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“Let us speak. Let us act. Let us rise.” With these words, Michelle Bachelet, the current Executive Director of UN Women and the first female President of Chile, encouraged the United Nations community, governments and civil society organizations to strengthen commitments to prevent violence against women globally. The 57th Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) took place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City from 4 March - 15 March 2013. The 57th Commission priority theme is centered around: “Elimination and prevention of all forms of violence against women and girls”.

Global statistics cite that 7 out of 10 women experience some form of violence in their lives. The United Nations maintains, “Violence against women and girls is a gross human rights violation that fractures families and communities and hampers development. It has enormous social, economic and productivity costs for individuals, families, communities and societies.”

As a global non-governmental organization (NGO) in General Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, the BAPS Swaminarayan Sanstha (BAPS) participated by sending two representatives to the Commission on the Status of Women. Through its global network, BAPS strives to empower women to become active members of their families, communities and the world. BAPS supports a wide variety of programs and projects that develop and empower women at each stage in their lives through its social, spiritual and humanitarian work. From health and wellness classes to educational support programs, BAPS is committed to providing diverse platforms for women to excel in their personal, academic and professional lives.

The CSW aims to strengthen international agreements and treaties specifically aimed at giving women and girls the respect, dignity, choices and freedom that every human being should enjoy. Held annually, the Commission along with parallel events brings together thousands of government officials, representatives of the UN, civil society, media and the private sector. By providing an international platform, the commission meets to review progress, share experiences and good practices, analyze gaps and challenges, and agree upon priority actions to accelerate the achievement of gender equality.

For more information on the United Nations’ commitment to address this priority theme and women’s empowerment, please visit: http://www.unwomen.org/news-events/in-focus/in-focus-lets-end-violence-against-women/

For more information on BAPS’ women’s empowerment activities, please visit: http://www.baps.org/developingindividuals.aspx

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