Sweden a strong voice for women’s rights at 61st session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women

“This year, it feels more important than ever to participate. Many of us view what is happening around the world today with concern. Human rights and gender equality are not at the top of the global agenda. In particular, the rights of young girls, women and LGBT people are questioned,” says Minister for Gender Equality Åsa Regnér in connection with her participation at the 61st session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) in New York on 13–24 March.

  • Two women in New York in winter.

    Minister of Gender Equality, Åsa Regnér, and Swedish actor and gender equality debater Sissela Kyle in New York.

    Photo: Joanna Abrahamsson/Government Offices of Sweden

  • Man and woman at a Convention Centre.

    The Swedish Ambassador at large for combating trafficing in persons, Per-Anders Sunesson, and the Minister for Gender Equality, Åsa Regnér.

    Photo: Joanna Abrahamsson/Government Offices of Sweden

The aim of the Swedish delegation is to be a strong and constructive voice for the rights of women and girls.

"Sweden has every opportunity to be a clear and brave voice and stand up for the rights of women and girls. We take this responsibility very seriously. In New York, I am meeting with women's organisations who are putting great personal effort into fighting for a better world for all of us. Through Sweden's international network and development assistance, we are strengthening these brave women activists. Partly because it is the right thing to do – but also because we realise that we all live in the same world," says Ms Regnér.

Women's economic empowerment

This year the main theme is 'Women's economic empowerment in the changing world of work'. Sweden's priorities in relation to this include issues concerning:

  • differences in pay and pensions between women and men;
  • gender segregation in the labour market, including gender-stereotypical educational and vocational choices;
  • conditions for women's participation in the labour force, through such means as parental insurance, child and elderly care and individual taxation, and measures that promote a modern working life such as a good working environment and good working conditions;
  • women's opportunities to take part in working life on a full-time basis;
  • an even division of unpaid housework and care work among men and women; and
  • the role of men and boys in the promotion of gender equality.

The Government's feminist policy, gender equality policy objectives and the feminist foreign policy

On the ground in New York, the delegation is spreading knowledge about Sweden's national and international experience of the work to achieve gender equality. The priorities and starting points are based on the Government's feminist policy, which includes the national gender equality policy objective and targets as well as the feminist foreign policy.

Rights perspective central

Swedish starting points include reaffirming previous commitments and emphasising the importance of the full implementation of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the Beijing Platform and the 2030 Agenda.

For Sweden, the rights perspective is central, likewise the view that human rights are universal.

Sexual and reproductive health and rights

Sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) have been prioritised by the Government and are central to Sweden's international work for gender equality, human rights and health. Swedish experience and knowledge concerning SRHR have important added value. SRHR issues are always controversial on the international policy agenda. They can be expected to appear in connection with the CSW, regardless of the session's main theme.

Side event on prostitution and human trafficking for sexual purposes

During the CSW, member states, organisations, UN funds and programmes arrange 'side events'. Together with France and the Coalition for the Abolition of Prostitution (CAP International), Sweden hosted a side event at the French Embassy on prostitution and human trafficking for sexual purposes. Also taking part in the seminar was actor and gender equality debater Sissela Kyle, who is known in part for her role as women's rights activist Dagmar Friman in the drama series 'Miss Friman's War'.

Facts

The CSW is a functional commission of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and is responsible for gender equality and increased woman empowerment .

It is comprised of 45 member states and meets annually.

It has been in existence since 1947. This year’s meeting is the 61st session.
There will be 290 planned official side events. Some 1082 organisations have preregistered a total of 8 623 representatives.