UN Population Division, Department of Economic and Social Affairs,
with support from the UN Population Fund (UNFPA)

Guidelines on Women's Empowerment


This document has been prepared by the Secretariat of the United Nations 

Inter-Agency Task Force on the Implementation of the ICPD Programme of 

Action.  For further information please contact the United Nations 

Population Fund, Task Force on ICPD Implementation, 220 East 42nd Street, 

New York, NY 10017 USA or send E-mail to: pierce@unfpa.org





1.   The 1990's have seen increasing recognition of the centrality

of women's empowerment to the success of development programmes. 

The empowerment of women was essential to the declarations and

platforms for action of the 1990 World Conference on Education for

All, the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and

Development, the 1993 Human Rights Conference, the 1994

International Conference on Population and Development, the 1995

World Summit for Social Development, and the Regional Preparatory

Conferences for the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women.  This

increased appreciation for and understanding of women's pivotal

role in the development process has also been reflected in the

goals and priorities of organizations and agencies in the United

Nations system.  In this regard, the United Nations Resident

Coordinators are being called upon to play a key role in

facilitating inter-agency cooperation on gender equality and equity

and the empowerment of women, with particular emphasis on

operational activities at the country level.  

2.   The Programme of Action of the International Conference on

Population and Development stresses that the empowerment and

autonomy of women and the improvement of their political, social,

economic and health status is both a highly important end in itself

and necessary for the achievement of sustainable human development. 

It states further that "Advancing gender equality and equity and

the empowerment of women, and the elimination of all kinds of

violence against women, and ensuring women's ability to control

their own fertility ...are priority objectives of the international

community" (Principle 4 of the ICPD Programme of Action).   

3.   The Programme of Action further recognizes that in all parts

of the world, women are facing threats to their lives, health and

well-being.  They receive less education than men and are over-

represented among the poor and powerless.  Achieving change

requires policy and programme actions that will improve women's

access to the scarce and valued resources of their societies

(particularly secure livelihoods and economic resources), alleviate

their disproportionate household responsibilities, remove legal and

social impediments to their participation in the public sphere,

eliminate the spectre of domestic and sexual violence from their

daily lives and raise social awareness through effective programmes

of education and mass communication.


4.   Clearly, a common thread uniting each of the major

international conferences of the 1990's is women's empowerment. 

Furthermore, the international community is now accountable to the

world's women for fulfilling the significant commitments it has

made to help make empowerment a reality of women's lives.  What,

then, is women's empowerment?  Women's empowerment has five

components:  women's sense of self-worth; their right to have and

to determine choices; their right to have access to opportunities

and resources; their right to have the power to control their own

lives, both within and outside the home; and their ability to

influence the direction of social change to create a more just

social and economic order, nationally and internationally.  


5.   Recognizing that the successful implementation of the

Programme of Action at the national level depends upon an inter-

disciplinary approach, paragraph 10 of General Assembly Resolution

49/128, Report on the International Conference on Population and

Development, "calls upon the organs of the United Nations system

and the specialized agencies to undertake the actions required to

give full and effective support to the implementation of the

Programme of Action."  In response to this resolution, the Inter-

Agency Task Force on the Implementation of the ICPD Programme of

Action proposed that efforts to further the empowerment of women be

pursued within the United Nations coordination system led by the

Resident Coordinator.  

6.   The Resident Coordinator is expected to establish a modality

for inter-agency cooperation that would serve as a catalyst for

national initiatives designed to further the economic, social,

political and legal empowerment of women.  The Guidelines are not

intended to hinder agencies from pursuing their respective

mandates.  Rather, they will enhance the complementarity of

programmes; facilitate integrated planning within a national

development framework; foster dialogue among agencies and between

the United Nations system and governments, provide space for, and

legitimize the participation of NGOs and other actors of civil

society, and allow the United Nations system to contribute more

effectively to the achievement of women's empowerment.  The

Statement on the Role and Functioning of the Resident Coordinator

System provides the framework in which this coordination will take


7.   Among suggested modalities for coordination and collaboration

among United Nations agencies and between the United Nations system

and its government and civil society partners are:

     o    standing inter-agency working groups on gender equality 

          and women's empowerment; 

     o    training sessions in gender analysis and gender-sensitive 

          programming for national-level United Nations staff, as  

          well as government, NGO partners and individuals likely   

          to act as national consultants to the UN system; 

     o    multi-donor coordination mechanisms; 

     o    joint working sessions and planning meetings with       

          national officials and representatives of NGOs and          

          grassroots women's groups;  

     o    standing advisory groups made up of gender experts from 

          government, NGOs, women's groups, and academia; and

     o    the establishment of national-level goals for, and      

          indicators of, gender equality and women's empowerment. 

8.   Heterogeneous groupings of representatives from different

disciplines, the public and private sectors, and a range of civil

society associations allow for the dynamic exchange of ideas,

sharing of lessons learned, consolidation of objectives,

rationalization of activities, coordination of funding and

identification of priorities.  The inclusion of a range of civil

society actors will ensure that the voices and visions of women at

the grassroots level are brought into the policy-making process. 

The inclusion of regional bodies in this expanded partnership is

also a necessity.

9.   Given the resistance that still exists in many quarters to the

promotion of women's empowerment and the use of gender analysis in

development programming, as well as the widespread lack of

technical expertise in this area, inter-agency working groups,

particularly those that include government and civil society

representatives, will serve to consolidate a critical mass of

support for gender-sensitive programming.  Often gender concerns

are handled by relatively junior staff, reflecting and reinforcing

the historical marginality of women's concerns to the development

process.  When called by the Resident Coordinator, the highest

ranking United Nations official at the national level, however,

such meetings will highlight the seriousness with which the United

Nations system now seeks to promote gender equality and empowerment

of women.  This high-level advocacy, which serves to legitimize

gender issues in the eyes of United Nations staff and development

partners alike, is among the most effective strategies available to

the Resident Coordinator seeking to foster women's empowerment at

the national level.


Research, statistics and situational analysis

10.  The creation of gender-sensitive development policies at the

national level is impeded by the lack of accurate and accessible

information about women at both the national and international

levels.  In this regard, it is vital that a common data base of

gender and age-disaggregated statistics be available to all United

Nations agencies, and also that common methodologies and

statistical indicators be used in data-gathering.  This

disaggregation is vital to follow-up actions targeted at the well-

being of girls, adolescents and women and to identify areas in the

life-cycle of women during which gender disparities are greatest. 

