UN Women begins today, January 1, 2011

UN Women officially begins today. They even have a new website (along with redirects for many of the previous links to the former UN Women website, and at least some previous links with no place to go). Here is the new UN Women website:


UN Women is now the main UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. Here is an “About” link and a “Frequently Asked Questions” link:



Frequently Asked Questions:


UN Women appears to have seven specific focus areas (all devoted to gender equality and the empowerment of women): Violence Against Women, Peace and Security, Leadership and Participation, National Planning and Budgeting, Human Rights, Economic Empowerment, and Millennium Development Goals. Here is a link to a webpage for more on these focus areas:


The current UN Executive Board, elected on 11/10/10, includes Saudi Arabia. For comments on or related to this controversial board member and related facts, events, new stories, etc, interested readers can check out the thread to the following Feminist Philosophers post:

Saudi Arabia on UN Women Board


The UN Women website indicates in the “Governance” section of the “About” webpage that the following international agreements guide the work of UN Women:

1) Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)


[On this agreement, interested readers might want to note/know one of the official reservations with which Saudi Arabia ratified CEDAW: “The Kingdom does not consider itself bound by paragraph 2 of article 9 of the Convention…” Paragraph 2 of article 9 of the convention states: “Parties shall grant women equal rights with men with respect to the nationality of their children.”]

2) Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (PFA)


3) UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security (2000) [and resolutions 1820 (2008), 1888 (2009), 1889 (2009) and 1960 (2010)]






4) Millennium Declaration and Millennium Development Goals



Let us hope and see whether “This ambitious new organization consolidates and scales up UN actions to achieve gender equality, offering the promise of accelerated progress in realizing the rights of women worldwide.”

13 thoughts on “UN Women begins today, January 1, 2011

  1. Climate Talks, Mexico: Women Key to Combating Global Warming

    “UN Women was one of a number of UN agencies and civil society representatives advocating for gender mainstreaming during talks at the UN Climate Change Conference in Cancún, Mexico (COP16), where Governments convened to negotiate how the international community should combat global warming after the Kyoto Protocol meets its end date in 2012. They succeeded in adopting a package of decisions, also known as the Cancun Agreements, on 11 December to combat climate change, which included gender and social dimensions.”

    “The move to include gender dimensions in the Agreements has implications for women worldwide…” …


  2. UN Women Begins Its Work

    “…As a global champion for women, UN Women will work with UN Member States to agree on international standards for gender equality, and help countries implement those standards. It will assist other UN agencies engaged with a broad spectrum of development issues to integrate gender equality priorities in their activities. Carrying out its programmes, UN Women will also work closely with civil society partners…”


  3. New UN Agency for Women needs cash, clout and activists

    “On New Year’s Eve I was interviewed on BBC Radio 4 ‘Women’s Hour’ by presenter Jenni Murray. My fellow-guest was UK Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell MP. The topic for our broadcast disussion was the new United Nations Agency for Women which launches today 1 January 2011.” …


  4. UN Women “Proposals for the use of voluntary resources for the support budget for the biennium 2010-2011” – a 67 page document.

    Click to access UNW_2011_03_Report_SupportBudgetProposal_AdvanceCopy.pdf

    quick and brief comment/questions below the quotations…

    “…to lead and coordinate the United Nations system’s work on gender and to promote gender mainstreaming and the system‟s accountability for it. This report indicates how the Executive Director proposes, in 2011, to start to build the capacity required by UN Women to deliver results to meet its mandates and the demands for support from Member States.” …

    “The proposed budget assumes that $500 million will be the total resources used by UN-Women in 2011. It is proposed to allocate $413 million for development programmes, $76 million for the support budget, $8 million for one-off costs for change management and the move of UN-Women Headquarters to consolidated office premises, and $3 million for security and other costs mandated by the General Assembly. The proposed support budget will be linked to the rate and volume of mobilized resources by maintaining the 16 percent ratio of total secured resources, thus ensuring a sustainable and orderly build-up of capacity. The Executive Director proposes to use a share of the support budget tofund 160 posts that were previously funded from programmes ($26 million), thereby establishing the basic institutional capacity needed to provide a minimum package of support services in at least 40 countries by the end of 2011. It is proposed to create 95 new posts ($17 million) to provide the capacity required to implement the new United Nations coordination, gender mainstreaming and accountability functions and for increasing the scale of in-country
    operations in response to demand.

    “The establishment of UN-Women has generated huge expectations and hope among both national partners and donors. To meet these enormous needs and demands, this budget has to be substantially greater than the severely under-resourced budgets of the past. This is an ambitious proposal. It is an ambition tempered by the real possibility of a dramatic increase in voluntary contributions to address the inequalities that affect half of humanity.” …

    Quick comment/questions:

    $500 million? How much do we spend on maintaining how many military bases? How much did we spend on invading Iraq [see Joseph Stiglitz…]? How much did we spend on bailing out banks that manage to keep how many executives filthy rich? Why didn’t the U.S. government just buy those banks and distribute ownership shares amongst the entire population? If Norway can arrange successfully to run their (nationalized) oil industry, for instance, why couldn’t the U.S. government have successfully arranged to run a nationalized banking industry?

