“Celebrate the Feminist and Women’s Movements 1975-2015”

8 March 2015, 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
The program emcees are Houry Geudelekian, Armenian Relief Society and Susan O’Malley, International Federation of Business and Professional Women

9:00 – 9:30 am

Opening Event: Women of the World – Songs from Mexico, Denmark, Kenya, and China- Readings from the UN Conferences in Mexico, Copenhagen, Nairobi and Beijing by Mahnaz Afkhami, former Minister of Women’s Affairs of Iran and President/CEO of Women’s Learning Partnership, H. E. Ambassador Ib Petersen from Denmark, Sheila Katzman, Chair of the Cities for CEDAW/New York City, and Tanya Selvaratnam, Producer/Artist and author of “The Big Lie”.

9:30 – 10:00 am

Welcome messages

  • Soon-Young Yoon, Chair, NGO Committee on the Status of Women/New York
  • Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director, UN Women
  • Video clips: World Conferenced on Women in Mexico City  1975, 1980, 1985 and 1995

10:00 – 10:20 am

Keynote address: “The Selling of Innocents”, Ruchira Gupta, Women of Distinction Awardee and winner of a Clinton Global Citizen award (with film clips)

10:20 – 10:40 am

Special Message from Cherie Blair, founder, Cherie Blair Foundation (invited)

10:40 – 12:00 pm

“Beijing + 20 – Voices from the Regions”

Historic review of the UN/international women’s movement from 1975-1995 and impact by region, regional Declarations, Indigenous women’s Declaration


  • Dinah Musindarwezo – The African Women’s Development and Communication
  • Network (Femnet), Kenya
  • Asma Khader – Vice-President of Independent Elections Commission and former Secretary General of the Jordanian National Commission for Women, Jordan
  • Sepali Kottegoda – Women and Media Collective, Sri Lanka
  • Simone Ovart – Zonta International, Switzerland
  • Mabel Bianco – Fundacion para Estudio e de la Mujer (FEIM), Argentina
  • Gertrud Astrom – Swedish Women’s Lobby, Sweden
  • Agnes Leina – Ll’laramatak Community Concerns (ICC-K)
  • Ambassador Dubravka Simonovic – Ambassador to the UN from Croatia and former CEDAW expert.  

Moderator: Ambassador Carlos Garcia Gonzalez – former Permanent Representative for El Salvador to the United Nations

Discussant: Charlotte Bunch – Board of Governor’s Distinguished Service Professor in Women’s and Gender Studies at Rutgers University

12:00 – 1:15 pm

Lunch: (participants on their own)

1:15– 1:45 pm

“What Beijing Plus 20 Must Accomplish”
Dr. Gertrude Mongella – “educator, politician, diplomat activist”, former Under-Secretary General, UN Fourth World Conference on Women

1:45 – 2:45 pm

“Strategic Action to Strengthen the BPfA: Young Activist Perspectives” 

This panel will feature young activists who are actively carrying out the vision of the Beijing Platform for Action, CEDAW, and the post-2015 development agenda. With audience participation, the speakers will develop ideas for a strategic plan of action.


  • Emilia Reyes –Equidad de Genero
  • Esther Kimani – Young Women’s Leadership Institute Nairobi
  • Diana Mao – NOMI Network
  • Geraldo Porteny Backal – Young Men for Gender Equality
  • Faith Nenkai Metiaki – Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE) Forum des educatrices africaines

Moderator/Panelist: Fabio Palacio – International Movement ATD 4th World

Discussant: Thayvie Sinn – Save Cambodia

2:45 – 3:00 pm

Announcements about the March and Closing Song

NGO CSW theme song – “Keep on Movin’ Forward” 

Led by Laura Kroh, singer



January 28, 2015 – New York, NY – The NGO Committee on the Status of Women, NY (NGO CSW/NY), one of three women’s committees of CoNGO that advocates for women’s rights and gender equality, is pleased to announce the 2015 NGO CSW Forum Woman of Distinction awardee, Ruchira Gupta from India, founder of Apne Aap Women Worldwide.

After winning an Emmy for her documentary on sex trafficking, The Selling of Innocents, Gupta started Apne Aap Women Worldwide, an anti-sex trafficking organization in India that empowers more than 20,000 low-caste girls and women and their family members affected by prostitution. She received the Clinton Global Citizen award for giving a voice to the voiceless and for tenaciously standing by the last girl in brothels in Bihar and India.

For over 25 years, Gupta has worked to end sex trafficking by emphasizing the link between trafficking and prostitution laws and lobbying policy makers to shift blame from victims to perpetrators. In 2000, she testified in the United States Senate before the passage of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act and addressed the UN General Assembly on human trafficking. 

Gupta will be the keynote speaker at the NGO CSW/NY Consultation Day (8 March 2015 at the Apollo Theatre) along with Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Director of UN Women. The formal presentation of the NGO CSW/NY Woman of Distinction award will take place at the annual NGO Reception (9 March 2015 at the Armenian Convention Center Ballroom, 6 pm–8 pm). This year’s theme of the UN Commission on the Status of Women is the 20th review of the Beijing Platform for Action. Registration is available at:

About the Women of Distinction Award

This annual award is given to a woman in recognition of her leadership in the struggle for gender equality and women’s empowerment. The honoree is a leading activist from a developing country who can address the theme of the CSW, will benefit from participation in Consultation Day, and make a difference when she returns home.

About the NGO Committee on the Status of Women, NY

The NGO Committee on the Status of Women, NY (NGO CSW/NY) is one of the three women’s committees of the Conference of NGOs in Consultative Relationship with the UN (CoNGO). Under CoNGO’s umbrella, the NGO CSW committees helped plan the NGO Forums at the UN World Conferences in Mexico, Copenhagen, Nairobi, and Beijing. NGO CSW/NY is a volunteer-based, non-profit NGO funded largely by individual contributions.