UNCSW67 Mission accomplished! The struggle continues.
After months of preparation and a fortnight of active lobbying PSI recognises some important achievements in the UNCSW67 Agreed Conclusions but remains committed to keep fighting and standing up for a gender-transformative digital new deal.
The 67th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW67) was a the occasion to highlight PSI's agenda around the common goods, public services, digitalization and equality, including gender, labour, and care issues as well as the multiple intersections around age, migration, indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities, and LGBT+ people.
After long months of preparation and a fortnight (March 6-17, 2023), of numerous activities, advocacy, and building alliances, Public Services International (PSI) can say: Mission accomplished!
Rosa Pavanelli, PSI General Secretary, led a delegation of 30 people representing the organization and its affiliated unions globally, several of them also part of the official delegations of the governments of Argentina, Chile, Brazil, and Jamaica.
She stated, "The Agreed Conclusions this year are a reflection of the disputes and global correlation with the tensions around the multilateral system. We witnessed rhetoric based on the respect for universal human rights and international human rights' law that was difficult to translate into concrete dimensions of the role the State as its fundamental actor and guarantor, while the preponderance of the private sector and the multi-stakeholder approach gained traction as dominant actors in a world at the hands of market and capital forces. There is no doubt that the digital era and the advances of science and technology challenge us to continue fighting for the commons and public goods as the only backers of equality for humanity as opposed to their for-profit use and corporate capture."
We will continue to wage these struggles since there is no defeat, but rather a greater conviction to keep fighting and standing up for fundamental rights."
Pavanelli continued, "Through our interaction with various civil society coalitions and lobbying with key governments, we achieved the retention of mentions around regulation, control, surveillance, due diligence, transparency, and accountability in the design, use, access, privacy, and quality of data, algorithms, and artificial intelligence. However, we lacked strength and the governments' political will to put the seal of publicness and the role of the State into these processes."
This year, PSI claimed important achievements in terms of gender equality in the world of work in the digital context, including platform work, where several public services are nowadays placed. Dimensions such as the transition from informal to formal, decent work guarantees, reduction of occupational segregation, parental leaves, recognition of women's right to equal pay for work of equal value, as well as freedom of association and collective bargaining were reflected in the final document. This was a clear big gain after the hard work of proposals and lobbying of the trade union delegation, which undoubtedly made a difference this year by participating in the negotiating room along with several governments that raised their voices to defend it. There is also a clear mention in the text of gender-based violence that occurs online and offline through digital forms and spaces, including in the world of work.
In parallel, PSI also stressed unpaid care work which the text strongly points out in several paragraphs as a structural barrier to gender equality and full integration of women into the digital age. It is clear that there is a global consensus on issues such as the reduction, redistribution, and valorization of unpaid care work, and that there is still some way to go before care is recognized as a human right and a public good.
Finally, Pavanelli points out that "this year again, the anti-rights and regressive forces on issues such as sexual and reproductive health, sexual orientation, and gender identity obstructed progress towards a transformative gender approach, as well as towards the inclusion of non-binary language. We will continue to wage these struggles since there is no defeat, but rather a greater conviction to keep fighting and standing up for fundamental rights."
Movements discussed their common approach to framing a digital new deal, connecting it to the Declaration of Feminist Digital Justice launched on 6 March by IT for Change and DAWN and visualizing a future and common coalition work.