This past March, for two weeks participants from The Grail attended the 57th annual Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) at the United Nations.

So, what exactly is the CSW and why is the Grail involved?  Carrie Bowling, Membership and Outreach Coordinator for the Grail explains,

During the two weeks of CSW, the United Nations has ‘main’ events, where the delegates from nations around the globe discuss the theme – this year it was prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls. The delegates start with an opening session, then continue through the week with discussions until a document of ‘agreed conclusions’ is established. While these sessions are taking place at the main UN buildings, NGOs offer side events, also known as
parallel events, in buildings near the UN.  Some of these events explain what a specific organization is working on; provide helpful skills and knowledge about a specific topic; or they can just simply be informative. The Grail hosted two side events, cosponsored several others, and Grail members participated as panelists in others.”

This year, the Grail brought more than 20 participants from various countries such as Brazil, Mozambique, Papua New Guinea, South Africa and USA. For two weeks we were participating in various events in different ways such as being part of some panels; contributing on the writing of the girls’ and young women’s statements; sharing experiences and giving testimony about their life and work; organizing our own parallel events; following the work of outcome documents; lobbying in some mission delegations and engaging with some communities. Together with other NGOs, the Grail co-sponsored some events.

The Grail organized two parallel events as a result of the activities that we are doing in various countries. One parallel event was presented by girls between 16 and 18 years old. The title was: Challenges and Responses…Making Their Voices Heard. The girls from Brazil, El Salvador, Mozambique and USA, spoke and shared their struggles and stories that demonstrated that whatever the statistics, their daily experience causes devastating consequences. The event showed that violence against girls cuts across ethnic, racial, class, religious, educational and international borders.

Another parallel event organized by The Grail was: Changing Systems that Hurt…the Role of Girls and Young Women. The presenters, girls and young women between 16 and 24 years old from Brazil, Mozambique, Papua New Guinea, South Africa and USA, are involved in their communities in advocacy and awareness campaigns regarding the empowerment of girls and young women to take responsibility for all matters affecting their lives.

As always, attending this kind of event makes us take in both the breadth and depth of issues explored and in the commitment, passion, and talent of those present. We consider CSW the lead champion of the global campaign for women’s and girl’s equality and empowerment; a place of reporting progress on women’s and girls’ advancement in their own countries and opportunity for NGOs sharing their challenges and lessons learned.


To learn more about The Grail’s participation at the United Nations, click here.  https://www.grail-us.org/what-we-are/grail-link-to-the-united-nations/