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Press releases Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights

UN Human Rights Chief calls for equal and meaningful participation of women in public and political life

14 June 2023

GENEVA (14 June 2023) - Gender-based biases in public and political life against women remain deeply entrenched globally, and urgent action is needed to accelerate progress towards full participation of women.

“Patriarchy must be a thing of the past. Our future depends on women and girls being at the table everywhere when decisions are made,” said Volker Türk, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

“It was only last year that for the first time in history women were represented in every functioning parliament in the world. Yet today, still, only one in four parliamentarians are women. At the current rate of change, it would take 155 years for women to close the gender gap. This struggle is even harder for historically marginalized women, whose representation lags behind.

“Simply said, this is a wake-up call. Parity can’t wait. Equal and meaningful participation of women in practice isn’t just about women’s rights to be heard, it is about our societies’ ability to tackle the most pressing crises confronting our world today. It is imperative that we harness the full potential and collective contribution of all of humanity to take effective action to protect the planet, to secure lasting peace, and to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.”

The High Commissioner urges States, parliamentarians, the media, civil society, the private sector and every single one of us to take the following actions:

  • Tackle the root causes of gender-based discrimination, including social norms, that limit participation of women and girls in public and political life, including through education and awareness-raising campaigns;
  • Value, recognize and redistribute unpaid care work which disproportionately falls on women;
  • Consider quotas, reserved seats and training opportunities to increase women’s representation in legislative bodies, and other key institutions of political and public life, as well as in the private sector;
  • Work to achieve gender parity in UN human rights treaty bodies;
  • Establish codes of conduct and reporting mechanisms with a view towards zero tolerance for harassment and violence against women in politics, including online;
  • Promote women role models and give greater visibility to their contributions.



UN Human Rights is spotlighting women’s participation in public and political life in June as part of its monthly spotlights for the 75th year of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

For more information and media requests, please contact:
In Geneva
Ravina Shamdasani - + 41 22 917 9169 / [email protected]or
Liz Throssell + 41 22 917 9296 / [email protected] or
Jeremy Laurence +  +41 22 917 9383 / [email protected]

In Nairobi
Seif Magango - +254 788 343 897 / [email protected]

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