The passing of friend and colleague, Simone Ovart

Simone Ovart

Simone Ovart, NGO CSW Geneva President 2015-2018

“What we once enjoyed and loved we can never lose, for all that we love deeply becomes part of us,” Helen Keller.

With deep regret we are sharing the sad news of the passing Simone Ovart on 9 January 2019.  All of us from the NGO Committee on the Status of Women, Geneva have regrettably lost one of our own; a bright light of compassion and distinction.  Her commitment to the Committee through her leadership, current Bureau Advisor, Past-President, Committee Chair and overall influencer and leader, reveals a lifetime of dedication to advancing the status of women and girls.

Remembering Simone brings us strength, ignites compassion and reminds us that all things are possible.  She will be deeply missed and may you Rest in Peace, dear Simone.   Our Committee’s deepest condolences and prayers go out to Simone’s family, friends and Zonta colleagues.


Most sincerely,

NGO CSW, Geneva Bureau

Stacy Dry Lara

Carolyn Handschin

Anne Riz

Angela Sauvage

Claudia Williams

Paula Daeppen



A message from Claudia Williams, NGO CSW Geneva Secretary

I was deeply saddened to learn today of Simone’s passing.  She was a vibrant, strong woman, to whom many have looked for leadership and friendship.  I join the many women of CSW and Zonta who especially feel this loss, and together are mourning her passing.

I served as secretary of CSW-Geneva during the last year of Simone’s tenure as president.  One of the highlights of our time together was observing her work on the Forum on Women and Global Migration, which she masterminded.  She personally knew many influential UN leaders, and was able to suggest many speakers, including the Director General of the UN and several prominent Ambassadors.  Under her leadership, the CSW Bureau worked to provide panelists qualified to explore the root causes of migration and to suggest innovative solutions.  The Forum was very well attended and successfully met its goal of bringing to light important ways migrant women themselves can bring about change.  Given her deep concern for the plight of migrant women, it must have been especially satisfying to Simone to inspire further progress in an area where much improvement is needed.



A message from Carolyn Handschin, NGO CSW Geneva Vice President

I was so shocked and very sorry to hear of the passing of Simone. It was just a few months ago that she was leading the NGO Committee on the Status of Women in Geneva with such vitality. I feel a very personal closeness to her. We sometimes met as members of the Committee at Conchita’s home in the past. We would spend hours in the garden drinking tea while discussing issues, planning events and writing statements. She would always drive all the way from Turin for these meetings and I would think how important she feels this is. She was very strong, focused and caring, about the larger issues and also about the team. 
 It was because of Simone that I recently re-joined the Committee and I feel very grateful to her for that. She very warmly invited me little more than a year ago to join her and several other members to organize the Migration Forum. For several months, we communicated almost daily and her high expectations and strong leadership guided the process, especially getting confirmation from some of the key speakers. I often thought that she must’ve been very good in her professional experience as a business leader and entrepreneur.
I personally and surely we all, as the NGO Committee on the Status of Women are very grateful to have shared important times with her and benefitted from her knowledge, experience and love.
Thank you Simone!

Advocacy Toolkit: 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence

Let’s work together to harness the power of the 16 Days of Activism and demand an ILO convention to end gender-based violence in the world of work. 

Now in its 27th year, the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence (GBV) will begin on 25 November and run through 10 December, Human Rights Day.

To support your advocacy work and ideation around this, Graduate Women International (a member of the NGO CSW Geneva) has created an impactful and easy-to-use advocacy campaign toolkit. The toolkit includes compelling and valuable information about the 16 Days of Activism, facts about GBV, relevant connections between the Sustainable Development Goals and GBV, simple advocacy ideas, press releases, comprehensive social media campaign covering the 16 days complete with Facebook posts, cover photos, infographics, Tweets, Days to Observe and more.

To read the 16 Days of Activism Toolkit, click on the following link: 2018: 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence GWI Toolkit

Remember, no action is too small!

Together We Can Eliminate Gender-Based Violence! 