The new volume of the World's Women, to be issued in August 1995,

can serve as a model.  In addition, there is also a great need to

collate, analyse and make accessible statistics and data that

already exist.  The Resident Coordinator has a key role to play in

coordinating multi-disciplinary national-level data-gathering; in

discovering what information is already available at the national

level (through United Nations and government studies, as well as

academia and research institutions) and ensuring its dissemination;

in pinpointing the information gaps; in establishing priority areas

for research; and in identifying areas where gender disparities are


11.  Areas for which sound statistical information is known to be

scarce are the effects of environmental degradation on women;

causes and effects of migration;  adolescent pregnancy and

reproductive health; male roles and responsibilities in promoting

women's empowerment and reproductive health; and the socio-economic

implications of changing gender roles.  There is also a great need

to promote research; gather facts and compile statistics concerning

domestic violence; encourage research about the causes, nature,

gravity and consequence of violence against women; and test and

analyse the effectiveness of measures to thwart gender-based

violence and document its recovery process.  

12.  Creating a roster of gender experts -- national consultants

with expertise in different fields, such as agriculture,

appropriate technology and health, including reproductive health

from a gender perspective -- for use by the United Nations system,

government ministries and NGOs, as well as compiling a directory of

studies and data bases available at the national level, are useful

first steps.

Training in Gender Analysis and Gender-Sensitive Development


13.  A key area of concentration for Resident Coordinators should

be gender training.  This training should be required of all United

Nations field staff, including the Resident Coordinator himself or

herself.  In addition, the Resident Coordinator should work with UN

agencies and national-level ministries (not just ministries for

women, welfare or social  services, but also finance, planning,

agricultural, energy and other "hard" sectoral ministries) to train

staff to help ensure that gender is more fully understood and

gender issues are incorporated within the scope of country- and

region-wide development initiatives.  It will also ensure that

there are systematic plans at national levels to avoid duplication

and overlapping of the training efforts of various UN agencies. 

The importance of ensuring high-quality gender training cannot be

overstated; those already sceptical of the value of gender training

find their worse fears confirmed and can become entrenched in their

opposition after a poorly designed or poorly run training session. 

The relevance and practical applications of gender analysis to the

audience's day-to-day work must be stressed.  Resident Coordinators

should take advantage of the methodologies that are being developed

collaboratively by several agencies (including FAO, ILO, UNDP,


Reproductive Health and Reproductive Rights

14.  The Resident Coordinator has a key role to play in promoting

the reproductive and sexual health and well-being and reproductive

rights of women, adolescents and girls at the national level. 

Included under the rubric of reproductive health are the

traditional concerns of family planning, as well as issues coming

to the forefront of international attention more recently, such as

AIDS and other STDs, unsafe abortion, adolescent pregnancy,

practices that are harmful to the health of women and children

(such as female genital mutilation), discriminatory nutritional and

other practices based on male child preference, and early marriage. 

Also included in the concept of reproductive health is women and

adolescents' control over their sexuality.  Reproductive and sexual

health are affected by the economic, social, cultural and

educational environment in which girls are born, grow to womanhood,

marry and repeat the process in starting their own families.  The

Resident Coordinator's interventions in this area should be

imbedded in a human rights framework and informed by several key


     o    Women have the right to autonomy and reproductive choice.

     o    Women have the right and social responsibility to decide 

          whether, how and when to have children and how many to   

          have; no woman can be compelled to bear a child or         

          prevented from doing so against her will. 

     o    Men also have a personal and social responsibility for  

          their own sexual behaviour and fertility and for the      

          effects of that behaviour on the health and well-being of     

          their partners and children.

     o    Reproductive health issues should be addressed in the way 

          women and men experience them; not as isolated,

          biomedical phenomena or matters of public policy, but as 

          an integrated part of everyday life.

     o    The fundamental sexual and reproductive rights of women

          cannot be subordinated against a woman's will to the

          interests of partners, family members, policy-makers, or

          any other actors.

     o    Women must be respected to make their own reproductive

          decisions; they must have both the information and the

          authority to make decisions about reproduction and the

          services that will enable them to satisfy their

          reproductive health needs.

15.  The goals of reproductive health programmes should be to

increase women and adolescents' control over their bodies, their

sexuality and ultimately their lives; to improve women's health,

including their reproductive and sexual health;  and to change

socio-economic structures and norms that impede women's free

exercise of their human rights, including their reproductive rights

(such as women's legal status, access to education, decision-making

powers, poverty level, choice regarding marriage partners and

rights within marriage).

16.  In practice, these goals and principles require that the

Resident Coordinator support reproductive health programming rather

than "target-oriented" population programmes by focusing on meeting

the needs of individual women and men; expanding standard services

to include prevention and treatment of AIDs, sexually transmitted

diseases, and violence against women; responding to women and girls

at all stages of the life-cycle; and emphasizing safe, effective

and affordable contraceptive methods that women themselves control

and that are of high quality.

Women's Human Rights and the Convention on the Elimination of all

Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)

17.  Since the International Conference on Human Rights, held in

June 1993 in Vienna, and the subsequent General Assembly

ratification in December 1993 of the Declaration on the Elimination

of Violence against Women, political will and mobilization around

the issue of women's human rights has increased tremendously.  The

debate has led to an expanded conception of human rights that

explicitly recognizes that women's rights are human rights.  In

response to this expanded definition of human rights, in March

1994, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights agreed to

appoint a Special Rapporteur on violence against women and to

integrate the rights of women into the human rights mechanisms of

the United Nations.  These advances have shown the potential of the

human rights framework for improving the status of women and the

condition of their lives.

18.  Despite these substantial legal and procedural changes at the

international level, however, the majority of the world's girls and

women remain outside this enlarged vision of human rights due to

the pervasive, structural and systemic denial of their liberty at

the national and community levels worldwide.  The Convention on the

Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women, approved

in 1979, provides concrete ways to bring these international

principles to bear at the national level.  Unlike other human

rights treaties, CEDAW specifically obliges states that ratify the

Convention to take all appropriate measures to eliminate

discrimination against women by any person, organization or

enterprise.  In addition, it provides a legal framework for women's

empowerment and participation in the development process.  It not

only guarantees basic human rights and fundamental freedoms, it

also lays out policy measures and targets areas of particular

concern to women (such as sex roles and stereotyping, affirmative

action, trafficking in women, access to health care, education and

benefits, and the special needs of rural women).

