International Women’s Day makes us collectively reflect on the enormous obstacles that persist for the women of the world to live with equality, dignity and without violence. It also makes us recognize the enormous achievements and progress made in our struggle for equality, obtained largely by the sorority and the collective claim of so many women, and men, convinced that a world of peace and sustainability can only be built on the basis of gender equality.
On this day, GQUAL wishes to join this commemoration, reaffirming our commitment to work to achieve gender equality in one of the many critical spaces where glass ceilings still resist, perpetuating the absence of diversity and women’s perspectives in decisions that affect us all: international justice.
As in other critical decision-making spheres and institutions, women continue to be absent or underrepresented in international tribunals, bodies and mechanisms that develop international law and policy. Some women are less represented than others, as discrimination is always intersectional.
Since the beginning of the campaign in 2015, we have raised awareness about the importance of promoting gender parity in these spaces. In addition to violating the right to equality, the lack of women’s representation affects the legitimacy of these institutions and limits their impact, as it deprives discussions, decisions and implementation efforts of perspectives and experiences that make a difference.
This lack of equality matters, and now more than ever. Our societies are challenged by issues that are global and affect us collectively and individually, including ending violence and conflict, seeking effective responses and actions to the climate crisis we all face, protecting migrants who are displaced by violence and poverty, coordinating the actions needed to overcome economic inequality and achieve sustainable development, and advancing the clear and progressive development of the scope of human rights, which should guide all decisions of our governments.
International courts and bodies influence these decisions. And women, who in all our diversity make up half of the world’s population, cannot be absent from them.
On this day, we renew our conviction that our strategy of working in alliance with others who promote equality, helping to generate networks that connect and strengthen women interested in these positions, and contributing proposals, research and information, brings us closer to breaking the glass ceiling. That is why we continue to be the main source for monitoring the level of women’s representation in international spaces and upcoming elections. 2022 will be a year of many important elections that we intend to work on to promote gender balance, including some key positions that have never been held by women, such as the UN Rapporteurship against Torture.
At the same time, we remain convinced that one of the ways to build gender parity in these spaces is to change the way in which their members are elected, both at the national and international level. That is why we continue to advocate for States and international organizations to adopt nomination and voting processes that consider gender parity as a criterion, and that are transparent and participatory.
In 2021, we contributed to the adoption by the United Nations Human Rights Council of the Report on Gender Balance in International Bodies prepared by the Advisory Committee. This unprecedented report is a substantial step forward in achieving the equality we seek, as it provides a clear roadmap for action for States, international organizations, and civil society.
The importance of this report and the opportunities it represents were highlighted by us and several experts at the symposium organized by GQUAL and Opinio Juris in 2021, which we invite you to reread. Our commitment in 2022 is to move forward in turning its recommendations and conclusions into reality.
This year will not be the same for our campaign. Our capacity to push for change will be greater and we hope that this will allow us to strengthen our links with all of you, join and build new alliances, and provide new tools and inputs to achieve change in international justice.
In this #IWD we invite everyone to join the campaign, and especially interested people to join our team! We are excited to be looking for two people committed to gender equality to be our Communications and Advocacy Coordinators. Information about these positions and how to apply are available here.
Join us to #ChangeThePicture of international justice.