A delegation of the Committee on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality of the European Parliament, led by the Committee Chair Ms Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D, LT), successfully concluded its work in the 61st annual session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women in New York. Participants included Agnieszka Kozłowska-Rajewicz, Anna Hedh, Jadwiga Wiśniewska, Beatriz Becerra Basterrechea, Ángela Vallina, Monika Vana and Daniela Aiuto. Members attended the session from 20 to 23 March 2017.

The delegation met UN Secretary General Mr Antonio Guterres, as a first European Parliament delegation since his taking up his duties. In the meeting, they mutually agreed that more women are needed in positions of power.

Members met several other counterparts from different UN organisations, such as UN Women, UNICEF, UNDP and OHCHR. The content of the meetings was cooperation on international scene towards greater promotion and protection of the rights of women and gender equality.

“It is even more important to look for synergies in our efforts now, that we experience worldwide backlashes against previously agreed standards on gender equality ”, said the Chair Ms Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D, LT).

As part of the programme of the CSW, European Parliament organised a side event with the title European Parliament as a partner in the economic empowerment of women, with high attendance of delegates from all around the world. In the side event, the Chair presented the priorities of the European Parliament for the 61st session, including a call for an ILO Convention to provide an international standard to address gender-based violence in the workplace. Ambassador Carmelo Inguanez, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Malta to the UN stressed the importance attached by the EU Presidency to the EU accession to the Council of Europe Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence (Istanbul Convention). Ms Kozlowska-Rajewicz outlined the challenges faced by women in the newly emerging sector of digitalised economy, where the representation of women, although they are highly educated, remains worryingly low. And because the gender digital gap is increasing very rapidly, a threat exists of women being excluded from the digital fast-growing world. Possible solutions would include focus on education of girls in ICT-related fields. Ms Anna Hedh presented the main points of her upcoming report on economic empowerment of women in private and public sector which will focus on recommendations for improved work-life -balance conditions, mechanisms to reach equal pay for equal value work such as wage mapping, gender quotas and gender equality plans, but also pointing out the important role of collective agreements and social partners.

The EP delegation held also bilateral meetings with other national delegations, which included a meeting with H.E. Meher Afroz MP, Honourable State Minister for Women and Children Affairs of Bangladesh.

Meetings with the Chair of the CSW Bureau Ambassador Antonio de Aguiar Patriota, EU negotiations team and EU Member States representatives provided Members with the possibility to further express their views on what are the priorities of the European Parliament for the outcome of the CSW negotiations.