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IWGIA Statement from the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) 67

Commission on the Status of Women

Sixty-seventh session

Priority theme; Innovation and technological change, and education in the digital age for achieving gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.

10th of March 2023

IWGIA would like to call the CSW’s attention to the main challenges faced by Indigenous women in relation to this year’s priority theme. These include lack of access to the digital space, lack of online literacy, lack of disaggregated data, lack of data sovereignty and online harassment leading to off-line violence.

Poor data collection renders Indigenous women virtually invisible in official statistics, constraining efforts to advance gender and ethnic equality in public policies. Data disaggregation is crucial in identifying the challenges that they face and in understanding who is being pushed further behind.

Chair,

Indigenous women suffer gendered impacts online in smear campaigns. These are aimed at attacking their reputation, credibility and support. The defamation campaigns are also seen orchestrated by States or military forces often leading to offline violence.

Lack of data sovereignty is another important challenge, which is closely linked to the lack of legal protection for the scientific and technical knowledge of Indigenous Peoples. In the absence of legal recognition, Indigenous knowledge is considered to be in the public domain to be utilized, commodified, and exploited through appropriation, reproduction and imitation, without the free prior and informed consent of the Indigenous Peoples concerned.

Despite all these challenges, Indigenous women and girls should not only be seen as victims, they are active change agents in society and champions of sustainability, standing at the forefront of promoting Indigenous Peoples’ rights and women’s rights, as well as playing an essential role in safeguarding and passing along Indigenous knowledge, tradition, culture and language. Once they have gained access to the digital space, it has been proven that the internet and other tech tools have paved the way for Indigenous women to actively participate in their own process of empowerment.

IWGIA recommends that the CSW includes a reference to the CEDAW general recommendation 39 in its agreed conclusions.

IWGIA also recommends that the CSW provides more dedicated space for Indigenous women to be heard at the CSW – for instance by always giving them a fixed agenda item in the CSW.

Thank you very much for your attention.

Tags: Women, Human rights

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