**CSW: Commission on the Status of Women

Committee Overview:

Women’s rights have been a concern of the United Nations since 1945, when the United Nations Charter promised in its preamble “to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small.” At the very first UN General Assembly meeting in February 1946, Eleanor Roosevelt, a delegate from the United States, made a statement calling upon all governments to encourage women to take a more active role in political affairs at both national and international levels. That same month, following through on its promise to promote equal rights for women, a sub-commission dedicated to the status of women was founded under the auspices of the Commission on Human Rights. After the international community recognized the increasing importance of global women’s rights, the sub-commission gained full commission status under the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) on 21 June 1946 through ECOSOC resolution 11(II), thus becoming the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). The Commission’s original mandate was to “prepare recommendations and reports to the Economic and Social Council on promoting women’s rights in political, economic, civil, social, and educational fields” and to “make recommendations to the Council on urgent problems requiring immediate attention in the field of women’s rights.”

Topic: Women's Participation and Role in Government

In September 1995, the Beijing Platform for Action established 12 critical areas of concern needing action from the international community to increase equal opportunities for women and girls globally. To address these concerns, UN Women runs programs to expand access to valuable institutional positions, engage women throughout societal decision-making processes, and provide tangible resources for empowerment. Because progression is closely tied with representation, one specific area of concern is the lack of women in power and decision making roles. In the pursuit of global gender equality, women must have an equal ability to voice their thoughts and gain fair access to influencing and understanding political legislation. Women comprise just 24.3 percent of national parliaments worldwide, and some countries have no female participation in government at all. Increasing female representation requires dedication from the international community to expand women’s rights and participation. Otherwise, the world risks losing women’s valuable input on important national issues. Nonetheless, women face numerous obstacles to achieving this equity when they do seek to become politically active.