Gender Equality and the International Community.

The 1st of a series of 4 articles, Lena Kloster, Chwarae Teg’s Leonardo da Vinci programme intern with the Policy Team, explores how international communities address Gender Equality.

How do International communities address Gender Equality? What policy frameworks and action platforms exist worldwide?

We look at the role played by the UN Women, the International Labour Organisation ( ILO ), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development ( OECD ) and the European Union in the promotion of gender equality rights and in the combat against gender discrimination.

UN Women.

Gender equality is an issue, which is being strongly addressed by the international community, most notably the United Nations. The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women – UN Women, which was created in July 2010, has taken a strong approach to tackling gender equality.

“Change is coming. Change has to come” ~ Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.

Phumzile is the Executive Director of UN Women and its four distinct parts in the UN system: Division for the Advancement of Women ( DAW ), International Research and Training, Institute for the Advancement of Women ( INSTRAW ), ‘Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women’ ( OSAGI ), and the United Nations Development Fund for Women ( UNIFEM ).

By formulating policies, global standards and norms the UN system financially and technically supports countries in need as well as strengthening cooperation with civil society.

Known as “international bill” of women’s rights the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women ( CEDAW ), adopted in 1979 by the UN General Assembly, describes the gender inequality as the following:

“…any distinction, exclusion or restriction made on the basis of sex which has the effect or purpose of impairing or nullifying the recognition, enjoyment or exercise by women, irrespective of their marital status, on a basis of equality of men and women, of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the political, economic, social, cultural, civil or any other field.”

Note: to read the Convention in full, please visit:

One of the UN Women’s key processes was the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action.

“The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action of 1995 is a visionary agenda for the empowerment of women. It remains the most comprehensive global policy framework and blueprint for action, and is a current source of guidance and inspiration to realize gender equality and the human rights of women and girls, everywhere” ( Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, 1995, Reprinted by UN Women in 2014 ).

Download the Beijing Declaration . . . as PDF:

The Declaration’s 12 areas of concern, have been identified by 189 member states:

Women and the environment — Women in power and decision-making — The girl child – Women and the economy — Women and poverty — Violence against women — Human rights of women — Education and training of women — Institutional mechanisms for the advancement of women — Women and health — Women and the media — Women and armed conflict.

The main role of the UN Women is to empower women around the world by creating peace and security, by ending violence against women and by investing in women’s economic and political empowerment.

Humanitarian action, governance and national planning, Post-2015 development agenda and SDGs, HIV and AIDS complete the list of its missions.