Curtin alumna, Maria Osman represented Australia as a non-government delegate at the fifty-ninth Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.
Maria was one of two non-government delegates tasked with representing the views of Australian women at the fifty-ninth session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW59), which took place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 9 to 20 March.
The CSW59 focused on the 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action – an agenda that aims to improve gender equality and empowerment of women – including a review of progress made over the last 20 years, current changes that affect its implementation and discussion of future opportunities for global policy-making on women’s rights.
Representatives of United Nations member states, entities and ECOSOC-accredited non-governmental organisations from all regions of the world attended the session.
For Maria, the opportunity marked a milestone to listen to the ideas of likeminded people and campaign for women’s rights on the international stage.
“I’d like to be able to put into practice some of the wonderful programs I heard about while attending the CSW59,” she says.
“I am keen to share the lessons I learnt with any group, but especially migrant and refugee women’s groups.”
Maria has a Master of Education from Curtin and has worked in numerous senior government and non-government roles to promote gender, social and racial equality.
Her roles have included Executive Director at The Office of Multicultural Interests; Executive Director at The Office for Women’s Policy; and Manager of Equity and Diversity at The University of Western Australia. She has also been the recipient of numerous awards, including a 2012 National Living Legends Award, awarded to the 100 most influential African-Australians, and a 2007 Multicultural Community Service Award from the state government.
In 2014, Maria left the public sector to establish her own consultancy in managing diversity and gender equality.
“All of my previous roles have involved developing public policy and community engagement that will significantly contribute to my new role as a consultant,” she says.
The CSW was first established in 1946 to help shape positive social outcomes and attitudes towards women. In 1996, the CSW’s role was expanded to ensure the presence of a gender perspective in all activities conducted by the United Nations.