|Headquarters||New York City, United States|
UN Women became operational in January 2011. Former president of Chile Michelle Bachelet was the inaugural Executive Director. As with UNIFEM previously, UN Women is a member of the United Nations Development Group.
In response to the UN General Assembly resolution 63/311, in January 2006 the Secretary-General presented the report A/64/588, entitled “Comprehensive Proposal for the Composite Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women.” In his report, the Secretary-General resolved that, rather than relieving other parts of the United Nations system of their responsibility for contributing to the promotion of gender equality and women’s empowerment, the new entity should seek to sharpen the focus and impact of the gender equality activities of the entire United Nations system. Additionally, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon estimated that approximately $125 million per annum were needed for operating costs and “start-up” capacity at the country, regional, and headquarters levels. Moreover, an additional $375 million per annum were needed in the initial phase to respond to country level requests for programmatic support.
After years of negotiations between UN Member States, women’s groups and civil society, on 2 July 2010 the United Nations General Assembly unanimously adopted resolution 64/289, thus creating UN Women by merging the Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW); the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW, established in 1976); the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues Advancement of Women (OSAGI, established in 1997), and the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM, established in 1976). Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced at the founding of the movement that he is "grateful to Member States for having taken this major step forward for the world’s women and girls. UN Women will significantly boost UN efforts to promote gender equality, expand opportunity, and tackle discrimination around the globe."
On September 14, 2010, it was announced that former President of Chile Michelle Bachelet was appointed as head of UN Women. Various countries supported the creation of the body and welcomes Bachelet as chief. During General Debate at the opening of the 65th General Assembly of the United Nations, world leaders commended the creation of the body and its intention to "empower women," as well as welcoming Bachelet's position as the inaugural head.
The provisions set forth by resolution 63/311 on system-wide coherence, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 2 October 2010, constituted the blueprint for UN Women. Seeking to strengthen the United Nation’s institutional arrangements for gender equality and women empowerment, resolution 63/311 supported the consolidation of four distinct parts of the UN system that focused exclusively on gender equality and women’s empowerment into a composite entity to be led by an Under-Secretary-General. Moreover, the resolution requested that the Secretary-General of the United Nations produce a proposal specifying the mission statement of the composite entity and its organizational arrangements, including an organizational chart, funding and the executive board to oversee its operational activities.
Structure and functioning
Resolution 64/289 determined that the entity should be headed by an Under-Secretary-General, to be appointed by the Secretary-General in consultation with Member States, for a term of four years, with the possibility of renewal for one term.
The organization is governed by a multi-tiered intergovernmental governance structure in charge of providing normative and operational policy guidance. The General Assembly, Economic and Social Council, and the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) constitute the governance structure that sets forth the normative policy guiding principles of the Entity. The intergovernmental governance structure in charge of providing operational policy guidance to UN Women includes the General Assembly, the Economic and Social Council and the organization’s Executive Board. The latter consist of forty-one members, elected by the Economic and Social Council for a term of three years and distributed as follows:
- Ten from the Group of African States
- Ten from the Group of Asian States
- Four from the Group of Eastern European States
- Six from the Group of Latin American and Caribbean States
- Five from the Group of Western European and Other States
- Six from contributing countries. Four seats will be selected by and from the top ten largest providers of voluntary core contributions to UN Women. The remaining two seats will be allocated to two developing countries not members of the Development Assistance Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (DAC/OECD). These two countries will be selected by the developing countries not members of the Development Assistance Committee among the top ten providers of voluntary core contributions to the entity.
The resources required to fund all normative processes are obtained from the Entity’s regular budget and approved by the General Assembly, whereas the budget fot service operational processes and activities at all levels are funded from voluntary contributions and approved by the Executive Board of UN Women.
Current Executive Board composition
The 2014 Executive Board, elected in 2013, consists of:
- Africa: Algeria, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Gambia, Malawi, Senegal, Somalia, South Africa, Togo
- Asia-Pacific: Bangladesh, China, India, Japan, Maldives, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Solomon Islands, Thailand, United Arab Emirates
- Eastern Europe: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Latvia, Poland, Russian Federation
- Latin America and the Caribbean: Brazil, Colombia, Cuba, Suriname, Uruguay, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)
- Western Europe and other States: Australia, Liechtenstein, Iceland, New Zealand, Spain
- Contributing Countries: Mexico, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States of America
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, the efforts by other parts of the UN system such as UNICEF, UNDP, and UNFPA, all of which will continue to work for gender equality and women’s empowerment in their areas of expertise.” 
