Women and Gender Equality

silhouettes of women's faces on an orange background

Before COVID-19, a different pandemic was already threatening the lives and well-being of people around the world: violence against women, impacting at least 1 in 3 women and girls. Now, a new report from UN Women, which brings together survey data collected in 13 countries across all regions, confirms the severity of the problem. Despite its persistent prevalence, violence against women is preventable. UN Women experts offer 5 recommendations for action.

An image of shattered glass that reads “The Virtual is Real”

Just as gender-based violence takes on many insidious forms, so does digital gender-based violence: image-based abuse aka non-consensual sharing of intimate images or “revenge porn”, cyberstalking, online harassment, sextortion, online trafficking, doxxing. The perpetrator could be a stranger on another continent or someone next door targeting sexuality against her. Marginalized groups, including people with disabilities and LGBTQI individuals, may be even more vulnerable. UNFPA presents the stories of survivors during the 16-days of activism against gender-based violence campaign.

drawing of women marching with flags

From 25 November to 10 December, the United Nations is marks the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence under the global theme: “Orange the World: End Violence against Women Now!”

woman walking up stairs in damaged building

As governments, humanitarian actors, and peacebuilders meet at the UN to discuss the women, peace and security agenda, watch this space for news, updates and voices of women peacebuilders.

woman working on an artwork

War, violent conflict, terrorism and violent extremism have different and devastating consequences for women and girls. In the face of these, women all over the world lead movements to prevent conflict, restore peace and rebuild communities. The women, peace and security agenda was formally established in 2000 by a unanimous Security Council decision. This year’s Security Council’s annual open debate on women, peace and security will focus on investing in the contribution of local women to peacekeeping, peacebuilding and transitional settings during and following UN peace operations.

Illustration of a young woman

More than 217 million women and girls in the world who want to avoid getting pregnant aren’t using effective contraceptives. UNFPA helps countries increase access to voluntary family planning.

UN Women is committed to #StayandDeliver in Afghanistan, where recent rollbacks on women’s rights have evoked fear for Afghan women and girls. UN Women Afghanistan Deputy Representative Alison Davidian breaks down this urgent situation, highlighting key areas for action to support the immediate and long-term needs of Afghan women and girls. 

2022 laureates

UNESCO and the L'Oréal Foundation unveil the winners of this year’s International Prize for Women in Science, which honours five eminent women scientists with exceptional careers from the five regions of the world.

The profile of a woman using a head veil

The progress Afghanistan has made in increasing freedom and rights and dramatically lowering maternal mortality must not be erased or eroded. UNFPA is on the ground in Afghanistan working with its partners to ensure access to life-saving reproductive health and protection services at community, village and district levels and in camps. Guided by the humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence, UNFPA is committed to delivering in Afghanistan, with our response grounded in our mission to uphold the rights of girls and women.

A woman hangs holds up an illustration of a 50/50 signs that include both the male and female signs.

Across all regions, women are paid less than men. The International Equal Pay Day (18 September) represents the longstanding efforts towards the achievement of equal pay for work of equal value. It further builds on the United Nations commitment to human rights and against all forms of discrimination, including discrimination against women and girls. This year’s observance focuses on encouraging efforts of key labour market actors to ensure that equal pay remains central to pandemic responses worldwide and to fully recognize the contributions of women to COVID-19 recovery.

A digital rendering of a community place

Engaging women and girls to develop safe, inclusive, and accessible public spaces is one of the core principles of UN-Habitat’s global commitment to building better and more resilient cities.

grid of artworks on gender equality

We all have the potential to create meaningful change in the world around us. Whether by educating family and friends, speaking up on social media, challenging stereotypes through creative expression or otherwise, we can each promote gender equality and #ActForEqual every single day. In the run up to the 2021 Generation Equality Forum UN Women asked artists globally to visualize what gender equality means to them and received more than 1000 inspirational submissions from creative advocates all over the world.

Dubravka Šimonović

Rape is widespread all over the world, and all countries, as well as the UN, need to do more to improve legislation to improve conviction rates and protect women, Dubravka Šimonović, the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, has told UN News.

In her last report for the UN in the role, entitled: Rape as a grave and systematic human rights violation and gender-based violence against women, Ms. Šimonović, a highly experienced independent human rights expert, calls for governments to ensure that rape laws are in line with international human rights legislation which, she says, has evolved significantly over recent decades.

Speaking to UN News’s Conor Lennon, Ms. Šimonović said that impunity remains a major problem.

a collage of portraits of women.

UN Women invites women’s and feminist organizations, government and private entities to make bold commitments for equality at the Generation Equality Forum, from 30 June to 2 July.

What does supermodel and UNFPA Goodwill Ambassador Natalia Vodianova have inside her bag? Watch as she shows us the essential items women just can't live without.