Reflections on UN CSW: Lakehead student attends United Nations Panel

photo of Meagan Malcolm

For International Women’s Day, the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), brought the world together - from world leaders, NGOs, academics and civil society.

The theme of this year's UN CSW67 was: Innovation and Technological Change, and Education in the Digital Age. The UNCSW is the world’s main policy-making body dedicated to working towards gender equality and the advancement of women.

Meagan Malcolm, a Masters of Social Justice Studies student at Lakehead University, was invited to speak on a panel and roundtable discussion at the UNCSW in New York.

The panel ‘’Young Voices: Technology,’’ hosted by National Alliance of Women’s Organizations (NAWO) a London-based umbrella organization dedicated to promoting women's human rights with a special focus on gender and Europe.

Panelists discussed the importance of imagining a feminist internet, which is critical to bringing about transformation in gendered structures of power that exist on and offline. Disparities in access to technology, online violence, and surveillance disproportionately affect marginalized communities. Meagan pointed out that internet access should be the number one priority, but rather the ongoing genocide against Indigenous women, girls and two-spirit people, a lack of access to clean drinking water and housing are the central crises impacting Indigenous communities.

Meagan, who is Anishinaabe from Roseau River Anishinaabe First Nation, feels attending the CSW67 has been invigorating.

It was an inspiring week at the UN hearing from those who are advocating for the rights of women and girls globally. But she hopes more Indigenous and racialized young women can attend these meetings in the future.

"Our voices and representation on an international stage are crucial to having representation of racialized women. Racialized women face additional barriers and discrimination due to their gender and race. This is known as intersectionality, which can lead to even greater disadvantages and inequalities.

"Indigenous and racialized women voices must be centred when discussing gender issues, and the intersecting issues of gender. It is important for society to recognize and address these intersecting forms of discrimination and work towards creating a more equitable and just society for all women. This can be achieved through a variety of means, including education and policy changes," she said.