Good Practices

UN Women prepares summaries of good practice examples of achieving gender balance from across the United Nations. Including system-wide, UN Secretariat and individual entity initiatives, these highlight innovations, and provide ideas and guidance. Some examples include:

UN Children’s Fund: Special measures for gender equality

In 2010, UNICEF implemented targeted recruitment practices and gender-focused internal policies that foster and reinforce gender balance. These require the inclusion of at least two qualified female candidates on all shortlists for advertised vacancies. A female candidate must be hired over a male candidate when knowledge, skills and expertise are deemed equal. Additionally, a policy of “external male approval” stipulates the justification, in writing, of the hiring of an external male candidate over shortlisted internal candidates. Recruitment panels are also gender-balanced; training in diversity and gender-sensitivity is provided to members.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees: Flexible working arrangements

In 1999, UNHCR introduced a measure to allow female staff to reduce their working hours to 75 per cent of the workday on full pay status following maternity leave until their baby is one year old, to assist them to continue breastfeeding. In 2010, this policy was amended to introduce a choice for female staff members who became mothers to take one day off per week plus two additional hours off during one of the remaining working days of the week to allow for more in caring for an infant.

UNHCR revised its policy on flexible working arrangements in 2010 to make these more accessible, and began encouraging managers and staff to make use of them whenever operational requirements permit and personal needs require. Although the number of employees who use flexible working arrangements is still low, at 0.8 per cent of men and 3.6 per cent of women in 2011, usage increased over 2010 with a positive trend favouring women.

UN Secretariat: Senior manager compacts and human resources management scorecards

Senior manager compacts, with a series of performance targets are reviewed annually by the Management Performance Board, which reports its findings to the UN Secretary-General. It also notifies each senior manager of accomplishments and shortcomings, and publishes detailed assessment results on the UN iSeek platform. Each senior manager must submit an action plan to address his/her weaknesses. Innovative approaches are shared to strengthen individual as well as organizational performance.

The 2011 compacts, co-signed by the Secretary-General and reviewed by the board, include the objective “to ensure the responsible management of human resources,” with a performance measure linked to female representation.

Two of six indicators in the UN Secretariat’s Human Resources Management Scorecard measure progress towards gender parity at different staff levels.