it was important that the conclusions of the negotiations would include references to education about sexual and reproductive health, particularly linked to online communications and technology-facilitated forms of sexual and gender-based violence.
When young people learn about these types of violence through sexuality education, they will know better how to cope with them and who to talk to when they get exposed to certain content or when they are harassed online. For many Member States it is contentious to talk about comprehensive sexuality education. However, these types of violence will only be prevented if we teach children and young people that they exist and how to deal with them.
The negotiations itself were particularly tough to navigate because the priority theme was being discussed for the first time. This means that the consensus reached in previous years did not include any language that we could build on. To draft new language with almost 200 different Member States in the room is understandably tough. The negotiating teams have to quickly get up to speed on terminology that may sound very foreign to them. To some extent they were able to respond to the needs and challenges that in a living digital age bring about. We expect the negotiations during the CSW of 2024 to build on the new elements that were included this year.