Methods of work

« At its first and second sessions held from 6 to 10 June 2011 and 24 to 28 October 2011 respectively, the Working Group discussed its methods of work and other issues related to its mandate pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 15/23.

A. Functioning of the Working Group


The experts of the Working Group have agreed that the chairpersonship of the Group will rotate annually, with the handover occurring at the beginning of June each year. The current Chairperson of the Working Group (June 2018-May 2019) is Ms. Ivana Radačić.

Country missions

The Working Group conducts two to three country missions per year following invitations received from Member States. Country visits are conducted in the spirit of promoting constructive dialogue with States as well as collecting good practices in the elimination of discrimination against women in law and in practice.

Country visits are undertaken, to the extent possible, by the Chair together with another member of the Working Group from the region where the country visit takes place.

Members of the Working Group avoid, to the extent possible, conducting official visits in their countries of origin.

As per standard practice, the final composition of the visit delegation is communicated to the Government concerned during the preparation of the visit.

Engagement with states and other relevant key stakeholders

  • The Working Group has developed a dialogue with States through letters soliciting information as means to collect good practices in the thematic areas identified.
  • The Working Group has issued calls for submissions to the relevant stakeholders to solicit information, documentation and material related to its thematic priorities in order to enhance the Working Group’s capacity to conduct dialogues and cooperation with States, human rights mechanisms, inter-governmental bodies, relevant UN entities, regional and national human rights institutions, experts and civil society organisations.
  • The Working Group has also developed and distributed questionnaires on specific issues of concern to review further good practices and experiences in the elimination of discrimination against women in law and in practice in relation to the thematic priorities.
  • The Working Group has used additional means to collect relevant information, including consultations and expert meetings.
  • Communications may be addressed to the Working Group by a State, State organ, intergovernmental and non-governmental organization (NGO), or any other organisation and individuals. The Working Group shall reviews the information with a view to taking appropriate action.

The outcomes of the above activities are intended to inform implementation of the mandate which the Working Group has been entrusted with.

Working Group sessions

The Working Group meets three times per year and in general: January in New York, May and October in Geneva.

The sessions are generally held in closed meetings during which the Group covers a wide range of issues including, inter alia, thematic work, communications and specific country engagement. However, the Working Group systematically engages with various stakeholders during the sessions, including Member States, civil society, UN entities as well as experts and academics, at specific time slots during its sessions. For the dates of the sessions click here

B. Implementation of the mandate of the Working Group

Pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 15/23, the Working Group’s mandate includes the following tasks:

  • to prepare a compendium of best practices related to the elimination of laws that discriminate against women or are discriminatory to women in terms of implementation or impact;
  • to undertake a study on the ways and means of cooperation between the Working Group and States to eliminate discrimination against women in law and in practice; and
  • To make recommendations on the improvement of legislation and implementation of law to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women.

These tasks are carried out through constructive dialogue and in cooperation with Member States, human rights mechanisms, inter-governmental bodies, relevant UN entities, regional and national human rights institutions, experts and civil society.

The Working Group is mindful of the work carried out by CEDAW, other treaty bodies and Special Procedures mandates, and intends to build on existing standards and initiatives developed by international and regional human rights mechanisms as well as on the available knowledge and tools produced to date by UN bodies, states and civil society on the subject matter.

The Working Group addresses the elimination of discrimination against women in law and in practice based on the States’ obligation to respect, protect, and fulfil women’s human rights.

The Working Group has developed its approach to best practices by building on existing work on this issue by other mandate holders of the Special Procedures, including taking note of the preference towards using the terminology of ‘good practices’. »

​​​​​​In this section
Issues in focus
Position papers
Related links​
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In memoriam