On Monday, the 57th United Nations Commission on the Status of Women began in New York. The two-week long convention discusses the current problems facing women and girls around the world and what the international community can do in response. The primary goal of the commission is to eliminate violence against women and girls.
Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson addressed the commission by saying “Ending violence against women is a matter of life and death. The problem pervades all countries, even in the most stable and developed regions. … Violence against women pervades war zones as well as stable communities, capitals as well as the countryside, public space as well as the private sphere,” Mr. Eliasson said. “Since it is an unacceptable feature of daily life, we have to respond everywhere and on every level.”
In her opening statement, Michelle Bachelet, the UN Women Executive Director, addressed the commission: “Recent events and protests point to growing awareness and momentum. Over the past few months, women, men, and young people took to the streets with signs that ask ‘Where is the justice?’ with rallying cries that say ‘Wake up!’ … It is an understatement to say that the priority theme of this 57th session, the elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls, is timely.”
On Tuesday, various heads of UN agencies met as part of the commission to discuss how agencies can cooperate to end gender-based violence. In the meeting, Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon informed the leaders “Too many women and girls face intimidation and physical and sexual abuse often from those who should care for and respect them most – fathers, husbands, brothers, teachers, colleagues, and supervisors” and that internationally 70 percent of women report having experience physical and/or sexual violence.