Women at the Table

Measuring representation, participation & influence

Open-source software designed to measure the active participation of women (youth and others) in international events – capturing the proportion of time, the topics, the capacity and delegated authority of any group whose data is captured speak onstage or in conference settings.

#Who Gets to Speak #Who Gets Heard on behalf of a changing world in crisis?

At this critical moment in history, we see stark divisions on who helps make the decisions that will affect generations to come. The 2021 UNFCCC/COP-25 gender report showed 74% of speaking time in plenary was taken by men. The 2022 WHO Executive Board had 91% male Heads of Delegation holding the pen.

Created by

Women at the Table, along with an 8 person, pro bono, software architecture and development team from Thoughtworks’ Social Impact, India, and legal support from Debevoise & Plimpton for contracts, data protection and Intellectual Property rights have created g-app.

What it does

  • Enables tracking of progress – what creates successes, or failures, and ways to improve.
  • Institutionalises monitoring of and reporting on representation, participation and influence. 
  • Analyses who is speaking, with which authority, and on which topics. 

How it works

What is needed:

  • Excel with Anonymised Conference Registrants.
  • Video recorded file per panel.
  • Speaker Order.

Data collection

Software architecture functions by collecting:

  • Topics: Determined by conference organizers from their official agenda, fed into our algorithm.
  • Conference Demographics: anonymized conference data (Registration ID, Gender, (Age if tracked) Organisation Type, Country, Conference Role). 
  • Video/Audio Recording: downloaded proceedings per session.
  • Speaker Order: Per session keyed to anonymized Conference Demographics.


G-app then automatically produces graphic reports on: 

  • Gender Distribution: Percentage of women (and youth if conference is tracking) who registered to the conference in proportion to how much time they spoke at the conference.
  • Gender (and Youth) Representation by Region: Broken down by the 5 UN Regions + Total Average
  • Gender (and Youth) Distribution by Conference Roles: Head of Delegation, Delegation, Non-Voting Member
  • Gender (and Youth) Distribution by Session Roles: Chair/Moderator, Keynote/Panelist, Participant
  • (Speaking Time by Age, if being tracked): Self selected by registrants:  <25, 25-35, 35-45.45-55,55-65, >65
  • Speaking Time by Topic: Always with one bar defaulting to Gender, the g-app explainable algorithm uses Topic Modeling to determine who is speaking about which topics.


This data enables g-app to then analyze and graphically represent data on the active participation, representation, and influence of women, regions (and age). It measures: Who is at the assembly? Do they have the power to speak? Or do they speak only on certain topics directly related to their demographics?

1. Gender Distribution

Women & youth who registered to the conference in proportion to how much time they spoke at the conference. We find registration (representation) often is 60%M – 40%F, but speaking time (active participation) often defaults to 80%M – 20% F. Gender parity via attendance at a conference does not translate into who is speaking and who has influence.

2. Gender Representation by Region.

Keyed to the 5 United Nations geopolitical regional groups, and the average of the conference.

3. Gender (and Age) Distribution by Conference Roles.

(p.ex,  Head of Delegation, Delegate, Non-Voting Member).
We consider conference roles as proxies for influence. The 2022 WHO Executive Board had only 9% female Heads of Delegation (a backwards trend) Consequently, in 2022 91% males made decisions for post-pandemic global health, despite the global health workforce being 70% female.

4. Gender Speaking Time by Session Roles 

(p.ex, Chair, Panelist, Delegate)
These are other proxies for influence. However these are under the control of the conference organizers (as opposed to delegation composition), and therefore present an opportunity to rebalance proxies of influence with expert speakers.

5. Gender Speaking Time by Age.

6. Gender Speaking Time by Topic.

Topics are determined by the conference organizers from their official agender. The algorithm created for the g-app, uses topic modeling and is also an explainable algorithm part of our work on transparency as well. Who speaks on which topics are of critical importance. Are women speaking as much on gender issues as on cybersecurity or finance? Are youth speaking about labor issues as much as on climate change or education, and on which panels or just in youth streams of discussion?

Key recommendations for action

  1. Institutionalize monitoring of and reporting on women and youth representation, participation and influence in  official  UN processes.
  2.  Gender composition reports have been strengthened by adding data on age and gender and how they intersect in relation to Party delegates and heads and deputy heads of delegation.
  3. The persistent lack of progress in and the urgent need for improving the representation of women and youth in Party delegations and constituted bodies has been recognized in that the full, meaningful and equal participation and leadership of women and youth in all aspects of  UN processes is vital for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
  4. The open-source (and free) g-app software premiered at the Paris Peace Forum 2021,  and could be used throughout the UN System and beyond to accomplish and document the aims of true representation, participation and influence of women and youth in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. A longitudinal study is also planned for the data.  


View our Lightning Talk at Mozfest 2022

Presentation at 2022 ECOSOC Partnership Forum on 2 February 2022.

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