19.  Resident Coordinators can become involved with CEDAW at the

national level in several ways.  They can play an advocacy role in

supporting the lobbying and public education efforts of NGOs in

countries that have not yet ratified CEDAW, working to generate

awareness and support, to build partnerships and to assist others

in their lobbying efforts.  

20.  In countries that have ratified CEDAW, the Resident

Coordinator can assist NGOs and parliamentarians in lobbying for

greater support to the CEDAW Committee, aid the Committee in

disseminating its important findings to a larger audience, work

with appropriate partners to produce materials that make the

Convention accessible and usable at the grassroots level, and

establish task forces of legal experts to design innovative uses of

the Convention and advise women and other groups on its

application.   The Resident Coordinator can also support efforts to

revise the legal code to protect and promote the rights of women,

using CEDAW as a basis.  Since women worldwide would be well served

by a strengthening of the Convention's mandate and power, Resident

Coordinators should also support the efforts of those seeking to

"give teeth" to the Convention.

Culture and tradition

21.  It is important to make note of one of the concerns most

frequently raised regarding efforts to further gender equality and

the empowerment of women, i.e., that such efforts constitute undue

interference in the culture, religion, or traditional practices of

a country.  Resident Coordinators have a special responsibility to

address these concerns and to draw distinctions among traditional

practices that harm women and girls and deprive them of their

universally recognized human rights, such as gender-based violence,

forced early marriage, and female genital mutilation, and those

that are socially valuable and benefit women.  

22.  Several points are key in addressing this issue of culture in

relation to efforts to foster gender equality and women's

empowerment.  First, all development efforts, including those that

seek "merely" to introduce new technologies or promote economic

growth, imply social change, for, as the nature, modes, goals and

social relations of production are altered, structures of work and

family life are transformed.  Second, women's empowerment was first

articulated and championed as an approach to development by

Southern women seeking to improve their lives and those of their

families. Third, culture is not a static, fixed entity, but a

confluence of beliefs and values continuously undergoing processes

of change and redefinition in response to external and internal

economic, political and social forces.  

23.  Fourth, cultures and societies are not monolithic; they are

made up of groups of people who often hold conflicting and

competing ideologies, beliefs and practices.  What is called

"culture" can sometimes be more accurately understood as the ideas

and practices valued by the dominant group, often men.  Social

movements that pose a particular threat to women (and which are, in

turn, particularly threatened by women's empowerment) often appeal

to this concept of cultural or religious tradition as a basis for

their attempt to extend their social control.  Finally, the

argument that gender discrimination is a country or cultural matter

(which mirrors the claim that domestic violence is a private act

rather than a public crime) falls apart when one substitutes "race"

for "gender"; South Africa's past policies of apartheid demanded

and received an international response, as should policies and

practices of gender discrimination.


24.  The role of equality in education in bringing about equality

in all walks of life is well known and discussed in detail in the

Basic Education Guidelines.  Girls' education is fundamental to

gender equality and women's empowerment.  Key areas for the

Resident Coordinator's attention include life-long education and

training, including pre-school provision, the elimination of

stereotyped teaching and education materials, diversification of

the educational and training opportunities available to women and

girls, and the promotion of self-esteem and leadership in girls. 

Providing employment and job training, as well as literacy

training, for women past traditional school age should be an area

of special focus, as should enabling pregnant adolescents to

continue their schooling.  The Resident Coordinator could work to

raise awareness about the ancillary advantages of educating girls

and women, such as a reduction in fertility rates and a more

skilled labour force, as well as advocating for the right of women

and girls to equality and quality in education.

Violence Against Women

25.  Violence against women is not the issue of any particular

region or group; it is an ugly universal, crossing the frontiers of

ideology, social class and ethnic identity.  At the individual

level, violence disrupts the lives of women, limits their options,

undermines their confidence and self-esteem, and impairs their

health psychologically as well as psychically.  It denies them

their human rights and hinders their full participation in society. 

Violence against women deprives society of the full participation

of women in all aspects of development, not just in terms of hours

of labour missed due to violence, but also in terms of the cost of

services to the victims.  It also has serious consequences for the

mental and bodily health of dependent children.  

26.  Despite its prevalence, some of the manifestations of gender-

based violence respond to, and are determined and patterned by, the

specific characteristics of different national and community

contexts.  Therefore, the Resident Coordinator should ensure that

the design and execution of programmes are specifically attuned to

respond appropriately at the local, national and regional levels. 

The Resident Coordinator has a key role to play in countering

violence against women by supporting advocacy, social mobilization,

institution-building and network strengthening.  He or she can also

play a key role in coordinating multi-disciplinary approaches to

the problem, as well as multi-agency responses.  

Women's NGOs and Networks

27.  Among the best ways to aid the poor of the developing world

and to reach women at the grassroots level is to provide technical

and financial assistance to the organizations that they themselves

create and control.  In this regard, the importance of local

institution-building to the process of development cannot be

overstated; no matter what problem a project seeks to address, its

ultimate success or failure often hinges upon the strength of the

implementing agency.  Although strong organizations occasionally

fail, institutionally weak organizations seldom succeed.  

28.  The Resident Coordinator can play an important role in

strengthening the capacity of NGOs, particularly those at the

grassroots level, by providing them information regarding the

nature, norms and requirements of the international development

cooperation system. The United Nations Resident Coordinator can

also support networking of like-minded or complementary

organizations by calling meetings, conferences and seminars.  By

advocating for the inclusion of NGO representatives in government

policy-setting dialogue and facilitating NGO participation in the

meetings he or she convenes,  the Resident Coordinator can help

build partnerships, strengthen alliances between NGOs and

governments, and serve to legitimize the participation of civil

society.  The Resident Coordinator should support NGOs in the areas

in which they have a comparative advantage, particularly reaching

women at the grassroots level, bringing women's concerns to the

attention of policy-makers and fostering the political

participation and leadership of women.  Finally, the Resident

Coordinator's efforts to ensure that women and their concerns are

incorporated into NGOs that do not focus specifically on women are

also key.

