Commitments by the General Assembly to Gender Parity

Gender targets were set by the General Assembly initially in 1986. Subsequently they experienced a series of evolutions over a 20 year period till the Beijing Platform for Action established the goal of 50:50 for the Professional level and above. The evolution of these targets is shown below.

Date Adopted


Goal for Representation of Women


11 Dec. 1986


30% posts subject to geographic distribution


21 Dec. 1990


35% posts subject to geographic distribution, particularly in senior policy-level and decision-making posts


25% posts ranked D-1 and above


1 Feb. 1996


50/50 in managerial and decision-making positions


31 Jan. 1997


50/50 gender distribution at all levels


6 Feb. 1998


50/50 reaffirmed for all posts


8 Feb.  2001


50/50 in senior and policy-making levels

The very near future

19 Feb. 2004


50/50 for SG appointed special representatives and special envoys


10 Feb. 2005


50/50 reaffirmed for all posts

The very near future

07 Feb. 2007


50/50 reaffirmed for all posts


14 Feb. 2008


50/50  reaffirmed for all posts


4 Feb. 2009


50/50  reaffirmed for all posts


18 Feb. 2010 64/141 50/50  reaffirmed for all posts NA

Source: UN Women 10/2010.  

The goal of gender balance applies throughout the United Nations system, and in every department, office or regional commission, overall and at each level. It applies not only to posts subject to geographical distribution but to all categories of posts, without regard to the type or duration of the appointment, or the series of Staff Rules under which the appointment is made, or the source of funding.

The UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women - UN Women

A/RES/64/289 [ A | C | E | F | R | S ] on System wide Coherence created a new UN entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, also known as UN Women. It states:

Strengthening the institutional arrangements for support of gender equality and
the empowerment of women.

53. Further decides that the mandate and functions of the Entity ( UN Women) shall consist of the consolidated mandates and functions of the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women, the Division for the Advancement of Women, the United Nations Development Fund for Women and the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women, with the additional role of leading, coordinating and promoting the accountability of the United Nations system in its work on gender equality and the empowerment of women, and that any new mandates shall be subject to approval by intergovernmental process; (Page 9 of A/RES/289)

A/64/588 [ A | C | E | F | R | S ] Comprehensive proposal for the Composite Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women

The functions of the entity with regard to the improvement of the status of women are described in the Secretary-General’s Report A/64/588, on which the Resolution A/RES/64/289 relied in creating the new entity.  It states:

III. Functions and structure

6. The composite entity will have eight functions, as outlined in the Deputy
Secretary-General’s papers of August 2007 and July 2008. These are the following:

 (h) Monitor and report on system-wide compliance with intergovernmental
mandates on gender balance, including at the senior and decision-making levels. (Page 6 of A/64/588)

C. Headquarters-level functions
11. At Headquarters, the composite entity will provide substantive support to
Inter-governmental processes. In addition to other global functions, it will support
regional and country-level activities. For its key Headquarters functions, the
composite entity will:

(e) Monitor and report on United Nations system compliance and efforts
to develop and apply internal United Nations gender equality policies, including
achieving gender balance, eliminating harassment and promoting work-life
balance; (Page 10 of A/64/588)

October 18, 2010