Our Women@TheTable Founder / Executive Director Caitlin Kraft-Buchman had the honor of making remarks at the Geneva Gender Champions Mid Term review on the dias with her two co-founders, United Nations Office in Geneva Director-General Michael Møller, and US Ambassador to the UN in Geneva Pamela Hamamoto, along with three guest speakers Peter Maurer, President of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Secretary General Martin Chungong, of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, and Janet Voûte, Global Head of Public Affairs, Nestlé. Their remarks were stimulating and insightful but off the record. Ours however are not, and they follow below.
Thank you, Ambassador. Hello Director General.
Good evening Gender Champions!
There are 106 of you now, and the Pledge and the individual Commitments
we are told (by both Oxford and the Graduate Institute in Geneva) that they are historic.
But, awareness is nothing more than entertainment if it doesn’t change behavior and we are acutely aware that we all want to hit our Commitment marks, and make as much systemic, and immediate impact as possible.
This is why we divided the 250 Champion Commitments into loose, completely voluntary groups for those searching for communities of interest and ways to concretely implement their commitments.
We call the Groups: Impact Groups and there are four of them:
#1 Talent and Development led by WHO and WIPO
looks for synergy and economy of scale, as it seems every Champion organization has a training, or leadership, or mentorship program or a commitment to create one. We are trying to find the most effective and innovative methods for talent development. The first step there is a mapping of existing programs.
Then in June, a Professor from the IMD Business School who leads Organizational Behaviour and Leadership will give a workshop on what is working in the private sector and the world at large and what we might extract from those best practices for the not for profit world.
Current research points to moving the needle not so much by ‘finding’ the women,
or ‘fixing’ the women with training, but to fixing the ‘system’ , and to that end it has been suggested serious thought should be put into system-wide unconscious bias training for both senior and mid-level executive men in our organizations as well as for women, since our goal is for men and women to be equal and most importantly work equally together
#2 Human Resources Led by UNOG and OHCHR
decided to focus on the UN SWAP -- the UN Women devised System-Wide Action Plan on Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women -- which assigns performance standards for gender-related work at UN entities, and tracks where women are in the rankings at the organizations. The architect of the plan from UN Women in New York came to address us on how to use the SWAP more effectively.
In one such example, member states were urged to request the international organizations, at upcoming Assemblies, to report on status of women and their representation at all levels and all contract types, It was also suggested that the only way to create gender balance at the higher ranks in the UN entities is to create temporary special measures and select the substantially equal or better qualified woman most every time there is an opening until we get to gender parity, instead of sliding backwards as the current trend appears to show.
#3 International Fora led by the French Mission with an assist from the US and UK, is a practical conversation on how member states can help break gender barriers in the international arena through negotiation and resolutions. It also asks what is needed from UN entities to accomplish this?
Professor Elisabeth Prügl, the Director of the newly created Centre for Gender (which was upped from a Program on Gender to a Center on Gender, as one of the commitments of the Graduate Institute of Geneva) provides depth and technical assistance to this group.
The #4th and final Impact group is Panels and Delegations. Delegations
that come from countries all over the world to Geneva all year long affecting all issues that effect humanity – delegations which in the future must be gender balanced in order for us to achieve our long term equality, long term innovation, and sustainability goals. ITU is the Chair of this group.
We hope that each of these Impact Groups can take best practices from each other and the outside world and devise a series of pilots and experiments within the various organizations. Because we are an incredible laboratory here in International Geneva, able to move the research and learning forward, and to implement at scale. You, as the collective Geneva Gender Champions have the platform and the bandwith to balance this gender equation.
Let me close with a final example of impact :
Women in Global Health are asking their group attendees gathering for the World Health Assembly next week to make one or two individual/organizational commitments to advance gender equality in the global health sector – and then share them via social media.
They had heard about us and wrote to say that “In reviewing the Geneva Gender Champions commitments, we noted a great deal of synergy with what we are hoping to achieve, and want to share the GGC commitments as examples of the commitments that our group can make.”
So we see the ripple effects have begun… and we expect the impact to be exponential and continue.
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