Sharon is the founder and executive director of FemLINKPACIFIC, a regional women’s community media NGO, based in Fiji, and vice-president of the World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (AMARC) Pacific sub-region. Sharon is also part of the Isis International general membership governing body.
On her nomination to the Global Civil Society Advisory Group of UN Women, Sharon Bhagwan Rolls commented: "It is a deep honour and a somewhat daunting task as the sole representative of the Pacific Island region but I hope to be an important conduit on behalf of my region to enhance (a) greater inclusion of women's civil society expertise in design and delivery of UN Women's programmes at regional and country level (b) visibility of women's rights issues and realities including the work in the areas of conflict prevention and human security, media and communications rights which are critical to ensuring the agenda of sustainable development. This is an important platform and group to amplify the call for the UN and all member states to be more accountable to the rights, freedoms and human security of women, young women and girls".
The establishment of UN Women Civil Society Advisory Groups at the global, regional and national levels was announced earlier this year at the 56th session of the Commission on the Status of Women. The Global Group appointed by the Executive Director is based on wide consultation with civil society networks and nominations from civil society organizations. All members have proven track records of work in areas related to gender equality and women’s empowerment, and bring diverse experience and expertise to the group. Members include grassroots, rural and community-based leaders, leaders of indigenous people’s groups, feminist scholars, human rights lawyers, and male leaders working on gender and women’s rights issues.
The main objective of this Group is dialogue and engagement to advance global goals of gender equality and women’s empowerment. The Group serves as a consultative forum for UN Women.
The membership of the Group will be rotational, and the current members will be serving for a period of two years. The current members of the Group are: Marling Haydee Rodriguez, President of the Union of Cooperatives Las Brumas, Nicaragua; Teresa Fernández de la Vega Sanz, Former Vice-President of Spain, Eminent Jurist and Founder, Women for Africa Foundation, Spain; Tarcila Rivera Zea, Founder, Center of Indigenous Cultures of Peru, Peru; Rawwida Baksh, Former Head of the Women’s Rights Programme, International Research and Development Centre, Trinidad and Tobago; Patricia Perez, Global Chair of International Community of Women Living with HIV/AIDS (ICW), Argentina; Charlotte Bunch, Founder of GEAR Campaign, United States; Todd Minerson, Executive Director, White Ribbon Campaign, Canada; Hibaaq Othman, Strategist for Dignity Fund, the Think Tank for Arab Women and Karama, Somalia; Nehad Abol Komsan, Founder and Chairperson of the Egyptian Center for Women’s Rights, Egypt; Rabea Naciri, President of the Democratic Association of Moroccan Women, Morocco; Violet Shivutse, Leader, GROOTS, Kenya; Bineta Diop, Executive Director and Founder, Femmes Africa Solidarité, Senegal; Kumi Naidoo, Executive Director of Greenpeace International, South Africa; Josephine Castillo, Organizer-Trainer, Damayan Ng Maralitang Pilipinong Api (DAMPA), Philippines; Hina Jilani, Founder, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, Pakistan; Bandana Rana, Executive President of Saathi and Regional Coordinator, South Asian Campaign for Gender Equality, Nepal; Sharon Bhagwan Rolls, Founder, FemLINKPACIFIC, Fiji; Drude Dahlerup, Professor of Political Science at Stockholm University, Denmark; Selma Acuner, Professor, Ankara University, Turkey; Cécile Gréboval, Secretary General of the European Women’s Lobby, France; and Joanne Sandler, retired Deputy Director, UNIFEM, USA.
The first meeting of the Global Civil Society Advisory Group will be convened at the time of the 67th session of the General Assembly in September, when members will be able to provide important inputs into the work of UN Women, including on partnerships and the post-2015 development agenda.
National and regional civil society advisory groups are also currently being set up by UN Women regional and country offices, and a dedicated global website will be established for information sharing between the civil society groups and UN Women.