The post of the OSCE Special Representative on Gender Issues, which promotes women’s rights and gender equality across the OSCE region, was established by the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office in the summer of 2010.
The Special Representative’s mandate is rooted in the 2004 OSCE Action Plan for the Promotion of Gender Equality, which addresses six broad areas: ensuring non-discriminatory legal and policy frameworks; preventing violence against women; ensuring equal opportunity for women to participate in political and public life; encouraging women’s participation in conflict prevention, crisis management, and post-conflict reconstruction; promoting women’s equal economic opportunity; and building national mechanisms for women’s advancement.
June Zeitlin took up her post as the Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office on Gender Issues in January 2011.
A leader on women’s issues for more than thirty years, she has extensive public-policy experience in the United States and globally.
Zeitlin currently directs the CEDAW Education Project at The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights in Washington, DC. The Project educates policymakers and the public about the importance of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women for advancing women’s rights worldwide, including in the United States.
From 1999 to 2008, she was the Executive Director of the Women’s Environment and Development Organization, where she helped lead a successful global campaign for the creation of UN Women. From 1986 to 1999, she worked at the Ford Foundation, overseeing programmes on women’s rights, social justice and democratic governance, including newly initiated programmes in Central and Eastern Europe.
After receiving a law degree from New York University School of Law in 1973, she worked in Washington, DC, for the late Congresswoman Bella Abzug and then joined the US Department of Health and Human Services as the Director of the Office on Domestic Violence.