Photo by IISD/ENB | Kiara Worth
story highlights

Participants reflected on progress towards SDG 5 during a presentation of the International Gender Champions 2017 annual report.

The report concludes that achieving SDG 5 “is a precondition for all other Goals,” and urges everyone to champion gender equality in their work, schools, homes and lives.

UNGA President Miroslav Lajcak welcomed the report and made a number of suggestions for increasing women’s participation in the UN’s work.

5 July 2018: The annual report of the International Gender Champions network was presented at the UN, highlighting that 205 champions from over 60 countries have made 600 commitments to advance gender equality, since the network was launched in 2015.

The Champions currently include the UN Secretary-General, the heads of the UN Offices at Geneva (Switzerland), Vienna (Austria) and Nairobi (Kenya), the heads of many UN funds, programmes and organizations, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), academic institutions, and permanent representatives of UN Member States.

The report titled, ‘International Gender Champions 2017 Annual Report,’ describes progress on commitments related to good governance, organizational culture, leadership and accountability, meetings, conferences and delegations, selection and recruitment, and work-life balance. Other highlights showcased in the report include the addition of 112 new Champions, and the expansion of network hubs to New York, US, and Vienna, with “soft launches” in Nairobi, and Bonn and Berlin, Germany.

The report states that it is now considered “unacceptable to have single-sex panels on any topic.”

All International Gender Champions sign the Panel Parity Pledge to not sit on single-sex panels. The report states that it is now considered “unacceptable to have single-sex panels on any topic.” According to the network’s annual survey, parity was achieved in 44% of the 328 panels reported on, in comparison with 18% in 2016, and champions had to intervene to improve panel composition in only 11% of cases, compared to 42% in 2016.

Despite progress, the report cautions that the world “will achieve gender parity only by 2234,” based on the current rate of change, according to findings by the World Economic Forum (WEF). The report concludes that achieving SDG 5 (gender equality) “is not simply a Goal in itself, it is a precondition for all other Goals,” and urges everyone to champion gender equality in their work, schools, homes and lives.

Addressing the report presentation event, UN General Assembly (UNGA) President Miroslav Lajcak reflected on examples of progress on gender equality and women’s empowerment, including the gender-balanced team within the UNGA President’s office and greater gender parity throughout the UNGA, with a higher number of women co-chairs and co-facilitators and gender-balanced panels. Lajcak shared findings from his morning dialogue on gender mainstreaming, including that only one woman has ever served as Chair of the UNGA’s Main Committees, and challenges related to the limited number of women permanent representatives to the UN. To promote women’s participation in the UNGA, Lajcak suggested Member States: consider applying voluntary quotas to their delegations; present more women candidates for UNGA leadership positions; and increase emphasis on work-life balance measures to address challenges that hinder women’s participation. [UNGA President’s statement] [Highlights of UNGA President’s spokesperson] [Publication: International Gender Champions 2017 Annual Report] [SDG Knowledge Hub story on UNGA leadership roles] [SDG Knowledge Hub story on UNGA President’s gender parity commitment] [SDG Knowledge Hub story on IGC Vienna initiative launch]

related posts