A delegation of eight Members of the Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee attended the 62nd session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW) in New York on March 19-21.

The theme of this year’s session was ‘‘Challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls’’.

On Monday, delegation members kicked off their series of meetings with the Ambassador of the EU to the UN, João Vale de Almeida. Gender Equality MEPs also met the organisers of Women’s March, as well as representatives from the Centre for Reproductive Rights and from the World Food Programme.

On Tuesday, the delegation was briefed by EU delegation experts on the state of play of the CSW negotiations, before meeting the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for an exchange of views.

Later that day, the delegation members held a side event in the UN Headquarters dedicated to ‘‘Rural women as change makers’’, during which they presented the European Parliament’s priorities and initiatives for the empowerment of rural women and girls. Members also had the opportunity to discuss and exchange good practices with other participants from all around the world.

After this side event, they met Ambassador Byrne Nasor, Chair of the CSW Bureau, and Yannick Glemarec, Deputy Executive Director of UN Women.

On Wednesday, before concluding their visit to New York, Members met representatives from the Food and Agriculture Organization and from a number of NGOs.

‘‘The mission has allowed us to get an authentic grasp of the way the International Community is facing the specific problems of women in rural areas and the role of EU in their resolution. Such problems are not very different from the ones women face in other places but they tend to include other conditions linked to rural realities. In our meetings with civil society organisations and namely during the side event we organised, we had the opportunity to put faces and strong voices to the concerns of women from rural areas around the world’’, said Vilija Blinkevičiūtė (S&D, LT), Chair of the Women’s Rights and Gender Equality Committee and Head of the delegation.

‘‘These past days’ meetings have also allowed us to see how the EU as a whole is working to keep women´s rights and gender equality on top of the international agenda through actions such as the Spotlight Initiative. We have encouraged our EU representatives to maintain a strong position in the negotiations of the final recommendations of the 62nd CSW in order to find an agreement allowing to call for the highest standards on combating violence against women, on sexual and reproductive health and rights, on education and on the protection of Women´s rights defenders’’, she concluded.


The members of the delegation were:


Ms Vilija BLINKEVIČIŪTE (S&D, LT), Head of delegation

Ms Dubravka SUICA (EPP, HR)


Ms Julie WARD (S&D, UK)

Ms Izaskun BILBAO (ALDE, ES)


Ms Monika VANA (Greens/EFA, AT)