The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) was established by the UN Member States in order to help the 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 implement these standards, and provide technical and financial assistance whenever required, and to forge effective partnerships with civil society
- To enable Member States hold the UN system accountable for its own commitments on gender equality, including regular monitoring of system-wide progress.
What does UN Women do at the global, regional and country levels?
UN Women is the lead driver and lead voice advocating gender equality and women’s empowerment, globally. It supports Member States to advance gender equality, in line with national priorities and international norms and policies. It builds effective partnerships with civil society and mobilizes support, both political and financial, for the achievement of international goals for women. UN Women provides substantive support to UN bodies on all aspects of gender equality issues. It works with UN partners at the regional and country levels to ensure that demand for technical expertise from national partners and regional organizations are met. It undertakes global, regional and national advocacy efforts to ensure that under-recognized and under-resourced issues receive the requisite attention. At the country level, it provides technical and financial support to national partners, helping them become more capable in addressing their larger challenges. UN Women also helps strengthen UN Country Teams and coordinate action on gender equality.
What is the budget for UN Women and how is it funded?
UN Women is funded largely by both voluntary contributions and the regular UN budget. At least US$500 million annually has been recognized by Member States as the minimum investment needed for UN Women.
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 of 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.
Which are the countries that UN Women supports?
Gender inequality exists everywhere. UN Women works with all countries to support inter-governmental efforts to develop global norms and policies. It promotes good practices and fosters the sharing of experiences between countries, while providing programme and operational support to developing countries. Technical support and advice to developed countries can be provided by policy expertise units that support all regions. The creation of UN Women will contribute to an enhanced and coordinated UN response to country-defined needs and priorities, to enable the UN system to work in a more effective, collaborative and coherent way.
Which are the countries where UN Women has a presence?
Till now, the UN has not had the capacity to meet all country demand for support and expertise related to gender equality and women’s empowerment. UN Women is currently present in 80 countries, where it responds to the most challenging needs. Priority for enhancing the capabilities will be given to country-level efforts right now and — over time — UN Women will scale up to support every country that requests assistance. Achieving that goal is also dependent on the availability of human and financial resources.
How does UN Women work with UN Member States?
One of the main aims of creating UN Women is to strengthen the UN’s ability to provide coherent, timely and demand-driven support to UN Member States, in their efforts to realize equality for women and girls. It will be up to each Member State to decide what kind of support UN Women will provide in that country.
How is civil society involved with UN Women?
Years of advocacy by the global women’s movement have been instrumental in the creation of UN Women. Civil society, in particular women’s organizations, plays a vital role in promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment. Strong and dynamic relationships between UN Women and civil society partners in all parts of the world are crucial to achieve these goals. As such, NGOs have a strong voice in the priority-setting, policies and programmes of UN Women, which in turn helps provide support to women’s organizations and networks.