United Nations Women – Beginner level

The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, also known as UN Women, is a United Nations entity working for the empowerment of women.

UN Women became operational in January 2011. President of Chile Michelle Bachelet was the inaugural Executive Director, and Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka is the current Executive Director. As with UNIFEM previously, UN Women is a member of the United Nations Development Group.

The mandate and functions of UN Women consist of the consolidated mandates and functions of the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women, the Division for the Advancement of Women, the United Nations Development Fund for Women, and the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women. In addition, the entity must lead, coordinate, and promote the accountability of the United Nations system in its work on gender equality and women’s empowerment. The goal of UN Women is to “enhance, not replace, efforts by other parts of the UN system (such as UNICEF, UNDP, and UNFPA), which will continue to have a responsibility to work for gender equality and women’s empowerment in their areas of expertise.”

Topic: Combating the disproportionate effects of women in conflict areas

We live in the 21st century and we are still struggling to grasp women’s undisputed significance in society. Women make up half of every community and the troublesome errand of peacebuilding must be done by men and women in association. Women are the central caretakers of families. However, it is remarkable that more than a decade after the adoption of UNSCR 1325, women have participated as negotiators in peace agreements in only 9 percent of cases and their experiences in both peace and conflict remain, to a great extent, unnoticed. These numbers tell us that a new approach to peace and security is needed.

It is their duty to impunity and guarantees redress of crimes committed against females in violent conflict areas, as well as ensure that those guilty of rape and war crimes are brought to justice. Typically, the category ‘ woman ‘ has been used as a one-dimensional concept to justify both international and local interventions. The invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 illustrates how gender is often at the heart of a conflict. It was partly justified as a necessary step in the ‘liberation’ of Afghan women. It is high time that women stop being the “cause” and start being the answer. In a time when security and peace are becoming a luxury, it is time for women to step up.