UN Women Makes History

In an attempt  to accelerate the empowerment of women, on July 2nd the UN's General Assembly voted unanimously to create an all encompassing entity combining four United Nations offices to focus on gender equality. Declaring it a watershed, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon introduced UN Women, the newest member of the UN family, a body tasked with improving the gender equality and empowerment of women and girls on a global level.

The new body will merge four of the world body’s agencies and offices: UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), the Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW), the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues, and the UN International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (UN-INSTRAW).

With an annual budget of at least $500 million, UN Women is the result of years of negotiations among Member States and advocacy by the global women’s movement. With headquarters in NYC, it  is set to become operational next January.

One of the body's main goals will be to support the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) and other inter-governmental bodies in devising policies.  It will also help Member States implement standards, provide technical and financial support to countries which request it, and forge partnerships with civil society.  Within the UN, it will hold the world body accountable for its own commitments on gender equality.

UN Photo/Devra Berkowitz:  Tiina Intelmann, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Estonia to the United Nations, addresses a joint press conference on the new UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, to be known as UN Women, which will merge all of the organization's previously established initiatives on gender equality.

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