Unlocking the Power of Advocacy: Insights from CSW68 on Ending FGM/C Worldwide


Posted:  April 07. 2024

The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is a significant annual meeting held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City, usually in March. It brings together representatives from countries, organizations and others to talk about gender equality and empowering women. At CSW, discussions revolve around assessing progress, addressing challenges and creating policies to promote gender equality globally. It is an important platform for advocating policy changes and fostering international cooperation to achieve goals outlined in the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.

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Our participation in multiple events at the 68th Session of Commission on the Status of Women (CSW68) has been instrumental in advancing our mission to end FGM/C in the United States. It was remarkable to see the amount of sessions specifically dedicated to addressing FGM/C, underscoring a noticeable shift in global awareness and commitment towards ending this practice. This increased focus on FGM/C within various sessions highlights a growing recognition of its significance and the urgent need for collective action on a global scale. Throughout the parallel events we attended, discussions and presentations underscored the urgency of addressing this practice and emphasized the need for increased funding. 

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Key takeaways from CSW68 included:

  • Discussions on the role of  youth activism in driving change. Youth and survivor led initiatives that were discussed at the multiple events hosted by The Girl Generation were applauded for their innovative approaches in raising awareness, challenging social norms and advocating for policy reforms to protect girls and women from FGM/C. 
  • It also emphasized the importance of amplifying survivor voices, providing them with platforms to share their experiences, and ensuring their access to support services and justice.
  • Importance of not only increasing funding for FGM/C prevention and response, but ensuring that funding is going to frontline, grassroots activists. 
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As a founding member of the Global Platform for Action to End FGM/C, The U.S. End FGM/C Network played a pivotal role in organizing From Rhetoric to Reality: Closing the Funding Gap for FGM/C in collaboration with the Global Platform and the United States Mission to the United Nations. 

  • This event served as a crucial platform for fostering collaboration and showcasing innovative strategies to close the funding gap for FGM/C, not only in the United States but on a global scale. Susan Gibbs, Steering Committee member with the U.S. Network and Program Director of Women’s Rights at Wallace Global Fund, noted during the discussion that “the FGM numbers are growing, [but] the funding is not.”
  • This includes promoting the Kigali Declaration and calling for a Global Summit to accelerate funding streams for FGM/C prevention and response globally with a focus on funding going directly to frontline, grassroots activists. 

The lively discussions and valuable insights during the CSW68 sessions highlighted the increasing global awareness and dedication to ending FGM/C, stressing the urgent necessity for more funding and unified efforts. As we persist in advocating for policy reforms and amplifying the voices of survivors, our commitment to achieving a world without FGM/C remains unwavering.