Thoughts on International Women’s Day
Having had the privilege of attending the Commission on the Status of Women in New York on two occasions when working with UNWomen, I always associate International Women’s Day with the abundance of vigour and joy that a gathering of thousands of women’s rights activists from around the world can bring. I have very positive memories of the occasional moment of music and poetry joyfully interspersed with serious debates on changing the world.
This year as CSW moves back to its in-person exuberance, it remains more globally accessible online than before, and organisations based anywhere in the world no longer need to pay expensive rents in New York to host important discussions. The next step will be to move to that flexible long term support for feminist networks that movements have called for for many a year, and which we heard again in the workshops the Alliance has been facilitating to explore what the Scottish Government’s commitment to a feminist approach to global affairs might look like.
The theme of CSW this year is innovation and technological change and education in the digital age for achieving gender equality.
Following at least two years of global setback to girls education because of the pandemic, this is a vital discussion. The digital gender divide is real at all levels in very different cultural contexts; we need to be aware of who is doing the inputs that guide artificial intelligence just as much as the multiple barriers to access to online education.
The wonderful uplifting spirit of CSW is the ability to draw links through all of the burning issues of the day and remind the world that fundamental inequalities lie at the heart of the need for transformational change. So, in a debate about financing for development today at CSW, a former Swiss banker pointed out that discussing new models for finance doesn’t mean tinkering at the edges of structural reform in the World Bank, but does mean financing the necessities of responding to climate heating as well as the needs identified every year at CSW!