Turns out I wasn't the only one noticing the English-centricity at the CSW yesterday. At the NGO orientation I went to yesterday afternoon, one woman who I think came from Cote d'Ivoire spoke passionately for five minutes in French about her frustration with the NGO Committee on the Status of Women for delivering the presentations and discussion exlusively in English. As the briefing was designed to build NGO capacity on how to influence the CSW, she was understandably desole (her word) about the lack of translation services.
The NGO Committee expained in response that it didn't have sufficient funds to cover the costs of translation for smaller meetings, though it did borrow the translation booths and use volunteer translators in the daily morning briefings.
As another participant insightfully pointed out, this is the entire purpose of this year's CSW: to ensure that there is sufficient financing for gender equality and women's empowerment. It would seem that women's NGOs don't even have enough money to speak to each other when they find themselves sitting at the same tables.
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