Members of the Working Group on discrimination against women and girls
Working Group letter on criteria for the appointment of members
Melissa Upreti (Nepal/USA) Chair
Melissa Upreti (Nepal) is the Chair of the UN Working Group on discrimination against women and girls. A human rights lawyer and women’s rights advocate, she has spent nearly two decades advocating for the recognition and fulfillment of women’s rights through the use of national, regional, and international law and mechanisms. She has led fact-finding missions, undertaken strategic litigation, built the capacity of civil society organizations, and provided technical support for law reform to governments in Asia.
Ms. Upreti started her career working for a feminist legal advocacy organization and The Asia Foundation in Nepal. Upon receiving her LL.M. from Columbia Law School in the United States, she joined the Center for Reproductive Rights where she was the founding attorney of the Asia program and, building on the success of a series of capacity building initiatives on strategic litigation in India and Nepal, led the conceptualization and launch of the South Asia Reproductive Justice and Accountability Initiative which has resulted in the filing of precedent setting cases on contraceptive access and obstetric fistula in Asia. She actively facilitated and participated in the first CEDAW Special Inquiry in Asia in 2012 and was co-petitioner in the landmark case, Lakshmi v. NepaI, which recognized access to abortion as a constitutionally protected right. She has worked closely the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation to strengthen regional commitments to end child marriage and played a key role in bringing about the adoption of the Kathmandu Call for Action to End Child Marriage in South Asia in 2014. Ms. Upreti has written and lectured extensively about women’s reproductive rights and the importance of legal accountability. Her articles and other publications on women's reproductive rights and discriminatory practices such as child marriage have been used by activists to develop legal strategies and in courses on human rights.
Ms. Upreti is a Fellow in the University of Toronto Law Faculty's International Reproductive and Sexual Health Law Program and currently Senior Director of Program and Global Advocacy at the Center for Women’s Global Leadership at Rutgers University in the United States.
Elizabeth Broderick (Australia)
She assumed her function as a member of the Working Group on 1st November 2017. As Australia’s longest serving Sex Discrimination Commissioner (2007-2015), she advanced gender equality and women's human rights through research and advocacy including in relation to preventing violence against women, economic security for women, balancing paid work and unpaid caring responsibilities, women’s leadership and gender equality laws and institutions. Elizabeth led a major review into the treatment of women in Australia's military and Federal Police. She established and convenes the globally recognized ‘Male Champions of Change’ strategy, which brings together powerful leaders of government and business to be accountable for progressing gender inequality in Australia and beyond. She was a member of the World Bank Gender Advisory Board, and Global Co-Chair of the UN Global Compact's Women's Empowerment Principles Leadership Group. She was Special Adviser to the Executive Director of UN Women and Under-Secretary General on Private Sector Engagement. She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Computer Science) / Bachelor of Laws and Honorary Doctorates of Law from the University of Sydney, University of New South Wales and University of Technology, Sydney and Honorary Doctorates from Deakin, Edith Cowan and Griffith Universities.
Dorothy Estrada-Tanck (Mexico) Vice-Chair
Dorothy Estrada-Tanck is the Vice-Chair of the UN Working Group on discrimination against women and girls. She assumed her functions on 1 November 2020. Dorothy holds a PhD in Law from the European University Institute (Italy), an MSc in Political Theory from the London School of Economics and Political Science (United Kingdom) and a Law Degree from Escuela Libre de Derecho (Mexico). She is currently Assistant Professor of Public International Law and International Relations at the Faculty of Law of University of Murcia (Spain) and Director of its Legal Clinic. Her academic and professional activities have focused on international human rights law, human security, women’s rights, gender equality and violence against women, human rights of migrants and refugees, persons with disabilities, indigenous peoples, and economic, social and cultural rights. She holds 15 years of professional experience: Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Mexico); UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights; Mexico City Human Rights Commission; UN Women/Mexican Supreme Court/Inmujeres; Case Matrix Network (Centre for International Law Research and Policy); and the NGO Fundación CEPAIM (Spain). She has published extensively, including Human Security and Human Rights under International Law: The Protections Offered to Persons Confronting Structural Vulnerability (Hart Publishing, Oxford, 2016; Best Book Award 2017 of the Inter-American Bar Association, Washington, D.C.). She has taught and conducted research at institutions in Mexico, Italy, the U.S, Spain and Canada, including at Escuela Libre de Derecho, Universidad Iberoamericana (Mexico), Fordham School of Law (New York), IE Law School, ICADE (Madrid), the Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism at the Faculty of Law of McGill University in Montreal (as O’Brien Fellow in Residence), and as Visiting Fellow at the Human Rights Program of Harvard Law School.
