UN Women Established

On July 2, the UN General Assembly voted for the establishment of a new UN entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment.  This new entity will combine the four existing gender entities within the UN: the Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW), the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW); the Office of the Special Adviser for Gender Issues and Advancement of Women (OSAGI); and the United Nations Development for Women (UNIFEM) to create one united group called UN Women, which will ensure “stronger coherence and coordination at all levels and to bring together resources and mandates for greater impact.”  The UN Women group, which will be operational by January 2011 is being hailed as “a new era in the UN’s work for women” and will support, enhance and work with other related UN organizations such as UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) and UNDP (United Nations Development Programme.)

In a joint statement from DAW, INSTRAW, OSAGI and UNIFEM, the groups stated that “UN Women will be a dynamic and strong champion for women and girls around the world, providing them with a powerful voice at the global, regional and local levels. Its establishment will boost the United Nations’ ability to support and work with Member States in accelerating progress towards achieving the goals of gender equality and the empowerment of women, expanding opportunity and tackling discrimination against women and girls.”

While many strides and advances have been made in women’s right and gender equality, there is still much to be accomplished, making this development even more important and exciting.  The creation of UN Women will allow these constituent parts to create one strong whole.  As the Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, rightly points out, “Let’s seize this moment, and the momentum, and work with renewed energy and enthusiasm.”