    Anyway, who decided on the $500 million budget amount? Anyone have any reasons why it should be either more or less? Any ideas on where we could/should divert more or less money (regarding the goals of UN Women or otherwise)?

  5. Ali wants it fair

    “A women’s activist has called for the even distribution of resources in a bid to meet goals outlined by the United Nations Women’s agency.

    “Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre co-ordinator Shamima Ali said most funding for programs directed at empowering women was spent on consultants instead of projects…


    United Nations Radio

    The head of UN Women, Michelle Bachelet, says her aim is to end violence against young girls and women as well as promote women in every aspect of life from the workplace to the home.

    She says she will put her experience as a survivor of torture and former President, defence and health minister of Chile, to good use.

    She spoke to, Jocelyne Sambira.


  6. The Godmothers: Keeping UN Women on Track

    “The Godmothers is a group of men and women who think women everywhere deserve a chance. Together we’ll watch over UN Women, help keep it on track and protect it from people who’d like to see it fail – everything a good godmother would do. By making sure UN Women gets the powers and funding it needs, we can make life better for millions of women worldwide.”

    “…The next few months are crucial. They’re when issues like the funding and scale of operations of UN Women will be determined. It all comes down to the decisions made by a handful of people. By showing them that UN Women is important to us, we can convince them to give it the support it needs.

    We’ll be starting by asking the Government to fund the agency properly. More will follow as the action heats up…”


    U.N. Chief Leaves Women out of Year-End Summing Up

    “When Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon wrote a year-end op-ed piece for an Australian newspaper last week, he talked about the future of a world body facing a new generation of threats: climate change, poverty, nuclear disarmament and human rights.

    But, wittingly or unwittingly, he left out one of the biggest political success stories of the world body: the creation of a separate body, UN Women, to promote gender empowerment worldwide.

    The new U.N. agency, armed with a projected 500-million- dollar annual budget and headed by Under-Secretary-General Michelle Bachelet, began functioning at the beginning of the New Year.

    But there has been no fanfare or political celebration inside the world body – even as the secretary-general is being accused of bypassing the importance of the landmark event…”


  7. The webpage linked below suggests that the 54-member Economic and Social Council elected the current UN Women executive board:


    Bearing in mind various answers to the question, “How did Saudi Arabia but not Iran make it onto the board of UN Women, both of which wanted membership”, interested readers might want to note the following news stories:

    Israel Working to Join Executive Board of UN WOMEN, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women


    Israel to Join UN Women


    U.N. Women Superagency Opens, But Just Barely


    The bottom half of the UN Women webpage linked below provides documents that interested readers might want to follow/check out…


  8. New UN Women’s head lays out 100-day action plan


    UN Women Head Unveils Empowerment Agenda

    Despite birthing 100 percent of the world’s children, growing 70 percent of the world’s food and performing 60 percent of the world’s labour, women only receive a fraction – a mere 10 percent – of the world’s income.


    New UN Women’s body plans to reinforce presence at country level


    Statement to the First Regular Session of the Executive Board, United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women


  9. “UN Women, under the Fund for Women’s Property and Inheritance Rights in the Context of HIV/AIDS, today announced approximately US$1.5 million in small grants to twenty grassroots and community-based organizations in sub-Saharan Africa to strengthen women’s property and inheritance rights as a critical strategy for addressing women’s vulnerability to HIV/AIDS…”


    The Word on Women – Half of peace accords fail within five years


    “…The time to enhance the role of women in mediation is now. The 2011 Inclusive Security Colloquium participants recommended a three-pronged approach to enhancing the role of women in peace processes, which would improve those processes at the same time.

    First, peace agreements need to be made more durable by including a wider range of players in talks so as to increase the perspectives brought to bear in resolving conflict. Second, to change the frame for negotiations, peace talks must be viewed as one step in the process rather than ends in themselves. And thirdly, accords must explicitly facilitate conflict prevention by addressing the underlying causes of conflict.

    As we embrace a new set of challenges mediating peace and transformation in regions like the Middle East and Northern Africa, the message of these women leaders must be heard. Women must be allowed a place at the table to ensure that peace accords endure…”

    Interested readers may also wish to check out:

    Women Are Pushing for Justice; They Must Not Be Pushed Back


  10. UN women report: Access to justice remains a work in progress

    Flagship report from the new UN agency shows there is a way to go before improvements in the legal position of women are translated into equality and justice for all


    Progress of the World’s Women: In Pursuit of Justice

    UN Women’s first major report

    “…The report offers 10 recommendations to overcome the paradox that while huge improvements have been made in the legal position of women over the last century, there is still a dramatic lag in translating that into equality and justice…”


    Executive Summary (of report Progress of the World’s Women) – 1.07 MB

    Click to access EN-Summary-Progress-of-the-Worlds-Women1.pdf

    Full Report (Progress of the World’s Women) – 9.44 MB:

    Click to access EN-Report-Progress.pdf

    Press Releases and Fact Sheets


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