Time to Talk: Reflections on Effective Feminist Leadership and Representation in Multilateral Fora

Six Champions from International Organisations, Civil Society Organisations and Member States in Geneva, New York and Paris had a lively and determined exchange on what actions are needed in order to embody feminist leadership and fully achieve representation beyond just numbers in multilateral fora such as the United Nations ecosystem, Parliaments, Councils and Assemblies.

Participants identified that feminist leadership & representation are two sides of the same coin. Women must be in decision making positions and have seats at the table, but this alone is not enough; multilateral fora must also ensure that the outcomes of their work are feminist, and ensure that representation in numbers translates into equal power and representation in working processes and outcomes.

Champions discussed the trends they observed recently, both the promising and the worrying, and highlighted that while progress is being made on many fronts, the rate of progress seems to slow or stagnate, and at times even regress, if advocacy efforts and active pushing to take next steps do not remain in full force.  Furthermore, action plans with gender indicators and measurable policies with deadlines and penalties for under-delivery are essential to move from policy to implementation.

One of the most important gaps that Champions can bridge through their platforms is the move from policies and legislation to action and implementation.

In order to truly embody feminist leadership and complete representation in multilateral fora, Champions agreed that gender mainstreaming across the board and incorporating a gender lens to all core work (such as human rights, economics, education…) is a must. The IGC community can achieve such holistic change by staying connected and united, and continuing to bring gender-related issues to the top of the agenda in formal and informal groups.  The group resolved to keep pushing the agenda – starting with the Generation Equality Forum in Paris from 30 June-02 July!

Some tools to support actions: