Women Who Bloom: The Intersection of CSW63 & Women in the Church

The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) was established on June 21st, 1946 to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment. The Commission, supported by UN Women, establishes multi-year programs to promote discussion and action worldwide with annual priority themes. This year’s priority theme for CSW63 is: “Social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.” This blog will give an overview of the priority theme areas and notable achievements around the world.



Imagine you urgently need hospitalization, but there is no road on which to travel. Infrastructure is a crucial organized structure for transportation, electricity, water, and other public services. Around the world, many people travel on dirt roads to get to work or school, travel long distances at night without light and are subject to violence, or do not have access to transportation because of a physical disability. CSW63 demands strong infrastructure for women to feel safe and empowered to prosper through paved roads, lights at night, accessible transportation, and safe community spaces like parks.


Social Protection

Social protection systems are in place to shield people from poverty, injustice, and exclusion. CSW63 commends States for new policies which protect women as equal parts of society. In Albania, victims of domestic violence are given access to affordable housing or rent bonuses to establish themselves. In Guatemala, new laws aim to improve working conditions for domestic workers with set pay and time off. Denmark encourages women to take almost 300 days of maternity leave, without the fear of job loss, to spend time with their child.  


Public Services  

Public services are offered equally for all people in a State by their government. Around the world, women do not have access to banks and financial services, water for farming, or affordable childcare. The CSW has worked alongside local women to improve the lives of women with childcare in Georgia, financial services in the Philippines, farming water in Kyrgyzstan, and financial banks in the Democratic Republic of Congo.


Women in the Orthodox Church

Women are a vital part of the Church. The Mother of God is the ultimate example and icon of humility in surrendering her human will to God’s. What worldly honor can surpass the honor we give her as “more honorable than the Cherubim and more glorious beyond compare than the Seraphim?” During this time of Great Lent, we celebrate the triumph of Orthodoxy established by St. Theodora the Empress and we learn from the witness of women saints as we commemorate St. Mary of Egypt on the fifth Sunday. We will experience the sorrow of the Virgin Mary and her lament at Christ’s tomb and the unfailing love of the Myrrh Bearing women who became the first to preach Christ’s Resurrection. We turn to the women saints of our Church as examples and models of how we can unite with God and become Saints. St. Paul reminds us that there is “neither Jew nor Greek, male or female” because we are all One in Christ (Galatians 3:28). Both women and men are called to be united with God. In our parishes and in personal interactions, we are reminded of living icons in the God-loving women who sacrifice themselves to serve others by offering their talents for their church and who carry Christ in their personal and professional lives. We are surrounded by incredible women.


Orthodoxy & CSW

Infrastructure, social protection, and public services contribute to the wellbeing and prosperity of people. CSW63 illumines the lack of strong structures for women worldwide and advocates for better protections to allow women to prosper. In the Church, women are vital because of their historically equal role in proclaiming, witnessing, and preserving the Faith during persecution. Our women in the Church today, especially young women, need to be given the support, empowerment, and tools to offer their talents and bloom. Our women need to feel empowered in our church communities to ask questions, to allow healthy doubt, to advise and build ministries, and to deeply share in the community of the Church. The work of CSW63 reminds us to be grateful for the powerful presence of women in our Church and to encourage each woman blossom as members of Christ’s Body.


Other Resources for CSW63:


Photo Essay adapted from UN Women photo exhibition at the UN Headquarters in New York

Official Documents of the 63rd Session of the Commission on the Status of Women