International Gender Champions
International Gender Champions (IGC) is a network of female and male leaders of member states, international organizations, and civil society working for gender equality. It is an initiative of Women@TheTable, and was founded in 2015 by Caitlin Kraft-Buchman of Women@TheTable, Ambassador Pam Hamamoto, Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations in Geneva, and Michael Møller, the Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and current Director-General of the United Nations Office at Geneva.
Champions pledge to no longer sit on single sex panels, and commit to implementing two individual institutional commitments for gender equality in their work. According to co-founder Caitlin Kraft-Buchman, International Gender Champions’ strategy is to help make a wide range of organizations make “huge changes through tiny steps” by committing to realistic, achievable transformations for gender equality.
At the IGC launch in 2015, Møller stated, “With the unique concentration of Member States, international organizations, civil society, research and academic institutions and private sector entities, International Geneva provides an ideal platform to show that leadership in a most practical way. Together, our actions have a truly global impact, making a difference for peace, rights and well-being for all people across the planet. We have a special responsibility to capitalize on this potential for greater gender equality.”
There are currently over 200 International Gender Champions in Geneva, New York, Vienna, and Nairobi. Champions include UN Secretary General António Guterres, the heads of UN Offices at Geneva, Vienna, and Nairobi, the ILO, WHO, WTO, WIPO, ITU, UNHCR, OHCHR, IPU, and other member states and civil society groups. After joining IGC, Secretary General Guterres stated, “I encourage other senior leaders to be part of this campaign for equality. In a male dominated world, the empowerment of women must be a key priority. Women’s rights are human rights – and attacks on women are attacks on all of us. Our world needs more women leaders. And our world needs more men standing up for gender equality."
IGC has organized impact groups, led by Champions which channel sector knowledge in greater detail on Representation, Trade, Change Management, Disarmament, and Standards. On the occasion of the World Trade Organization's Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aires in December 2017, the IGC Trade Impact Group was joined by 120 WTO members and observers to issue the historic Joint Declaration on Trade and Women's Economic Empowerment, the first international declaration to explicitly link women's economic empowerment and trade. Susan Malcorra, who presided over the conference, called the Declaration a “great success… Collectively, we were able to recognize the key role women can play in a fair, just and sustainable international trade system. The fact that so many countries, both members and observers of the WTO, rallied behind women’s empowerment in this field signifies that not everything is lost.”
- Solange Behoteguy and Garry Aslanyan, “How a ‘table’ could change the world,” UN Special, https://www.unspecial.org/2016/03/how-a-table-could-change-the-world/
- Meg Riggs, “International Gender Champions,” Geneva Geeks, Podcast audio, March 31, 2017. https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/id1224098484
- Michael Møller, “International Geneva Gender Champions Launch: Director-General Møller’s Remarks,” July 1, 2015, https://geneva.usmission.gov/2015/07/01/international-geneva-gender-champions-launch-director-general-mollers-remarks/.
- About,” International Gender Champions, https://genderchampions.com/about
- Rita Emch, “Switzerland campaigns for equal pay at the UN,” SWI, March 20, 2017, https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/society/women-s-rights_switzerland-campaigns-for-equal-pay-at-the-un/43042664.
- "Impact,” International Gender Champions, https://genderchampions.com/impact
- Buenos Aires Declaration on Women and Trade outlines actions to empower women,” World Trade Organization, December 21, 2017. https://www.wto.org/english/news_e/news17_e/mc11_12dec17_e.htm
- Susana Malcorra, “Even amid Protectionism, Buenos Aires Gave Women Momentum,” Centre for International Governance Innovation, April 2, 2018, https://www.cigionline.org/articles/even-amid-protectionism-buenos-aires-gave-women-momentum.
- “International Women’s Week,” International Gender Champions, https://genderchampions.com/events/international-womens-week