2018 Advocacy Toolkit: 16 Days of Activism

Joint Statement 39th Session of the Human Rights Council – Child Widowhood: A Neglected Gender and Human Rights Violation

Human Rights Council 39 Joint Statement on Child Widowhood

A joint statement submitted to the 39th Session of the Human Rights Council by GWI, Graduate Women International with co-sponsoring NGOs in General Consultative Status to the ECOSOC, International Alliance of Women, Soroptimist International, Women’s Federation for World Peace, and Zonta International; and NGOs in Special Consultative Status to ECOSOC European Union of Women, FAWCO, International Council of Jewish Women, International Federation of Business and Professional Women, International Movement for Fraternal Union Among Races and Peoples and Women’s World Summit Foundation.

Download our Joint Statement for the 39th session of the Human Rights Council – Child Widowhood: A Neglected Gender and Human Rights Violation



Forum on ‘Women and Global Migration: Root Causes and Innovative Solutions’ – on 23 February 2018

The NGO CSW Geneva organized a Forum on

Women and Global Migration: Root Causes and Innovative Solutions’

that took place on 23 February 9:30-13:00 in the Room XI, Palais des Nations in Geneva. 

The following topics were discussed: 

  • Factors affecting migration flows
  • Movements and labour force
  • Promotion of human rights and innovative solutions. 

Additional information:

Continue reading ‘Forum on ‘Women and Global Migration: Root Causes and Innovative Solutions’ – on 23 February 2018’ »

9th International NGO Forum on “Economic Empowerment of Women – Key Factors for Equality by 2030”

The NGO CSW Geneva co-organizes the 9TH OCAPROCE International NGO Forum on the Economic Social and cultural Rights of Women 

on 2 June 2017, 10:00-18:00  
Room VII, Palais des Nations (Attention Room change)




Registration on INDICO :
(mandatory for those who do nat have a UN ground pass)

Note: if you do not have an INDICO account, you must first create an account via:

Programme Summary: 

10:00 – 11:00 Official Opening of the Forum

11:00 – 13:15   Morning Sessions:

  • 1  Inclusive Growth for the Eradication of Women’s Poverty
  • 2  Women’s role in peace building and qualitative growth
  • 3  The Consequences of Migration on Women in Africa

14:15 – 16:30   Afternoon Sessions:

  • 4  Pay Gap in Light of the Economic Empowerment of Women
  • 5  Gender Pension Gap: Cumulative Effect of lifelong Gender Imbalances in Paid & Unpaid Work
  • 6  The Importance of ICTs for the Empowerment of Women and Gender Equality 

16:30 – 17:15 Closing
17:15 – 18:00   Reception

More information: Full Programme


NGO CSW Geneva / SDC Forum – Report now available

The NGO CSW Geneva with the support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) organized a one-day Forum on

the Economic Empowerment of Women & Girls in a Sustainable Perspective

which took place on 10 October 2016, at the Palais des Nations, Geneva, Room XIX 

4 topics were addressed in 4 panels: 

  • Promoting gender equality through Government Procurement
  • Equal Pay between Men and Women
  • Women in Decision Making Positions
  • Addressing Unpaid Care Work

The report on this Forum is now available for Download

NGO CSW Geneva Meeting – 12 November 2018

Please join us for our next meeting.

Date: 12 November 2018

Time: 13h – 15h

Location: rue de Varembe 1, Geneva

For additional questions or membership inquiries, contact us at:


International Day of the Girl 2016 – Flashmob Dance: the video!

NGO CSW Geneva celebrated the fifth anniversary of the International Day of the Girl by staging a flashmob dance outside the United Nations building in Geneva. Sponsored by the US Mission, United Nations Office of Geneva and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, this spirited event was an invitation to all actors to fully commit to investing in girls in order to achieve UN Sustainable Development Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.



International Day of the Girl 2016 – Invitation to a Flashmob Dance

flyer-idog-2016-final-1Dance with us as we celebrate the fifth anniversary of the International Day of the Girl. With this spirited event, we mean to engage all actors and gain their full commitment to investing in girls. Celebrating girls worldwide on 11 October raises awareness that states and their partners must take meaningful actions towards reaching Sustainable Development Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.

When? on Tuesday 11 October 2016 at 13:00 sharp

Where? on the Place des Nations in Geneva

International Conference to end FGM – From Goals to Action on FGM: Working Together to Bridge Gaps – on 10-11 May 2016

Flyer - FGM Conference IAC May 2016The NGO CSW Geneva is happy to support this 2 day conference organized on 10-11 May by one of its member the Inter-African Committee.

