Source description last updated: 4 November 2020

In brief: UN Women is the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women.

Coverage on

News (for countries of priorities A-C) and other publications (for countries of priorities A-D).

Covered quarterly on


“UN Women’s main roles 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, standing ready to provide suitable technical and financial support to those countries that request it, and to forge effective partnerships with civil society.
  • To lead and coordinate the UN system’s work on gender equality, as well as promote accountability, including through regular monitoring of system-wide progress.” (UN Women website: About UN Women, undated)

“For many years, the United Nations faced serious challenges in its efforts to promote gender equality globally, including inadequate funding and no single recognized driver to direct UN activities on gender equality issues. In July 2010, the United Nations General Assembly created UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, to address such challenges. [...] It works globally to make the vision of the Sustainable Development Goals a reality for women and girls and stands behind women’s equal participation in all aspects of life, focusing on four strategic priorities:

  • Women lead, participate in and benefit equally from governance systems
  • Women have income security, decent work and economic autonomy
  • All women and girls live a life free from all forms of violence
  • Women and girls contribute to and have greater influence in building sustainable peace and resilience, and benefit equally from the prevention of natural disasters and conflicts and humanitarian action (UN Women website: About UN Women, undated)

It was created by merging the Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW), the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW), the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues Advancement of Women (OSAGI) and the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM).


Voluntary contributions from national committees, UN organisations, foundations, the private sector and others. (see UN Women: Annual Report 2013-2014, 2014)

Scope of reporting:

Geographic focus: UN member states

Thematic focus: Rights of women and LGBTI persons


“UN Women acts on two fronts. It supports international political negotiations to formulate globally agreed standards for gender equality. And it helps UN Member States to implement those standards by providing expertise and financial support. UN Women also assists other parts of the UN system in their efforts to advance gender equality across a broad spectrum of issues related to human rights and human development.” (UN Women website: How We Work, undated)

“As part of our mandate, UN Women supports Member States in setting norms. We conduct research, and compile and provide evidence, including good practices and lessons learned, to inform intergovernmental debates and decisions. We also assist in implementing norms and standards through our country programmes. In addition, UN Women leads and coordinates the UN system’s work in support of gender equality and the empowerment of women. Intergovernmental discussions on UN Women’s country activities take place in the Executive Board, where a rotating group of UN Member States helps set strategic directions.” (UN Women website: Intergovernmental support, undated)

UN Women has “a key role in increasing knowledge about women’s status in the United Nations.” (UN Women website: UN system coordination, undated)

“Within countries that request its assistance, UN Women works with government and non-governmental partners to help them put in place the policies, laws, services and resources that women require to move towards equality.” (UN Women website: Programme and technical assistance, undated)

“Our solutions include preparing regular research and data-based flagship reports to call attention to existing gaps and spur action. These include Progress of the World’s Women and World Survey on the Role of Women in Development. [...] UN Women has issued position papers on the post-2015 development agenda, and on the global economic crisis, among others, and provides regular substantive inputs to intergovernmental processes, like the Commission on the Status of Women.” (UN Women website: Research and data, undated)

Languages of publications:

English, French, Spanish, Russian, Arabic, Chinese

Further reading / links:

Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 2 July 2010 [A/RES/64/289], 21 July 2010

Resolution adopted by the General Assembly on 14 September 2009 [A/RES/63/311], 2 October 2009

Comprehensive proposal for the composite entity for gender equality and the empowerment of women [A/64/588], 6 January 2010

UN Women, UN-Women Executive Board Members, undated


All links accessed 4 November 2020.