|Formation||2 July 2010|
|Headquarters||New York City, United States|
The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, also known as UN Women, is a United Nations entity working for the empowerment of women.
The United Nations (UN) is an intergovernmental organization that was tasked to maintain international peace and security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international co-operation and be a centre for harmonizing the actions of nations. The headquarters of the UN is in Manhattan, New York City, and is subject to extraterritoriality. Further main offices are situated in Geneva, Nairobi, and Vienna. The organization is financed by assessed and voluntary contributions from its member states. Its objectives include maintaining international peace and security, protecting human rights, delivering humanitarian aid, promoting sustainable development and upholding international law. The UN is the largest, most familiar, most internationally represented and most powerful intergovernmental organization in the world. In 24 October 1945, at the end of World War II, the organization was established with the aim of preventing future wars. At its founding, the UN had 51 member states; there are now 193. The UN is the successor of the ineffective League of Nations.
Women's empowerment is the process in which women elaborate and recreates what it is that they can be, do, and accomplish in a circumstance that they previously were denied. Empowerment can be defined in many ways, however, when talking about women’s empowerment, empowerment means accepting and allowing people (women) who are on the outside of the decision-making process into it. “This puts a strong emphasis on participation in political structures and formal decision-making and, in the economic sphere, on the ability to obtain an income that enables participation in economic decision-making.” Empowerment is the process that creates power in individuals over their own lives, society, and in their communities. People are empowered when they are able to access the opportunities available to them without limitations and restrictions. Feeling entitled to make your own decisions creates a sense of empowerment. Empowerment includes the action of raising the status of women through education, raising awareness, literacy, and training. Women's empowerment is all about equipping and allowing women to make life-determining decisions through different problems in society.
UN Women became operational in January 2011.President of Chile Michelle Bachelet was the inaugural Executive Director, and Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka is the current Executive Director. As with UNIFEM previously, UN Women is a member of the United Nations Development Group.
The President of Chile, officially known as the President of the Republic of Chile is the head of state and the head of government of Chile. The President is responsible for both the Chilean government and state administration. Although its role and significance has changed over the history of Chile, as well as its position and relations with other actors in the national political organization, it is one of the most prominent political figures. It is also considered as one of the institutions that make up the "Historic Constitution of Chile", and is essential to the country's political stability.
Verónica Michelle Bachelet Jeria is a Chilean politician who served as President of Chile from 2006 to 2010 and again from 2014 to 2018, the first woman to occupy the position. After leaving the presidency in 2010 and while not immediately reelectable, she was appointed the first executive director of the newly created United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. In December 2013, Bachelet was reelected with over 62% of the vote, bettering the 54% she obtained in 2006. She was the first President of Chile to be reelected since 1932.
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka is a South African politician and United Nations official, and is currently serving as the Executive Director of UN Women with the rank of Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations.
In response to the UN General Assembly resolution 63/311, in January 2006 the Secretary-General presented the report A/64/588, entitled Comprehensive Proposal for the Composite Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. In his report, the Secretary-General resolved that, rather than relieving other parts of the United Nations system of their responsibility for contributing to the promotion of gender equality and women's empowerment, the new entity should seek to sharpen the focus and impact of the gender equality activities of the entire United Nations system. Additionally, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon estimated that approximately $125 million per annum were needed for operating costs and "start-up" capacity at the country, regional, and headquarters levels. Moreover, an additional $375 million per annum were needed in the initial phase to respond to country level requests for programmatic support.
The United Nations General Assembly is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations (UN), the only one in which all member nations have equal representation, and the main deliberative, policy-making, and representative organ of the UN. Its powers are to oversee the budget of the UN, appoint the non-permanent members to the Security Council, appoint the Secretary-General of the United Nations, receive reports from other parts of the UN, and make recommendations in the form of General Assembly Resolutions. It has also established numerous subsidiary organs.
The Secretary-General of the United Nations is the head of the United Nations Secretariat, one of the six principal organs of the United Nations. The Secretary-General serves as the chief administrative officer of the United Nations. The role of the United Nations Secretariat, and of the Secretary-General in particular, is laid out by Chapter XV of the United Nations Charter.
Gender equality, also known as sexual equality, is the state of equal ease of access to resources and opportunities regardless of gender, including economic participation and decision-making; and the state of valuing different behaviors, aspirations and needs equally, regardless of gender.
