The Non Governmental Organisation Commission on the Status of Women (NGOCSW) consultation event is held every year parallel to the Annual Sessions of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW) in New York. This year NOWSPAR participated in the NGOCSW Panel Session under the theme ‘Relational Aspects of Gender Equality in Sport, Male-Female Collaborative Advocacy’.
This report presents a brief of the proceedings and outcomes of our participation.
The United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW) is a functional commission of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), it is a global policy-making body dedicated exclusively to gender equality and the advancement of women. Every year, representatives of Member States gather at the United Nations Headquarters in New York to evaluate progress on gender equality, identify challenges, set global standards and formulate concrete policies to promote gender equality and advancement of women worldwide.
The following are the key focus areas of the CSW at this session:
• Priority Theme: Access and participation of women and girls in education, training, science and technology, including for the promotion of women’s equal access to full employment and decent work
• Review Theme: The elimination of all forms of discrimination and violence against the girl child
• Emerging Issue: Gender equality and sustainable development
The Non Governmental Organisation Commission on the Status of Women (NGOCSW) is the NGO platform that facilitates civil society input into the UNCSW Agenda and outcomes.
Every year the NGO Committee on the Status of Women, NY organizes the NGO Consultation Day in preparation for the UN Commission on the Status of Women sessions that take place in February/March. In helping to bring together activists from around the world for two weeks at the United Nations, the NGO CSW, NY facilitates networking, sharing strategies and best practices, lobbying governments encouraging them to implement resolutions, treaties they have signed and to allocate necessary resources.
The NGO CSW, NY brings NGO representatives together to caucus, issue joint statements and provide wording for the Agreed Conclusions of the annual United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.
The NGO CSW Sessions were held in form of Parallel thematic panel discussions, caucuses and briefing sessions.
NOWSPAR was represented by the Founder and Executive Director Ms. Matilda K. Mwaba and participated in the Panel Discussion in the Session ‘Relational Aspects of Gender Equality in Sport, Male-Female Collaborative Advocacy’ NOWSPAR participation was funded and coordinated by the Norwegian Olympic and Paralympics Committee and Confederation of Sport (NIF).
NOWSPAR Participation Objectives
a. Share our lessons in implementing the Every Body Matters Program
b. Contribute to global advocacy for women’s rights and development
c. Develop advocacy and lobbying skills
d. Established networking and collaboration links with other organizations
a. Consultative Day
21st February, 2011: The Morning session started with a Consultative day and an official opening was attended by over 5000 delegates from over 300 countries. This was followed by Regional Caucuses designated by the United Nations and then the NGO Orientation on the CSW and UN for NGO’s conducted by the NGOCSW/NY.
The Summary of the Roundtable on the CSW 55 priority Theme was “Access and participation of women and girls to education, training science and technology, including for the promotion of women’s equal access to full employment and decent work” The panelist presented from different vantage points – two reflecting on national development perspectives and the third “expanding Your Horizon Network, illustrating its approach to encouraging girls to be interested in and excel in Science Technology , Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects.
b. Panel Discussion on Sport
22nd February 2011: The Panel Discussion on Sport was the main event that NOWSPAR participated in. The event was organized by the Women Sport International in Cooperation with the International Working Group on Women and Sport (IWG) and the Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF). The event was held on the 22nd February 2011 at the CCUN building on the 10th Floor at 10:00hours.
The session overall theme was “Relational Aspects of Gender Equality in Sport, Male-Female Collaborative Advocacy”
The Panel was chaired by Prof. Carole Oglesby, Ph.D A Scholar, author, teacher and consultant in sport psychology, she has served as the president of Women Sport International, a member of IWG and as a trustee of the Women’s Sports Foundation.
I. Raija Mattila
A former sports director of the Finnish Ministry of Education and Culture, she also served as chair of the Committee for the Development of Sports (CDDs) Of the Council of Europe during 1996-1999. She now serves as IWG Co-Chair for 2010-2014 quadrennial term.
Topic: The Brighton Declaration – accelerating national policies on gender equality in sport, a case report from Finland.
II. Don Sabo, Ph.d
Professor of Health Policy D’Youville Collge, Baffalo, NY. Dr. Sabo founded and directs the centre of Research on Physical Activity, Sport and Health. He is an expert on gender relations, physical activity and health, gender equity in athletics, sports and masculinity, and men’s violence since 1980. Dr Sabo is a pioneer in the development of men’s health studies and applications of gender theory to better understand men.
Topic: A Relational Analysis if Women’s and Mens’ Health: a focus on Sport
III. Matilda Mwaba
Founder and Executive Director of NOWSPAR – Zambia she is the first female president of the Zambia Judo Association and the International Kicking Aids Out Network. She has served on the National Olympic Committee and National Sports Council of Zambia. She was the Zambia Team Manager to the Commonwealth Games in Manchester and Chairperson of the Zambia Talent Identification and Capacity Development for the All Africa Games.
Topic: Every Body Matters – Women and Men cooperating towards gender equality in sport.
IV. Kari Fasting, Ph.D
Professor and former rector, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, Oslo Dr. Fasting is the former president of the International Association of sport Sociology and president of Women’s Sports International, and NGO that encourages increased opportunities and positive changes for the involvement of women in sport and physical activity. She also serves as an expert consultant on sexual harassment and abuse for the IOC and UNICEF.
Topic: Sexual harassment and abuse in sport – the growing concern of the International Olympic Committee.
I was invited to present a paper that would share how NOWSPAR works with men and women in advocacy towards gender equality in sport. My presentation was to demonstrate how as a women’s organization in Zambia, which is promoting women and their role in sport, has chosen the strategy to work with men by discussing our advocacy project which uses this approach.
