Women and Gender Equality

Around the world and through the decades, we have all shared in the global struggle for gender equality.

woman cutting fabric

The world has made unprecedented advances, but no country has achieved gender equality. Legal restrictions have kept 2.7 billion women from having the same choice of jobs as men. Less than 25% of parliamentarians are women. One in three women experiences gender-based violence. International Women’s Day, 8 March, is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women. This year’s theme, I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights, is aligned with UN Women’s campaign marking the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. Let’s make 2020 count for women and girls everywhere!

Woman standing at her doorway holds up a full bag.

Saúde das Manas (“Sisters’ Health”) project, a UNFPA partnership, aims is to strengthen the quality of reproductive health care in Brazil. The local health system provides services in COVID-19 times by setting up telemedicine offices at seven health-care clinics (called basic health units in Brazil). The clinics will provide online consultations with specialists in gynaecology and obstetrics. Before the telemedicine offices open, patients who require a more specialized consultation travel more than 100 kilometres away, mostly by boat.

The portraits of the five winners and the logo of the Prize.

UNESCO and the L'Oréal Foundation honoured five women researchers in the fields of astrophysics, mathematics, chemistry and informatics as part of the 23rd International Prize for Women in Science.  UNESCO’s global study on gender equality in scientific research, shows that although the number of women in scientific research has risen to one in three, women remain a minority. Every year women write as many scientific articles as men, but their chances of appearing in prestigious journals are lower, as are their seats on national science academies around the world.

Despite a shortage of skills in technological fields that are driving the Fourth Industrial Revolution, women still only account for 28% of engineering graduates and 40% of graduates in computer science and informatics, according to the forthcoming UNESCO Science Report whose chapter on gender in

Portrait of three women in traditional dress.

Reformed cutters protect the next generation from female genital mutilation in Kenya

How to support survivors of gender-based violence (GBV) in fragile and conflict-affected regions where health facilities are scarce and often out of capacity? In this video, 2018 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Dr.

collage of four women scientists

It will soon be a year since WHO declared COVID-19 to be a pandemic. By now, every corner of the world has felt the devastating impact of the pandemic, and women and girls in science are on the front lines of response. They are healthcare workers and innovators. They are researching vaccines and pioneering treatments. They are leading us toward a safer world, and inspiring the next generation of girls to be forces of good in science and tech. This 11 February, we’re celebrating International Day of Women and Girls in Science by highlighting just some of the women and girls around the world who have made tremendous contributions during the ongoing crisis.

A collage of images that include one of two manicured female hands with a ring in each.

February is a busy month for retailers marketing the promise of “happily ever after” to girls around the world. But for tens of millions of girls, this is just a fairy tale. Their girlhoods are ending,not with storybook romance but with harmful rites of passage such as child marriage and female genital mutilation – practices believed to be increasing as the COVID-19 pandemic forces girls out of school and drags their families into poverty. UNFPA calls on leaders, community members and parents to take decisive action against female genital mutilation and early marriage.

If you believe that women deserve equal rights, then you are already part of Generation Equality. The Generation Equality Forum is a civil society–centered, global gathering for gender equality, convened by UN Women and co-hosted by the governments of Mexico and France.

rural women dancing

Learn more about the different factors that relate to gender inequalities embedded in land rights by exploring FAO's database.

competition poster

"Generation Equality: Picture it!" is a global competition to mark the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration. The submission deadline is 21 March 2021.

A woman lies with her new-born as a man wearing a facemask stands besides them.

UNFPA’s biggest stories of 2020 all stemmed from one story: COVID-19. Here are the highlights of how the pandemic affected women and girls, but also how people worldwide met the challenge.

Imen with her camels

Imen, like so many Tunisian youth, she struggled to find a paying job. In 2019 she submitted a proposal for a camel-rearing business to the the Support Fund for Project Holders and it was accepted. Camel raising is traditionally an exclusively male occupation. In fact, on the day her proposal was accepted, Imen became the first woman camel farmer not just in Tunisia, but all of North Africa. So how did a young woman with no relevant experience succeed? Put simply, she was determined and tenacious. 

women with donkeys

Some 2 million people and 20 million livestock inhabit the semi-arid plains of East Darfur. A rising population and more frequent climatic variability, combined with ineffective governance and policies have put a severe strain on natural resources, such as water and land. These challenges have been exacerbated by a major armed conflict in Darfur that began in 2003. In a number of communities across East Darfur, things are slowly starting to change, with women playing a greater role in various decision-making processes.