UN Commission on the Status of Women, Sixty-second session,
New York 12-23 March, 2018
Challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls


The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), a functional commission of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), is a global policy-making body dedicated exclusively to promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women. The Commission was established by ECOSOC resolution 11(II) of 21st June 1946 with a mandate to prepare recommendations on promoting women's right in political, economic, civil, social and educational fields. The Commission also contributes to the follow-up to the 2013 Agenda for Sustainable Development so as to accelerate the realization of gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.

Every year, representatives of Member States, United Nations entities and non-governmental organizations in consultative status with ECOSOC gather at United Nations Headquarters in New York for the Commission's annual session. Usually held for ten days in mArch, the session provides an opportunity to review progress towards gender equality and the empowerment of women, identify challenges, set global standards and norms and formulate policies to promote gender equality and women's empowerment worldwide.


The Commission's annual program of work and its working methods are set out in relevant ECOSOC resolutions. The current working methods call for a thematic approach, and determine the inter-active nature of the session, the format of the outcomes and the participation of non-governmental organizations.


The sixty-second session of the Commission addresses as its priority theme "Challenges and opportunities in achieving gender equality and the empowerment of rural women and girls". The Commission also considers and make a recommendation on how best to utilize the year 2020, on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women, as to accelerate the realization of gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls. The ten-days session includes a ministerial segment with round tables and other high-level interactive dialogues, a general discussion, as well as interactive and expert panel discussions. Stakeholders organizes many side events to draw attention to critical aspects of the work on gender equality.


There are the Commission's principal outcome on the priority theme. They are negotiated by all Member States, are short and succinct, and identify gaps and challenges in the implementation of previous commitments And make action-oriented recommendations for all States, relevant intergovernmental bodies, mechanisms and entities of the United Nations system and other relevant stakeholders. The Commission usually adopts a small number of resolutions on different topics. In addition, summaries by the Chair of the Commission of high-level round tables and interactive dialogues highlight key issues discussed, including recommendation for further action.


The Commission considers a number of reports prepared by UN-Women, including a report on the priority theme and a report on progress made on the review theme at national level. Statements submitted by NGOs also form part of the documentation for the session.


UN-Women is the United Nations organization dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. A global champion for women and girls, UN-Women was established to accelerate progress on realizing their rights and meeting their needs worldwide. UN-Women supports United Nations Member States as they set global standards for achieving gender equality, and works with governments and civil society to design laws, policies, programs and services needed to implement these standards. It stands behind women's enjoyment of their human rights in all aspects of life, focusing on five priority areas: increasing women's leadership and participation; ending violence against women; engaging women in all aspects of peace and security processes; enhancing women's economic empowerment; and making gender equality central to national development planning and budgeting. UN-Women also coordinates and promotes the United Nations system's work in advancing gender equality.