The United Nations General Assembly resolution to establish "UN Women" was agreed to on 30 June and formally adopted by the General Assembly on Friday, 2 July. The UN previously had four separate entities dedicated to women’s issues which will be combined in the new single entity focused on gender equality and the empowerment of women: the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), the Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW), the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW), and the Office of the Special Adviser to the UN Secretary-General on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women (OSAGI).
Bringing these together and coordinating their work more with gender mainstreaming throughout the UN system should allow the UN and governments to deliver more effectively on their obligations and many commitments to advance gender equality, women’s empowerment and women’s human rights. The establishment of UN Women is a result of years of negotiations between UN Member States and advocacy by the global women’s movement. The new Gender Equality Entity will accelerate progress in meeting the needs of women and girls worldwide. UN Women will be headed by an Under-Secretary General, who will consolidate the four existing UN bodies on women, to increase operational capacity at the country level and gain increased funding for work on women’s empowerment and advancement.
“I am grateful to Member States for having taken this major step forward for the world’s women and girls,” said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a statement welcoming the decision. “UN Women will significantly boost UN efforts to promote gender equality, expand opportunity, and tackle discrimination around the globe.”