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Commission on the Status of Women

The CSW was established in 1946 with the object to promote implementation of the UN Charter principle that men and women shall have equal rights; it is composed of 45 member States elected by ECOSOC. Its function is to prepare recommendations and reports to the Council on promoting women's rights in political, economic, civil, social and educational fields; and to make recommendations on urgent problems requiring immediate attention in the field of women's rights. It has also been mandated to prepare the world women's conferences (Mexico, 1975; Copenhagen, 1980; Nairobi, 1985; and Beijing, 1995) and to review the follow-up to their recommendations. The Commission works closely with women's groups worldwide, who participate in large numbers in its meetings and often provide documentation  on many issues of concern. The Commission has long been concerned about the vulnerability and discrimination suffered by older women, who constitute the majority of the older population in most regions of the world.

2010 | 2009 | 2005 | 1999 | 1998 | 1986

Fifty-fourth session (March 2010)

Older Women and Beijing: 15 Years on (February 2010)
The Beijing Declaration recognized age discrimination as one of the barriers to women’s empowerment and advancement. Older women were specifically mentioned in the Beijing Platform for Action with regard to their poverty, health, violence against them. Fifteen years later, this report questions to what extent have governments and others implemented promised programs and to what extent have older women and population ageing guided priorities for future action? 

Fifty-third session (March 2009)

Report: World: Commission on the Status of Women, Agreed Conclusion (March 13, 2009)      The 53rd session of the Commission on the Status of Women recently concluded. The Governments agreed that care-giving work in the household, family, and community level, requires the support and care of older persons, children, the sick and persons with disabilities. They also agreed that increasing numbers of older people as well as young people, may contract HIV/AIDS and need care giving for survive.

Africa: International Women’s Day: Older Care Addresses UN (March 6, 2009)
Kufekise Laugrey, an older woman from Zambia, shared her experience of caring for several family members living with HIV at an event co-sponsored by HelpAge International, held in advance of International Women's Day. She spoke about the impact that caring for her family members has had on her. She described how older people provide HIV-related care but remain largely invisible in the response to the disease.

Forty-ninth session (March 2005)

At the 49th session, March 2005, the Commission carried out a comprehensive review and appraisal of implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action and other commitments made by governments to ensure equality for women. The review was a major undertaking, based on a variety of sources of information and statistics supplied by governments, UN agencies, NGOs and others. The review included information on the situation of older women, as appropriate, and resulted in a declaration committing governments to the continued implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action and subsequent documents. 

Forty-third session (March 1999)

Gender and Ageing: Problems, Perceptions and Policies (January 4, 1999)
Additional analysis and recommendations are contained in a further report by the Secretary-General on the Status of Women in 1999

Forty-second session (March 1998)  

Older Women and Support Systems: New Challenges (January 5, 1998)
As part of the follow-up activities to the Beijing conference and in preparation for the International Year of Older Persons (1999), the Commission requested the Secretary-General to prepare a report on the gender dimensions of care and support for older persons. The report made a number of detailed recommendations for additional research and action that were incorporated into CSW resolution 42/4, entitled: Older Women and Support Systems: Gender and Caregiving (March 1998)

Thirty-first session (March 1986) 

Role of Women in Development, Question of Elderly Women (October 29, 1985)  
Following a recommendation of the Nairobi Conference, the Commission reviewed an initial report on the status and situation of older women in their societies prepared by the Secretary-General in 1985. 

NGO Statements at the Commission

The Sub Committee on Older Women of the NGO Committee on the Status of Women (January 13, 2003)
Caroline Themm, a representative of the NGO Committee on the Status of Women, spoke about the impact of the articles of CEDAW on older women. A group of older women activist NGOs set up the Sub Committee (SCOW) during preparations for the 1999 International Year of Older Persons. 

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