Women in decision-making systems: contribute to a CEDAW General Recommendation

The UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW Committee) is developing a new General Recommendation on the equal and inclusive representation of women in decision-making systems.

This document will provide guidance to states on how to ensure full compliance with their obligations to respect, protect and fulfil women’s right to equal and inclusive representation in decision-making systems.

The concept note describing the context and possible content of the future General Recommendation can be found on the OHCHR website.

General Recommendations are documents developed by UN Treaty Bodies, such as CEDAW, to detail and explain the meaning of human rights protected by human rights conventions. They guide the Treaty Bodies’ own practice, as well as the states and civil society’s usage of the international human rights mechanisms. Civil society has the opportunity to contribute to the development of General Recommendations.


How to contribute?

LGBTI groups can contribute to the development of the new CEDAW General Recommendation in three ways:

(1) Contribute to a joint written submission coordinated by ILGA World:

ILGA World will submit a joint input on the new General Recommendation and invites LBTI groups and activists to contribute. We are particularly looking for inputs from trans-led groups and activists.

Any ideas on the topic and contributions to the joint submission should be sent to Kseniya Kirichenko, ILGA World’s UN Programme Manager - email: kseniya(at)ilga.org - by Wednesday, 8 February 2023.

(2) Write and submit your own written submission:
  • Length: 10 pages max.
  • Language: English, Spanish or French.
  • Deadline: 14 February 2023.
  • How to submit: electronically in Word format to Ms. Céline Georgi - email: georgi(at)un.org - indicating "General discussion on EIRWDMS" in the subject and, in the body of the message, whether the submission may be published on the OHCHR website for the half-day of general discussion.

(3) Oral interventions:

The CEDAW Committee will hold the Half-Day General Discussion (in hybrid format) on 22 February 2023 (from 3–6 pm CET). For more information see the OHCHR website.


Relevance for lesbian and bisexual women, trans and intersex persons

The concept note on the upcoming CEDAW General Recommendation published by the Committee mentions LBTI people twice:

  • Considering that women face cross-cutting inequalities and discrimination—exacerbated on the basis of discrimination based on race, ethnicity, disability, religion or belief, health, status, age, class, caste, LBTI status, socio-economic status—efforts to achieve equal and inclusive representation of all women in decision-making systems must include strengthened measures to eliminate all forms of direct and indirect discrimination, including specific measures to effectively eliminate intersectional discrimination.
  • The CEDAW Committee has previously stressed that states need to take permanent and temporary measures to address the lack of equal and inclusive representation of women in all sectors—further exacerbated for groups of women in the most marginalized situations, including LBTI women—eliminate all discrimination in accessing decision-making positions and set up a system of substantive equality.

At the same time, there are much more specific examples of barriers faced by LBTI women, persons and groups in decision-making processes and institutions, as well as examples of good practices by civil society, political parties, or states.

This may cover different areas, including but not limited to:

  • LBTI participation and representation in local and national parliaments, governments and judiciary;
  • Harassment and violence faced by LBTI politicians and ways to address it;
  • Environment for LBTI activism, including procedures for official registration of NGOs, access to funding and safety of public events;
  • Quotas and other temporary special measures aimed at LBTI representation in state and non-state institutions and organizations.

If you have data and information on this theme, please consider contributing to the discussion and development of the new CEDAW General Recommendation.

Subscribe to our newsletters

Get updates on LGBTI rights issues, and on our work to support LGBTI civil society worldwide