Refugee, Displaced and Returnee Women

29.  Refugee, returnee and displaced women and girls have two sets

of special needs:  the first, because they have been displaced; the

second, because they are female.  Refugee, returnee and displaced

women are particularly disadvantaged, as they are almost entirely

dependent on external sources of assistance.  Programmes for them

must be targeted to ensure that women are not unintentionally

marginalized or further disempowered.  When a gender perspective is

not employed in the design and implementation of projects and

efforts are not made to compensate for the power, status and income

differentials between men and women, these gender disparities can

actually be sharpened or further entrenched.  Initiating gender-

sensitive programming in the first stages of an emergency is

particularly important and yet can too easily be given lower

priority in the very difficult first stages of large population

movements requiring immediate life-sustaining support.   Given that

at least 80 per cent of the total current number of the refugee

population worldwide are women and their dependent children and

that a high proportion of refugee women are heads-of-household, any

negative impacts of development and reconstruction policies and

projects on women pose a serious threat to the overall success of

such policies.

30.  Although they have been removed from their usual social

support systems and economic resource bases, and are often

emotionally devastated by fear and grief, refugee women are still

required to care for the sick, old, injured and young.  Because the

health of migrant populations, including that of care-taking women

themselves, is generally poor, this burden is worsened.  Physical

security is a particular problem for refugee women and girls.  

They often face sexual violence (including the increasing

deliberate use of systematic rape to terrorize civilian

populations), sexual exploitation by guards and so-called

peacekeepers, and increased domestic violence triggered by

escalating stress and uncertainty.  

31.  Resident Coordinators must ensure that policies designed to

aid refugee, displaced and returnee women and girls are informed by

the reality of their lives.   They must ensure that policy-makers

recognize that most refugee families are headed by women and so do

not limit distribution of resources to male heads-of-household,

that women are protected from sexual violence and exploitation, and

that the basic needs of women (physical safety, reproductive health

information and services) are provided within the context of

emergency operations.  While  refugee life might sometimes

reinforce cultural restrictions on women's empowerment, it may also

provide opportunities for development that might not have otherwise

occurred.  Refugee workers are encouraged to be aware of these

opportunities and support whenever possible the efforts of refugee

women and girls to pursue these new opportunities.  Resident

Coordinators should be familiar with the policies, guidelines and

training programmes developed to assist and protect refugee women

and use them when possible and appropriate.


32.  The points set out above are examples of how a concern for

gender can be fully incorporated, or "mainstreamed," into tasks and

responsibilities at a senior management level.  Resident

Coordinators should seek to ensure that the tasks of all staff

reflect gender mainstreaming in an appropriate form, and foster

similar efforts among senior United Nations system colleagues. 

Instruments to ensure that gender mainstreaming occurs include: the

performance appraisal process; the programme review process; gender

training for staff; on-going consultation and dialogue with

representatives of civil society; and inter-agency workshops on the

mainstreaming of key concerns such as gender, the environment,

poverty, governance and the like.


                      SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY

Women, Ink., a project of the IWTC, markets women and development

resource materials.  Supported by its own sales and a grant from

UNIFEM, it is a source of both scholarly studies and practical

guidelines, training manuals and resource materials for policy and

programme design and implementation.  Women, Ink. catalogue is

available through the IWTC at 777 United Nations Plaza, New York,

NY 10017: telephone: (212) 687-8633; fax: (212) 661-2704.

1.   After Cairo:  A Handbook on Advocacy for Women Leaders

(CEDPA). Organized as a simple, clear guide to help advocates shape

effective campaigns after ICPD, this Handbook presents advocacy

strategies in four sections:  planning for advocacy; taking your

message to the public; forging alliances; and advocating for

resources.  Renamed "Cairo, Beijing and Beyond: A Handbook on

Advocacy for Women Leaders", for the Fourth World Conference on

Women, the English version has been reprinted; language versions in

Chinese, French and Spanish are being issued.

2.   JCGP-WID: Building National Capacity to Develop Gender

Statistics (UN/DESIPA). A gender statistics publication,

incorporating methods of computing and interpreting statistics and

formats of presentation.  (UN/DESIPA).  Work in Progress:

Publication date: In time for FWCW.

3.   Incorporating Women into Population and Development:  Knowing

Why and Knowing How (UNFPA).

A practical guide to enable those associated with UNFPA programming

to amplify the participation of women in the design and management

of population and development initiatives.

4.   Gender Analysis for Project Design, prepared for UNFPA by J.E.

Austin Associates and The Collaborative for Development Action Inc.

A training manual designed as an educational and practical tool,

which can be used either as part of training workshops on gender

analysis or as a vehicle for self-education and reference by

individuals.  The material is both conceptual and applied and

organized to maximize learning opportunities for the readers. 1989.

5.   Gender Analysis in Development Planning by Aruna Rao,

Catherine Overhold and Mary B. Anderson. 1991.  102 pages (book);

25 pages (teaching notes). Available from: Kumarian Press, 630

Oakwood Avenue, Suite 119, West Hartford, CT 06110-1529, USA. 

Price: Gender analysis book - US$18.25; Teaching notes - US$10.95.

Useful on an individual basis, as well as in workshops, this book

describes a framework for gender analysis, followed by case studies

designed specifically for gender training.  The Teaching Notes

provide guidelines for using the cases and questions for


6.   Gender Planning and Development:  Theory, Practice and

Training by Caroline O. Moser.  1993. 285 pages. Available from

Women, Ink.  Price US$17.95 This book focuses on the inter-

relationship between gender and development, the formulation of

gender policy and the implementation of gender planning practices. 

7.   Population Policies Reconsidered: Health, Empowerment, and

Rights, by Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies

and IWCH.  Gita Sen, Adrienne Germain and Lincoln C. Chen, Editors.

Published under an arrangement with the Swedish International

Development Authority and with 30 contributors, the book's 17

chapters address the cutting edge of current debates on population

policies.  Throughout the volume, three major themes recur that

challenge the fundamental premises of current population policies -

- ethics, human rights and human development; women's empowerment;

and reproductive and sexual health.  These themes together present

a new approach to population, based on a solid ethical foundation

and aimed at sustainable human development.  Distributed by Harvard

University Press, 1994.  Price:  US$14.95.

8.   The World's Women: Trends and Statistics - A joint effort of

UNICEF/UNFPA/UNIFEM/CSDHA, executed by the Statistical Division,

DESIPA. This publication presents comprehensive data on women's

conditions and contributions worldwide, providing data on economic

life, population and health, family life, education, public life,

and human settlements.  First edition published by United Nations

Publications, 1991.  Cost:  US$19.95.  Second edition to include

information on women and men and families; housing, human

settlements and environment; education, science, media and culture;

as well as issues related to women's reproductive health,

discrimination against the girl child, violation of women's civil

and political rights, hunger, malnutrition and poverty will also be

covered.  Publication date:  July/August 1995, in five official


9.   Changing Perception: Writings on Gender and Development by

Tina Wallace and Candida March (eds).  Oxford, Oxfam Press, 1991.

