New-York, 3 March 2005
A parliamentary event organized by the Inter-Parliamentary Union
and the United Nations Division for the Advancement of Women
on the occasion of the 49th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women

  The 49th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) was held in New York from 28 February to 11 March 2005 to review and appraise the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the outcome document of the Twenty-Third Special Session of the General Assembly.

In keeping with its policy of contributing to major international forums by seeking to introduce a parliamentary dimension into the proceedings of intergovernmental organisations, the IPU organised with UNDAW a one-day parliamentary event entitled Beyond Beijing: Towards gender equality in politics. The aim of this event was to provide a forum for debate for parliamentarians from all over the world, and to contribute to the review and appraisal of the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and the Platform for Action.

The meeting took place on 3 March 2005, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., in the Trusteeship Council Room at United Nations Headquarters in New York and focused on the strategic objectives of women in power and decision-making, and the role of parliaments in meeting these objectives. Parliamentarians were invited to share experiences and reflections on the role of women in politics and consider mechanisms to strengthen parliaments’ capacity to address all of the Beijing objectives.


Report [PDF]
Registration form [PDF]
Invitation [PDF]
Information Note [PDF]
Provisional annotated programme [HTML] [PDF]

49th session of the Commission on the Status of Women
United Nation Division for the Advancement of Women Homepage

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9 - 10 a.m.Registration of participants and distribution of documents
10 - 10.45 a.m.Inaugural session
10.45 a.m. - 1 p.m. Session one: Improving women's access to parliament
Key themes: progress and setbacks of women in political life; electoral systems, political parties (structures, positions, agendas), dissemination of information, work and family balance, gender-balanced candidate lists, quotas, critical mass, communication strategies, training and mentoring, solidarity among women, awareness raising, legislation change.
  • Theme 1: Women in Parliament: A review of the current situation
    What progress and setbacks have been made by women in parliament in the last few years? How has international research on women in politics tended to explain these progresses and setbacks? Are there regional explanations for women's parliamentary advances?

  • Theme 2: Winning a seat: barriers, techniques and alternatives
    To what extent are political parties facilitating or hindering women's entry into parliament? What examples of "best practices" can be found? To what extent do political party structures still need to be changed to allow women's equal participation? Are quotas the way forward? To what extent do women succeed under quota systems, and which systems have proven most effective?

  • Theme 3: Women and politics in post-conflict situations
    Why have women in post-conflict countries often been able to achieve higher levels of parliamentary representation than women in established democracies and can this trend be sustained? What are the specific needs of women parliamentarians in post-conflict countries?
General discussion
1 - 3 p.m.Lunch break
3 - 5.30 p.m. Session two: Strengthening parliament's capacity to address the Beijing objectives
Key themes: gender-sensitive parliaments, institutional change, caucuses and committees, leadership and capacity training, work and family balance, women's issues, transparent criteria for promotion, mentoring and political campaigning, public speaking and self-assertion, inclusive processes.

  • Theme 4: Gender-sensitive parliaments: mechanisms and challenges
    To what extent are parliaments "gender-sensitive"? Does the parliament need to become a less aggressive, combative arena before more women will participate? How effectively do parliamentary committees on gender issues mainstream a gender perspective into the work of the parliament? Can women act in concert through all-party caucuses?

  • Theme 5: Gender issues as "people's issues": The role of male parliamentarians
    Are "women's issues" solely the domain of women or have men also begun to champion these issues? To what extent are men parliamentarians challenging traditional perceptions of men's and women's societal and cultural roles? How successful have men been in sensitizing parliaments on gender issues?

  • Theme 6: Enriching parliament's capacities: The role of intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations
    How can international organizations and nongovernmental organizations assist parliaments in effectively addressing the Beijing objectives?

General discussion
5.30 - 6 p.m.Closing session
Summary of proceedings

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