The recently established UN Women, which combines four UN agencies to create a more unified approach to securing women’s health and rights around the world, is in its first regular session of the Executive Board this week. Executive Director Michelle Bachelet, former President of Chile, announced UN Women’s Vision and 100 Day Action Plan on Monday. In her speech, Bachelet outlined the five core principles of the plan:
- Providing demand-driven support to national partners to enhance implementation of international agreements and standards;
- Supporting intergovernmental processes to strengthen the global normative and policy framework on gender equality;
- Advocating for gender equality and women’s empowerment, championing the rights of women and girls — particularly those who are most excluded;
- Leading and promoting coherence in UN system work on gender equality; and
- Acting as a global broker of knowledge and experience, aligning practice with normative guidance.
The Gender Equality Architecture Reform (GEAR) Campaign, a network of over 300 women’s, human rights and social justice groups around the world, worked for over four years with UN member states and the UN Secretariat to create UN Women. They responded to Bachelet’s announcement with encouragement and some suggestions for implementation.
Alex Garita, IWHC’s Program Officer for International Policy, called the 100 Day Action Plan is “ambitious but achievable if donors and UN staff across the organization make good on their commitments to achieve gender equality.” She also commented, “In this historic moment, the UN system has the opportunity to ensure that women are a priority in peace and security and development efforts. In addition, Ms. Bachelet’s vision and leadership will hopefully also hold all other UN agencies and programs accountable for delivering policy and programs for women and making sure that their human rights are respected, protected, and fulfilled.”