NY: DI At UN Commission On Status Of Women

Defend International participated in the 52nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), held at United Nations Headquarters in New York, from 25 February to 7 March 2008.

Committed to gender equality, women’s empowerment and human rights, Dr. Widad Akreyi, Defend International co-founder, joined thousands of other attendees from around the globe.


Defend International Attends CSW 2008

Background Information About CSW

CSW is one of nine Commissions of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) at the United Nations. The commission is dedicated totally to gender equality and advancement of women’s rights internationally. CSW consists of 45 member states of the United Nations elected for a period of 4 years on principle of “equitable geographical distribution”: 13 members from Africa, 11 from Asia, 9 from Latin America and Caribbean; 4 from Eastern Europe and 8 from Western Europe and other States.

CSW 2008

During this 52nd session the CSW evaluated progress on gender equality, identified challenges, set global standards and formulated concrete policies to promote gender equality and advancement of women worldwide. It also considered a priority theme and an emerging issue. Additionally, the Commission reviewed implementation of the agreed recommendations on a theme considered at an earlier session.


Priority theme

  • Financing for gender equality and empowerment of women

(Monday 25 February 2008 – 3 to 6 pm and Tuesday 26 February 2008 – all day)

  • Expert Group Meeting on “Financing for gender equality and the empowerment of women”
  • Related On-line Discussion


Emerging issue

Gender perspectives on climate change

(Thursday 28 February – 3-6 pm)


Review theme

Women’s equal participation in conflict prevention, management and conflict resolution and in post-conflict peacebuilding

(Friday 29 February – 10am – 1pm)


Parallel event on the theme for the 53rd session in 2009

The equal sharing of responsibilities between women and men, including caregiving in the context of HIV/AIDS.

(Thursday 28 February – lunchtime)


Benefits From Attending CSW

  • Networking with country delegates, officials and NGOs;
  • Be present at the official plenary sessions;
  • Sharing information about ongoing and planned programmes, lessons learned and best practices;
  • Promoting NGO efforts, equal participation of women in decision and outcomes for women;
  • Lobbying to influence the votes of the countries that are members of CSW;
  • Pursuing ideas and experience on topics of common interest in smaller stand-alone meetings devoted to more informal discussion and debates in the margins of the 52nd sessions of CSW.


DI and CSW

Defend International participated in various forums and discussions which occurred during this session. Side by side with women from around the world, DI co-founder Dr. Widad was involved in several side events that discussed a wide range of issues and challenges in devising gender equality policies and programs.


DI and other NGOs

A strong collaborative framework is place between Defend International and other NGOs to work together promoting common goals and objectives, such as:

  • Preventing small arms violence against women;
  • Involving women fully in peacemaking, peacebuilding and disarmament;
  • Reducing military spending;
  • Breaking the link between violence and masculinity; and
  • Stopping gun violence around the world.


The Impact of Guns on Women’s Lives

On 3 March 2008 Defend International was part of a panel discussion focused on “The Impact of Guns on Women’s Lives”, organised by the Conventional Weapons Branch of the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs (ODA).

The speakers highlighted the similarities between different contexts and showed how guns affect us all. DI president was one of the four speakers. Dr. Widad addressed the audience on how to “break the link between guns and masculinity”. She underlined problems faced by women in Southern Iraq, in Basra, and hounor killings in Kurdistan region.


  • Title: The Impact of Guns on Women’s Lives
  • Date: Monday 3 March 2008
  • Time: 1.15pm – 2.45pm
  • Room: UN HQ Conference Room 2
  • The event was chaired by Sarah Masters and the speakers were:
  1. Dr. Wendy Cukier, Ryerson University, Canada;
  2. Dr. Widad Akreyi, Defend International, MENA region and Scandinavia;
  3. Mr. Daniel Prins, cheif, Conventional Arms Branch of UNODA;
  4. Ms. Marie Claire Ruhamya, Belgium/DR Congo;
  5. Ms. Binalakshmi Nepram, Manipuri Women Gun Survivors Network, India;
  6. Ms. Maria Pia Devoto, Asociacion para Politicas Publicas (APP), Argentina.





DI Attended Other Meetings and Events

  • Getting the facts to make the change: how violence against women surveys lead to change

Organisers: permanent mission of Canada to the UN; Mission of Finland, UNDAW


  • The important role of women in conflict prevention and post conflict peace building

Organiser: Zenab for Women in Development


  • Advocacy at national level on 1325: What are women asking for?

Organisers: IWTC & Isis WICCE


  • Emerging from conflict – What has been the experience of Northern Ireland Women?

Organisers: Northern Ireland Women’s European Platform


ese 185

  • Financing for gender equality and the empowerment of women – the CEDAW and the UN SCR 1325

Organiser: International Federation of Women in Legal Careers


  • Town Hall Meeting: An Open Dialogue on SCR 1325

Organiser: NGO Working Group on Women Peace and Security


  • Working on Peace and Security: Where Are We Now with SCR 1325?

Organiser: NGO Working Group on Women Peace and Security


  • Women’s empowerment, the key to women’s equal participation in conflict prevention and in post-conflict peacebuilding

Organiser: West Africa Network for Peacebuilding


To view the agreed conclusions of the 52nd session of CSW click here.


Defend International

United Nations
Commission on the Status of Women
The 52nd session
New York City
March 2008