On 13th March 2018, the Journalists and Writers Foundation organized a parallel event during the 62th session of the Commission on the Status of Women on the topic „Strengthening the Capacity of Women” with the participation of more than 50 people. The event was the first part of the second consultation meeting of the Women’s Development Summit (WDS) and had the aim to set the groundwork for the Summit that will take place in spring 2019.
The Women’s Development Summit is the continuation of the Istanbul Summit (www.istanbulsummit.org), which has been held annually since 2014. The Summit, now called the “Women´s Development Summit”, is an international, multi-sectoral forum that brings stakeholders from different regions of the international community together and sets a platform to discuss the Global Agenda in a gender-based approach.
This consultation meeting of Women’s Development Summit (WDS) was co-organized by the Friede Institut for Dialogue from Austria and Zijn Platform from the Netherlands. The first panelist, Ms. Willemien Koning, UN representative of the Netherlands and the Chairwomen of LTO Women and Business (The Womenfarmers in the Netherlands) started her presentation by setting the scene of the situation of rural women and girls. Koning emphasized that not all rural women and girls share the same living conditions, live in divergent circumstances and play a key role in food production. After presenting the challenges for rural women and girls in developing countries and Eastern Europe, Koning highlighted the key messages and solution approaches to empower rural women and girls.
The second panelist was Frederike Booke, a 23 year-old medical student from Germany and currently one of the two German Youth Observers to this year’s CSW. In her presentation, Ms. Booke stressed not only the importance, but foremost the necessity of the involvement and leadership of the young people’s generation: In decision-making processes on all levels, in the development and conduction of implementation strategies and in the continuous evaluation of the needs and required actions to achieve SDG5 is the active participation of the youth vitally important. Booke reported about the barriers and struggles that currently impede young women’s empowerment and displayed ways forward to achieve a higher visibility and impact of youth in lading positions from the grassroots level to high-level forums.
The third panelist was Ms. Zozan Barwari, the Head of the American Desk at the Foreign Relations Office of the KDP, Iraq. Ms. Barwari reported about women’s Capacity Building Initiatives from Kurdistan and shared her own experiences and motivation for working in the field in Kurdistan. Ms. Barwari also reported about the challenges that women face after the radical islamist influence in the region.
The last panelist of the event was Ms. Tugba Kilinc from the Netherlands, the Project Coordinator of Zijn Platform. Ms. Kilinc presented a best-practice example, the project „Women, inspire each other!“ co-organized with the Camellia Foundation in the Netherlands. Increasing the economic, social, and political participation of especially multi-ethnic women is the aim of the project. Kilinc noted that with this project, they invest not only in women, but also in society, because a strong woman reinforces the society. The project has been completed in Amsterdam and is being implemented in other regions in the Netherlands. The event ended with a Q&A round.