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's Office for India, Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka

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

“Ending violence against women requires that key institutions work together”—Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka in India

09 December 2016

The International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and McKinsey are among the institutions that have produced studies showing how violence against women has a significant impact on economic activity. Violence against women is unacceptable, because it is a violation of the rights of women and girls. It is a universal challenge that all countries are grappling with... More

Q&A with Abigail Pamei, featured artist for the 2016 UNiTE Song Contest

08 December 2016

UN Women Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific recently launched the UNiTE 2016 Song Contest to capture the spirit of the Secretary General’s UNiTE to End violence against women Campaign by inviting people’s own music video for the UNiTE Campaign Song 2016. As a starting point, Ms Abigail Pamei, an independent singer from India and Director Social Responsibility of International Federation of Muaythai Amateur... More

Spotlighting urgent need to end violence against women and girls, business leaders pledge commitment and investment

08 December 2016

Unveiling a new partnership, UN Women and the IMC Chamber of Commerce and Industry (IMC) today organised a high-level event to underline the critical link between women’s economic empowerment and ending violence against women, and the need for urgent and adequate investment in the twin themes. UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka on a visit to India was the Chief Guest at the conference titled ‘WeUNiTE: Investing in Planet 50-50’... More

WeUNiTE: Investing in Planet 50-50’

06 December 2016

A high-level event organised by UN Women and the IMC Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mumbai, on 6 December will spotlight the link between women’s economic empowerment and ending violence against women, and the need for urgent and adequate investment in the twin themes. Private sector leaders, UN officials, gender experts and activists will participate in a conference titled ‘WeUNiTE: Investing in Planet 50-50’ that will explore how skill... More

Invest in young women’s voice, action and leadership to achieve Planet 50-50: UN ASG Lakshmi Puri

31 August 2016

“The role of youth in achieving women’s empowerment and a more equal world – a ‘Planet 50-50’ – is crucial and a key step towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals,” United Nations Assistant Secretary-General (ASG) and UN Women Deputy Executive Director Lakshmi Puri said during a vibrant interaction with young people in Chennai on Monday. More than 150 students, youth activists and young >professionals... More

Aishwaryaa Rajinikanth Dhanush announced as UN Women’s Advocate for Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment in India

30 August 2016

Film director will raise awareness on gender equality and the empowerment of women; boost UN Women’s efforts to close the gender gap and achieve ‘Planet 50-50’ by 2030. United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and UN Women Deputy Executive Director Lakshmi Puri today announced the appointment of film director, classical dancer and writer, Aishwaryaa Rajinikanth Dhanush, as UN Women’s Advocate for Gender Equality and Women’s... More

Women's Voices from the Informal Economy at SEWA

19 August 2016

The consultation “Women's Voices from the Informal Economy” brought together members of the Self-Employed Women's Association (SEWA) from across India to share their diverse experiences as workers in the informal economy with members of the UN Secretary General’s High-Level Panel (HLP) for Women’s Economic Empowerment and other distinguished guests. The consultation took place at SEWA headquarters in Ahmedabad, Gujarat state, India. It was... More

UN Panel hears from women in the informal economy

09 August 2016

Members of the UN Secretary General’s High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment meet women workers and entrepreneurs to understand challenges, learn about solutions. Panel will submit a global report providing recommendations for actions that can be taken by governments, the private sector, civil society and the UN system to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals which call for the economic empowerment of women... More

Women Transform: Celebrating Women Making a Difference

31 March 2016

The National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog), MyGov India, India’s first of its kind participatory governance initiative, and the United Nations in India have launched an online contest to crowdsource stories from across India that celebrate the indomitable spirit of women who have made a difference – ‘Women Transforming India’. The campaign was launched on International Women’s Day 2016 and is inviting stories of women breaking new ground... More


UN Women and India’s IMC Chamber of Commerce and Industry announce partnership to boost women’s entrepreneurship and empowerment; Gateway of India and other iconic Mumbai monuments turn orange as part of 16 Days of Activism. 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