Launch of the Gender Equality in Public Administration (GEPA) Report


On June 19 2014, a special event on Gender Equality in Public Administration (GEPA), was co-hosted by the Permanent Mission of Norway to the United Nations and the United Nations Development Programme, in New York.  

The event officially launched  the UNDP GEPA Global Report and Case Studies. Participants representing developing and developed countries shared substantive presentations and insightful comments which will guide UNDP's future work in this area. 

Mr. Magdy Martínez-Solimán, Director a.i. of UNDP’s Bureau for Policy and Programme Support, in his opening remarks, communicated that the global report was part of a wider advocacy campaign that fitted within the greater gender equality agenda. The research made it evident that “gender inequality is bad public administration”. He thanked Norway for their generous support to the development of this groundbreaking knowledge product through the Democratic Governance Thematic Trust Fund.

H.E. Ms Tine Mørch Smith, Deputy Permanent Representative of Norway to the UN, advocated for a global strengthening of efforts to reach gender equality and recalled that public administration was of the people, by the people and for the people. She emphasized that having women represented at all levels of public administration helped in promoting a culture where the needs of women – and girls – are met with due respect and care. 

Mr. Patrick Keuleers, Director a.i. of UNDP’s Democratic Governance Group, moderated the panel discussion which followed on Women’s Equal Participation in Public Administration, featuring three national experiences (Bangladesh, Botswana, Mexico) and interventions by two external partners, namely the Organisation for Economic Co‑operation and Development (OECD) and Ernst & Young (EY).

H.E. Ms. Yanerit Cristina Morgan Sotomayor, Deputy Permanent Representative of Mexico to the United Nations, underscored the timeliness of UNDP’s report and the need to overcome both the visible and invisible obstacles standing in the way of women.

Ms. Suraiya Begum, Chairperson of the Bangladesh Civil Service Women Network (BCSWN), expanded on this thought from her country’s perspective and highlighted the lack of data available. The existing data, however, confirmed a noticeable gap in terms of women’s leadership.

The third national perspective was presented by Ms. Valencia Mogegeh, outgoing Director of Gender Affairs at the Ministry of Gender Affairs at the Ministry of Labour and Home Affairs in Botswana. Her presentation focused on the prevalence of strong patriarchal roots that made female subordination in public administrations inevitable. 

The presentation of Ms. Tatyana Teplova, from the OECD Public Governance and Territorial Development Directorate, emphasized the importance of strengthening partnerships to enhance data collection and analysis at the global level.

Lastly, Ms. Karyn Twaronite, Ernst & Young Americas Inclusiveness Officer, spoke on the importance of challenging institutional cultures. She made a well-received remark of the need “to work on fixing our environment, not on fixing the women”. Women’s empowerment and leadership would benefit society as a whole. 

The capacity to take the next steps would come from sustained political will that strengthens networks and partnerships. As with the greater gender equality agenda, men’s engagement and support would need to be fully apparent.

Some photos from the meeting, as well as presentations, can be downloaded from our online page. Please also note that the full video of the session is also available on the UN WEBTV.

For a detailed summary of the event, view our Blog on Teamworks

Last but not least, you can engage on this topic via social media (in particular on Twitter, making reference to #UNDPGEPA). 

More updates will be available on the GEPA webpage, as we progress with the second phase of the GEPA Initiative which will focus on the implementation of the global report recommendations, with a particular attention to advocacy, partnerships, capacity development, policy and programming at all levels and the development of a global mechanism to track women’s participation in public administration, in particular in decision-making positions.  

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