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The Focal Point for Women

Under the guidance of the Special Adviser, the Focal Point, is particularly committed to the improvement of the status of women including in policy formulation and implementation, advocacy for work/life balance and grievance redress related to formal and informal conditions of employment of women.

The chief functions of the Office of the Focal Point include, inter alia:

1. Monitoring and reporting on the status of women in the UN system including through the preparation and presentation of reports of the Secretary-General to the General Assembly and the Commission on the Status of Women on the Improvement of the Status of Women in the UN System;

2. Participation in the debates of the Third Committee, the Commission on the Status of Women and any other intergovernmental body as required;

3. Advocacy for and assistance to policy formulation for issues related to the improvement of the status of women in the UN system;

4. Participation and intervention in recruitment, promotion and placement processes to ensure that more women are recruited and promoted, in particular at decision-making levels;

5. Coordination and support of the network of Departmental Focal Points.

6. Counseling, guidance and advocacy, for women staff members who contact the Office;

7. Communication, outreach and information dissemination to ensure information sharing and cross pollination of good and progressive policy and practice between the UN entities and outside institutions committed to gender issues in the work place;

8. Organization of Expert Group Meetings and other relevant events associated with the status of women.

Office of the Focal Point for Women in the United Nations

By way of resolution 43/224 of 21 December 1988, the General Assembly endorsed the Secretary-General's decision to deploy, on a full-time basis, a Focal Point for Women at the Principal Officer level. The Focal Point, through the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and the Advancement of Women, is mandated to monitor and report on the status of women in the United Nation's System, and assist the Secretary-General in achieving the General Assembly mandated goal of 50:50 gender balance at all levels in the UN System.

This initiative of creating an office for the Focal Point for Women was a direct response to calls at three global conferences on women -- Mexico, Copenhagen, and Nairobi -- and the resulting General Assembly resolutions which decreed that the United Nations must provide leadership and an example for Member States by achieving gender equality for women at all levels and, in particular, at the decision-making levels (posts D-1 to ASG/USG).