Blending theory and practice, the articles examine the effect of

global issues on women's lives and explores the conceptual basis of

gender-awareness planning and implementation of development

projects.  It also includes a number of case studies.

10.  Gender Bias: Roadblock to Sustainable Development by Jodi

Jacobson.  Washington, D.C., Worldwatch Institute, 1992.

This booklet explores the dimensions, causes and results of gender

bias in development interventions worldwide.

11.  Male Bias in the Development Process by Diane Elson (ed).

Manchester and New York, Manchester University Press, 1990.

Examples of ways in which male bias operates in rural and urban

settings, agriculture, industry and services, self-employment and

wage labour are provided throughout this collection of articles. 

The authors focus on the structures that perpetuate male bias and

the processes that change, intensify or diminish its impact.

12.  Another Point of View: A Manual on Gender Analysis Training

for Grassroots Workers by Rani Parker.  Published by UNIFEM.  1993.

Available from: Women, Ink.  Price: US$15.95 Using a planning tool,

the Gender Analysis Matrix, this manual offers a step-by-step guide

for conducting a four-day workshop with community members.  It

includes a pre-workshop questionnaire, case studies, handouts and

a workshop evaluation questionnaire.

13.  A Commitment to the World's Women: Perspectives on Development

for Beijing and Beyond by Noeleen Heyzer, Sushma Kapoor and Joanne

Sandler (eds.)  1995.  Published by UNIFEM.  Available from: Women,

Ink.  Price: $14.95.

This anthology includes articles by more than thirty thinkers,

organizers and leaders.  In this book, they re-visit critical

issues and processes that have affected women and their families

and societies, and offer their recommendations and insights.


                         AGENCY PROFILES

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO)

     The Plan of Action for the Integration of Women in Development

embodies FAO's policies and programmes to improve the lives of

rural women.  It is based on the Organization's commitment to the

Nairobi Forward Looking Strategies, which is a pledge by the UN

Member Governments to take concrete steps by the year 2000 to

eliminate all political, economic, social and cultural forms of

sex-based discrimination.

     Focusing specifically on agriculture, food and rural

development, including fisheries and forestry, the Plan of Action

outlines three principal areas of activity:

     o    Gathering statistical data and research studies on all

          issues related to women in agricultural development,

          ensuring FAO's ability to monitor the status of these

          issues in the field;

     o    Advising policy makers on women in agricultural

          development at both the international national levels;

     o    Assisting in implementing women in agricultural

          development projects and programmes, and in mobilizing

          the necessary resources.

     The Plan recognizes the women already make a crucial

contribution to agricultural production.  It is dedicated to

enhancing their participation through projects and programmes that

systematically bring women into the mainstream of development

activities and national life.  Within this framework, future

activities will give greater recognition to women's special needs

for income-producing activities and control of income, educational

and training opportunities, and technologies and other means to

ease the burden and increase the productivity of women's work.

     FAO takes a two-pronged approach to women in development that

is reiterated in the Plan of Action: first, the implementation of

projects and programmes oriented exclusively to women (women-

specific projects and programmes); and second, the promotion of the

integration of women's issues and of women as participants in all

of FAO's projects and activities (mainstream programmes and


     FAO recognizes the necessity of women-specific projects under

certain circumstances; where "women-only" projects can serve as

demonstrations to encourage national governments to include women

in their mainstream project; where cultural factors prevent women

from working alongside men; or where rural women have been

generally neglected.  However, the success of "women-only" projects

is often constrained by small budgets, low government priority, a

lack of skilled project staff and concentration on marginal

enterprises.  Therefore, while the Plan incorporates both

approaches, every effort will be given to including both men and

women as full participants in mainstream projects.

     In adopting the Plan, FAO's Council requested that Member

Governments make all possible efforts to contribute to its

implementation.  It is evident that without the interest and

commitment of governments, the actions envisaged in the Plan cannot

succeed.  Comprehensive policy designs, programme and project

planning, implementation and evaluation, as well as legislation

related to women's issues, are requisites at the national level for

the Plan's success.  In line with its mandate, FAO stands ready and

eager to assist Member Governments in the realization of greater

participation and greater equality for rural women.

     The Plan revolves around four spheres: civil status, economic,

social, and decision-making.  They are selected on the basis of

FAO's long experience in working with women in developing countries

and with Member Governments.  Each sphere contains its own strategy

for increasing women's status at all levels of society-household,

community, national and international.  Within each sphere,

numerous actions are presented that FAO envisages as essential to

the Plan's implementation.

International Labour Organisation (ILO)

     Within the context of ILO's mandate for the promotion of

social justice, the promotion of equality between men and women in 

employment and the protection of the rights of women workers have

been issues of long-standing concern to the Organization.  The

overall strategy of the ILO is to ensure that gender issues and

equality concerns are integrated across the board within its

programme and project objectives and activities, and are reflected

in the various means of action (e.g. standard setting, research,

information dissemination and technical cooperation).  This

strategy is based on the recognition that women's equal and full

participation in all aspects of life is essential to the

achievement of all major development objects -- democracy and human

rights, sustainable development, poverty eradication, etc.  In this

respect, a gender training programme for ILO staff and constituents

is currently being implemented, jointly funded by the ILO and the

Netherlands Government.  The purpose of the programme under the

Office for Women Workers Questions, which is overseeing the

effective follow-up and use of the outputs of the Interdepartmental

Project on Equality of Opportunity for Women in Employment, is to

strengthen the capacity of the ILO and its member States to deal

effectively with equality for women at work.

     The programme is focused on training ILO staff in management,

technical and programming positions, as well as representatives of

ILO constituents, with the object of creating a common

understanding and a basis for fruitful dialogue on gender issues

between staff and constituents; and to enlarge the pool of

expertise in counterpart institutions to develop ILO programmes

with a gender-sensitive approach.  The priority target groups of

this training programme are the members of ILO's Multidisciplinary

Teams (MDTs) and staff of ILO Area Offices in the field.

     These institutional arrangements have given added impetus to

the gender dimension of ILO's Labour and Population Programme,

especially in light of the concerns emphasized in the ICPD

Programme of Action.  ILO's Labour and Population Programme has a

component on issues of Gender, Population and Development.  The

essential elements of this component include an inter-regional


     o    to enhance the gender sensitivity of population and

          development policy-making and programme formulation. 

