One year into UN Secretary-General’s System-wide Strategy on Gender Parity

Date: Thursday, September 13, 2018

Today marks the first anniversary of the UN Secretary-General’s System-wide Strategy on Gender Parity, a progressive roadmap adopted by the UN to reach parity at its senior levels of leadership by 2021, and across the board by 2028.

For the UN system, achieving gender parity is an urgent priority not only as a basic human right, but also as it is essential to the United Nations’ efficiency, impact and credibility. In January of this year, the Secretary-General’s Senior Management Group reached parity and in May 2018, parity was attained among the UN Resident Coordinators, the top UN officials who lead UN country teams in 129 countries.

Since the launch of the strategy, many UN entity heads have joined the International Gender Champions’ network with parity commitments; several UN entities now include gender parity in their performance evaluation processes; and nearly 200 gender focal points across the UN system have been mobilized with the support of UN Women to realize the vision of parity.

As all UN entities are aiming to have an action plan with a robust accountability mechanism and monitoring in place, UN Women has been active in leading, promoting and coordinating efforts to advance the full realization of women’s rights and opportunities, in line with its system-wide mandate. UN Women, among other things, will continue to provide substantive guidance on gender parity and to build the gender expertise and capacities across the UN system, including through the gender focal points system.

Together with the UN’s Office of Human Resources Management and the Human Resources Network of the Chief Executive Board for Coordination, UN Women will soon launch Enabling Environment Guidelines, which propose measures for family-friendly policies, flexible working arrangements, talent management, recruitment and standards of conduct. These measures are the foundation of an inclusive organizational culture that embraces diversity and must be implemented in conjunction with the changes brought by the ongoing UN Reform process, as together they will bring new strength to the UN system.

As a standard-setting organization, the UN has the responsibility to achieve gender parity and gender equality within its own system. The first year of implementation of the gender parity strategy has already shown that change is possible, and within reach.