On Women's Day, UNCTAD takes part in Geneva Gender Debate

03 March 2016

To mark this year's International Women's Day, UNCTAD Deputy Secretary-General Joakim Reiter will take part in the first annual Geneva Gender Debate organised by the Swiss city's Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies on 8 March, 2016.

UNCTAD Deputy Secretary-General Joakim Reiter will be among those called on to pose questions during a debate in Geneva marking International Women's Day.

UNCTAD's work shows that it is essential in pursuing inclusive and sustainable development and achieving fairer and beneficial outcomes for all to take gender perspectives into account in macro-economic policy. In addition, UNCTAD supports countries in meeting Sustainable Development Goal 5 on gender equality - in particular equal rights for women to economic resources (Target 5.a), and the use of information and communications technology to empower women (Target 5.b).

High-level participation by UNCTAD officials at the inaugural Geneva Gender Debate follows the support given by UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi to the International Geneva Gender Champions initiative which began in 2015.

Gender Champions are leaders of international organisations, civil society organisations and diplomats based in Geneva who, among other moves, have pledged that expert panel discussions held by their organisations must strive to include more women.

One of the initiators of the Gender Champions project, Ambassador Pamela Hamamoto of the United States of America, is set to make introductory remarks at the Geneva Gender Debate.

The event takes the form of an Oxford-style debate and will address the motion "This house believes [that] betting on gender parity as the game changer is a risky gamble".

The organisers of the debate said: "Gender parity is designed to reduce gender gaps in all sectors, from access to education and parliamentary elections to women's economic empowerment. But what does parity mean and how does it work in practice?"

Proposing the motion are senior human rights official Kate Gilmore (Deputy High Commissioner at Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights) and rights campaigner Stuart Halford (Senior Representative to the United Nations in Geneva for The Sexual Rights Initiative).

Opposing the motion are gender studies academic Elisabeth Prügl, (Professor and Director of the Programme on Gender and Global Change at the Graduate Institute) and the Executive Director of the International Trade Centre, Arancha Gonzalez.

The director of the Graduate Institute Philippe Burin and director-general of the United Nations Office at Geneva Michael Møller will also speak.

The debate will be moderated by Scott Weber, the director general of international peacebuilding organization Interpeace.

The debate will take place in the Auditorium Ivan Pictet at the Maison de la Paix from 3pm to 4.30pm on Tuesday 8 March.