Gender equality, equality between men and women, entails the concept that all human beings, both men and women, are free to develop their personal abilities and make choices without the limitations set by stereotypes, rigid gender roles and prejudices. Gender equality means that the different behaviour, aspirations and needs of women and men are considered, valued and favoured equally. It does not mean that women and men have to become the same, but that their rights, responsibilities and opportunities will not depend on whether they are born male or female. Gender equity means fairness of treatment for women and men, according to their respective needs. This may include equal treatment or treatment that is different but which is considered equivalent in terms of rights, benefits, obligations and opportunities.
After years of negotiations between UN member states, women's groups, and civil society, on 2 July 2010 the General Assembly unanimously adopted the resolution 64/289, thus creating UN Women by merging the Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW); the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW, established in 1976); the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women (OSAGI, established in 1997), and the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM, established in 1976). Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced at the founding of the movement that he is "grateful to Member States for having taken this major step forward for the world's women and girls. UN Women will significantly boost UN efforts to promote gender equality, expand opportunity, and tackle discrimination around the globe."
The United Nations member states are the 193 sovereign states that are members of the United Nations (UN) and have equal representation in the UN General Assembly. The UN is the world's largest intergovernmental organization.
Civil society can be understood as the "third sector" of society, distinct from government and business, and including the family and the private sphere. By other authors, "civil society" is used in the sense of 1) the aggregate of non-governmental organizations and institutions that manifest interests and will of citizens or 2) individuals and organizations in a society which are independent of the government.
Since 1979, the United Nations International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women has been the leading United Nations body of the research, knowledge management and capacity development of gender equality and women's empowerment. The Institute's participatory and innovative approaches to research have produced gender disaggregated data and research results that have served to better inform the design of training and capacity-building programmes and to strengthen stakeholder capacity to address and effectively integrate gender perspectives in all policies, programmes and projects. UN-INSTRAW works in partnership with governments, the United Nations System, civil society and academia.
On September 14, 2010, it was announced that former President of Chile Michelle Bachelet was appointed as head of UN Women.Various countries supported the creation of the body and welcomed Bachelet as chief. During General Debate at the opening of the 65th General Assembly of the United Nations, world leaders commended the creation of the body and its intention to "empower women", as well as welcoming Bachelet's position as the inaugural head. On March 11, 2011, John Hendra of Canada and Lakshmi Puri of India were appointed as first Deputy Executive Directors at the level of UN Assistant Secretary-General.
John Hendra recently established his own consulting practice after retiring from a dynamic 32 year United Nations career as a development leader in both Headquarters and the field. John is also currently serving as a member of: the High-Level Group to review the governance of The Commonwealth; the Advisory Council to Canada's Development Finance Institution (FinDev); and the board of Women Deliver Canada.
Lakshmi Puri is the Assistant Secretary-General for Intergovernmental Support and Strategic Partnerships at the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. She was appointed to this position by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon on 11 March 2011. Puri is the Deputy Executive Director of UN Women. Having joined the leadership team in 2011 at the inception of UN Women, she has contributed strategically and vitally to building this new and dynamic entity. She is directly responsible for the leadership and management of the Bureau for Intergovernmental Support, UN System Coordination, and Strategic Partnerships, and was the Acting Head of UN Women from March to August 2013.
The provisions set forth by resolution 63/311 on system-wide coherence, adopted by the General Assembly on 2 October 2010, constituted the blueprint for UN Women. Seeking to strengthen the United Nation's institutional arrangements for gender equality and women empowerment, resolution 63/311 supported the consolidation of four distinct parts of the UN system that focused exclusively on gender equality and women's empowerment into a composite entity to be led by an Under-Secretary-General. Moreover, the resolution requested that the Secretary-General produce a proposal specifying the mission statement of the composite entity and its organizational arrangements, including an organizational chart, funding, and the executive board to oversee its operational activities.
An Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations (USG) is a senior official within the United Nations System, normally appointed by the General Assembly on the recommendation of the Secretary-General for a renewable term of four years. Under-Secretary-General is the third highest rank in the United Nations, after the Secretary-General and the Deputy Secretary-General. The rank is held by the heads of different UN entities, certain high officials of the United Nations Secretariat, and high-level envoys. The United Nations regards the rank as equal to that of a cabinet minister of a member state, and under-secretaries-general have diplomatic immunity under the UN Charter.
Resolution 64/289 determined that the entity should be headed by an Under-Secretary-General, to be appointed by the Secretary-General in consultation with member states, for a term of four years, with the possibility of renewal for one term.
