UN Women – United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women

UN Women – United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women

Asia and the Pacific

UN Women India

UN Women’s Office based in New Delhi covers four countries: India, Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka. In these countries, we strengthen women’s rights by working with women, men, feminists, women’s networks, governments, local authorities and civil society.  With all of them, UN Women helps to create national strategies to advance gender equality in line with national and international priorities.

UN Women stands behind women’s equal participation in all aspects of life, focusing on six priority areas:

  1. Ending violence against women: Violence against women and girls is a grave violation of human rights. Its impact ranges from immediate to long-term multiple physical, sexual and mental consequences for women and girls, including death. UN Women responds to violence against women and girls in all its forms – from domestic violence, trafficking to violence in public places.

  2. Promoting Leadership and Participation: Women are underrepresented as voters, as well as in leading positions, whether in elected offices, civil services, the private sector or academia. This occurs despite their proven abilities as leaders and agents of change, and their right to participate equally in democratic governance. UN Women advocates for greater participation of women in politics and decision-making. By working with 67,000 elected women leaders in five states, UN Women was able to ensure that more women participated in local village councils.

  3. National Planning and Budgeting: National plans, policies, institutions and budgets are where governments begin to translate commitments to women into practical progress towards gender equality. Too often, however, they overlook measures to ensure that public services respond to women’s needs and priorities. UN Women works with economists, planners, government officials, bankers and planning bodies such as NITI Aayog to ensure that policies and budgets reflect the needs of women across the country.

  4. Economic Empowerment: Women make enormous contributions to economies, whether in businesses, on farms, as entrepreneurs or employees, or by doing unpaid care work at home.But they also remain disproportionately affected by poverty, discrimination and exploitation.Many innovations with women farmers, women workers at home, rural entrepreneurs, former women scavengers are re-defining women’s participation in the economy. UN Women sees greater land and property rights as essential ingredients for long term change.
  5. Peace and Security: The Women, Peace and Security Agenda, enunciated in Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) and several subsequent Resolutions, promotes the protection of women and girls against sexual and gender-based violence in conflict, as well as women’s equal and meaningful participation in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peacebuilding and peacekeeping. Under this normative framework, UN Women India MCO leads action and advocacy on two aspects in mainstreaming gender in international peacekeeping, i.e. effective response and prevention of conflict related sexual violence (CRSV) through pre-deployment training of police and military officers and the targeted inclusion of female officers in peacekeeping through its flagship Female Military Officers Course (FMOC).
  6. Migration: UN Women India MCO works towards strengthening gender-responsive migration of women domestic workers from India to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries by raising awareness on the risks of unsafe and irregular migration and by informing aspiring women migrant workers about their rights and entitlements which ensure safe and legal migration. UN Women also leads advocacy for the design and implementation of policies and programmes that target safe and informed migration of women domestic workers including the institutionalization of pre-departure orientation training and mass awareness campaigns.

In India, UN Women builds on a strong foundation, working closely with the Government of India and civil society to set national standards for achieving gender equality. In Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka, UN Women works through the United Nations to ensure that women become equal partners in development.

News and Updates

Moni Rani Das speaking to a Journalist about the situation of her colony situated at Ganaktuli, Dhaka. Photo: Nagorik Udyog

Dalit rights activists break new grounds in South Asia

Friday, August 3, 2018

Moni Rani Das, born and raised in a “cleaners’ colony”—poor and segregated settlements where street cleaners and domestic workers live—in Dhaka, Bangladesh, never imagined that she would be advocating for her rights and those of nearly 3 million Dalit women of her country. Today, she is the first Dalit person... More

Rukmini Rao. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown.

From where I stand: “The solutions really are with communities and the people”

Friday, August 3, 2018

I started working for women's empowerment more than 20 years ago when dowry killings were rampant in northern India. My friends and I set up an organization called Saheli in 1981 to help women facing domestic violence. Saheli, along with other women's groups, helped change many legislations including the law on domestic violence and the law against pornographic display of women. But then I realized that all this helps only middle-class women who... More

TAKE FIVE: Beena Pallical

TAKE FIVE: Beena Pallical

Monday, July 9, 2018

Beena Pallical is the Executive Director at the Asia Dalit Rights Forum and the current Manager of a programme seeking to strengthen Dalit Women’s Economic Rights across South Asia . The Dalit community in this region is still considered the lowest of the historical castes and suffers widespread discrimination, despite recent legislation and initiatives. Within the community, the specific problem of women’s economic empowerment has received little attention, but is now the focus... More

Nidhi Goyal. Photo: UN Women/Susan Markisz

In the words of Nidhi Goyal: “These spaces belong to everyone”

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Nidhi Goyal, 32, is a disabled feminist from India who works on disability rights and gender equality. After losing her sight as a teenager, Goyal committed herself to changing the lives of persons with disabilities, and particularly women and girls with disabilities. As a researcher, writer, trainer, stand-up comedian and advocate, she works to raise awareness on the intersection of the disability rights movement, and the women’s movement... More

Major Cleo Bigwood. Photo: Lt Cdr R F Abbey RN.

In the words of Major Cleo Bigwood: “Many of us are working tirelessly to make things better for you.”

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Major Cleo Bigwood is the Force Gender and Child Protection Officer at the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO). She participated at a UN Women training on ‘Mainstreaming gender in UN Peacekeeping to End Conflict Related Sexual Violence’, which took place in New Delhi in February 2018, funded by the Royal Norwegian Embassy. The course trained 41 military and police... More

Suhela Khan. Photo: UN Women/Jeevan Kanakkassery

Take Five: “The opportunity for sustainable energy entrepreneurship is significant for women”

May 14, 2018

Suhela Khan currently leads UN Women’s joint programme with UNEP, called "Women’s Entrepreneurship for Sustainable Energy Programme" in India. Launched at COP 21 in six countries, the Programme works on identifying and removing structural gender-specific barriers that female energy entrepreneurs face, enhancing women’s productive use of sustainable energy, and increasing women’s participation and leadership... More

OP-ED: The mixed bag of gaps and progress since December 16, 2012

10 January 2018

Violence against women and girls has become frontpage news across the world. The breaking of silence and the global outrage that the #MeToo movement in the US has triggered globally shows the pervasiveness of the problem, and we hope it will become a tipping point for awareness and accountability. When estimates show that 35 per cent of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual violence at some point in their lives... More

CEDAW Multimedia tool
The mixed bag of gaps and progress since December 16, 2012

Violence against women and girls has become frontpage news across the world. The breaking of silence and the global outrage that the #MeToo movement in the US has triggered globally shows the pervasiveness of the problem, and we hope it will become a tipping point for awareness... More

India's Smart Cities Mission

The Government of India launched the Smart Cities Mission on 25 June 2015. The objective of the mission is to promote sustainable and inclusive cities that provide core infrastructure and a decent quality of life to their citizens; a clean and sustainable environment; and the application of “smart” solutions. Women constitute a little less than half of the urban population in India. It is crucial that the design of upcoming smart cities is gender... More

Securing Rights of Women Farmers

Women farmers comprise approximately 65 per cent of the agricultural workforce in India. However, gender-specific barriers do not allow women farmers equal economic rights and opportunity, and they remain under-resourced, under-represented, unacknowledged and almost invisible... Read more

EQUAL HALF - a documentary film from India

Women form half of India’s population and make enormous contributions to its economy, yet they lag behind in almost all socio-economic indicators. How to ensure women have access to equal resources and opportunities? more

Planet 50–50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality