A High-Level Political Forum at the UN, this was the first occasion where advocacy skills for women’s rights, gender equality, and women’s empowerment were ever built. Members of civil society organizations, delegates, and other groups offered helpful experience in a highly interactive session to boost advocacy efforts for improving the lives of women and girls worldwide.
We all began with the same premise: promoting women’s and girls’ rights and dignity requires integrating them into state practices and policies. This idea is not upside-down discrimination, bias, or favoring based on gender. The truth is that, among the most left behind groups, women and girls are among the most marginalized and vulnerable. And it wasn’t until recently that a systematic vocalization of the normalcy of their enslavement began to take place.
In the context of the UN, supporting the mainstreaming of women’s rights is especially necessary given that the targets for 7 of the 17 SDGs did not include gender-specific elements. For instance, SDG 9 (Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization, and foster innovation) failed to address this and other gender-related challenges of inclusive industrial development, even though women and girls have historically been excluded from the creation of technological progress. It is also interesting that SDG 16 (Promoting a just, peaceful, and inclusive society) did not mention the well-known devastating effects of conflicts on women. Thus, lobbying for gender mainstreaming is required at the UN and in the broadest range of contexts.
Simple advocacy advice
There are numerous ways to engage in advocacy work in global and local forums to reduce gender inequality. Interventions in formal meetings, hosting events, influencing important publications, presenting studies and other materials to high-level discussions, and face-to-face meetings with delegates from foreign missions are a few. The theme may involve structural, accountability, interconnectedness, discrimination, and more general empowerment and participation issues. Try to be innovative with the chosen tactics, whatever the focus.
Corridor interactions with state delegations and representatives at international and regional conferences can present excellent lobbying chances. Be aware that you may only have a brief window of time to persuade someone to respond to your appeal, or you may have to watch them flee.
As a result, be prepared to use your campaign’s elevator pitch at any time. Dialoguing rather than fighting is often preferable in these situations, and knowing when to strike can be crucial. Additionally, focusing on a few specific but important aspects can be essential to a successful strategy.
For instance, welcome delegates in their own tongue; you might get a friendlier reaction. Additionally, when introducing your cause, use plain language that isn’t hostile and make an effort to adhere to the accepted terminology, meanings, and political context related to your subject. Incorporate the alliance supporting your argument (other relevant states, influential organizations, and distinguished individuals that support it). If possible, conduct a preliminary study to determine the relationship between your cause and the advantages a given state stands to gain from supporting it. Additionally, it is helpful to understand the specific stance and motives of the delegate you are speaking with; aim to connect with them when they are most likely to know what you are saying. Invite them to a follow-up coffee if you think there is a window of opportunity. And lastly, but certainly not least, remember to trade business cards.