Challenges and Achievements of the Millennium Development Goals for Women and Girls – CSW 58

Meeting attended:

United Nations, NYC; 10 March, 2014; 3:00 – 6:00PM; Commission on the Status of Women (CSW58) – High Level Round Tables A &B

Subject of meeting:

The Challenges and Achievements of the Millennium Development Goals for Women and Girls

Brief Overview:

The high-level round table provides an opportunity for representatives of Member States attending the fifty-eighth session of the Commission to engage in dialogue and share experiences and lessons learned in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The Millennium Development Goals aim to:

1) eradicate extreme poverty and hunger; 2) achieve universal primary education; 3) promote gender equality and empower women; 4) reduce child mortality; 5) improve maternal health; 6) combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases; 7) ensure environmental sustainability; and 8) develop a global partnership for development.


Discussion and Lessons Learned:

All of the Member States represented shared the understanding that progress, in general, had been made in the achievement of the MDGs but it was slow and in some goal areas, would fall short of the 2015 deadline. Participants concluded that in order to be successful the following lessons need to be institutionalized:


1) Gender equality is central for success and as such should become a stand -alone goal in the 2015 agenda. Also, the 2015 agenda should have concrete goals.


2) Country governments must develop the political will, innovation and facilitating mechanisms to enable gender equality including national plans for gender equality, tax incentives to private corporations, childcare subsidies, recognition of extensive unpaid care work done by women and solutions for lessening this burden, gender- responsive budgeting, disaggregated data collection, gender mainstreaming across sectors, improved legislative instruments and process, accountability and transparency.


3) Gender equality and social, economic and climate justice for women need to be deeply embedded into country constitutions and the laws of the land so that women’s rights are not subjected to the vagaries of each regime change.


4) Elimination of violence against women (missing from the MDGs) must become a top priority. Education, Maternal Health, Sexual and Reproductive rights, Healthcare and Sanitation are integral to gender equality.


5) Numbers of women parliamentarians and decision-makers need to increase dramatically.


6) Common purpose at the international level between, multi-lateral institutions, corporations, UN, civil society, member states is imperative. Foreign powers must not pervert the cause of human rights in other countries to serve their own goals.


7) UN should help at the country government level rather than have small fragmented projects within countries.


Relevance to GWI and NFAs:

The conclusions of the Roundtable participants affirm GWI’s position on gender equality. GWI’s vision for 100% of girls and women in the world achieving education beyond primary school and its mission of advocating for women’s rights through access to quality secondary and tertiary education (MDG goal 2) lie at the intersection of the outlined lessons learned. Therefore, these lessons need to be included (where appropriate) in the advocacy efforts of GWI and its NFAs.

Possible Next Steps for GWI and NFAs:

  • Beyond its advocacy at the UN, GWI can identify and recommend experienced, skilled women from its NFAs to serve on international committees with multi-lateral institutions, corporations and civil society to support the efforts of the UN at country government levels.
  • GWI can help NFAs create campaigns to promote the achievement of the MDGs and the 2015 agenda (with an emphasis on Education) to raise awareness in their respective countries.
  • GWI can support the advocacy efforts of its NFAS by providing them with information on specific challenges to women’s education in their countries and can keep them informed on developments and trends that impact this issue.
  • NFAs can begin to monitor trends in their respective countries that impact women and girls education. They can organize/partner with other like-minded women’s groups to create a dialogue with their governments for the inclusion of gender equality- facilitating mechanisms that can lead to enhanced educational opportunities for women.