Jewelles Smith Member of Canadian Delegation

The Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD) is pleased to announce that its Chairperson Jewelles Smith was appointed as an individual to be a member of the Canadian delegation to the 63rd session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW) that took place in New York City in March 2019.  The UN estimates that one in five women will experience disability over the lifespan.  In Canada, disability affects one quarter of women in Canada.

The UNCSW is the principal global intergovernmental body focused on the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women.  It is part of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and was established in 1946.  In summary, the UNCSW promotes women’s rights, documents what happens in the lives of women and influences standards on gender equality and the empowerment of women.

Since 1996, the UNCSW has been monitoring progress on the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, which is the key global policy document on gender equality.  It is also engaged in promoting the use of a gender lens by the UN in all its work.  The UNCSW is also addressing how the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development can advance gender equality and the empowerment of women.

Canada is one of the 45 countries that make up the UNCSW.

Priority themes for UNCSW 2019 will be social protection systems, access to public services, and sustainable infrastructure for gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls.

During UNCSW 2019, the member states will identify actions that need to be undertaken to encourage progress on the human rights of women.

Through her academic training, personal experience and work in the disability rights movement, both as a volunteer and as an employee, Jewelles has developed unique expertise that will benefit the perspective of the Canadian delegation.  In addition to her academic degrees in Gender Studies, Jewelles has been a monitor for Disability Rights Promotion International (DRPI), looking at human rights violations against both women and men with disabilities.  DRPI is an international project operated out of York University.  DRPI established a model for monitoring disability discrimination globally. The DRPI model takes a holistic approach, with three focus areas: individual experiences monitoring, systemic monitoring, and media monitoring.

Jewelles has also completed training with the Women's Human Rights Institute (WHRI).

UNCSW 2019 was not be the first time that Jewelles worked working within the UN System. In 2016 and 2017, she met with the UN Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) while they were considering Canada’s first report to the CRPD Committee, which described how Canada has been implementing the CRPD.

Before she went to UNCSE Jewelles Smith stated, “I am looking forward to working collaboratively with a team of Canadian human rights experts at UNCSW 2018 to advance the human rights of all women and girls, including those with disabilities.” “At the upcoming meetings, to help us work toward an intersectional approach, we will be able to draw upon the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which includes article 6 on women and the UN CRPD Committee’s General Comment 3 on article 6.”

The outputs of UNCSW 2019 will be published on its website after the conclusion of the 63rd session.