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ONWA Delegation to attend 68th Session, UN Commission on the Status of Women

New York, NY – The Ontario Native Women’s Association (ONWA) will be sending a delegation to the 68th session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW) taking place from March 11 to 22, in New York.

The UNCSW is the main global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women. This year, the priority theme is focused on addressing poverty and strengthening institutions and financing with a gender perspective.

As the largest and oldest Indigenous women's organization in Canada, ONWA has over 52 years of experience and expertise in amplifying Indigenous women's voices. At UNCSW, ONWA is representing the voices of its membership which includes over 30 Indigenous women’s organizations and groups.

Increased safety and economic opportunities are critical to support Indigenous self-determination and improve long-term economic outcomes for Indigenous women. Indigenous women, like all people, have the right to be safe. Yet, Indigenous women and girls are still not safe — poverty is one of the root causes.

The disproportionate rate of poverty Indigenous women experience is a form of structural violence. It stems from the legacy of colonization, sexism, and racism. It leads to increased risk of violence and exploitation, homelessness, interactions with the justice system, the overrepresentation of Indigenous children in child welfare, and poor health outcomes.

“ONWA is committed to empowering and supporting all Indigenous women. Investing in Indigenous women and their organizations is an investment in the whole community – it has a critical multiplier effect on poverty eradication and helps drive equitable and sustainable economic development. It is critical that Indigenous women and girls be at all levels of decision making on issues that impact their lives. This is our right and States must uphold these rights. We are attending to hold member states accountable – attending and speaking out here is a mechanism to do so.” – Cora McGuire-Cyrette, CEO ONWA

This year, ONWA will be hosting and participating in multiple events throughout the week that focus on building collective solidarity with global Indigenous women leaders and reclaiming Indigenous women’s leadership. Those interested in joining virtually can do so by going to ONWA’s website and reading our CSW68 blog:   

ONWA has also collaborated on a side event with the Government of Canada, Province of Manitoba, and the Government of Mexico to bring forward Indigenous women’s voices on the barriers and opportunities toward inclusive socio-economic development.

We must continue to work together as an international community, with Indigenous women at the forefront, to share, listen, understand, and learn from one another. This is how we will build safe communities, and this is how the change will happen.


For more information and media inquiries, contact: 

Andre Morriseau, Communications Manager

Ontario Native Women’s Association (ONWA)




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