          This includes designing frameworks and guidelines to

          facilitate and promote participatory gender population

          and development analysis at the country level;

     o    to promote legal reforms, training and application of

          International Labour Standards that advance the position

          and protection of women workers (including protection of

          maternity and promotion of Safe Working Mother


     o    to improve the knowledge base in critical areas where

          synthesis of evidence or creation of new information is

          required through design and promotion of studies and

          state-of-the-art papers;

     o    to collect, synthesize and disseminate information about

          successful initiatives that have empowered women and

          enhanced their productive and reproductive choices;

     o    to enhance the training of trainers opportunities

          available to regional and national experts through the

          development of special materials, methods and programmes

          in close collaboration with specialized technical UN

          agencies and the Turin Training Center; and

     o    to provide technical advice and support to potentially

          replicable pilot projects that seek to empower women

          workers through expansion of available productive and

          reproductive choices, resources and opportunities.

United Nations, Department for Economic and Social Information and

Policy Analysis/ The Population Division 

     The Population Division of the Department for Economic and

Social Information and Policy Analysis (DESIPA) provides gender-

disaggregated statistics, conducts a variety of analytic studies

that have a gender dimension, monitors population policies and

organizes expert meetings that deal with gender issues.  Every two

years the Population Division/DESIPA produces population estimates

and projections, by age and sex, for all countries and areas of the

world.  Apart from their direct interest, these statistics serve as

"denominators" for gender-disaggregated estimates and projections

in areas such as school enrolment and employment that are produced

within and outside the United Nations system.  The Division also

regularly monitors fertility, contraceptive practice and mortality

levels, by sex, as well as Government policies related to

population concerns.  

     Since 1990, special studies and expert meetings have dealt

with female migration, education and fertility, abortion policy,

gender differences in age at marriage and living arrangements of

women and children, including women-headed households.  The

Division also produces a manual on techniques of population

estimation and analysis, which provide the basis for production of

gender-disaggregated population indicators.  These manuals and

reports are widely used in developing-country training programmes

in the areas of population and development.  In addition, the

Division serves as global headquarters for the Population

Information Network (POPIN).  With both global and regional support

from UNFPA, POPIN is a decentralized information and communication

network for regional, national and non-governmental population

information activities, including gender-and-population issues. 

POPIN facilitates Internet access to population information through

the POPIN Gopher (Internet address:gopher.undp.org).

     The Population Division serves as the substantive secretariat

for the Commission on Population and Development, which has been

assigned primary responsibility for monitoring the follow-up to the

International Conference on Population and Development (GA

Resolution 49/128).

United Nations Development Programme/Gender in Development

Programme (UNDP/GIDP)

     In the ten years since UNDP's Governing Council mandated the

mainstreaming of women-in-development concerns and the subsequent

establishment of the Gender in Development Programme, UNDP has

developed a twin strategy that aims to mainstream gender in all its

programmes and to further the advancement of women as one of its

four major focus areas.

     The following three principles guide UNDP's efforts to

mainstream gender:  gender equality and equity objectives are built

into Country Cooperation Frameworks and other strategy and policy

documents; the equal participation of men and women is sought in

setting priorities in programme design, development,

implementation, direction and monitoring; and efforts are made to

ensure that programme outcomes benefit men and women equally (where

major inequities exist, equal benefits are considered inadequate

and affirmative action programmes are put in place). Gender

equality and equity at all levels and in all respects within the

organisation itself are also explicit objectives of UNDP's human

resource management policies and staffing.

     GIDP works closely with Country Offices to ensure gender

mainstreaming.  The assistance that is offered includes:

participation in programme reviews; participation in joint

programming missions; project and programme evaluation; assisting

with the preparation of gender situation analyses; development of

gender strategies or action plans, including follow-up to world

conferences; review of documentation; and gender training.

     By fully mainstreaming gender concerns, UNDP also seeks to

assist Country Offices to empower women and contribute to an

enabling environment for their advancement, especially by:

achieving gender equity in decision-making; developing capacity;

recognizing women's power as agents of change; improving women's

access to economic resources and assets; arresting the feminisation

of poverty; advancing women in crisis situations; and creating

legal frameworks that facilitate gender equality and equity.

     For UNDP, gender mainstreaming and focusing on the advancement

of women are complementary and mutually reinforcing strategies for

achieving gender equality and equity.  Pursuing the advancement of

women requires a gender perspective, while even within a gender-

sensitive framework, provision must be made for a special focus on

the advancement of women to compensate for specific inequities.

United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization


     UNESCO has always endeavoured to promote equality between the

sexes and to improve the status of women within its fields of

competence through education, sciences, culture and communication. 

In addition to specific activities, efforts have been made to

incorporate women's issues at all levels of programme design and

implementation.  This approach will be followed-up in the

forthcoming Medium-Term Strategy (1996-2001), with particular

emphasis on the participation of women.  Taking its cue from the

Platform for Action of the Fourth World Conference on Women, the

Organization's Medium-Term Strategy for women will be three-


     First, efforts will be made for the main-streaming of a gender

perspective in all policy-planning, programming, implementation and

evaluation activities.  This will entail the production of refined

gender-desegregated data and analysis, as well as the revision of

normative instruments to bring them into line with the Convention

on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women

(CEDAW) and the development of gender-sensitive indicators to

monitor all UNESCO projects.

     Second, UNESCO will encourage the broad and active

participation of women at all levels and fields of activity and pay

particular attention to women's priorities, perspectives and

contribution to the rethinking of the goals and means of

development across cultures and traditions.  In this context, the

Organization will ensure greater involvement of women in its

programmes by supporting professional women's groups and

disseminating information about relevant research on women and

gender issues.

     Third, UNESCO will endeavour to develop specific programmes,

projects and activities to benefit women, geared towards promoting

equality, endogenous capacity-building, women's full citizenship

and equal participation in policy-making.  UNESCO will continue to

support action to combat discrimination against women in order to

make equal rights for men and women a de jure and de facto reality

in its various spheres of competence.  It will promote information

on the human rights of women and legal literacy.  Greater attention

will be paid to the eradication of sexist stereotypes in education,

particularly in textbooks, and practical measures will be taken, in

cooperation with the relevant professional organizations, to

promote a more diversified and non-stereotyped image of women in

and through the media.

     As to specific action, the education of women and girls has

always been a top priority with special emphasis on rural women, on

projects that have a direct bearing on women's access to employment

opportunities, and on lifelong education for women's empowerment.

