Women and Gender Equality

Bandana Rana, vice-chair of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) meets from 10 to 28 February to discuss the reports of Afghanistan, Bulgaria, Eritrea, Kiribati, Latvia, Moldova, Pakistan and Zimbabwe.

Fatemeh preparing cookies for sale

Necessity led Fatemeh to discover her potential for business. FAO encourages women in rural communities to take a leading role in starting and running community businesses.

Zahra and her family

There are 4.1 million girls around the world at risk of undergoing female genital mutilation in 2020. Girls who suffer this harmful practice face severe consequences for their health. However, the cost of preventing it is just $95 per girl, according to the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). On 6 February, the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation, let’s engage whole societies, and especially youth, and focus on gender equality, sexual education and attention to the needs of women and girls affected.

collage of women and officials in the maritime sector

The Women's International Shipping and Trading Association Limited (WISTA International) and IMO have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on promoting greater diversity and inclusion through enhanced cooperation activities in the maritime field. These activities will lay the groundwork for further discussion on how a diverse workforce will be essential for a sustainable future.

activists at march

For 50 years, the world’s icons and activists have made changes touching the lives of millions of women and girls. Today, people are more likely than ever before to enjoy reproductive rights and choices.

Afaf Jafar, a fig grower

Since 2011, the Syrian conflict has hit hard the families in the country, as well as its agriculture. Many families lost their husbands, fathers or other breadwinners, leaving women solely responsible for earning money and taking care of their families. FAO teamed up with Slow Food International to offer Syrian women opportunities to gain the skills and confidence they need to boost their production, but also importantly, to help them identify markets. As part of this initiative, seven Syrian women, as well as a number of female technicians, travelled to the Piedmont and Liguria regions of Italy to learn from farming communities that produce and promote local, organic and artisanal foods. 


Volunteers and participants in the Digital Inclusion Week 2019 in Cairo, Egypt.

The Generation Equality Forum, taking place in May in Mexico City and in July in Paris, is a global gathering for gender equality convened by UN Women. Twenty-five years after the Beijing Declaration, the most comprehensive blueprint to achieve women’s empowerment, the Forum will set an agenda to achieve gender equality before 2030. It will also announce six catalytic Action Coalitions. This week Chile hosts a preparatory regional Conference on Women in Latin America and the Caribbean (27-31 January) centered on the theme of women’s autonomy in changing economic scenarios.


ILOSTAT data show that progress is needed in many areas and in every region to achieve gender equality in the labour market. While most of us are aware that women are often paid less than men in the same occupation, ILOSTAT data show where the gaps are largest. The median gender wage gap for 115 countries with available data is 14% in favor of men. And male-dominated occupations have even higher wage premiums for men.

women in Guinea

Women and girls make up half of the world’s population and, therefore, also half of its potential. Gender equality, besides being a fundamental human right, is essential to achieve peaceful societies, with full human potential and sustainable development. Unfortunately, there is still a long way to go to achieve full equality of rights and opportunities between men and women, warns UN Women. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action, and 5 years since the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals. Let’s make 2020 the year of equality!

Francy Jaramillo

Francy L. Jaramillo Piedrahita is a human rights defender with over a decade of experience working on women’s rights, LGBTQ issues and peacebuilding in Colombia. Read her story.

illustration of women's human rights

Women are entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of all of their human rights and to be free from all forms of discrimination. See the full infographic on the various aspects of women's human rights, prepared by UN Women.

family planning in Iraq

The world has seen both peril and promise in the last 10 years. But it is worth looking back at the gains humanity has made – especially in addressing gender inequality. Here are four changes that have helped define the last 10 years as a decade of growing voices and choices for women and girls. 

collage of women's achievements in 2019

From the first all-woman spacewalk to Sudanese women leading the country’s revolution, the last 12 months have seen some incredible achievements by and for women. Next year, 2020, is expected to be an even bigger year for women’s rights worldwide. It will mark several milestones, such as the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action, the most progressive global agenda for women’s rights adopted by 189 countries in 1995, and five years since the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals, among others. Women’s rights can’t wait, won’t wait. As 2019 comes to an end, we’re taking a look back at some of the memorable moments for gender equality and women’s rights around the world.

Kenyan girl

Access to health is a basic right, one that is central to a life of dignity. Maternal health is still one of the biggest concerns worldwide. In a three-part series, UNOPS explores the trials, triumphs and hopes of a community that live in Turkana, one of Kenya’s poorest counties.

women and children in orange t-shirts perform

The world went orange: Putting a spotlight on ending violence against women