Secretary-General of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), Martin Chungong, has become the Chair of the Global Board of the International Gender Champions (IGC), a leadership network that works to break down gender barriers in international organizations, governments, civil society, and the private sector.
Chungong has been a Gender Champion since its inception in 2015 and on the Board since 2018. He was elected recently to succeed Ms. Arancha González following her appointment as Minister for Foreign Affairs of Spain in January 2020.
International Gender Champions is a rapidly expanding network, comprising over 400 leaders. The Secretary-General has also invited Speakers of parliament in four of the existing hubs of the network (Vienna, Nairobi, The Hague, Paris) to join.
The Speaker of the Kenyan Senate is now a full-fledged Gender Champion in the Nairobi Hub. Last year, the IGC was selected as one of the ten winning projects for innovative global governance by the Paris Peace Forum.
The IPU has played an instrumental role in developing and socializing the IGC Gender-Responsive Assemblies Toolkit to key international organizations such as the
International Labour Organisation, the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the World Health Organisation.
One of the commitments made in Chungong’s Gender Parity Pledge is to have a better representation of women at IPU Assemblies. Thanks to sanctions applied to single-sex delegations, such as a reduction in voting rights, the percentage of women MPs at IPU Assemblies has increased steadily to around 30 percent.
“We have made great progress, but there is no room for complacency”, said Chungong. “We have to be ambitious to meet the challenges of breaking down gendered silos. I hope to build on the legacy of my predecessors—Arancha González, Pamela Hamamoto, and Michael Moller—to achieve full gender equality in the international environment.”
Chungong also recently spoke at the Equality Lounge organized by the NGO the Female Quotient, a network to promote women in business, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.