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Achieving Gender Parity in International Courts and Bodies: Does Diversity Matter?

From October 3 to 5 2017, women’s rights advocates, feminist scholars,

Ambassadors, Heads of Government, policy practitioners and supporters of women’s rights convened in the beautiful city of Den Haag in the Netherlands. Viviana Krsticevic, Maria Noel and the entire team at the GQUAL Campaign organized this conference which had a twofold purpose; first, to celebrate the second-year anniversary of the GQUAL Campaign, and second, to bring together participants under a conference theme “Changing the Picture of International Justice.” The highlights of the three-day event included an exciting plenary session with speakers like Judge Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi, the current President of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Judge Gurmendi, while acknowledging the gains made in achieving near gender parity on the ICC bench, cautioned participants and feminist advocates that such gains could easily be reversed. The court reached a high of eight women judges out of eighteen in 2003, but was reduced to six out of eighteen by early 2017. With the ICC elections in December 2017, women took five of the six available seats. Out of the five women elected, two were from the continent of Africa, Judge Reini Alapini-Gansou of Benin and Judge Solomy Balungi Bossa of Uganda. Another highlight of the plenary session was the speech by the current Vice

President of Costa Rica, Her Excellency Ana Helena Chacón. While reflecting on her experience in the parliament of Costa Rica and now in the office of the Vice President, Mrs. Chacón hinted at the fact that women have to work together to push women’s equality forward, noting further that “together we can and we should change the face of international quality; democracy is real if we leave no one behind.” Dr.​ Theresia Degener , Chairperson of the United Nations Committee on the Rights