In accordance with the provisions of resolution 64/289, UN Women will work within the framework of the Charter of the United Nations, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action – including its 12 critical areas of concern and the outcome of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly –as well as other applicable United Nations instruments, standards and resolutions that address gender equality and the empowerment and advancement of women.
In late 2013, a series of ads, developed as a creative idea for UN Women by Memac Ogilvy & Mather Dubai, used genuine Google searches to reveal the widespread prevalence of sexism and discrimination against women  The ads featured the faces of four women and where their mouths should be were Google auto-complete suggestions. The suggestions were all sexist or misogynist. A similar campaign was also run to raise awareness for gay rights.
Also in late 2013, UN Women launched a constitutional database that examines constitutions through a gender lens. The first of its kind, this database maps the principles and rules that guarantee, deny, or protect the rights of women and girls around the world. This tool for gender equality and human rights activists is annually updated and searchable, and provides a comprehensive overview of the current status of provisions relevant to women’s rights and gender equality across various countries throughout the world. Users can search though the database by keyword, and legal provisions are grouped into 16 categories that were carefully defined by reviewing the constitutions from a human rights perspective.
UN Women is one of the lead agencies in coordinating International Women's Day events as well as the Commission on the Status of Women, which this year will focus on the "Challenges and achievements in the implementation of the Millennium Development Goals for women and girls". While MDG Goal 3 - on Promoting Gender Equality and Empowering Women - is most suited, the Entity works towards all eight MDG goals.
UN Women is empowered to:
- To support inter-governmental bodies, such as the Commission on the Status of Women, in their formulation of policies, global standards and norms.
- To help UN member states implement the above standards, standing ready to provide suitable technical and financial support to those countries that request it and to forge effective partnerships with civil society.
- To enable member states to hold the UN system accountable for its own commitments on gender equality, including regular monitoring of system-wide progress.
- Gender Equality Architecture Reform
- NGO CSW/NY
- United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325
- United Nations International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women
- United Nations Development Fund for Women
- Women's rights
- Declaration on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women
- Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women
- EGM: prevention of violence against women and girls
- Global Implementation Plan to End Violence against Women and Girls
- Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence
- "Frequently Asked Questions". UN Women. 2010-09-14. Retrieved 2011-03-11.
- UNDG Members
- "Report on the Secretary General: Comprehensive proposal for the composite entity for gender equality and the empowerment of women". United Nations. 2010-01-06. Retrieved 2011-03-13.
- "Welcome to UN Women UN Women". Unwomen.org. 2010-07-02. Retrieved 2010-09-15.
- *"Michelle Bachelet's Appointment to Head UN Women Widely Applauded", Inter Press Service
- "General Debate: 65th Session". Gadebate.un.org. 2010-09-29. Retrieved 2011-03-11.
- The various speeches from all the world leader from 23-25 & 27–30 September 2010 are listed at http://gadebate.un.org/
- "Resolution on 6/311 on system-wide coherence". United Nations General Assembly. 2010-11-09. Retrieved 2011-03-13.
- "Resolution on 64/289 on system-wide coherence.". United Nations General Assembly. 22010-07-21. Retrieved 2011-03-13.
- "Executive Board". UN Women. 2010-11-10. Retrieved 2011-03-13.
- UN Women ad series reveals widespread sexism, UN Women, Oct 21, 2013.
- Google's auto-complete spells out our darkest thoughts, The Guardian, Oct 22, 2013.
- UN Campaign Reveals Shocking, Depressing Gay Google Auto-Complete Function, Huffington Post, Oct 24, 2013.
- UN Women Constitutional Database UN Women, December 13, 2013
- UN Women International Women's Day editorial package March 1, 2014
- UN Women CSW58 In Focus UN Women, March 4, 2014
- UN Women editorial package on MDG progress for women and girls UN Women, March 1, 2014