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United Nations Commission on the Status of Women: Previous sessions

65th session: March 2021

The priority theme of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW) 65th session is Women's full and effective participation and decision-making in public life, as well as the elimination of violence, for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls. The Commission is also evaluating progress in the implementation of the agreed conclusions from its 60th session on Women’s empowerment and the link to sustainable development.

Statement by Minister Monsef - Transcript

Text on screen: Canada’s Statement at UNCSW 65 presented by the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development, Canada

Text on screen: The Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Developement, Canada

Honorable Minister Monsef:

Bonjour, Aaniin, Salaam-Alaikum to my colleagues in the international community. I hope wherever you are, you are safe, you are well, and I wish the same for your loved ones.

COVID-19 is the most serious public health crisis that Canada has ever faced. It has laid bare fundamental gaps in our society and disproportionately impacted those who were already marginalized, vulnerable, or struggling.

La pandémie de la COVID-19 est la plus grave crise de santé publique à laquelle le Canada n’ait jamais été confronté. Il a mis en évidence des lacunes fondamentales dans notre société et a eu un impact disproportionné sur les personnes qui sont déjà marginalisées, vulnérables et en difficulté.

Women have faced steep job losses, and many have bravely served on the front lines of this crisis in our community.

They’ve carried the burden of unpaid care work at home, and they’ve also seen and been impacted disproportionately by increases in rates of gender-based violence and violence against women.

This International Women’s Day, we salute the women on the front lines of the fight against COVID. We acknowledge all the ways that women, particularly racialized women, have been hardest hit by COVID.

Here in Canada, we invite applications to our $100 million dollar Feminist Response and Recovery Fund, and on women’s day, we begin a virtual two-day summit focused on Canada’s feminist response and recovery.

Our government will continue to work with strong feminists to create one million jobs and to improve the health and safety outcomes for all women.

From the start, Canada’s response to the pandemic has been informed through a feminist, intersectional lens to ensure we support those who need it most.

In partnership with feminist grassroots organizations, we’ve been able to ensure that over fifteen hundred organizations across the country are able to keep their doors open, to keep their staff paid, as the most vulnerable women and children in our country seek their supports in their hour of need while escaping violence and abuse.

I want to give special thanks to every single partner who, in those early days of the pandemic, picked up the phone, answered our texts, answered our questions about where we ought to focus. We could not have been able to lead with that intersectional gendered lens had it not been with our partnership with you. We will continue to rely on that partnership.

While addressing inequalities here in Canada, we recognize the need to support the global efforts as well.

My honourable colleague Karina Gould, our minister for International Development, and I are co-leading the Generation Equality Forum Action Coalition of Feminist Movements and Leadership.

We’re investing more than $ 6 billion dollars in international assistance through our Feminist International Assistance Policy. And we look forward to the UN Commission on the Status of Women this year to learn more from what our colleagues around the world are doing to respond to COVID. To learn from you and look forward to the day when we can all come together at that very special place and never again take for granted our opportunities to do the mobilizing and the convening that those who have come before us have benefitted from.

Take good care, everyone. Be safe.

64th session: March 2020

The 64th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women was to take place in New York City from March 9 to March 20, 2020 but was suspended on March 9 for concerns regarding COVID-19.

The 64th session’s main focus was going to be on the review and appraisal of the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the outcomes of the 23rd special session of the General Assembly. The review was to include an assessment of current challenges that affect the implementation of the Platform for Action and the achievement of gender equality and the empowerment of women and its contribution towards the full realization of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Canada’s national review

Every 5 years, UN Women conducts a global review on progress towards the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action. In this context, the Government of Canada prepared a National Report on its own implementation progress. For this review, covering the period of 2015 to 2019, progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals was also considered.

63rd session: March 2019

The priority theme of the UNCSW 63rd session was "Social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls". The Commission also evaluated progress in the implementation of the agreed conclusions from its 60th session on "Women’s empowerment and the link to sustainable development".

62nd session: March 2018

The 62nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women took place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 12 to 23 March 2018.

The priority theme discussed was the challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls while also evaluating progress in the implementation of the outcomes of the 47th session on the participation in and access of women to the media, and information and communications technologies and their impact on and use as an instrument for the advancement and empowerment of women.

61st session: March 2017

The 61st session of the Commission on the Status of Women took place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 13 to 24 March 2017.

The priority theme discussed was "Women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work". In addition, the Commission evaluated progress in the implementation of the agreed conclusions from its 58th session on the "achievements in implementing the Millennium Development Goals for women and girls". The session also addressed the emerging issue of the "empowerment of Indigenous women and girls".

NGO members of the Canadian Delegation
Canada hosts event
Minister discusses with Executive Director of UN Women
Canada delivers the Head of Delegation Statement

60th session: March 2016

The 60th session of the UNCSW took place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from March 14 to 24, 2016.

The priority theme discussed at the session was "Women’s empowerment and its link to sustainable development". The review theme was the elimination and "prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls".

Canada’s delegation was led by the Minister of Status of Women Canada and included representation from federal, provincial and territorial governments, and non-governmental organizations, including Indigenous women’s organizations.

The highlights of Canada’s role at the 60th session of the UNCSW include:

Additional information

59th session: March 2015

The 59th session of the UNCSW took place from March 9 to 20, 2015 at the United Nations headquarters in New York.

The session focused on the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, twenty years after its adoption at the Fourth World Conference in 1995.

The session also looked at opportunities for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women in the post-2015 development agenda.

58th session: March 2014

The 58th session of the UNCSW took place from March 10 to 21, 2014 at the United Nations headquarters in New York. The priority theme discussed at the session was: "Challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals for women and girls." 

The review 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 emerging issue considered was "Women's access to productive resources."

57th session: March 2013

The 57th session of the UNCSW took place from March 4 to March 15, 2013 at the United Nations headquarters in New York. Member states addressed the priority theme, "The elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls." The review theme was "The equal sharing of responsibilities between women and men, including caregiving in the context of HIV/AIDS." Members also considered an emerging issue, "Key gender equality issues to be reflected in the post-2015 development framework."

56th session: February 2012

The 56th session of the UNCSW addressed the priority theme, "The empowerment of rural women and their role in poverty and hunger eradication, development and current challenges." The review theme was "Financing for gender equality and the empowerment of women." Members also considered the emerging issue of "Engaging young women and men, girls and boys, in advancing gender equality." Panel discussions and high-level round-table sessions were held throughout the UNCSW to address these themes.

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