International IDEA took the floor at a recent high-level UN debate convened by President of the General Assembly to highlight that quotas alone are not enough to ensure quality participation and representation for women in development processes. Rather the fielding of more women candidates and nomination of women to public leadership positions are of the utmost importance in ensuring substantive change in women’s participation in all aspects of sustainable development.
The debate on 6 March entitled ‘Advancing Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women and Girls for a Transformative Post-2015 Development Agenda’, brought together UN Member States, intergovernmental organizations and NGOs to discuss the potential of the new agenda to enhance achievements already made in working toward the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), begun in 2000.
Massimo Tommasoli, IDEA’s Permanent Observer to the UN, stressed in his remarks that the negotiations on the sustainable development agenda present a critical platform for addressing the gaps between commitments and action on gender equality. Women’s participation and representation in politics must be multidimensional, encompassing transformative changes in the key areas of legislative responsibilities, decision-making in political parties and public awareness.
IDEA commends the inclusion of a standalone goal on gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls in the Open Working Group Outcome Document on the SDGs and urges that a gender perspective be mainstreamed not throughout the goals and targets alone but through the post-2015 agenda as a whole. Furthermore, this new agenda necessitates a partnership with all actors – from the executive to the judiciary, from parliaments to civil society, from political parties to social movements – to effectively tackle the obstacles that women and girls face in the social, economic, political and environmental spheres.
This debate comes before the start of the 59th Commission on the Status of Women, where the New York Office of IDEA will be hosting a side-event this Friday, 13 March, entitled “Closing the gaps on Women’s Political Participation and Representation and the Post-2015 Development Agenda”, from 10:00-11:15am at UN Headquarters.