The organization is governed by a multi-tiered intergovernmental governance structure in charge of providing normative and operational policy guidance. The General Assembly, Economic and Social Council, and the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) constitute the governance structure that sets forth the normative policy guiding principles of the Entity. The intergovernmental governance structure in charge of providing operational policy guidance to UN Women includes the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council and the organization's Executive Board. The latter consist of forty-one members, elected by the Economic and Social Council for a term of three years and distributed as follows:
The resources required to fund all normative processes are obtained from the Entity's regular budget and approved by the General Assembly, whereas the budget for service operational processes and activities at all levels are funded from voluntary contributions and approved by the Executive Board of UN Women.
The 2015 Executive Board, elected in 2014, consists of:
The mandate and functions of UN Women consist of the consolidated mandates and functions of the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women, the Division for the Advancement of Women, the United Nations Development Fund for Women, and the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women. In addition, the entity must lead, coordinate, and promote the accountability of the United Nations system in its work on gender equality and women's empowerment. The goal of UN Women is to "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."
In accordance with the provisions of resolution 64/289, UN Women will work within the framework of the UN Charter and the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, including its twelve critical areas of concern and the outcome of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, as well as other applicable UN instruments, standards and resolutions that address gender equality and the empowerment and advancement of women.
UN Women's main thematic areas of work include:
In late 2013, a series of ads, developed as a creative idea for UN Women by Ogilvy & Mather, used genuine Google searches to reveal the widespread prevalence of sexism and discrimination against womenThe ads featured the faces of four women and where their mouths should be were Google auto-complete suggestions. The suggestions were all sexist or misogynist. A similar campaign was also run to raise awareness for gay rights.
Also in late 2013, UN Women launched a constitutional database that examines constitutions through a gender lens. The first of its kind, this database maps the principles and rules that guarantee, deny, or protect the rights of wome n and girls around the world. This tool for gender equality and human rights activists is annually updated and searchable, and provides a comprehensive overview of the current status of provisions relevant to women's rights and gender equality across various countries throughout the world. Users can search though the database by keyword, and legal provisions are grouped into 16 categories that were carefully defined by reviewing the constitutions from a human rights perspective.
UN Women is one of the lead agencies in coordinating International Women's Day eventsas well as the Commission on the Status of Women.
The year 2015 has marked a number of significant milestones, such as the 20th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women and adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action,which was the focus of the 59th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW59) from 9–20 March 2015, where global leaders took stock of progress and remaining challenges for implementing this landmark agreement for gender equality and women's rights. UN Women played an active role in major intergovernmental negotiations and processes including the Financing for Development Conference in Addis Ababa in July 2015, the outcome of which was strong on the need to adequately fund gender equality and incorporate it in development planning, as well as the negotiations and successful adoption of the new post-2015 development agenda on 25 September 2015. The new global development roadmap includes a stand-alone goal on gender equality and women's empowerment (Sustainable Development Goal 5), and mainstreams these priorities throughout all 17 goals.
UN Women is empowered to:
The United Nations Economic and Social Council is one of the six principal organs of the United Nations, responsible for coordinating the economic, social, and related work of 15 UN specialized agencies, their functional commissions and five regional commissions. The ECOSOC has 54 members. The General Assembly selects 18 new members for ECOSOC each year for the term of 3 years with a provision that a retiring member can be re-elected. It holds one seven-week session each year in July, and since 1998, it has also held an annual meeting in April with finance ministers heading key committees of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The United Nations Secretariat is one of the six major organs of the United Nations, with the others being (a) the General Assembly; (b) the Security Council; (c) the Economic and Social Council; (d) the defunct Trusteeship Council; and (e) the International Court of Justice. The Secretariat is the United Nations' executive arm. The Secretariat has an important role in setting the agenda for the UN's deliberative and decision making bodies of the UN, and the implementation of the decision of these bodies. The Secretary-General, who is appointed by the General Assembly, is the head of the secretariat.
The United Nations Development Fund for Women was established in December 1976 originally as the Voluntary Fund for the United Nations Decade for Women in the International Women's Year. Its first director was Margaret C. Snyder, Ph.D. It provides financial and technical assistance to innovative programmes and strategies that promote women’s human rights, political participation and economic security. Since 1976 it has supported women's empowerment and gender equality through its programme offices and links with women's organizations in the major regions of the world. Its work on gender responsive budgets began in 1996 in Southern Africa and has expanded to include East Africa, Southeast Asia, South Asia, Central America and the Andean region. It has worked to increase awareness throughout the UN system of gender responsive budgets as a tool to strengthen economic governance in all countries.
