Women and Gender Equality

Woman in Katfoura, Guinea, collects the leaves of a moringa tree.

Rural women have unique knowledge, skills and experiences that are critical to promoting sustainable practices and combating the ill-effects of climate change. Economically empowered rural women, like those in Brazil, Kyrgyzstan, Mali, Nepal and Niger mentioned in this article, are key to the success of families, communities and national economies. Through their labour, they are maintaining and improving their children’s education, household health, food security and nutrition, and are thus indispensable in the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Minara Begum

This year is the 40th anniversary of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, an international treaty on the human rights of women. The agreement provides an international standard for protecting and promoting women’s political, civil, cultural, economic, and social rights. As of October 2019, 189 countries have ratified it. A Committee consisting of 23 independent experts on women’s rights from around the world monitors the implementation of the Convention. They will convene in Geneva from 21 October until 8 November to assess progress and consider the reports submitted by the State parties.

Nadia Murad, Malala Yousafzai, Maya Angelou, and Rigoberta Menchu Tum

Books on feminism and women’s experience reflect how diverse women’s experiences around the world truly are.

Woman bee keeper

One out of every three women, who are employed, works in agriculture. In rural areas women collect biomass fuels, manually process foodstuffs, and pump water- 80% of households without piped water rely on women for water collection.  These are just some examples of their critical survival role in rural areas. That is why the UN commemorates the International Day of Rural Women every 15 October. The 2019 theme is “Rural women and girls building climate resilience,” calling for action to support rural women in responding to climate change through agricultural production, food security, and natural resources management.

graphic depiction of board room

Explore this InfoStory to find out why gender balance at all levels of business is better for companies and economies as a whole.

Young girls leaning against a pink wall, lining up from the shortest to the tallest for a photo-op.

Since 2012, 11 October has been marked as the International Day of the Girl Child. The day aims to highlight and address the needs and challenges girls face, while promoting girls' empowerment and the fulfilment of their human rights. Nearly 25 years ago, the 4th World Conference on Women culminated in the adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action; the most comprehensive policy agenda for the empowerment of women. This year, under the theme "GirlForce: Unscripted and Unstoppable," we celebrate achievements by, with, and for girls. 

group of girls posing with instruments

Investing in girls’ education and keeping girls in school is the critical first step in opening up opportunities for women in the Sahel.

woman with paints in front of graffiti of woman's face

"How do we get more women in politics?" asks Global Sustainable Development Goal Advocate, Alaa Murabit. As a UN High-Level Commissioner on Health Employment and Economic Growth, she has seen first-hand how our experiences and opportunities in childhood shape our future realities and potential: "If, from a young age, a girl or woman does not feel she has power over her own body, it can be a challenge for her to believe that she should run for public office." She also calls for transforming 'our cultural assumptions about what traits define leadership.' 

Christine Wambulwa, the sole female mechanic in Kakuma, stands next to the shop holding her tools with pride.

Not Waiting for Handouts: 5 Stories of Resilience From One of the World’s Largest Refugee Camps

In Burkina Faso, a new type of school is transforming the habits and mentalities of married men and future husbands.

Coding Caravan participants during a session on the development of a website, Talas, Kyrgyzstan.

In rural Kyrgyzstan, Coding Caravan encourages girls’ leadership and entrepreneurship

Women at UN CSW63 Side Event - “Take the Hot Seat”. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown

Women and girls represent 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.