The Catalyst

International Women's Day Wishes

Dear Members,

On behalf of the Australian Women Executive (Dr Zeny Edwards, Dr Iryna Khodos, Alison Hayden and myself), I wish you all a Happy International Women’s Day.

Prof Shirley Randell AO and past CIR of AGW and myself are currently attending the Commission on the Status of Women at the UN in New York. It has been three intense days at CSW67 that reflect the many challenges women around the world face and a deep feeling of immense gratitude for the privileges and freedoms we enjoy in Australia.

Over the next two weeks, participants from across the world – including representatives from governments, the UN, civil society and youth groups, as well as activists - will examine how gender equality, empowerment and sustainable development can be achieved in the digital era.

In her opening remarks, CSW67 Chair Mathu Joyini from South Africa, said although digital technologies are rapidly transforming societies, they are also giving rise to profound new challenges that may perpetuate and deepen existing gender inequalities. “Gender-based discrimination is a systemic problem that has been interwoven into the fabric of our political, social and economic lives, and the technology sector is no different,” she said.


UN Secretary-General António Guterres noted that the CSW is meeting as progress on women’s rights is vanishing - including in countries such as Afghanistan, where women and girls have been, in effect, erased from public life - and as gender equality is growing ever more distant.   “Your focus this year on closing gender gaps in technology and innovation could not be more timely. Because as technology races ahead, women and girls are being left behind,” he said.

As gender inequality is ultimately a question of power, the Secretary-General called for urgent action in three areas, starting with increasing education, income and employment for women and girls, particularly in the Global South.

The Secretary-General stressed that promoting women’s full contributions to science, technology and innovation is not an act of charity or a favour to women, but a “must” that benefits everyone.  “The Commission on the Status of Women is a catalyst for the transformation we need.  Together, let’s push back against the push back on misogyny, and forward for women, girls, and our world,” he said.

Sima Bahous, Executive Director of UN Women, was among other senior officials who addressed the CSW opening ceremony.   She said the digital revolution offers the potential for unprecedented improvement in the lives of women and girls, and at a time when progress towards sustainable development is at risk. She expressed confidence that the meeting will underscore that “digital rights are women’s rights”.

We will share a detailed report on our return and include some pictures from our first three days at CSW67.

Warm wishes

Professor Jaya DantasPresident, AGW


AGW acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land and pay our respects to

their elders past and present.

Shirley and Jaya with other Australian delegates to CSW67

Shirley and Jaya with other Australian delegates to CSW67

Shirley and Jaya at the Australian Mission in New York

Prof Jaya Dantas with Kate Jenkins, Human Rights Commissioner for Sex Discrimination

Prof Jaya Dantas at the UN General Assembly – Opening of CSW67

Prof Shirley Randell, AO and Dr June Oscar, AO – Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Human Rights Commissioner

Shirley and Jaya at the Australian Consulate General in New York