Baha'i UN Representative elected to head women's committee

12 June 2003

NEW YORK — The principal representative of the Baha'i International Community to the United Nations was yesterday elected to chair a major committee on women's issues.

Bani Dugal will serve for two years at the UN in New York as Chair of the non-governmental organizations' Committee on the Status of Women.

Then she will be eligible for a second two-year term.

As Chair of the Committee, Ms. Dugal will work with all departments at the United Nations to promote the advancement of women and girls and the equality of women and men.

"Each of the UN agencies has a person assigned as a 'gender focal point,' and our goal is to work closely with them to ensure that gender concerns are mainstreamed into all policies," said Ms. Dugal.

"In particular, we want to focus on promoting the concept of partnership between women and men, and the role of men and boys in the advancement of women and girls," Ms. Dugal said.

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Bani Dugal, the new chair of the NGO Committee on the Status of Women at the United Nations.

"Another issue we hope to focus on is peace and security and post-conflict resolution," Ms. Dugal said. "We want to see women represented at the peace table, and in the post-conflict work, in such places as Afghanistan, Iraq, and other countries."

Ms. Dugal was elected by acclamation at the Committee's annual meeting. Previously, she served as the Committee's vice-chair.

The Committee is composed of about 200 international non-governmental organizations, and networks with hundreds more around the world.

In March, Bani Dugal was appointed Principal Representative of the Baha'i International Community to the United Nations. Ms. Dugal had been serving as interim Principal Representative, since Techeste Ahderom completed his duties in 2001.

Ms. Dugal came to the Baha'i International Community in 1994, and for many years served as Director of the Community's Office for the Advancement of Women. A native of India, where she practiced law before coming to the United States, Ms. Dugal holds a Masters in Environmental Law from Pace University School of Law in New York.

The Baha'i International Community has long been active in the Committee's work. Mary Power, who was director of the Community's Office for the Advancement of Women until her retirement in 1997, served as the Committee's chair from 1991 to 1995. In that position, Ms. Power also served on the Global NGO Facilitating Committee, which organized the NGO Forum on Women, held in Huairou, China from 30 August to 8 September 1995, in parallel with the UN Fourth World Conference on Women, held in Beijing in September 1995.