Women and Gender Equality

collage of black women leaders

Meet six black women, who are leaders and trailblazers in their countries and communities. 

Apande Dut, member of a female farming group

“In the Dinka language, there is a saying: men eat first, then women, then children. But here we, as women, we eat beside the men.” Apande Dut smiles as she says this, sitting with a large group of women under the shade of a mango tree, shelling peanuts while nursing her children. The women are all members of a female-dominant farming group in the town of Rumbek, South Sudan. Up until 2018, both Apande and her fellow community member and friend, Agok, farmed on their own, but their farming knowledge was limited and with such difficult farming conditions, the food grown was never enough. Through sessions led by FAO, the group received agricultural tools, information and trainings on agronomy, as well as business skills that translated into higher production and diversification of their produce. 

A small bowl of saffron

The IFAD-funded Rural Development Programme in the Mountain Zones in Morocco has empowered the women of Azilal by helping scale-up their saffron business and by providing training.

Three girls wearing facemasks balance multiple bottles on their heads.

As the coronavirus continues to spread worldwide, in developing countries it’s rural girls who are proving to be the most vulnerable to abuse during economic collapse and lockdown.

cover artwork

Every day, hundreds of thousands of girls around the world are subjected to practices that harm them physically or psychologically, or both, with the full knowledge and consent of their families, friends and communities. The practices reduce and limit their capacity to participate fully in society and to reach their full potential. UNFPA's flagship report The State of World Population 2020 examines the effects of three widespread practices: female genital mutilation, child marriage and son preference.

illustration of female scientist

Named after pioneer physicist and Nobel Prize laureate Marie Skłodowska-Curie, the IAEA Programme aims to inspire and to encourage young women to pursue a career in nuclear sciences and technology and non-proliferation.

women and men with masks on the street

The COVID-19 pandemic threatens to roll back gains in women’s economic opportunities, widening gender gaps that persist despite 30 years of progress. Well-designed policies to foster recovery can mitigate the negative effects of the crisis on women and prevent further setbacks for gender equality. What is good for women is ultimately good for addressing income inequality, economic growth, and resilience, says the IMF.

A woman uses an axe.

Roads are an essential means of transporting food and other essential items to vulnerable communities throughout The Gambia. Improving The Gambia’s network of feeder roads is an important means of enhancing food security and advancing social and economic development across the country. More than 200 local women have been employed in construction works linked to a UNOPS project that is doing just that – with the construction team comprising more than 60 per cent women.

Illustration of a couple among different women’s hygiene products.

UNFPA calls attention to the needs and vulnerabilities of women and girls amid the global coronavirus pandemic, and the efforts needed to secure their health and human rights.

A woman at a health clinic with people looking in from the doorway.

As COVID-19 takes a staggering toll on people, communities and economies everywhere, not everyone is affected equally. Women, who account for the largest share of front-line health workers, are disproportionately exposed to the coronavirus. As countries are on lockdown and health systems struggle to cope, sexual and reproductive health services are being side-lined and gender-based violence is on the rise. On 11 July, World Population Day, the United Nations aims to raise awareness about the sexual and reproductive health needs and vulnerabilities of women and girls during the pandemic.

indigenous women around a table with craftwork

Since March 2020, Guatemala has recorded more than 600 COVID-19 deaths and over 11,000 infections. Amidst this crisis, indigenous women have continued to use their voices, knowledge and capacities to assist their communities and adapt their livelihoods. To build back better, their needs and concerns, but also their leadership must be placed at the centre of COVID-19 recovery plans. Boosting indigenous women’s entrepreneurial abilities can be transformative for them and their communities, and by extension, the entire country.

A woman wearing a hijab stares at a poster that reads STOP VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN.

UN Women indicates that domestic violence is one of the greatest human rights violations.  Some 243 million women and girls (aged 15-49) have been subjected to sexual or physical violence by an intimate partner in the last 12 months. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, this number is likely to grow. Increases in interpersonal violence during times of crisis are well documented. UN Secretary-General António Guterres urged all Governments to make the prevention and redress of violence against women part of their national response plans.  Over 140 Governments have supported this call.

drawing of young woman with hand up, saying STOP

Five unexpected, and critical, takeaways from UNFPA’s flagship 2020 State of World Population report. Without urgent action, the situation for women and girls could worsen.

Join UN Women in speaking up and taking action for a future without violence against women.

UN Women Goodwill Ambassador and Academy-Award winning actor Nicole Kidman raises awareness on ending violence against women during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

A man and a little girl play with toys.

When fathers share the care