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CSD NGO Women's Caucus

CSD Delegations: How Many Women?

CSD-8, 2000     CSD-6, 1998     Earth Summit II / UNGASS 1997

In 1997, 1998 and 2000, women have monitored the percentage of women on official delegations to the CSD, looking also at the number of women who are heads of their delegations. Nothing much seems to have changed since 1997. With regard to some indicators, such as the percentage of all-male delegations, the situation has even become worse: 
: 30,8 % of all delegations are made up of men only
1998: 35,3 % of all delegations are made up of men only
2000: 41,9 % of all delegations are made up of men only

We know that men can also cover gender aspects and women's issues - but not with as good results as women!  How do governments and intergovernmental bodies hope to successfully gender-mainstream their positions and policies if they do not balance their delegations? ... And this is comment does not even address the question of gender equity!

Women on Delegations at CSD-8

We checked the numbers of women on CSD-8 delegations using the Provisional List of Delegations to CSD-8 by the CSD Secretariat, 3 May 2000.

Heads of delegations

CSD member states
headed by women: 4 (8 %)
France, Mexico, New Zealand, the Republic of Korea
headed by men: 45 (92 %)
Algeria, Angola, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Canada, China, Colombia, Cote d'Ivoire, Cuba, Czech Republic, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of Congo, Denmark, Djibouti, Egypt, Germany, Guyana, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Islamic Republic of Iran, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Kazaksthan, Lebanon, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mozambique, Netherlands, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Portugal, Russian Federation, Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Tunisia, UK, USA, Venezuela
States members to the UN represented by observers
headed by women: 10 (14 %)
Argentina, Barbados, Bolivia, Estonia, Finland, Guinea, Iceland, Jamaica, Liechtenstein, and Norway
headed by men: 71 (86 %)
Andorra, Antigua & Barbuda, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Belarus, Benin, Belize, Central African Republic, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Ecuador, Eritrea, Gabon, Greece, Guatemala, Haiti, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kenya, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Lesotho, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Mali, Monaco, Mongolia, Morocco, Nauru, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Poland, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Saint Lucia, Samoa, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Suriname, Sweden, Syrian Arab Republic, Thailand, Tonga, Trinidad & Tobago, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, United Republic of Tanzania, Zimbabwe
Entities & non-member states represented by observers
headed by women: 0
headed by men: 3 (100 %)
EU, Holy See, Switzerland
UN; specialised agencies & related organisations; intergovernmental organisations
headed by women: 1 (5 %)


headed by men: 18 (95 %)
ECLAC, UNEP, UNFCCC, UNCCD, ILO, FAO, UNESCO, WHO, IMF, IFAD, WTO, Caribbean Community, Commonwealth Secretariat, International Tropical Timber Organisation, International Organisation of la Francophonie, League of Arab States, Organisation of African Unity, Organisation of Islamic Conference

On the average, 15 out of 143 - or 10,4 % - of delegations were headed by women.


Composition of delegations, incl. their heads


0 % (13 countries)
Cote d'Ivoire, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Djibouti, Egypt, India, Islamic Republic of Iran, Japan, Kazaksthan, Mauritania, Mauritius, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Tunisia
1 - 25 % (14 countries)
Algeria, Brazil, Bulgaria, Cameroon, Germany, Hungary, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Paraguay, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Russian Federation, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
26 - 50 % (16 countries)
Angola, Canada, China, Cuba, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Panama, Peru, Portugal, Slovakia, UK, USA
51 - 100 % (3 countries)
Colombia, Guyana, Venezuela


0 % (N = 41)
Belarus, Benin, Eritrea, Haiti, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mali, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Nauru, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Samoa, Saudi Arabia, Solomon Islands, Suriname, Syrian Arab Republic, Uganda, Ukraine, United Republic of Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Holy See, EU, Switzerland, UNEP, UNFCCC, UNCCD, IMF, WTO, Caribbean Community, Commonwealth Secretariat, International Tropical Timber Organisation, League of Arab States, OAU, Organisation of Islamic Conference
1 - 25 % (N = 12)
Bolivia, Chile, Ecuador, Luxembourg, Pakistan, Senegal, Thailand, Tonga, Turkey, EU, FAO, International Organisation of la Francophonie
26 - 50 % (N = 22)
Belize, Central African Republic, Costa Rica, Croatia, Gabon, Greece, Guatemala, Guinea, Iceland, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Monaco, Poland, Singapore, Slovenia, South Africa, Trinidad & Tobago, ECA, ECLAC, ILO, UNESCO, WHO, IFAD
51 - 100 % (N = 11)
Antigua & Barbuda, Argentina, Barbados, Estonia, Finland, Jamaica, Liechtenstein, Norway, Saint Lucia, San Marino, Sweden

41,9 % of all delegations are made up of men only.



Women on Delegations at CSD-6, 1998

As we have done for UNGASS last year and the CSD Intersessional meeting this year, we looked again at the Provisional List of delegations to the CSD Sixth Session, published April 29.


Heads of Delegations: 9 women, 41 men, i.e. 18 % of the 50 members states which were listing their representatives in the provisional list had women as heads of delegations.

