Since the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, progress towards achieving gender equality in decision-making roles has been slow and uneven. Data reveals that although 2021 marks the highest number of countries with women Heads of State and/or Heads of Government, as well as global share of women Ministers, in history yet at 21.9% it is far from equal.

Furthermore, the number of countries with no women in government has increased, and only 13 governments around the world have achieved gender-balance at Ministerial-level.

Among the most serious barriers to women’s leadership and full participation is violence against women (VAW) in politics and public life. Gender-based violence (GBV) as well as intimidation, online, psychological, sexual, and physical attacks against women persist.

Gender-based violence constitutes a serious violation of women’s human rights which undermines women’s ability to fully participate in public life. This impedes progress towards Sustainable Development Goal 5.5 (Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life), and the full implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Violence against women and girls is a society-wide problem, which requires an all-of-society solution, based on prevention.

The Special Event reflects advice from the Advisory Group on Gender Equality, established by the President of the General Assembly in October 2020, as well as feedback from Member States. This event will bring together experts and stakeholders to highlight the importance and urgency of action to prevent violence against women and girls, and promote women’s participation and leadership in all spheres with an aim of enhancing the relationships between the General Assembly and the Commission on the Status of Women.

The panel will discuss how women’s leadership can make a difference in times of crises and why prevention of violence against women and gender-based violence must be prioritized.


Opening Segment 

Opening remarks by H. E. Mr. Volkan Bozkir, President of the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly.

Statement by H. E. Mr. Alie Kabba, Permanent Representative of Sierra Leone to
the United Nations, President of the UN-Women Executive Board, Member of the
Advisory Group on Gender Equality


Interactive Panel Discussion

Ms. Soon-Young Yoon, UN Representative of the International Alliance of Women,
Co-Founder the Feminist and Women’s Movement Action Plan (FwMAP), Member
of the Advisory Group on Gender Equality

Ms. Krishanti Dhamaraj, Executive Director, Center for Women’s Global
Leadership, Rutgers University, New Jersey, USA
Dr. Dubravka Simonovic, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence Against
Women it’s causes and consequences, Member of the Advisory Group on Gender
Ms. Pramila Patten, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations, Special
Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict
Mr. Martin Chungong, Secretary General, Inter-Parliamentary Union
Ms. Kirthi Jayakumar, Founder, Gender Security Project
Ms. Paivi Kannisto, Chief, Peace and Security Unit, UN-Women  

Closing Segment 

Closing remarks by H. E. Mr. Volkan Bozkir, President of the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly.

Where to watch

The Special Event will be held virtually on Tuesday, 23 March 2021, from 12:00 – 1:30 p.m. at