And so it begins….

As the sun sets over New York City, an sense of anticipation falls over mid-town Manhattan as delegates arrive from around the world to participate in the 60th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW).

CSW is an annual pilgrimage for many feminists, women’s rights activists and gender policy makers, being the largest global policy making arena in the world, and taking place over 2 weeks in March, with over 4,000 women participating in the many different sessions of the Commission.

The beating heart of the Commission is the drafting of what is known as an ‘Outcomes Document’ – this document, is not only a summary of the session, but is a global policy document that can lead to many positive changes in women’s lives across the globe. The process to get to this final document is that all governments present have to negotiate and agree every word within it. This often leads to many compromises and discussions on the meaning of a word, or context.

Surrounding the document negotiations, which take place mainly in the second week after all countries have read out their country reports on gender equality achievements, are a number of side events and parallel sessions. These are important places for the exchange of information, sharing of gender equality work, finding allies in working together and discussing the situation is each other’s countries.

But today…. Two days before CSW begins – old friends and friends yet to be made arrive into their hotels, bed and breakfasts, apartments in New York City and start to wander the streets of mid town / times square / east village in unseasonably warm weather in search of food, drink local sim cards and metro cards.

Already, the search for the cheapest sim card for your phone has begun and if anyone is interested – text me and I’ll let you know the best offer in town !

Carole Shaw

12 March 2016

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