United Nations 67th Sessions of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW67) By Dr. Wafa Al Tamimi
In a world where technology was rapidly advancing and innovation was highly valued, women and girls were often excluded from opportunities for education, leadership, and advancement in the field. However, some visionaries recognized the potential for technology to promote gender equality and empowerment, and they worked to bridge the divide between men and women in access and opportunity.
Their efforts provided more women and girls with access to technology and encouraged them to pursue careers in the field. They were given training and education in the latest digital tools and technologies and opportunities to lead and innovate. As a result, the gender gap in technology began to close, and women and girls became valued contributors and leaders in the tech industry.
Thanks to these visionaries’ focus on innovation, technology, and education, women and girls were empowered to pursue their dreams and achieve their goals, accessing new opportunities for education, entrepreneurship, and leadership. With technology at their fingertips, they made a real difference in the world. This paved the way for a brighter future in the digital age where gender equality and empowerment were the norm, not the exception.
As the Co-Chair of the UNA Women Group and an advocate for gender equality and women’s empowerment, I had the honor of participating as a UNA-USA delegate session to the 67th Commission on the Status of Women (CSW67) Forum in New York. During the session, I had the opportunity to speak as an Education Advocate on the topic of “WOMEN KNOW WHAT WOMEN NEED: FEMTECH HEALTHCARE INNOVATIONS & TECHNOLOGIES”. I shared my insights on how to promote gender equality and empower women in the healthcare technology sector.
I emphasized the need for the healthcare technology sector to prioritize attracting and educating girls and women to create a more diverse and inclusive workforce. This can be achieved through education and training programs, mentorship, and networking opportunities tailored to girls and women. Collaboration and partnerships between FemTech companies, healthcare providers, policymakers, and other stakeholders are essential to ensure that FemTech products and technologies are effective, user-friendly, and accessible to women and girls worldwide.
I also highlighted the importance of supporting research and development of FemTech innovations and creating regulatory frameworks to support the development and adoption of FemTech products and technologies. Policies and initiatives that support FemTech can help address key health challenges facing women and girls worldwide, such as maternal and reproductive health, menstrual health, and menopause.
I believe that it is essential to bridge the gender gap in STEM fields and increase the participation of women in the FemTech industry. Women are significantly underrepresented in STEM fields, including healthcare technology, and this lack of representation can limit the innovation and growth of FemTech products and technologies, ultimately impacting women’s health and well-being.
I used my knowledge and first-hand experiences to highlight the significance of promoting gender equality and empowering women within the technology sector, with a specific focus on the FemTech industry. During my presentation, I outlined several strategies aimed at closing the gender gap in technology education and encouraging women and girls to pursue careers in FemTech.
Apart from my speaking engagement, I also took an active role in various networking opportunities. This provided me with a chance to connect with other advocates, policymakers, and stakeholders who share the same goal of advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment in healthcare technology. Through informal discussions and one-on-one conversations, I was able to share my insights and experiences with others.
I believe that my contributions at the Forum helped to advance the conversation around FemTech and its potential to improve women’s health outcomes. Through my speaking engagement, networking, and sharing my experiences and expertise with others, I was able to make a meaningful contribution to this important cause.
Advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment in healthcare technology is a global effort that requires the participation and commitment of individuals, organizations, and governments worldwide. I encourage all readers to get involved in their own communities and beyond by educating themselves on the issues and the current state of FemTech, and then advocating for change in their workplace, community, and government. They can also support organizations and initiatives that are working to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment in healthcare technology.
Some resources that can help include the International Telecommunication Union’s “GEM-TECH Awards” initiative, which recognizes and celebrates innovative and impactful efforts to promote the use of technology to empower women and girls. Additionally, organizations such as Women in Global Health, Girls Who Code, and Women Who Tech are working to increase the participation of women in STEM fields and support gender equality and women’s empowerment in technology.
Among the twenty side events I attended the five sessions as below:
1. In-person Parallel Event: Data and Information Asymmetry: How to bridge the gap? Fri Mar 10, 2023, 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM, CCUN 2nd Floor. Speaker: Anja Tranovich Sr. Manager, PR and Communications, Global Fund for Women. The Generation Equality Forum drove $40 billion of commitments toward gender equality. How can we ensure commitment makers deliver on these transformative promises? Who has access to the underlying data around commitments, and who gets to define which data counts? Data drives resourcing and accountability, making data accessibility and intelligibility matters of equity. This panel will explore data access, use, and analysis from grassroots, instead of donor, perspective. The panelists will share how they have navigated these topics to adapt a grounded data for advocacy around GEF to ensure we leave no one behind.
2. In person Civil Society Briefings, March 10, 8:30- 9:15 AM. UN Headquarters Conference Room 4. Provided a space to hear from Member States, UN Women, and civil society representatives about the CSW67 outcome document negotiations process. Heard from Member States, UN Women, and Civil Society representative about the CSW67 outcome document negotiations process.
