In July 2010, the United Nations General Assembly created UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women.
In doing so, UN Member States took an historic step in accelerating the Organization’s goals on gender equality and the empowerment of women.
The creation of UN Women came about as part of the UN reform agenda, bringing together resources and mandates for greater impact. It merges and builds on the important work of four previously distinct parts of the UN system, which focused exclusively on gender equality and women’s empowerment:
-Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW)
-International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW)
-Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women (OSAGI)
-United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM)
The main roles of UN Women are:
-To support inter-governmental bodies, such as the Commission on the Status of Women, in their formulation of policies, global standards and norms.
-To help Member States to implement these standards, standing ready to provide suitable technical and financial support to those countries that request it, and to forge effective partnerships with civil society.
-To hold the UN system accountable for its own commitments on gender equality, including regular monitoring of system-wide progress.
HOW WE WORK
UN Women acts on two fronts. It supports international political negotiations to formulate globally agreed standards for gender equality. And it helps UN Member States to implement those standards by providing expertise and financial support. UN Women also assists other parts of the UN system in their efforts to advance gender equality across a broad spectrum of issues related to human rights and human development.
Programme and Technical Assistance
Within countries that request its assistance, UN Women works with government and non-governmental partners to help them put in place the policies, laws, services and resources that women require to move towards equality. It draws on extensive knowledge and experience with which interventions work best in a given environment, and which do the most to unlock rapid national progress in attaining national and international commitments to women.
UN Women provides grants to fuel innovative, high-impact programmes by government agencies and civil society groups through two funds—the Fund for Gender Equality and the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women. A multi-donor initiative, the Fund for Gender Equality is dedicated to programmes that increase women’s economic opportunities and/or political participation at local and national levels. Managed by UN Women on behalf of the UN system, the UN Trust Fund works to stop all of the diverse forms of gender-based violence that undercut women’s rights around the world.
Commission on the Status of Women
A global policy-making body, the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) is a functional commission of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), dedicated exclusively to gender equality and the advancement of women. Every year, representatives of Member States gather at the United Nations Headquarters in New York to evaluate progress on gender equality, identify challenges, set global standards and formulate concrete policies to promote gender equality and advancement of women worldwide.
Other Intergovernmental Processes
Aside from the Commission on the Status of Women, UN Women offers regular information on women’s rights issues to the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council, and the Security Council. It maintains the UN Secretary-General’s database on violence against women, which tracks measures to end violence taken by UN Member States and UN organizations.
Capacity Development and Training
UN Women shares its in-house expertise through a series of training programmes for national governments, often held in conjunction with other UN organizations. These strengthen national skills and capacities, including at women’s machineries, for actions to uphold women’s human rights, end violence against women, and integrate gender across national policies, programmes and budgets.
Expert Group Meetings
Expert group meetings help UN Women provide valuable inputs to the Commission on the Status of Women’s annual priority theme for discussions, and to flagship reports. Each group convenes leading experts to explore state-of-the-art research and analysis, identify good practices in achieving gender equality and develop independent policy recommendations.
UN System Coordination
UN Women leads and coordinates the overall efforts of the UN system to support the full realization of women’s rights and opportunities. It provides expertise on incorporating gender equality in the programmes of other UN organizations, and through regular monitoring helps the UN system stay on top of its internal commitments to women. As the chair of the UN Inter-Agency Network on Women and Gender Equality, UN Women helps orchestrate the efforts of 25 UN organizations to promote gender equality across the UN system.