Women and Gender Equality

100 years ago, the ILO adopted the first-ever international standard on maternity protection.

Racha Haffar

I am Generation Equality because... I want to create a better world where everyone is living equally and is respected, regardless of their gender, sex and sexual orientation.

Nuns and monks, with shaved heads and dressed in crimson robes, sit in organized rows as they look ahead in unison.

Bhutan's Changemakers in Crimson Robes

mother and daughter in Myanmar carrying firewood

As much as half of the world’s work is unpaid.  And most of it is done by women. This imbalance not only robs women of economic opportunities. It is also costly to society in the form of lower productivity and forgone economic growth. It follows that a fairer allocation of unpaid work would not only benefit women, but would also lead to more efficient work forces and stronger economies. An IMF study finds that unpaid work declines as economic development increases particularly because there is less time spent on domestic chores.

illustration: man's shadow looming over woman

Violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread, persistent and devastating human rights violations. The theme for the 2019 International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women is ‘Orange the World: Generation Equality Stands Against Rape,’ and for the next two years, the UN Secretary-General’s UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign will focus on the issue of rape. As in previous years, the International Day will mark the launch of the 16 days of activism that will conclude on 10 December, which is International Human Rights Day.

Twenty-five years ago, the world was a different place. Incredible progress has been made in so many areas. So why haven’t we seen as much progress for women’s health and rights?

On the 25th anniversary of the ground-breaking International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD), the Nairobi Summit (12-14 November) will seek actionable commitments to address gender-based violence and uphold the right to sexual and reproductive health care.

school director Tarekegn Degefu

School director Tarekegn Degefu led the creation of a gender club and started a day care service at the school for teachers and staff after attending a gender-responsive pedagogy and assessment training organized as part of a UNESCO project in Ethiopia. 

men holding up signs #HeForShe

Join the global solidarity movement for gender equality. Millions of people like you have already made the HeForShe commitment globally. Commit to take action for a gender equal world.

The film uses the iconic words and voice of humanitarian, activist and poet Maya Angelou and her acclaimed poem 'Still I Rise' to showcase the day in a life of various women food producers.

woman dancing in a crowd

It is well known that violent conflict disproportionately affects women and girls and intensifies pre-existing gender inequalities and discrimination. Women are also active agents of peace in armed conflict, yet their role as key players and change agents of peace has been largely unrecognized. Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) was the first resolution that acknowledged the contributions women and girls make to conflict prevention, peacekeeping, conflict resolution and peacebuilding and highlighted the importance of their equal and full participation. Since then, the Security Council meets every year on the anniversary of its adoption, 31 October.

smiling women holding up signs on gender equality

Imagine a world where all people have equal rights and opportunities. Women and girls are not afraid of walking home late at night, and men and boys are not trapped in oppressive masculinities. In this world, gender equality is the norm. Men and women get paid equally for work of equal value and share the care work at home. This is Generation Equality. UN Women’s Generation Equality campaign marks the 25th anniversary of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the most visionary agenda for women’s rights and empowerment everywhere.

UN Police officer greets a woman and her baby

Ten years ago, the UN Security Council established the mandate of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict. Conflict-related sexual violence is no longer seen as an inevitable byproduct of war, but rather a crime that is preventable and punishable under International Law. It is also essential to recognize and tackle gender inequality as the root cause and driver of sexual violence, in times of war and peace and to provide multidimensional services for survivors.

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.