The Commission on the Status of Women is a functional commission of the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), one of the main UN organs within the United Nations. CSW has been described as the UN organ promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women. Every year, representatives of Member States gather at 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. In April 2017, ECOSOC elected 13 new members to CSW for a four-year term 2018–2022. One of the new members is Saudi Arabia, which has been criticised for its treatment of women.
Angela Evelyn Vernon King was a Jamaican diplomat. She worked for the United Nations for 38 years, from 1966 to 2004, working mainly for equal rights for women. She was appointed Assistant Secretary-General for gender issues in 1997, remaining in that post until she retired in 2004.
International Women's Year (IWY) was the name given to 1975 by the United Nations. Since that year March 8 has been celebrated as International Women's Day, and the United Nations Decade for Women, from 1976 to 1985, was also established.
The United Nations Decade for Women was a period from 1975-1985 focus on the policies and issues that impact women, such as pay equity, gendered violence, land holding, and other human rights. It was adopted December 15, 1975 by the United Nations General Assembly by Resolution 31/136.
The Center for Women's Global Leadership, based at Rutgers University, was founded in 1989 by Charlotte Bunch, the former executive director and an internationally renowned activist for women's human rights. Current Executive Director Krishanti Dharmaraj is also the founder of the Dignity Index and co-founder of WILD for Human Rights and the Sri Lanka Children's Fund. The former executive director, Radhika Balakrishnan, is now the faculty director, and a professor in the Department of Women's and Gender Studies at Rutgers, current chair of the Board of the US Human Rights Network, and a board member of the Center for Constitutional Rights. Located on Douglass Residential College at Rutgers University, CWGL is a unit of International Programs within the School of Arts and Sciences and is a member of the Institute for Women's Leadership, a consortium of women's programs at Rutgers.
United Nations Action Against Sexual Violence in Conflict a cross-UN initiative that unites the work of 14 United Nations entities with the goal of ending sexual violence in conflict. The inter-agency network is composed of 14 UN entities from a spectrum sectors including peacekeeping, political affairs, justice, human rights, humanitarian, health, gender equality and women's empowerment. The Special Representative of the Secretary-General Pramila Patten chairs the network which represents a concerted effort by the United Nations to improve coordination and accountability, amplify programming and advocacy, and support national efforts to prevent sexual violence and respond effectively to the needs of survivors.The UN Action Secretariat is based in the Office of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict.
Dr. Noeleen Heyzer, a social scientist, served as Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations.
Discussions of LGBT rights at the United Nations have included resolutions and joint statements in the United Nations General Assembly and the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), attention to the expert-led human rights mechanisms, as well as by the UN Agencies.
The Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women was adopted without vote by the United Nations General Assembly in its resolution 48/104 of 20 December 1993. Contained within it is the recognition of "the urgent need for the universal application to women of the rights and principles with regard to equality, security, liberty, integrity and dignity of all human beings". The resolution is often seen as complementary to, and a strengthening of, the work of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action. It recalls and embodies the same rights and principles as those enshrined in such instruments as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Articles 1 and 2 provide the most widely used definition of violence against women. As a consequence of the resolution, in 1999, the General Assembly, led by the representative from the Dominican Republic, designated 25 November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.
The Gender Equality Architecture Reform (GEAR) Campaign was a network of over 300 women's, human rights and social justice groups around the world. The GEAR campaign urged UN Member States and the UN Secretariat to move swiftly forward to create a new UN gender equality entity. GEAR also urgeds the UN to set up a transparent process now for recruiting the best qualified Under Secretary-General to head this agency. The United Nations must move without further delay to implement changes that it has repeatedly recognized as critical to fulfilling its mandate of working for gender equality as a crucial component of development, human rights, peace, and security.
The Secretary's Office of Global Women's Issues is located within the United States Department of State,. In 2009, Melanne Verveer was the first Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues. From September 2013 to May, 2017, the ambassador was Catherine M. Russell. Since May of 2017, there has been no ambassador for this office, and it is currently headed by Senior Advisor and Operations Director Rahima Kandahari, a veteran Foreign Service officer.
The Global Implementation Plan to End Violence Against Women and Girls was a recommendation from the multi-agency Expert Group Meeting (EGM) on the prevention of violence against women and girls. The meeting was convened as part of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women's multi-year programme of work for 2010-2014.
Dr. Shruti Kapoor is an Indian economist, women's rights activist, and social entrepreneur. She is the founder of Sayfty, an initiative that aims to educate and empower young women and girls against all forms of violence.