Call to Action on Standards

By Lorenza Jachia, Secretary, Working Party on Regulatory Cooperation and Standardization Policies, United Nations Economic Commission for Europe. –

The UNECE is please to announce that the UN Declaration on Gender Responsive Standards and Standards Development is now open to all standards development organizations (SDOs) for signature.

The Opening Ceremony for the Declaration was held 14 May 2019 in Salle XIV of the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. Please find below some of the materials already developed under our Gender Responsive Standards initiative. These include:

Taking action to address the critical gender gap in standards, some 55 organizations worldwide became signatories to the Declaration on its day of release. Signatories include international standards bodies (such as ISO, ITU, IEC, ASTM International), regional standards bodies (covering Africa, Europe and South Asia), and national standards bodies from all world regions (including Britain, India, Thailand, Canada, Germany, Spain, Mexico, Senegal, Morocco).

The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Gender Responsive Standards Initiative works with international standards bodies, government authorities, academic and research institutions, and others to promote the development of standards that are gender responsive.

By signing the Declaration, developed at UNECE, standards bodies pledge to create and implement gender action plans. The objective is to support more gender-balanced and inclusive standards development processes, and to strengthen the gender-responsiveness of standards themselves, including by conducting gender-based analysis for the development or revision of all standards. They also commit to tracking progress, collecting and disseminating relevant data, success stories and good practice.

Commitments made by signatory bodies as part of their action plans include:

  • ISO commits to start collecting and presenting gender-disaggregated data on participation in its committees and governance bodies and to develop guidelines to help technical committees develop gender responsive standards
  • IPQ, the standards body of Portugal, has committed to partner with the national Commission for Equality in Labour and Employment, and the Icelandic Standardization body, for the elaboration of a Portuguese Standard on Equal Wages;
  • The Dominican Republic commits to increasing the participation of NGOs representing the interests of women in the development of standards.

The UNECE hopes that additional SDOs are available to participate in this hugely worthwhile initiative. For inquiries regarding the Declaration, contact the UNECE Working Party on Regulatory Cooperation and Standardization Policies (WP6) at regulatory.cooperation@un.org.

For additional resources and tips, check out the Women in Standards Inclusion in Standards resource page.

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