     Particularly in regions where enrolment rates for women are

still low, UNESCO will encourage a review of legislation, policies

and programmes in order to identify the obstacles restricting their

access to education.  Emphasis will be on diversifying

opportunities for education and training to benefit women without

schooling;  on improving the access of girls and women to technical

and vocational education;  and to strengthening women's role in

higher education  through the establishment of UNESCO Chairs.  The

organization will also support the training and informatics with

particular attention to ways of facilitating their access to posts

of responsibility in the media.

     In view of the importance of the role and participation of

women in the management of natural resources and in environmental

concerns, special development projects designed to respond to

certain issues such as water resources management;  environment,

population and development interactions;  the improvement of

communications, particularly in rural areas;  access to new

technologies;  training and information, will be implemented.

     UNESCO will pursue cross-cultural studies on the formation and

modification of attitudes, and on the consequences of changes in

the perception of women's and men's roles in the family and in

society, highlighting the role of women as agents of social change

and the cultural changes in women's life cycles.  Findings that

lead to new concepts will be reflected in teaching and training

programmes and materials.

United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)

     In moving forward from Cairo, UNFPA will play an important

role in monitoring the implementation of the Programme of Action at

the country, regional and global levels.  To this end, the Fund has

formulated a mission statement to serve as a framework for its

activities over the coming years; it reaffirms the importance of

providing quality reproductive health and family planning services,

implementing population policies as an integral part of sustainable

development, and undertaking advocacy for population and

development concerns, particularly for the empowerment of women.

     The ICPD recognized that there can be no sustainable

development without the full and equal participation of women,

gender equality and equity and the empowerment of women.  Gender

concerns will therefore be an integral component of UNFPA

programming and will be factored into all activities undertaken in

the three core areas (reproductive health, including family

planning and sexual health; population and development strategies;

and advocacy) as a "cross-cutting" dimension.  Limited support will

also be provided to specific areas such as institution

strengthening, training and research.

     The empowerment of women is a fundamental prerequisite to

sound reproductive health and requires that women have increased

access to resources, education and employment, and that their human

rights and fundamental freedoms are promoted and protected so that

they can make choices free from coercion and discrimination. 

Family life education and public information for young people that

encourages responsible sexuality, respect for women, and gender

equity are also fundamental to improving the role and status of

women in society.

     Women will, therefore, remain the focus of reproductive health

issues, since the burden of ill health associated with reproduction

affects women to a much larger extent than it does men.  However,

all programmes and services will also pay special attention to the

role and responsibilities of men in reproductive health.

     Thus, within the context of primary health care, UNFPA will

build upon its traditional support through the strengthening or

addition of services that seek to improve reproductive health by

reducing the need for abortion; preventing and treating

reproductive tract infections, including STDs; preventing HIV/AIDS;

preventing and treating infertility; providing routine screening

for other reproductive health conditions; and discouraging harmful

practices, such as female genital mutilation.

     The Fund will also support the development of data systems

that generate information that is desegregated by gender as well as

by geographic areas, and undertake research studies focusing on the

acceptability of reproductive health and family planning practices

in various social, economic and cultural settings, and the role and

status of women and reproductive rights.

     With regard to advocacy, UNFPA activities will be of two

types.  First, UNFPA will address gender equality and equity;

education of women; reproductive rights; protection of the girl

child; and the role of men in matters of sexual and reproductive

health and in the family.  Second, the Fund will work as an

advocate for human rights and development issues such as education,

poverty, basic health services, empowerment of women and people's

participation, all emanating from the Programme of Action and

agreements reached at other United Nations fora.

     In recognizing that gender issues and concerns have been

expanded beyond women-specific activities to include gender

equality and equity, participation of both men and women in all

aspects of population and development, and including the role of

men in achieving women's empowerment, UNFPA has issued revised

guidelines on Gender, Population and Development, and is organizing

gender training workshop for all its field staff.  The overall

objectives of these workshops are to create gender awareness, in

particular the strategic and analytical shift from a narrow women

in development concept to a broader gender focus, and to ensure

that gender issues are mainstreamed in all UNFPA programmes and

projects at the country level.

     In addition, UNFPA is collaborating with the Royal Tropical

Institute (KIT) to organize regional pilot workshops in Egypt,

Indonesia, and Zimbabwe, the objectives of which are to: develop

the institutional capacity to provide GPD training as an integral

part of the Fund's regular training programme and as part of the

training and educational  structures at local institutions in

selected countries; to build staff capacity to integrate gender

concerns in population and development among UNFPA field staff and

relevant national, government, CST and executing agency staff; and

to design flexible guidelines and a trainers' aid that could be

adapted by UNFPA field offices for future in-country GPD training.

     UNFPA field staff will also be encouraged to collaborate

closely with governments and other entities involved in population

and development activities, particularly women's NGOs, to ensure

that gender concerns are taken fully into account in all

programming activities.  Efforts will also be made to strengthen

the institutional and technical capacities of women's NGOs at the

local and grassroots levels to better their ability to undertake

gender-specific activities.  A revised set of guidelines for UNFPA

collaboration with NGOs has been issued in this regard. 

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

     UNHCR's follow-up activities to the International Conference

on Population and Development (ICPD) have centred on addressing

reproductive health (RH) issues in refugee situations.  In

addition, an inventory has been made of UNHCR-funded projects to

identify the educational needs of refugee girls.

     The traditional approach to reproductive health needs in

refugee situations has been mainly through mother and child

healthcare programmes that focus on reducing infant and child

mortality.  While in the past refugee reproductive health needs

were either not fully addressed for socio-cultural reasons or were

overshadowed by competing demands in other life-saving sectors, in

recent years increasing concern over the number of unwanted and/or

unplanned pregnancies has brought to the fore the issue of family

planning and other related activities.  Sexually transmitted

diseases (STDs), including HIV/AIDS, and widespread rape in armed

conflict have added new dimensions to the reproductive health needs

of refugees.  The ICPD recognized the holistic nature of female

reproductive health needs in its conclusions, which expanded the

definition of RH to include the "..state of complete physical,

mental and social well-being."  The conference also addressed the

need for inter-agency cooperation to fill the service and resource

gap and to harmonize technical approaches in implementing RH

programmes in refugee situations.

