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Making the UN General Assembly gender equal: what will it take?


With only 24 percent of women Permanent Representatives, the UN General Assembly is far from gender equal representation. Last year, the General Assembly recognized this problem formally in resolution 76/269 proclaiming 24 June the International Day of Women in Diplomacy.

Unlike parliaments around the world, where there is discussion and awareness of the need for greater representation of women, there is no concerted effort among UN member States to ensure that more women ambassadors (Permanent Representatives) sit in the General Assembly, the so-called “parliament of the world.” Likewise, there are no gender quotas or other rules on the inclusion of women in national delegations to the General Assembly.

I encourage all … to recommit to doing everything in our power to promote the cause of women diplomats until we achieve parity in every United Nations organization, the Security Council and General Assembly. 

Ms. Amina Mohammed

Deputy Secretary-General

This briefing will review the data on women’s representation in the General Assembly and consider the ways in which the appointment of ambassadors to the UN could be improved to help achieve gender equality. The briefing is an important step toward a campaign for a gender equal General Assembly led by the IPU Standing Committee on United Nations Affairs.

Borrowing from the IPU’s experience of supporting more women in politics, and best practices from other relevant institutions, participants will discuss the ways in which parliaments can help make the General Assembly and other multilateral bodies more gender equal.

Leading questions:

  • How can parliaments help ensure more women ambassadors are appointed to the General Assembly?
  • Can the UN impose rules on national delegations to the GA to enhance gender quality?
  • How can parliaments exercise stronger oversight of ambassadorial appointments to the United Nations?

Speakers :

  • Senator Andries Gryffroy, Senate of Belgium, Acting Chair of the IPU Standing Committee on United Nations Affairs
  • H.E. Ambassador Lachezara Stoeva, Permanent Representative of Bulgaria to the United Nations, President of the Economic and Social Council
  • Ms. Susanna Malcorra, Founder of  Global Women Leaders Voices for Change and Inclusion, former Foreign Minister of Argentina and former Chief of Staff to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon


Resolution 176.2 KB