Focal points for women

Focal Point for Women in the UN System

Based at UN Women, the Focal Point for Women in the UN System is mandated to monitor and report on the status of women in the United Nations system, serving as the chief advocate for monitoring and improving the status of women across the system and assisting the UN Secretary-General in achieving the General Assembly–mandated goal of 50:50 gender balance at all levels in the UN system.

The primary functions of the Focal Point for Women in the UN System include:

Contact the UN Focal Point for Women in the UN System, Katja Pehrman.

Network of departmental focal points

UN Women is responsible for supporting the UN Secretariat’s network of departmental gender focal points.

Guided by the terms of reference (ST/SGB/2008/12), the gender focal points provide critical support to their heads of department by:

  • promoting greater awareness of gender issues and a gender-sensitive work environment in the department;
  • monitoring progress towards the achievement of gender targets;
  • contributing to the development and realization of gender targets and providing advocacy;
  • advising and supporting training initiatives on gender sensitivity, work/life balance and career path strategies, encouraging greater participation of women in training programmes; and
  • providing counsel to female staff in the department/office/mission on career advancement and methods to resolve and/or report situations involving harassment, including sexual harassment, discrimination or abuse.

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.

UN-SWAP focal points

The UN-SWAP is an accountability framework for gender mainstreaming, and the attainment of gender parity constitutes one of the performance indicators. Following the mandate given in ECOSOC Resolution 2004/4—requesting all entities of the United Nations system to enhance the effectiveness of gender specialist resources and gender focal points by ensuring adequate training, and access to information and to adequate and stable resources—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 equivalent or above, with written terms of reference and at least 20 per cent of their time allocated to focal point functions.