My presentation discussed the project called “Every Body Matters” supported by Norwegian Olympic and Paralympics Committee and Confederation of sports (NIF). The project incorporates Advocacy, capacity development, awareness raising, research and networking. NOWSPAR works with men and women at national and community levels and in rural and urban areas to address issues including access to sport opportunities, harassment and abuse and leadership. The presentation highlighted the challenges and successes encountered with this approach. (See attached presentation)
Session Audience Participation
The session was attended by about sixty people including activists, students, researchers, and bloggers and media personnel.
The presentation was followed by a question and answer sessions, questions addressed at the panelists were relating to what type of programs we have that encourages girls who have experienced abuse in sport to remain in sport and not drop out, other questions were in connection with safety and information disclosure on scientific evidence of the negative impact of repeated hard impacts on athletes’ brains, other questions related the quota system and how men respond to such approaches.
c. 22nd – 25th February 2011: There were more than 200 parallel sessions on various topics, I attended only seven session due to time and financial limitations, the sessions went on until 4th March while I left New York on 26th February.
I attended the following parallel sessions:
I. Boys Speak Out
The session was organized by the Bahai International Community Offices
The discussion was based on the role of men and boys in advancing towards equality. An interactive table with a panel of young men asking question and voicing views on key issues relating to themes of CSW
II. Girls Speak out
Organized by the Working Group on Girls – UNICEF, Girls Learn International Inc, and Girl Scout.
A dialogue between girl activists and UN representatives at CWA 55, the conversation focused on building partnerships between adults and girls as agents of change. Reviewing of the CSW 55 review theme: the elimination of all forms of discrimination and violence against the girl child. The panel presentation were drawn from girl activists drawn from every region of the world
III. Mentoring Young Women for Leadership Through Partnerships
Organized by the Canadian Crossroads International and YWCA in partnership with Abantu for Development in Africa.
Development to explore how partnerships can expand capacity to mentor young women for leadership in public , along with international partners.
IV. Women WONT’ wait GCWA, End HIV & Violence Against Women– NOW Campaign
Sponsored by CHANGE, CWGL, FEIM, FEMENT, AND GESTOS
The conversation was based on finding out what are we are doing to better integrate the intersection of violence against women (VAW) and HIV in the global and nation HIV responses and discuss proposals for making this happen.
V. The road ahead for women’s advancement
New opportunities, New Structures, New Partnerships Organized by the International of Women in Legal Careers
The interactive panel reflected on recent events such as the creation of the new UN gender entity UN Women to the November G20 Summit in Seoul which impact upon women’s advancement, development and the MDGs. These events challenge us to re-examine our approaches and to reformulate our strategies to include collective action.
VI. Psychology Caucus: What Psychology offers to the Education of Women and Girls
Sponsored by American Psychological Association
This was an open discussion to review of the CSW’s agreed conclusions for the education of women and girls, and the psychological evidence supporting them. The meeting explored further additional initiatives, Action steps for psychologists affiliated with NGOs at the UN and Networking.
VII. Violence Against Girls Task force
Sponsored by the Associated Country of the World
Topic: Are we doing enough for girls? Hear it from the girls themselves – are we doing enough for them? This session looked at current initiatives and progress made so far.
3. Pre-Event Publicity
Local media: interviews were aired on national radio, television sport shows as well as on the sport section of the 7pm news on National television.
Internet Platforms: the event details were published on our websites, social networks and blogs and notices emailed to our networks.
Correspondence: we sent out letters informing our partners of our participation in the event. Letters were sent to the Ministry of Sport Youth and Child Development, Gender in Development Division and the Non-Governmental Organisation Coordinating Committee.
• Our presentations’ recommendations were documented and channeled to the UN CSW 55th Session forum on Violence against Women
• Increased linkages to organizations around the world in the sector of sport as well as gender related work
• NOWSPAR has been invited to make another presentation at the 2012 pre Olympic Session to be held in Scotland during the Olympic Games.
• NOWSPAR is being considered to serve on the Women Sport International and International Women on Sport Working Group Committees
• There has been increased traffic to our website and also requests for information and possible collaborations.
• NOWSPAR has subscribed as a member to the Beyond World Sport and entered in the Beyond Sport award competition
• Lobbying to interest people to attend your session as you have to compete with other interesting sessions
• Weather posed a challenge to move from one building to another to attend the session of your choice
• The demand for our brochures and organisation information material was greater than the amount we had carried.
6. Lessons Learnt
• It was interesting to learn the UN system and its structure, and how NGO can contribute through collaborative efforts campaigns and subscription to various networks
• The need for further research in the area of gender and sport, and the need for providing this evidence for advocacy
• By participating in various parallel session there was a lot to learn, the different approaches on issues relating to gender inequality
• The importance of effective communication tools and platforms for advocacy and campaigns e.g blogs
The NGO CSW facilitated our representation and input into high level advocacy for gender equality in Sport. It was also a strategic place for us to network and learn from other members of civil society.
We remain indebted to NIF for their continued invaluable support for our organisation development and growth; to my fellow panelists for the cooperation and support during this event and for the new relationships that have been forged.
Norwergian Olympic and Paralympic Committees and Confederation of Sport (NIF) for financing our participation and the program on which Ms. Matilda Mwaba’s presentation was based;
The WomenSport International and IWG for inviting us to participate in this event;
Special thanks to Professor Kari Fasting for her recommendation of our participation and her support;
Special gratitude to Ms. Matilda M. Lucas for her support to the Panel event;
All the NOWSPAR members and partners who support our work