Frequently Asked Questions

Why does the United Nations need a new entity on women’s rights and gender equality?

The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women — or UN Women — was established by the UN Member States so that the UN would be better able to help Member States accelerate progress towards their 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 enable member states to hold the UN system accountable for its own commitments on gender equality, including regular monitoring of system-wide progress.

What does the creation of UN Women mean for other offices and funds in the UN system working on gender and women’s empowerment?

UN Women will enhance, not replace, efforts by other parts of the UN system (such as UNICEF, UNDP, and UNFPA), which will continue to have a responsibility to work for gender equality and women’s empowerment in their areas of expertise.

Who heads UN Women and where is it based?

Following an open, transparent and rigorous recruitment process, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced on 14 September 2010 the appointment Ms. Michelle Bachelet as the Executive Director and Under-Secretary-General to head UN Women. The Under-Secretary-General will be a member of all senior UN decision-making bodies and will report to the Secretary-General. UN Women is headquartered in New York.

When did UN Women in the Pacific start?

UN Women in the Pacific office began as a Project Office managed by the former UNIFEM Office for Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok. To address the needs of women and girls in the Pacific more thoroughly, the UN Women in the Pacific Office officially opened in 1996 in Suva, Fiji.

Which countries does UN Women in the Pacific serve?

The Office current serves 15 countries: Cook Islands, Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia, Kiribati, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tokelau, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

How many UN Women country presences are there in the Pacific?

There are four UN Women country presences in the region which include the Pacific Sub-Regional Office based in Suva, Fiji, Multi-county Office based in Apia, Samoa and four Country Presences:

  1. Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea
  2. Honiara, Solomon Islands
  3. Port Vila, Vanuatu
  4. Tarawa, Kiribati.

What are the areas of focus for UN WOMEN in the Pacific?

  • Increasing women’s leadership and participation;
  • Ending violence against women and girls;
  • Engaging women in all aspects of peace and security processes;
  • Enhancing women’s economic empowerment;
  • Making gender equality central to national development planning and budgeting.

What are some of the key gender issues in the Pacific?

The Pacific is comprised of diverse nations. While it is difficult to generalize, women in the Pacific share concerns about access to economic opportunity, political participation, climate change, conflict, HIV&AIDS, and violence against women. These challenges are being addressed by UN Women in various countries alongside national governments and civil society organizations.

How does UN WOMEN work with national governments in the Pacific?

UN WOMEN helps build the capacity of national governments to implement national and international commitments to women’s rights. It will be up to each Member State to decide what kind of support UN WOMEN will provide in that country.

How does UN WOMEN support civil society organizations in the Pacific?

UN WOMEN supports civil society organizations – particularly women’s organizations – in addressing key issues at the grassroots level. UN WOMEN helps give these organizations a voice in national debates on gender issues. Additionally, UN WOMEN has various grant schemes to support these organizations to implement innovative projects. One such example is the Trust Fund to End violence Against Women.

What is Delivering as One in the Pacific and how does UN WOMEN contribute?

The United Nations is committed to working together to help PIC’s through Delivering as One. As part of this commitment UN WOMEN has joined with other UN organisations to develop Joint Presence Offices in some Pacific countries.

UN Joint Presence in the Pacific

Vision: Every Pacific man, woman, girl and boy know and benefit from a more responsive UN that is closer to the people and cares for their concerns, that reaches out in integrity, compassion, humility and excellence; delivering as One UN in the Pacific for the Pacific.

Mission: To show a more responsive UN that is closer to the people and their concerns by working with integrity, compassion, humility and excellence for every Pacific man, woman, girl and boy; delivering as One UN in the Pacific, for the Pacific.

What guides UN Women’s work in the Pacific?
UN Women’s work in the Pacific is determined by the Pacific Strategic Plan for 2008-2013. The goal of the Pacific Strategy is to ensure that national commitments to gender equality and women’s empowerment are implemented in both stable and fragile states.

How can I receive more information about UN Women in the Pacific and its work?
Sign up to receive our e-news. Also, check our Homepage, Programmes and News and Resource Centre for regular updates. Please contact us if you would like additional information.

How do I apply for a job at UN Women?
See our Vacancies page for a list of current vacancies and application information.

How do I apply for an internship at UN Women?
Contact the UN Women office in Suva for details and an application form.

How can I contact UN Women?

To contact the UN Women Pacific offices, see our Contacts page.