United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women

Commission on the Status of Women
50th Session

Panel Discussions

Panel I - Enhanced participation of women in development: An enabling environment for achieving gender equality and the advancement of women, taking into account, inter alia, the fields of education, health and work (Tuesday, 28 February 2006, 10 AM to 1 PM, Conference room 2)


  • Ms. Torild Skard (Norway) [ paper/presentation ]
    Ms. Torild Skard is currently a researcher at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs in Oslo where she focuses on gender and development issues.
    She has also served as Director General and Assistant Secretary-General of the Norwegian Ministry for Development Cooperation and as a Senior Adviser to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Ms. Skard has held several positions in UN agencies, including UNESCO, UNICEF, ILO and UNAIDS. She was a Member of Parliament and the first woman President of the Upper Chamber of the Norwegian Parliament from 1973-77. Ms. Skard holds an M.A. in Education, School Psychology and Social Pedagogy from the University of Oslo.
  • Ms. Ana Elisa Osorio (Venezuela) [ paper/presentation ]
    Ms. Ana Elisa Osorio served as the Minister of Environment and Natural Resources of Venezuela from 2000 to 2005. She previously served as Assistant Minister of Health from 1999-2000. She has held several director-level positions in health and is a member of the Steering Committee of the National Institute of Women in Venezuela. Ms. Osorio is a public health specialist and has a Master’s degree in development planning with a focus on health.
  • Ms. Bernadette Ann Nyama-Koro Lahai (Sierra Leone) [ paper/presentation ]
    Ms. Bernadette Ann Nyama-Koro Lahai has been a Member of Parliament since May 2002. She has served as Head of the Gender Issues Unit of the Institute of Agricultural Research and is the President of the Sierra Leone Association of Women Professionals in Agriculture. Throughout her professional career, she has worked as researcher and consultant for various projects in the field of gender and development. Dr. Lahai has a Ph.D. in Agricultural Extension and Rural Development from the University of Reading in the U.K., and a Post-Graduate Diploma in Education from the University of Sierra Leone in Freetown.
  • Ms. Evy Messell (ILO) [ paper/presentation ]
    Ms. Evy Messell was appointed Director of the ILO Bureau for Gender Equality in November 2005. She joined the ILO in 1982 and throughout her 23 years of service, Ms. Messell has contributed to mainstreaming gender equality issues into the substantive work of the ILO, particularly in overall policies and technical cooperation programmes. She has held senior positions in several ILO programmes, related to the environment and sustainable development, skills training for women, employment creation for women with disabilities, and the extension of social protection to the informal economy. Ms. Messell has worked in Southern Africa and South Asia for several years before joining the ILO Headquarters.
  • Ms. Akanksha Marphatia (EGM Representative) [ paper/presentation ]
    Ms. Akanksha Marphatia is a Senior Education Policy Analyst with Action Aid International in London. She has experience in collaborating with international and national organizations, including national ministries of education, non-governmental organizations, UNESCO, UNICEF, USAID, and the World Bank on girls' and women's education in West, North and East Africa, and India. Before joining Action Aid, she worked for the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) in Washington, D.C., analyzing how young people and adults can partner to address HIV/AIDS, promote girls' education, and improve child protection. Ms. Marphatia holds an EdM in International Education Policy with emphasis on girls and women's education from Harvard University.
    Ms. Marphatia participated as an expert in the Expert Group Meeting on Enhancing women's participation in development through an enabling environment for gender equality and the advancement of women, which was organized by the Division for the Advancement of Women in collaboration with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok in November 2005.

Panel II -Equal participation of women and men in decision-making processes at all levels
(28 February 2006, 3-6 PM, Conference room 2)


  • Ms. Nesreen Barwari (Iraq) [ paper/presentation ]
    Ms. Nesreen Barwari is currently the Minister of Municipalities and Public Works of Iraq, which is her third national ministerial appointment since 2003. In 2005, she won a seat in the Iraqi Transitional National Assembly. She previously held the post of Minister of Reconstruction and Development in the Kurdistan Regional Government. Her career began with the International Organization for Migration. She has also worked for the United Nations Iraq Relief Coordination Unit. As one of ten distinguished women from the Arab region, she was honored by the Arab League with the “Distinction in Public Participation” (2004), and by UN-Habitat with the “UN Scroll of Honour” (2003). Ms. Barwari holds a Bachelor’s degree from Baghdad University and a Master’s degree from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.
  • Ms. Vida Kanopiene( Lithuania) [ paper/presentation ]
    Ms. Vida Kanopiene is a Professor and serves as the Head of Department of Social Policy at Mykolas Romeris University in Lithuania. She was previously the Head of Department of Sociology at the Vilnius University in Lithuania. Her experience includes research on gender equality, advancement of women and their participation in the labour market. She worked on numerous national research programmes and surveys, and national reports of international research projects. She has researched and published extensively on gender equality.
  • Ms. Francoise Gaspard ( France) [ paper/presentation ]
    Ms. Francoise Gaspard is an Expert Member of the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and a senior lecturer at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) in Paris, where she is also a member of the Centre for Sociological Analysis and Intervention. Ms. Gaspard has extensive experience as an elected representative, having served as Mayor of Dreux for six years, Member of the European Parliament for two years, and as Deputy at the French National Assembly for seven years. Ms. Gaspard holds degrees in Political Science and Public Law .
  • Mr. Anders B. Johnsson ( Sweden) [ paper/presentation ]
    Mr. Anders B. Johnsson has been the Secretary General of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) since 1998. Prior to being elected Secretary General, he occupied the posts of Deputy Secretary General and Legal Adviser (1994-1998) and Assistant Secretary General (1991-1994). Before joining the IPU, Mr. Johnsson worked over more than 15 years for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Mr. Johnsson is an expert on international law and organisation, refugee law and human rights, as well as parliamentary diplomacy and co-operation.
  • Ms. Amy Mazur(USA) [ paper/presentation ]
    Ms. Amy Mazur is a professor in the Department of Political Science at Washington State University, USA. Her research focuses on the interplay between women’s movement, politics, and the state. Dr. Mazur served as Rapporteur during an Expert Group Meeting on Equal participation of women and men in decision-making processes at all levels, with particular emphasis on political participation, which was organized by the Division for the Advancement of Women in collaboration with the Inter-Parliamentary Union and the Economic Commission for Africa in October 2005 in Addis Ababa.

Division for the Advancement of Women -- DAW

Website: http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/
Department of Economic and Social Affairs
United Nations