Zhang Yinjun Attends the 65th Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women
On March 15, 2021, the 65th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women commenced at the UN Headquarters in New York. The priority theme of this session was "Women's full and effective participation and decision-making in public life, as well as the elimination of violence, for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls." Zhang Yinjun, director of the China Economic and Social Council (CESC), director of the AIDS Prevention Education Project for Chinese Youth (APEPCY) Office, president of the Beijing Changier Education Foundation, and dean of Confucius Nishan College, together with 41 representatives of the Changier Education Foundation, attended the session.
The session emphasized the effective participation and decision-making role of women in public life and called for the full protection of women's rights in accordance with the law. It also stressed the importance of the establishment of specific indicators to ensure women's equal representation, the promotion of women's participation in economic activities, and the protection of women from exploitation. Moreover, the conference elaborated on the empowerment of women and the realization of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In his speech at the opening of the session, UN Secretary-General António Guterres emphasized the "challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic for women's equality and empowerment" and encouraged post-pandemic reconstruction"in a gender-responsive manner, in a greener manner and in an inclusive manner."
On behalf of the Beijing Changier Education Foundation, President Zhang Yinjun delivered a speech via video link at the session. In her speech, Zhang pointed out that the transformation of women's status will be the leading force in the transformation of human society. Women's equality and empowerment will effectively promote women's participation in social and public affairs, which in turn will accelerate the realization of the 2030 SDGs. The speech further explained that as a foundation with a special consultative status at the UN Economic and Social Council, the Beijing Changier Education Foundation and its founding philosophy are highly consistent with the theme of the session. The efforts of the Changier Project over the years have been to unremittingly promote gender equality, from encouraging women's participation in economic and social life and helping women and children from less privileged families obtain basic means to survival and education through public welfare and charity to assisting women and children with AIDS in maintaining human dignity. Changier holds firm to the belief that it is through eliminating gender discrimination and liberating women's productivity that we fight to achieve a leap to a better life.
The 41 representatives of Changier from China, the United States, Canada, Singapore, and other countries and regions joined the discussions at the session. In terms of gender composition, not only women but also men actively participated. Representatives share utterly different ages and backgrounds: among them are high school students, graduate students, and doctoral students. Among them were also founders of public welfare groups, business leaders and social managerial professionals. Although the participants, male and female, are quite different in terms of age and background, the unbranching consensus is their active awareness of women's equality and determination to promote women's empowerment.
These 41 representatives not only made great speeches at the session, but also demonstrated their remarkable personalities. As the first collective appearance at a session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, they have gained wide attention.
Affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, the 65th session moved most of its meetings online, but the means and separation did not diminish anyone's enthusiasm towards gender concerns. United Nations Representative & Chief Administrative Officer for Changier Education Foundation Emma Chen-Banas particularly noted, "I have participated in the sessions over the years, but this year is the most special. Although I missed the opportunity to interact with representatives from around the world face-to-face, the virtual content is far richer and fuller in meaning. The meetings covered challenges and opportunities that were faced globally by women in aspects of politics, economics, science and technology, health, and welfare. It encourages women of all ages to participate in public affairs and assume the responsibilities of leaders."
In her speech at the session, Changier representative Jiang Yuwei said, "During the COVID-19 pandemic, women are active in the front line against the virus. But at the same time, women also suffer disproportionately under the influence of the pandemic in unemployment and violence because of gender discrimination. This is an issue that cannot be ignored by society, and I urge the public to pay more and closer attention to it."
Representative Wu Jianyun noted, "I think the conference helped me deepen my understanding of male privilege. Especially with the recent rise in anti-Asian and misogynistic attacks, it's more important than ever to honor and respect women, to prioritize equity before so-called equality, to realize that gender equality is a process."
Representative Lixin Du talked about her impressions after attending several meetings. She said that she not only broadened her understanding from the macro level but also appreciated gender equality efforts at the practical level. "We need to provide more detailed support to increase women's physical and mental health," remarked Lixin Du. "Services are needed more than ever, such as providing women's anti-domestic violence classrooms to raise people's awareness of gender equality and improvingknowledge lectures about caring for women's health."
The representatives of Changier fully highlighted and expressed the purpose of the foundation during the 65th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women. This session also further enriched the participants' experience in promoting women's equality and empowerment and greatly equipped the representatives with full confidence on this arduous yet rewarding journey towards gender equality. It is without a doubt that the Changier Foundation and all its representatives will further contribute to improving women's equality and implement the foundation's public welfare objectives in the future.
Established in June 1946, the UN Commission on the Status of Women serves as one of the nine functional committees under the UN Economic and Social Council (UN ECOSOC), dedicating itself to elevating the role of women in economic and societal development. The commission is committed to accelerating the realization of gender equality on a global scale. The commission meets once a year, and this session will end on March 26. Thousands of representatives from non-governmental organizations from all over the world participated in the conference. UN member states, UN departments, and civil society organizations organized more than 100 parallel meetings and side events.