Islamic Relief has participated in the world’s largest gathering of its kind dedicated to empowering women and establishing gender equality.

As part of its faith inspired commitment to tackling gender injustice worldwide, Islamic Relief took part in the 58th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW58). The session, which took place at United Nations Headquarters earlier this month, aimed to revise the challenges and achievements in the implementation of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for women and girls worldwide.

Three events organised by Islamic Relief

The session was attended by 45 member states and over 2,000 representatives of civil society organisations. Islamic Relief organised three of over 140 side events, where we featured faith based approaches to gender based violence, maternal health, as well as education for women and girls.

Helen Stawski, Islamic Relief’s Senior Policy Adviser on Post-2015, took part in a panel discussion on challenges and successes in Afghanistan. She shared the platform with government ministers from Afghanistan and Turkey as well as representatives from several other leading civil society organisations. Highlighting our work on gender justice, she explored three Islamic Relief education programmes for girls: formal, home-based and food for education.

Teaming-up with, Islamic Relief USA organised an inter-faith panel discussion that explored the role of faith in combating violence against women.

Maternal health and the development agenda

Another event – convened in collaboration with United Nations Population Fund, World YWCA, Asian-Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women – discussed maternal health in a post 2015 development agenda.

Panellist Helen Stawski drew on Islamic Relief programmes in Afghanistan, Mali, Gaza, Sudan and Indonesia, to present our perspectives on the necessity of engaging with faith-inspired activities.

“Faith literate approaches are essential if we are to make lasting change,” she said. “We simply don’t have the option of ignoring faith.”

In addition, during CSW58, Islamic Relief held meetings with the Ambassador of the OIC, the special advisor on post-2015 development planning at the United Nations, as well as senior advisors in the Indonesian Permanent Mission to the UN.

The Islamic Relief delegation – made up of representatives from Islamic Relief USA and Islamic Relief Worldwide – also attended a number of other events on related topics.

Islamic Relief continues to push for an ambitious development agenda, which prioritises equality, to replace the Millennium Development Goals next year.