23 Feb 2023
Conferences / Workshops, External Events, 13:00 - 14:30, Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights (Cassese Room), Villa Moynier, Rue de Lausanne 120B, 1211 Geneva
Fornalé, Elisa

Equal and inclusive representation of women in decision-making systems

The GQUAL Campaign, Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights and Prof. Elisa Fornalé (WTI, University of Bern) invite you to attend the upcoming conference on women representation in decision-making.

Articles 7 and 8 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) address women’s human rights to equal and inclusive representation both at the national and the international level.

The CEDAW Committee has recently announced that it will start working on the development and adoption of a new General Recommendation on the “Equal and inclusive representation of women in decision-making systems''.

This important process represents a critical opportunity for the development of legally binding human rights standards that can help define the scope of States obligations under articles 7 and 8 of the CEDAW. This new Recommendation would significantly contribute to help identify and define some of the specific measures that States, and institutions should implement to promote and achieve women’s equal participation in critical leadership and decision-making roles.

A conference, on February 23, intends to highlight the importance of the process initiated by the Committee with a broad audience of stakeholders and contribute to the discussion by engaging experts on a dynamic conversation addressing key issues including:

  • Why is the development of a General Recommendation on the issue of equal and inclusive representation and participation of women in decision-making systems under the Convention, a timely and pressing initiative for the human rights of women and of all people?
  • Why is “parity” the appropriate standard / goal for measuring women’s representation? How do we define it?
    • [What other concepts should be defined, to ensure that standards can be clearly elaborated, e.g. “decision-making”; “transparency”; etc…]
  • What key substantive, procedural, institutional, and/or structural challenges (and/or other topics/issues, such as both visible and invisible barriers that prevent the achievement of gender parity), should be tackled by the General Recommendation, to ensure meaningful impact in practice?
  • What efforts and commitments by Member States are necessitated to make women’s equal and inclusive representation in decision-making systems a practical reality?
  • What spheres of representation and decision-making systems need to be addressed by the Recommendation and what is the scope of State’s obligations regarding them?
  • What can the Committee and other monitoring bodies do to promote the implementation and compliance with the Recommendation, and how can accountability be pursued in these respects?

The event will consist of a dynamic conversation in which the panelists will answer a question introduced by the moderator and will then have the opportunity to react to the presentations of the other panel participants. Each panelist will have an initial 7 minutes to answer the question and another 3 minutes for closing remarks. The event will have opening and closing remarks and will be followed by a reception.


Welcome and closing remarks:

    • Gloria Gaggioli, Director, Geneva Academy

Opening Remarks:

    • Nada Youssef A. Al Nashif, Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights (tbc)


    • Nicole Ameline, Vice-Chair of CEDAW
    • Claudia Martin, Founding Member of GQUAL, Professorial Lecturer in Residence and Co-Director of the Academy on Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, American University Washington College of Law
    • H.E. Claudia Fuentes Julio, PR of Chile to UNOG
    • Santiago Canton, Secretary General (incoming), International Commission of Jurists (ICJ)
    • Caitlin Kraft-Buchman, CEO/Founder of Women at the Table


    • Elisa Fornalé, World Trade Institute, University of Bern

Event on Geneva Academy website, including link to register for in-person participation


Zoom registration link:  https://geneva-academy-ch.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_HK0vD__bT22LGwqIa7hSZg

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