Rosemary Kayess, Senior Research Fellow at UNSW Social Policy Research Centre (SPRC) and Senior Lecturer at UNSW Law & Justice, has been elected chair of the United Nations (UN) Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
Ms Kayess was elected to the UN Committee in 2018 and her rapid appointment to the position of vice-chair in March 2019 recognised her unique expertise from her academic and community positions in Australia and internationally.
The lawyer, researcher, academic and UNSW alumna says, “It is an incredible honour to be elected chair of the committee and an amazing way to celebrate International Women’s Day.
“The committee had 17 men and one woman before I joined the committee in 2019 and now it has surpassed gender parity with women in four executive leadership positions – including two vice-chairs and a rapporteur, as well as me as chair.
“It is an achievement for me personally but also for women with disabilities and in leadership roles.”
Ms Kayess graduated from UNSW with a Bachelor of Social Sciences (Hons) in 1994 and a Bachelor of Laws in 2004. She is Academic Lead Engagement of UNSW’s Disability Innovation Institute and is one of the driving forces behind the ground-breaking initiative to help transform the lives of people with disability by harnessing research and innovation across all faculties and disciplines.
In 2019, Ms Kayess was awarded the Human Rights Medal by the Australian Human Rights Commission.