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India Has Been Elected To The UNCSW Body Which Shows Our “Commitment” To Gender Equality. What Commitment?

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I am not a misandrist, I do not hate men. But I am a feminist and I seek equality. I just want for there to be no more gender bias and violence against women. But, it’s an uphill battle and one we losing badly.And the irony that India got elected as a member of the UNCSW body is not lost on me. I mean, it’s not awful. There are some good days of course, but then one of our politicians will go and say something incredibly inappropriate about menstruation and we are back to where we started. It has happened on more than one occasion. The condition of women in India may not be as bad as in Sudan or Afghanistan but it’s still in the dumps. We have to fight for basic rights and the battle against misogyny is constant. These are the same men who make our lives miserable because they believe their penis gives them the power to do so. 

This is the overview of how life, for women, in India is extremely arduous.The reason I am recapping all this is that today is a good day. For today, India has just been elected as a member of the United Nation’s Commission on Status of Women (UNCSW), a body of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). If your eyebrow went up, I understand, so did mine. 

It’s a great honour to be a member of the UNCSW but it makes us feel a little conflicted. However, before I tell you why that is let me give you all the details. 

How Did India Get Elected To The UNCSW?

On Tuesday morning, Ambassador TS Tirumurti, the permanent representative of India to the United Nations took to Twitter to share this piece of good news. He wrote, “India wins seat in prestigious ECOSOC body! India elected member of Commission on Status of Women (CSW). It’s a ringing endorsement of our commitment to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment in all our endeavours. We thank member states for their support.” 

India will be a member of the UNCSW for four years. We will serve from 2021-2025. According to reports, India, China and Afghanistan had contested the elections to the Commission on the UNCSW. India and Afghanistan won the ballot among 54 other nations. China, however, failed to cross the halfway mark. 

Trivia time: the UNCSW is a functional committee of the ECOSOC, one of the main organs of the UN. It’s the organ that promotes gender equality and empowerment of women. Hold that chuckle back!

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This is where our conflict comes in. Don’t you think it’s a little contradictory for India to be a member of a UN offshoot that promotes gender equality when in reality, women are treated so badly in our country? And even worse in Afghanistan? India getting elected to the UNCSW is like us getting a prize for controlling the pandemic. Has our PR machinery done exceptionally well or are we missing something?  Even in Ambassador Tirumurthi tweet, he says that this is an “endorsement of our commitment to promote gender equality and women empowerment”. What commitment? Women are still struggling, too scared to leave their houses after dark. We are objectified online and sexually harassed at work. We are grossly underpaid and told to compromise at every step of our lives. So, I ask again, what are we endorsing? 

Don’t get me wrong, I do believe that it’s an honour to be elected as a member of the UNCSW but it’s just not right. First, the situation of women needs to become 20 times better than it is right now and only then can we champion women rights in other countries.

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