Ivana Radačić (Croatia)
Ivana Radačić (PhD in Law) is a member of the Working Group on discrimination against women and girls. She assumed her functions on 1 November 2017. She is a senior research assistant at Ivo Pilar Institute of Social Sciences in Zagreb and a part-time lecturer at the University of Zagreb. Her research and teaching areas are women’s rights; gender equality; human rights; and gender, sexuality and the law. She has published extensively in these areas in leading international journals and books, and she has authored the book
Sexual violence – Myths, Stereotypes and the Legal System (TIMpress, 2014). She has taught at various universities in Europe, Central America, Australia and New Zealand. She also teaches at the Women Studies Centre (Zagreb) and the regional Women’s Human Rights Training Institute (Sofia).
Dr. Radačić has cooperated with international institutions and NGOs on human rights research, training and litigation and has been involved with drafting national human rights laws and policies. She also worked at the European Court of Human Rights and has litigated women’s rights cases before it. She is the Council of Europe expert on women’s rights, and has coauthored a training manual for judges on women’s access to justice. She served as an expert member of the Parliamentary Committee on Gender Equality.
Dr. Radačić plays violoncello and djembe, and practices 5 rhythms dance.
Meskerem Geset Techane (Ethiopia)
Ms. Meskerem Geset Techane is a human rights lawyer, and a keen advocate of women's rights which has taken primacy in her work over the past 15 years. She previously held positions as a High Court Judge in Ethiopia, and Deputy Director of the Institute for Human Rights and Development in Africa (IHRDA) where she led prominent human rights ventures across the Continent. In her extensive work on women’s rights at national and regional level, she spearheaded strategic litigation, trained justice sector professionals and civil society actors, undertook investigation missions, participated in legal reforms, and supported governments, NHRIs and NGOs. Her dedicated service to women and girls has earned her an award for outstanding pro bono legal aid, and the Ethiopian Women Lawyers Association prize for remarkable contribution.
Meskerem has worked closely with the African human rights mechanisms and was involved in drafting African Union human rights laws, policies and studies. She served as an expert member in different Working Groups of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, and collaborated with the various Special Rapporteurs of the Commission. She was engaged with the UN human rights mechanisms as well, including the UNWGDAW, and was extensively commissioned as an expert by various UN institutions, including UNHCR, UNICEF, and UNOHCHR, among other notable international organizations.
Currently a Doctoral Fellow at the Human Right Center of University of Padova, Meskerem holds a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) from the Addis Ababa University and a Master of Laws (LL.M) from the University of Pretoria. She participated in research projects and guest lectures in several universities in Europe, Africa and North America. She has published on issues of women’s rights and human rights in Africa, and authored training manuals for lawyers, judges and law enforcement officers on women’s rights and gender justice.
Ms. Emna Aouij (Tunisia) (2010-2017)
Ms. Kamala Chandrakirana (Indonesia) (2010-2017)
Ms. Alda Facio (Costa Rica) (2014-2020)
Ms. Frances Raday (Israel/United Kingdom) (2010-2017)
Ms. Eleonora Zielinska (Poland) (2010-2017)
Ms. Patricia OLAMENDI TORRES (Mexico) (2012-2013)
Ms. Mercedes Barquet (Mexico) (2011-2012)