UN General Assembly resolution 63/311 established UN Women in January 2011. Known formally as the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, UN Women has since been empowered to seek and affect change around the world. The organization has done tremendous work in its rather short life.
I admire this organization for a number of reasons. In fact, I can think of no other women’s advocacy organization that has the same reach. I am forever grateful that the United Nations took the steps necessary to establish UN Women, and that they continue to support this important organization nearly a decade later.
My admiration for UN Women is directly related to its four strategic priorities:
1. Women and Government
The first principle of UN Women dictates that women should be equal leaders, participants, and beneficiaries in government. Women are just as capable as men in fulfilling roles of government leadership. We are equally capable of participating at the highest levels of governance. Most importantly, women deserve to benefit equally from the work government does.
In many places around the world, women are still considered second-class citizens when it comes to governance. This is neither right nor acceptable. UN Women understands this, and they strive to educate government officials and agencies in their responsibilities to be more inclusive toward women.
2. Income Security and Economic Autonomy
Next are the dual principles of income security and economic autonomy. There is no denying that women are capable of determining their own economic destinies. We are capable of providing our own income. All we ask is equal opportunity. Unfortunately, some of the same countries that discriminate against women in governance also discriminate against us in income security and economic autonomy.
I am proud that UN Women stands up for women on economic issues. Only when income security and economic autonomy are established around the world will women be able to fulfill their own destinies.
3. Lives Free of Violence
It goes without saying that women and girls deserve to live lives free of violence. This includes all forms of violence no matter how minor they might seem. Furthermore, no form of violence against anyone is minor. Even violence tied to cultural norms is unacceptable. UN Women continually strives to raise awareness of violence against women and girls so that systemic changes can be pursued.
4. Sustainable Peace and Resilience
Women and girls have a lot to contribute to sustainable peace and resilience around the world. UN Women advocates for those who want to contribute to these two worthwhile goals. Together, all of humanity can build a lasting peace and ensure greater resilience in times of natural disaster, disease, etc.
I also believe women have some unique things to offer in this particular arena simply due to the way we approach humanitarian issues. Our own resilience provides an example for others to follow. We can inspire others through our own experiences as we strive to make the world a better place for women.
I am happy to say I am a proud supporter of UN Women. I firmly believe the organization has not only done important work in the past, but still has plenty of work in front of it. As UN Women succeeds in achieving its goals, women and girls around the world will benefit.
Since the day UN Women was established, it has taken on a tremendous role of leadership. The organization, its leaders, and the volunteers who support it have proved outstanding thus far. Here’s hoping for many more decades of success in fighting for women.