CSW LogoNGO Committee on the Status of Women in Vienna

The Vienna NGO Committee on the Status of Women (NGO CSW Vienna), accredited at the United Nations Office in Vienna, was founded in 1982 and works on a voluntary basis on both national and international levels. The Committee is comprised of around 40 international non-governmental organizations (NGOs) with a focus on women’s issues. The Committee’s main purpose is to facilitate the activities of its member organizations in promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women. It acts as a forum for the exchange of information and views on matters of common interest and coordinates the drafting of joint statements to UN agencies and commissions including the UN Commission on the Status of Women.

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Our purposes are to:

  • Promote gender equality and the mainstream women’s issues in the work of the UN;
  • Monitor implementation of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, in particular SDG#5 on gender equality and women’s empowerment;
  • Participate in the UN Commission on the Status of Women, submit statements to its sessions, disseminate related documents, and support the activities of UN Women;
  • Advocate for women’s issues with UN Member States’ missions;
  • Consult with subject matter experts and provide the expertise and experience of our member organizations to UN agencies;
  • Follow meetings and disseminate information on the Committee of the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW);
  • Follow the work of the Vienna-based UN commissions and agencies, in particular the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, and Commission on Narcotic Drugs, the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); submit statements and disseminate information;
  • Participate in drafting UN documents and reports on women’s issues.

Member Organizations

You will find a current list of the organizations represented in the NGO CSW Vienna here. If your organization has consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), and would like to become a member of NGO CSW Vienna, please contact us.

Associated NGO Committees

We are associated with NGO CSWs in New York (NGO CSW NY) and Geneva (NGO CSW Geneva), the Conference of NGOs in Consultative Relationship with the UN (CoNGO), and with the NGO Substantive Committees on Aging, Narcotic Drugs, Peace, and Sustainable Development, and the NGO Alliance on Crime Prevention.

History of NGO CSW in Vienna

NGO CSW Vienna was instrumental in the organization of a successful pre-conference Consultation of NGOs to prepare for the 1985 3rd World Conference on Women in Nairobi, Kenya, and in holding of the 1994 Regional NGO Forum leading up to the 1995 NGO Forum at the 4th World Conference on Women in Beijing, China.

A mechanism for informal meetings and consultations of NGOs attending the Commission on the Status of Women in Vienna and later in New York was established with colleagues from the NGO Committees on the Status of Women in Geneva and New York. In preparation for the 8th UN Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders in 1988, the issues of fair treatment of women prisoners, alternatives to imprisonment, violence in the family and repatriation of convicts were strongly supported by the Committee.

Seminars, conferences and publications by the Committee include:
1990 NGO Consultation “Making the Forward-Looking Strategies Work”
1993 brochure “Women’s Rights: A burning issue”
1996 seminar “Affirming Women’s Potential”
1998 seminar on the occasion of the 50th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights “Women’s Rights – Human Rights, Our Vision for the Future”
2000 Conference on the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women
2001 seminar on “Racism and Xenophobia” in preparation for the UN Conference on Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance held in Durban, South Africa (in cooperation with CoNGO Vienna)
2002 conference on “Media, ICTs and Women”

NGO CSW Vienna provided input to the ECE NGO Regional Reviews and Preparatory Meetings in 2004 and 2014, and was involved in reviewing the implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action for Beijing+20 in 2014-2015.

Chairpersons of NGO CSW Vienna 1982-2015

Adelheid Schimak, International Federation of University Women
Marlene Parenzan, World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts
Ellen Kimmel-McDonnell, World YWCA
Dimitra Schoenegger, International Round Table for the Advancement of Counseling
Maria Jonas, Socialist International Women
Susi Shaked, Hadassah International
Rosy Weiss, International Association of Women
Marlene Parenzan, International Federation of Business Women
Ilona Graenitz, International Federation of University Women