Percentages of women among alternates and advisors (numbers in brackets):

0 % (N = 12)
Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Gabon, Iran, Niger, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Sudan, Ukraine
1 - 25 % (N = 16)
Belgium, Benin, Brazil, China, Egypt, France, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mozambique, Netherlands, Poland, Russian Federation, Slovakia, Thailand, Zimbabwe
26 - 50 % (N = 12)
Australia, Bolivia, Canada, Finland, Germany, Ghana, Hungary, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom
51 - 100 % (N = 5)
Bahamas, Colombia, Ireland, Panama, Philippines


Percentages of women on delegations (absolute numbers in brackets):

0 % (N = 29)
Algeria, Botswana, Cameroon, Chile, Croatia, Denmark, Ecuador, Fiji, Guinea, Haiti, Jordan, Lebanon, Myanmar, Nepal, Nigeria, Paraguay, Republic of Korea, Romania, Seychelles, Solomon Island, Tunisia, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Yemen, Commonwealth Secreteriat, ILO, UNESCO, WMO, UNIDO
1 - 25 % (N = 18)
Austria, Czech Republic, Greece, Guniea-Bissau, Italy, Kenya, Kazakhstan, Lesotho, Malawi, Malta, Morocco, New Zealand, Singapore, Syrian Arab Republic, Uruguay, European Community, Holy See, World Bank
26 - 50 % (N = 16)
Cuba, El Salvador, Eritrea, Guatemala, Kyrgyzstan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Moldova, Monaco, Nicaragua, Norway, Slovenia, South Africa, Turkey, OECD
51 - 100 % (N = 8)
Argentina, Jamaica, Kuwait, Liechtenstein, Saint Lucia, Samoa, San Marino

(incl. member and non-member states, heads / representatives, alternates, and advisors)

35,3 % of all delegations are made up of men only.

From a social psychological point of view, this could be bad but promising: around 15 - 25 % is assumed to be the "critical mass" regarding the perception of minorities. Percentages above this level are likely to cause people to perceive the minority members as individual persons, not (only) as members of their group. This can cause to be listened to with less stereotypical expectations. However, the large amount of delegations without a single woman member (N = 41) contradicts this conclusion; a rough third of countries with purely male delegations adds to the perception of women as "other".

We will keep looking at the numbers of women and men on delegations and maybe, as the centuries go by, we will be able to track down some significant changes....Wasn't there a song by Laurie Anderson, called "Beautiful Red Dress"...

"...I just want to say something.
You know, for every dollar a man makes
a woman makes 63 cents.
Fifty years ago, that was 62 cents.
So, with that kind of luck, it'll be the year 3888
before we make a buck.
But hey, girls?
We can take it..."

(Minu Hemmati, UNED-UK; circulated via CSDGen, 20 May 1998)



Women on Delegations at the UN General Assembly Special Session / Earth Summit II / Rio+5 / UNGASS, in 1997

Was Earth Summit II a male-dominated meeting like so many others before? Or did female voices penetrate the atmosphere of the meeting?
This answer to this is again dismal news for women. In the general assembly, hardly any woman spoke on behalf of their countries. To find significant numbers of women at all, we had to look at the delegations.
Counting the men and women on delegations showed disappointing results: Only 2 out of the 94 listed member states (Provisional List of Delegates) have more than 50 % women on their delegations. Worse, 29 delegations did not have one single female member. In addition, in most delegations, women were by and large present either as alternate members or advisors. Among the 94 delegations reviewed here, we found only one with a female head: the Swiss. Among the government speakers to the GA, only 2 were women.
Are women still not "suitable" representatives of their countries at the international level? How will women become equal and equitable partners in leadership and decision-making when they are not even granted a voice? How long will countries allow themselves to operate without the perspective, expertise and effective contributions from half of their populations? ... We could as many such questions. But here are the facts and figures which speak for themselves:

0 % (ZERO PERCENT) (29 countries)
Afghanistan, Albania, Andorra, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burundi, Cape Verde, Czech Republic, Egypt, Guinea-Bissau, Islamic Republic of Iran, Jordan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Oman, Poland, Republic of Moldova, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Viet Nam, Yemen
1 - 25 % (40 countries)
Armenia, Austria, Belgium, Central African Republic, China, Cote d'Ivoire, Croatia, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Hungary, Iraq, Kenya, Kyrgyzthan, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Malta, Marshall Islands, Mozambique, Myanmar, Netherlands, New Zealand, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Romania, St Kitts & Nevis, Seychelles, Slovakia, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Ukraine, United Republic of Tanzania
26 - 50 % (23 countries)
Antigua & Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Colombia, Costa Rica, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Eritrea, Gambia, Grenada, Ireland, Jamaica, Latvia, Lithuania, Monaco, Norway, Portugal, Samoa, San Marino, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, United States of America
51 - 100 % (2 countries)
Barbados, Finland

30,8 % of all delegations are made up of men only.


(from the article "WHO said WHAT at the General Assembly Special Session? An analysis of the speeches to the General Assembly" by the Women's Caucus Monitoring Working Group; summarized by Minu Hemmati; published in OUTREACH, 11 July 1997)