Message from the UN Resident Coordinator in Indonesia: Advancing progress in achieving gender equality and ending "manel" phenomenon
Advancing progress toward achieving gender parity-including the endeavour to treat women as equals in public discourse and ending the “manel” (all-male panels)
Despite comprising half the world’s population, women’s voices are still underrepresented and excluded in public discussions, forums and panels. The high frequency of such occurrences has led to this phenomenon having its own term: “manel” referring to all-male panels or speaking engagements. “Manels” do not represent the diversity of the world we live in and deprive us of a more holistic, innovative and insightful perspective on any given discussion or topic. Moreover, they are manifestations of sexism and exclusion, which may reinforce the gendered stereotype of men commanding authority or superior expertise, even when there are equally - if not more - qualified women whose contributions are undervalued or left out.
As stated by the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, “gender parity at the United Nations is an urgent need- and a personal priority. It is a moral duty and an operational necessity”. In this context, and in alignment with the United Nations wide Strategy on Gender Parity, I am pleased to announce that all UN Heads of Agencies in Indonesia and I have made a firm pledge to not participate as a speaker/panel member in any public meetings, conferences or webinars where there are no women on the panel. This does not include women as moderators or as Master of Ceremonies (MCs), since these are often facilitating roles rather than treating women as equals in public discourse. We also invite our national and international partners in Indonesia to join us in taking this small, yet far-reaching initiative towards gender diversity and inclusion for sustainable development.