UN Commission on the Status of Women 61st Session

The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is the principal global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women. A functional commission of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), it was established by Council resolution 11(II) of 21 June 1946.

The CSW is instrumental in promoting women’s rights, documenting the reality of women’s lives throughout the world, and shaping global standards on gender equality and the empowerment of women.  The priority theme for the 61st session is women’s economic empowerment in the changing world of work, and the focus area is the empowerment of indigenous women. Notably, the Outcome Document for the 2014 UN World Conference on Indigenous Peoples invited the Commission to consider this issue and since then, the Center and indigenous women have strongly urged the Commission to do so. On March 15, 2017 at 10:00 a.m., there will be an interactive dialogue on empowerment of indigenous women that should be live streamed.

The Center  is pleased to announce three key events next week at the 61st session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, spotlighting indigenous women’s empowerment, their grassroots movement for safety for indigenous women, and their human right to be free of violence and discrimination.

Side Events

Two key state and UN-sponsored side events will feature indigenous women from the United States, and we expect them to be live streamed.

On March 14 at 6:30 p.m. (EST), the U.S. will hold a side event on Empowerment as an Instrument to Eradicate All Forms of Violence Against Indigenous Women and Girls, that will include remarks by Cherrah Giles (Citizen of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation and  Cherokee descent), and Chairwomen of the Board of Directors of the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center.

On March 17 at 6:30 p.m. (EST), the UN Secretariat of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues will hold a side event highlighting the leadership of indigenous women, the advances and challenges towards the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the UN’s Agenda 2030. Terri Henry (Longhair Clan of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians) and Secretary of State of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, Board Chair of the Indian Law Resource Center, and Co-chair of the National Congress of American Indians Task Force on Violence Against Women will be a panelist. Ms. Henry also is a member of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

Parallel Event

On March 15 at 10:30 a.m. (EST), the Indian Law Resource Center, Alaska Native Women’s Resource Center, International Mayan League, Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center, National Congress of American Indians, and National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center will sponsor a parallel event in New York City during the NGO CSW Forum on Ending Violence Against Indigenous Women as a Step Towards Empowerment. The event will highlight the disproportionate levels of violence and murder and intersecting forms of discrimination that indigenous women in the United States, Guatemala, and around the world experience because they are indigenous and because they are women. The event will present the case that in order to empower indigenous women to participate fully in all spheres of public and private life, national laws and policies must fully address this human rights crisis and the UN must act to ensure states meet their commitments and obligations in this regard. Panelists will include Nicole Mathews (White Earth Band of Ojibwe), Executive Director of the Minnesota Indian Women’s Sexual Assault Coalition, discussing missing and murdered indigenous women and trafficking; Tamra (Tami) Truett Jerue (Anvik Tribe of Alaska) and Director of the Alaska Native Women’s Resource Center, speaking on the situation of Alaska Native Women; and Juanita Cabrera Lopez (Maya Mam), Executive Director of the International Mayan League, describing the situation of Mayan Women in Guatemala. Registration to attend parallel events is free.


CSW61ILRC Written Submission

CSW Proposed Organization of Work

Parallel Event Program CSW 61.pdf