The conference is structured around the following:

  • Best practices against FGM
  • Legal frameworks, policies & action: Stock-taking & Gaps
  • Research, data and advocacy
  • Strengthening partnerships and stakeholder networking
  • Challenges to ending FGM incl. in diaspora:political, socio–economic and religious factors
  • Call to Action & Way forward

Continue reading ‘International Conference to end FGM – From Goals to Action on FGM: Working Together to Bridge Gaps – on 10-11 May 2016’ »

29th Session of the Human Rights Council – Panel-Dialogue event on Migration: Crises of Values and Governance – 24 June 2015

Co-organiszed by NGO CSW Geneva members Bangle and Dialogue, International Council of Jewish Women and Medical Care Development International, in partnership with Global Migration Associates and Rwanda Women Network:

Migration: Crises of Values and Governance
Human Rights, Social Cohesion, Women, Development…
Wednesday 24 June 2015, 12h to 13h30, Palais des Nations, room VIII

HRC 2015 Migrants panel  -Save the Date-150616update3A participatory event highlighting key synergies and mutual dependencies among human rights, international migration, advancement of women, equality now, and the development agendas

to stimulate dialogue, cooperation, and make common cause across intersecting concerns, constituencies and networks to shore up the rights-based approach to governance, to equality and non- discrimination, to migration, to advancement of all women, and to development.

Event Flyer for download


NGO Forum Beijing+20 UN ECE Review – Final Report released

The final report of NGO Forum that the NGO CSW Geneva organized in November 2014 for the Beijing+20 UN ECE Regional Review is now available.

NGO_CSW_Geneva_Report_cover-212x300This report notably Includes

  • the Geneva NGO Declaration and Recommendation –  with French & Russian translations
  • All Plenary Sessions Short Reports
  • All 16 Interactive Roundtable Reports
  • the Lobby Session report
  • the complete list of Participants

See complete table of contents here

And download the full report here

More information on  the NGO Forum can also be found on its dedicated website 



CSW59 – NGO CSW Geneva presents the Geneva NGO Forum Beijing+20 UN ECE Review and its Outcome Document at High Level Panel and at NGO Forum Consultation Day

CSW59_FINAL_675px_landing page-01

A High Level Panel on the Results of regional Beijing+20 meetings of the United Nations regional commissions took place at the 59th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW59) on Thursday 12 March at the United Nations in New York, where NGO CSW Geneva Vice-President, Valerie Bichelmeier could deliver an oral statement to present the November 2014 Geneva NGO Forum Beijing+20 UNECE Review and its outcome document, the NGO Declaration and Recommendations.

See the webcast of main sessions, including this panel on

For more information on CSW59 see

NGO CSW Geneva member Simone Ovart (ZONTA) also intervened at the NGO Forum Consultation Day on 8 March. in the session Beijing+20 – Voices from the Regions as spokeswoman for the NGO CSW Geneva, bringing to the attention of all the work done by the NGO Forum in Geneva last November and disseminating its outcome document.


More information on the NGO Forum and the Consultation Day on


NGO CSW Geneva co-sponsors YLC CSW59 side-event on Human Rights & Migrant Women on 11 March 2014

The Young Leaders Caucus YLC is an organization of young people, mostly young women, that was born during the Geneva NGO Forum Beijing+20 UN ECE Review organized by the NGO CSW Geneva in November 2014.

Following up on substantive work done for the NGO Forum, YLC cordially invites you to a CSW59 Side-Event on

Human Rights and Migrant Women
on 11 March 10:30-12:00 at CCUN Chapel, New York


  • Alicia Arbid, Arab Women’s Solidarity Organization – Belgium, European Network of Migrant Women
  • Melissa Garcia Velez, New York State Youth Leadership Council
  • Dylan Terry, Young Leaders Caucus, Global Migration Policy Associates
  • Representative from DRUM tbc – South Asian Organizing Center

Moderator:: Jitka Markova, European Network of Migrant Women, Migrant Women’s Platform (UK)

Download: Event Flyer