The sixty-second session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) was held at United Nations (UN) Headquarters from 12 to 23 March 2018 under the theme of the empowerment of women and girls in rural areas. The event was organized by UN Women and brought together representatives of Member States, United Nations entities and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from all over the world.
On this occasion, the Euro-Mediterranean Women’s Foundation (FFEM) was invited to intervene in several occasions:
– On March 12 at the breakfast of Mrs. Marlène Schiappa, Secretary of State to the French Prime Minister in charge of Equality between Women and Men, at the Permanent Mission of France to the UN in New York.
– On March 12 at a side event sponsored by France and Sweden and organized by the French and Swedish Coordination of the European Women’s Lobby (CLEF and SWL) and the Jean Jaurès Foundation on political empowerment of women and women’s access to political positions and responsibilities;
– On March 14 in the conference “The Impact of Climate Change on Women and Girls in Rural Areas” organized by the CLEF, a member of our network, and
– On March 14 in a parallel event “Social economy in the digital age as a factor for reducing rural women’s poverty in Mediterranean countries” organized by the Network of Women Parliamentarians of the Parliamentary Assembly of La Francophonie.
During the conference on “The Impact of Climate Change on Women and Girls in Rural Areas”, the Foundation’s representatives highlighted the fact that the associative and academic world often struggle to rely on each other especially in rural areas, and given the challenges at stake it is necessary to combine both research and field action. Our representatives shared some ideas to obtain data at local level such as mobilizing all local actors to make a participatory diagnosis with data obtained on site, and developing a joint field project in order to overcome previously identified obstacles.
Regarding the session on “Social economy in the digital age as a factor for reducing rural women’s poverty in Mediterranean countries”, the foundation’s representatives mentioned that the growing use of smartphones and tablets in Southern Mediterranean countries is a considerable asset to our work as it allows people living in rural areas to have an impact at international level (in rural and urban contexts). With this perspective, the foundation’s trilingual (English, French and Arabic) Internet platform and their social networks actively support local actors of gender equality in rural areas, thus contributing in breaking their isolation. The diaspora from Southern Mediterranean countries was identified as another lever for rural women’s empowerment. The diaspora can start commercial transactions, create local small businesses or promote co-development projects for the benefit of women of either side of the Mediterranean.