Partnerships for gender mainstreaming within the UN system


Inter-agency work on the advancement of women and gender equality dates back to the first World Conference on Women in Mexico in 1975. An inter-agency committee was formed in 1996 and by 2001 the Inter-Agency Network on Women and Gender Equality (IANWGE) was established. It is the single largest network of gender focal points in the UN system, including 60 representatives from UN offices and departments, specialized agencies, funds and programmes. The IANWGE includes gender focal points in all the organizations and bodies of the UN system.

The  IANWGE draws on the expertise of its members (see list) to ensure effective implementation, coordination and accountability for the gender equality work of the United Nations system. It also promotes and monitors gender mainstreaming within the UN system, including in its normative and operational work; exchanges experiences, harmonizes approaches and minimizes duplication of initiatives in promoting gender equality; tackles new and emerging issues to ensure that their gender dimensions are addressed in a coherent way; and follows up on gender-related recommendations from intergovernmental bodies to ensure optimal coordination.

Since the establishment of UN Women, the Executive Director of the organization, currently Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, is Chair of the IANWGE. UN Women Deputy Executive Director Ms. Lakshmi Puri serves as Vice-Chair of the network. Ms. Aparna Mehrotra, Director of the UN System Coordination Division of UN Women serves as its Secretary.

Secretariat contact: Ms. Shivangi Shrivastava, Inter-Agency Coordination Specialist, UN System Coordination Division, UN Women.

Annual meetings

The IANWGE holds its annual meeting during the first quarter of each year, usually the week before the opening of the annual session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). The annual meetings serve as a platform to exchange information and review UN efforts over the past year, provide feedback, fine-tune activities and ensure follow-up action. The meeting also tackles emerging challenges and its results often feed into CSW. The expected outcome of these meetings is a consensus on key gender messages to be used for advocacy with Member States as well as with civil society.

IANWGE annual meeting reports:

Expert Group Meetings

In 2013, in collaboration with the network, UN Women also organized an Expert Group Meeting to discuss and update the system-wide guidance on gender mainstreaming implementation at the programming level.