Dr Diplomacy to help resuscitate the gender agenda

27 February 2014

An ANU College of Asia and the Pacific academic is heading to New York, as part of an Australian government delegation focused on gender equality.

Diplomacy and gender expert Dr Susan Harris-Rimmer, from the Asia Pacific College of Diplomacy, will join the delegation, to be led by Liberal Senator Michaelia Cash, at the 58th Session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women.

The global policy-making body gathers in New York each year to evaluate progress on gender equality and the advancement of women worldwide. It first met in 1947, soon after the founding of the United Nations.

"The Commission on the Status of Women is important because it has a venerable history in achieving real gains for women inside the UN system," Harris-Rimmer said.

"This includes drafting the Convention for the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, which is legally binding and has so far been accepted by 187 member States."

Harris-Rimmer is one of just two non-government delegates joining Senator Cash in New York.

"It will be a privilege to represent the voice of Australian civil society at this meeting," she said.

While it will be her first time accompanying an Australian government delegation on an overseas trip, she is no stranger to the work of non-government organisations.

Before settling into academic life, Harris-Rimmer, a former advocacy manager at the Australian Council for International Development, worked in Kenya, on the Somali border, and in East Timor.

The New York meeting, from 10 to 21 March, will include a discussion on reducing violence against women, as well as increasing women's education and workforce participation.