Shaping the international agenda: Raising women's voices in intergovernmental forums

This publication aims to build knowledge on women’s participation in national delegations to meetings of international organizations’ governing bodies and their leadership roles in these meetings. It is based on responses to a questionnaire addressed to members of the United Nations Governing Bodies Secretariat and of the International Gender Champions–Geneva. Although the results of the survey may not be representative of all United Nations organizations, they have yielded important information on the current policies and practices in the 23 entities that took part.

Based on the responses, six types of actions to improve women’s participation in governing body meetings have been identified: (a) explicit policies and mandated targets; (b) tracking and reporting; (c) training and capacity-building; (d) financial support; (e) advocacy and networking; and (f) communications strategies. The survey results are complemented by an overview of intergovernmental and inter-agency frameworks and trends in women’s participation in national Governments and intergovernmental forums. Best practices in promoting women’s participation at different levels – national and multilateral – are also presented with the aim of informing concrete recommendations on the way forward to realize gender balance in international organizations’ governing bodies. As the first publication of its kind, it is intended to be a handy source of information and advocacy tool that can empower a wide range of gender-equality advocates to champion gender equality, women’s empowerment and gender balance in their work and across their networks.

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