Focal points for women

UN Focal Point for Women

Based at UN Women, the UN Focal Point for Women serves as the chief advocate for monitoring and improving the status of women across the system. Chief functions include: supporting UN Women to report on the status of women to the General Assembly and Commission on the Status of Women; advocating and assisting in policy formulation; sharing and showcasing good practices; assisting with recruitment and promotion mechanisms, as appropriate; coordinating and supporting a network of gender focal points in different UN entities; and providing guidance and advocacy for female staff members.

Contact the UN Focal Point for Women, Katja Pehrman.

Network of departmental focal points

UN Women is responsible for supporting the UN Secretariat’s network of departmental gender focal points. These focal points provide critical support to their heads of department by advising on staff selection processes, identifying qualified female candidates, and supporting the development of policies. They are often required to serve on interview panels and review bodies, and assist with monitoring the status of women within their own department. The focal points also assist current staff members through counselling on career advancement and conditions of service.

UN Women holds regular meetings with the network of focal points; provides guidance and updates on General Assembly mandates, organizational policies and emerging issues; and facilitates networking opportunities.

See also the terms of reference and the annotated terms of reference with good practices.

Other focal points

Eighteen other UN entities also deploy gender focal points to support the advancement of women within their organizations. The UN System-wide Action Plan on Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-SWAP) requires entities to designate focal points at the P4 level or above, with written terms of reference and at least 20 per cent of their time allocated to focal point functions. All UN entities should eventually implement this mechanism; UN Women plans to expand the network of focal points to include all entities.