54th session of the Human Rights Council
Annual discussion on the integration of a gender perspective throughout the work of the Human Rights Council and that of its mechanisms
Monday, 25 September 2023
Thank you, Chair
We make this statement on behalf of the Sexual Rights Initiative.
This important annual discussion was established to provide a dedicated space and time to evaluate the Council’s efforts to systematically integrate a gender perspective into its work. This year’s theme on gender parity must go beyond merely counting the number of women in various positions. We must consider whether the necessary structural changes have been implemented to enable women from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences to play a meaningful role in shaping the work of the Council. We agree that representation is important; however, gender is only one aspect of our identity, and without due consideration of how gender interacts with nationality, race, caste, class and disability, we end up reproducing the same systems that exclude women in the first place.
We also wish to highlight that one’s gender does not guarantee a commitment to the advancement of gender equality and the dismantling of interlocking systems of oppression. In this moment, decades of human rights norms and standard advancements, feminist scholarship and demands from women all over the world for the full realization of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights for all, are under attack and are being instrumentalized to further geopolitical, ideological and capitalist goals.
This cannot stand.
This Council, its mechanisms and all member states have an obligation to deepen and broaden its understanding and actions on gender equality, to challenge the status quo that accepts the inevitability of human suffering and human rights violations of those with the least social and economic power, and to confront the ways in which gender and sexuality are used to sustain the current inequitable and unconscionable global order.