New U.N. Agency for Women’s Empowerment Announces Priorities

On January 24th, Michelle Bachelet announced a 100-day action plan for U.N. Women, a newly-formed agency for promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women around the globe. “Women’s strength, women’s industry, women’s wisdom are humankind’s greatest untapped resource,” said Bachelet, a former president of Chile and executive director of the fledgling agency.

Bachelet laid out five priorities for U.N. Women: enhancing women’s leadership and participation; ending violence against women; supporting women’s role in peace and conflict resolution; bolstering economic opportunities for women; and placing gender equality high on the agenda of national, local and sectoral planning and budgeting. She also discussed five core principles for the agency: enhancing implementation of international accords by national partners; backing intergovernmental processes to strengthen the global framework on gender equality; advocating gender equality and women’s empowerment; promoting coherence with the UN on the issue; and acting as a global broker of knowledge and experience.

U.N. Women—which is officially called the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women—was established by the general assembly last year, merging four former U.N. entities into one. The main functions of the agency are to support inter-governmental bodies in their formulation of policies and standards as they relate to women; to assist U.N. members in the implementation of those standards through technical and financial support as needed and by creating effective partnerships; and to provide accountability to the U.N. for its own commitments relating to gender equality.

Bachelet’s remarks came during the inaugural session for the agency’s executive board. U.N. Women’s formal launch will be February 24th, 2011.

For more information on U.N. Women and the 100-day action plan, please visit: