Committee Overview

Women’s rights have been a concern of the United Nations since 1945, when the United Nations Charter promised in its preamble “to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations large and small.” At the very first UN General Assembly meeting in February 1946, Eleanor Roosevelt, a delegate from the United States, made a statement calling upon all governments to encourage women to take a more active role in political affairs at both national and international levels. That same month, following through on its promise to promote equal rights for women, a sub-commission dedicated to the status of women was founded under the auspices of the Commission on Human Rights. After the international community recognized the increasing importance of global women’s rights, the sub-commission gained full commission status under the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) on 21 June 1946 through ECOSOC resolution 11(II), thus becoming the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). The Commission’s original mandate was to “prepare recommendations and reports to the Economic and Social Council on promoting women’s rights in political, economic, civil, social, and educational fields” and to “make recommendations to the Council on urgent problems requiring immediate attention in the field of women’s rights.”

Topic A: Female Education and Literacy in the Digital World

763 million adults and young people, two-thirds of whom are women, cannot read or write. This is a direct result of a lack of access to education and contributes to gender-based social, economic, and political inequities. Specifically, women are forced to remain at home to watch their children or cook because of gender stereotypes. As the world becomes increasingly reliant on technology, it has the potential to address this gender literacy gap. It can provide access to virtual resources, connect women with experts worldwide, and complement human infrastructure when present. However, literacy is the basis for participating in the digital world. Without the ability to read and write, a person cannot use technology to its full potential. Though levels of girls and boys enrolled in schools have reached equal rates in most countries, girls in countries affected by fragility, conflict, and violence are 2.5 times more likely to be out of school. This lack of education results in lower access to technology and widens the digital gender gap, especially for low-income countries. Women are also underrepresented in the digital world. 327 million fewer women have a smartphone and access to the mobile internet. This is a direct result of sociocultural norms, affordability, and preconceived judgments of a woman’s role in society. As the world enters the fourth industrial revolution, the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) must act quickly to address the interconnected topics of education, literacy, and technology to ensure no women are left behind.

Topic B: Gender Equality in Sports

In the last century, there have been significant improvements in the opportunities for women in sports. The ability to compete in the Olympics was granted in 1900 and the right to sports was outlined in the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in 1979. However, there are still barriers that many female athletes face during training and competition. The lack of opportunities, fan support, and funding causes women to become discouraged and quit prematurely. Many young women quit sports at twice the rate of men when they reach their teenage years. Many athletes have even made reports of experiencing discrimination or harassment, which turns an enjoyable activity into a traumatic experience. Other than competitions, participating in sports can shape an individual’s physical health and self-esteem, developing problem-solving and leadership skills. Yet, there is a lack of leadership opportunities for women in sports on an international level and across various sporting organizations. Delegates in the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) are tasked with the challenge of identifying strategies that promote gender equality in the sports sector while addressing the barriers to women’s equal participation.