     This new consensus on reproductive health provided UNHCR with

a fresh and expanded opportunity to combine expertise and

coordinate activities with other United Nations agencies and non-

governmental organizations on RH services in refugee settings.  A

joint venture was launched initially with UNFPA (following their

policy on RH service coverage in refugee settings) to undertake a

preliminary survey of reproductive health needs and services among

refugee populations.  The survey revealed crucial unmet needs in

the are of reproductive health of young adolescents and victims of

violence and trauma.  Health service providers in the field further

signalled the need to develop technical guidelines of RH to help

identify target populations and design appropriate measures for


     As a further follow-up to the recommendation of the ICPD, and

as a result of the survey on RH needs, an inter-agency working

group has been established to prepare the first-draft technical

field guidance manual for standardizing a technical approach to RH

needs.  The draft manual will be reviewed at the June 1995

symposium on reproductive health.

     While efforts are still underway to develop systematic,

multifaceted and integrated RH programmes in refugee settings,

vertical programmes continue to address specific needs as and when

identified.  Specific projects such as the STD/HIV/AIDS pilot

project in Ethiopia, psychiatric and social counselling of victims

of violence in Croatia, and training of traditional birth

attendants in the Sudan continue to meet the manifested needs of

targeted populations.

     In addition to the ICPD-related activities mentioned above,

UNHCR has over the past five years developed extensive training

programmes and guidelines for its staff and implementing partners

to assist them in developing programmes that reduce dependency,

enhance the participation of refugee women and ensure their equal

access to the benefits of such programmes.  Legal training for

women has been developed to raise their awareness of their human

rights.  Human rights training aimed at police, military personnel

and government officials includes components on women's rights. 

Proactive efforts have been made to ensure women's participation in

camp organization committees and their access to skills training

and literacy programmes.  All of these activities are aimed at

empowering refugee women and enabling them to take an active role

in the rebuilding of their societies after their exile has ended.

United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)

     The objectives and programme thrusts of UNICEF's actions in

gender and development are defined in its 1985/1987 policy on women

in development and in its recent 1994 policy paper on gender

equality and the empowerment of women and girls.  UNICEF's policies

are guided by a growing understanding of the gender-based

discrimination that affects women and girls throughout the life-

cycle, the complementarity of CRC and CEDAW, the needs of the girl

child, and the needs of women in their multiple roles.  The

operational approaches to implement its policies and strategies are

mainstreaming gender concerns both as a cross-sectoral dimension

and as an integral aspect in the sectoral programmes; promoting

gender-specific programme activities for girls and women; and

giving special attention to the girl child.  UNICEF actions for the

girl child include programmes for the elimination of disparities in

health, nutrition and education for girls, initiatives for the

elimination of the harmful traditional practices of early marriage

and female genital mutilation, and innovative ways to reach

adolescent/young men and women with knowledge about and skills to

delay parenthood and to protect themselves against sexually

transmitted diseases, particularly AIDS.

     UNICEF actions are targeted to the elimination of gender

disparities in the achievement of the mid-decade goals and those of

the World Summit for Children, advocacy and specific initiatives

for girls, and integration of gender issues through the application

of the Women's Equality and Empowerment Framework.  Programme

activities will also include capacity-building for gender

responsive programme development; involvement of males in sharing

familial responsibilities, particularly parenting; and promoting

gender equity in the family with focus on early socialization and

youth.  Other on-going activities for continued action are

collection and analysis of gender and age-disaggregated data and

development of indicators for gender-sensitive policies and

programmes; building capacities through training; advocacy and

women's social mobilization and organized participation at the

community, local and national levels; and alliance building among

government agencies, NGOs women leaders, social activist groups and

others to create a positive environment for the effective

participation of women in the emerging democratization and

decentralization processes in many countries.

United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM)

     UNIFEM, the lead agency for the Inter-Agency Working Group on

Women's Empowerment, which produced these guidelines, is mandated

to use its resources for four priority areas:

     o    to serve as a catalyst with the goal of ensuring the

          appropriate involvement  of women in mainstream

          development activities; 

     o    to support innovative and experimental activities

          benefitting women in line with national and regional


     o    to play an innovative and catalytic role in relation to

          the United Nations overall system of development co-

          operation; and

     o    to implement the goals of the United Nations Decade for

          Women: Equality, Development and Peace.

     Within the framework of its original mandate, UNIFEM is

reshaping its directions and strategies to meet current challenges

and the priorities of women in the 21st century by focusing on

women's political and economic empowerment.  To foster women's

economic empowerment, UNIFEM works to put resources directly in the

hands of women in developing countries to support their livelihoods

and to build their capacity to take advantage of new economic

opportunities.  Another aspect of work is assisting in the

formulation of gender-sensitive macro-economic policies and

practices in key areas such as trade, structural adjustment and

transitional economies.  Of special importance is the examination

of development models, best practices, principal constraints and

lessons learned for widening choices and opportunities for women's

economic participation at all levels.

     To foster the political empowerment of women, UNIFEM advocates

for gender equity in decision-making structures from the household

to the international level and the reform of legal and policy

frameworks, codes and instruments that deal with issues such as

property rights and inheritance laws.   The Fund supports the

efforts of those working to improve women's status, eliminate

violence against women and promote women's human rights.  It also

seeks to strengthen women's organization and other civil society

actors to better their capacity to participate in the decision-

making process.

     UNIFEM's comparative advantage lies in its knowledge of and

experience in gender and development, particularly in the following

areas: identifying emerging gender issues, such as trade,

population displacement and structural adjustment; developing

innovative approaches and strategies to address critical issues

affecting women; applying a gender perspective in development

interventions; supporting innovative operational programmes and

projects that benefit women directly; and acting as a catalyst

within the UN system and at the regional and national levels to

bring about women's empowerment.  Another area of strength is

UNIFEM's long history of partnership with NGOs; UNIFEM has

extensive experience mobilizing and working with women's

organizations at all levels - grassroots, national, regional, and


     UNIFEM also works to ensure that UN Conferences address the

needs of women.  UNIFEM works with others to create new political

spaces where women's voices can be heard and consensus can be

forged. It has also sought to empower women by training them to

negotiate in the international arena.  UNIFEM works to keep women's

issues high on the agendas of mainstream UN organizations by

playing a mediating role between the international women's movement

and the UN system.  UNIFEM also works to synthesize critical issues

and to ensure that the key recommendations of the various UN

Conferences, including the ICPD, are translated into catalytic and

innovative programmes that will empower women in the developing


For further information, please contact: popin@undp.org
POPIN Gopher site: gopher://gopher.undp.org/11/ungophers/popin
POPIN WWW site:http://www.undp.org/popin