3. In-person Parallel Event: Tracking the Girls in Ending Female Genital Mutilation and Cutting, Sat Mar 11, 2023, 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM, CCUN 10th Floor. Speakers: Vania Kibui: Creating Lasting Health Change in Africa, Africa Medical Research Foundation. Digital Innovation: Tracking the Girls (TTG) Model in Ending Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting
The topic discusses an innovation of a digital tool that tracks and collects the data of young girls who have undergone the community-led alternative rite of passage (CL-ARP) into womanhood protected from Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C). We aim to attract a panel of experts in sexual reproductive health and rights with an interest in the subject of FGM/C.
The session presented the digital tracking tool innovation that longitudinally follows up with these young girls until they are 25 years old, thereby sharing the protocol, and preliminary data of girls’ profiles. Case studies from the experiences of the tracked girls will be shared. In the session, also shared the SRHR and education indicators which include SRHR access, education continuity, and FGM and Child Early and Forced Marriage components to ensure the girls remain protected. Amref’s work around this theme arises from its works on influencing policy change and health systems strengthening through projects that focus on working with the (remote) communities and women and girls as the primary change agents in ending FGM/C. Capacity strengthening of community members, community health workers, teachers, community advisory groups, and interventions are community-led.
The theme focuses on Gender-Based Violence / Violence against Women & Girls, Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, Girls/Young women, and Child marriage/traditional practices.
4. Virtual Parallel Event: Empowering Girls through Digital Education: Reaching All Those Left Behind, Mon Mar 13, 2023, 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM. Speakers: Navina Sitaram. ccording to the UNGEI, “A generation of girls risks being left outside the labor force or trapped in vulnerable or low-quality employment, due to a lack of skills, absence of quality jobs, and gendered expectations of their roles as caregivers”. With digital education being a prerequisite for success in the workplace, it will be critical to bridge the digital gender gap and ensure that all girls receive the training and skills they need to succeed. This webinar, presented by the All India Women’s Conference (AIWC), the NGO Committee on Human Rights, NY, the International Federation of Settlements and Neighborhood Centers (IFS), and the South Asian Council for Social Services (SACSS), will examine the troubling impact of the digital literacy gap on the empowerment and future prospects of girls and explore solutions for reaching the most vulnerable girls who are being left behind.
5. Virtual Parallel Event: Educating women and girls to lead innovation, technology and digitalization, Mon Mar 13, 2023, 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM. Speakers: Dr. Satang Nabaneh, Director of Programs, University of Dayton Human Rights Center. Moderator, Shelley Inglis, Executive Director, HRC, Damineh Akhavan-Zanjani, Co-Founder & CEO, Global Women in STEM Inc, Ruth Atim, Gender Tech Initiative-Uganda, Anja Lanz, Co-Founder & CEO, Global Women in STEM Inc, Naadiya Moosajee, Co-founder, WomHub & WomEng, Margie Pinnell, Professor, UD School of Engineering & Assistant Provost, Academic Affairs and Learning Initiatives of the Ryan C. Harris Learning Teaching Center. The panel explored methods to create a gender-responsive ecosystem that prepares future generations of women in STEM and supports women’s entrepreneurship. Panelists shared their diverse experiences and discussed ways that academia, the private sector, and civil society build spaces that support growth for women and the integration of human rights and gender equality in STEM to drive innovation. The panel focused on shifting the landscape for female engineers and entrepreneurs in STEM and innovations in practice, education, and pedagogy at the intersection of rights, gender, tech, and engineering.
To achieve gender equality and empowerment for women and girls in the digital age, it is crucial to focus on innovation, technology, and education. This includes providing access to technology, education, leadership, and innovation opportunities to create a more diverse and inclusive tech industry. Collaboration and continued effort from everyone are necessary for progress towards a more equal world.
The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is a vital platform that promotes women’s rights, documents the reality of women’s lives, and sets global standards on gender equality. During its annual session, representatives from UN Member States, civil society organizations, and UN entities come together to discuss progress and identify emerging issues affecting gender equality. UN Women supports the Commission’s work, including facilitating the participation of civil society representatives, and the outcomes and recommendations of each session are forwarded to ECOSOC for follow-up.
I wanted to express my gratitude for the opportunity to participate as a delegate at the 67th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW67) Forum in New York. It was an honor to be selected as an Education Advocate and to have the chance to speak on the topic of “WOMEN KNOW WHAT WOMEN NEED: FEMTECH HEALTHCARE INNOVATIONS & TECHNOLOGIES”.
I am grateful for the platform provided by the CSW67 to share my insights on how to promote gender equality and empower women in the healthcare technology sector. It was an incredible experience to connect with other advocates, leaders, and experts from around the world, all working towards the same goal of advancing women’s rights and opportunities.
Once again, I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to Rachel Bowen Pittman, the Executive Director of UNA-USA, for providing me with this wonderful opportunity and to the United Nations Association of the United States of America, for all that they do to advance gender equality and empower women.
Dr. Wafa Al Tamimi
Education Advocate Co-Chair UNA Women Group