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This working paper features data and analyses of women’s representation in 133 countries and areas. The paper considers the impacts of legislated quotas and electoral systems in local elections on women’s political participation and identifies remaining data gaps on women’s political participation in local government, including data disaggregation, underused electoral data, and the need for new data collection tools.
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The impact of gender inequality on the HIV response efforts is widely acknowledged, yet, efforts to rectify this are lagging. UN Women, with the United Nations University International Institute for Global Health, convened an Expert Group Meeting on financing for gender equality in the HIV response and commissioned seven discussion papers to identify existing gaps and map recommendations for action.
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This working paper analyses how women leaders at the national and subnational levels of government managed COVID-19 response and recovery from January 2020 through March 2021. The paper finds that women decision-makers demonstrated effective leadership, rapid response, and implemented socially inclusive policies and provides recommendations on how to ensure women’s participation and contribution to the pandemic response and recovery.
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This paper examines the characteristics of past and contemporary feminisms and dissects the issues with periodizing feminism in terms of “waves”. Part two focuses on understanding the most recent wave of feminist activism by considering its antecedents and main characteristics. It presents three case studies of movements in the Global South; the cases of Brazil, India, and Malawi illustrate some of the ideas, campaigns, and organizational forms of “new feminists”.

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This paper uses harmonized collections of national labor force datasets to compare the size and shape of the paid care sector around the globe. The paper then explores the relationship between the size of the care sector and various measures of need for care, finding very little evidence of relationship. Finally, the paper explores wages and working conditions for paid care workers in a subset of countries for which data is available.
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This discussion paper focuses on the interconnections between policies to move toward universal health care (UHC) as a key element of social protection and those to advance gender equality, women’s empowerment, and human rights. Based on an analysis of country experiences, it shows how gender is a key fulcrum on which all health system elements are leveraged and is hence central to achieving UHC.
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This discussion paper assesses the evidence base of the “men for gender equality” field in light of three aspects of its emergence as a field, namely: its un-interrogated use of the category of “men”, its recourse to social psychological accounts of gender norms, and the implications of its NGO form for its ability to collaborate with and be accountable to resurgent intersectional feminist mobilizations.
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The MeToo movement and much other work have increased public attention on sexual harassment. Yet, many workers still await adequate protection and enjoyment of their rights. This discussion paper focuses on sexual harassment of workers in the informal economy, with a focus on farmworkers and domestic workers. The paper provides suggestions for action by governments and civil society organizations for a world of work free from sexual harassment.
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This advocacy paper seeks to reflect and progress dialogue on the connections between sexual harassment and sexual exploitation and abuse (SEA). It advocates a rethinking of current approaches, including that centring survivor voices and understanding their common causes and dynamics is necessary for elimination.
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This discussion paper aims to address the limited scope of discussions and actions relating to the lives of women with disabilities and sexual harassment. It calls for centring the knowledge of women and girls with disabilities in all efforts to end sexual harassment in the world of work and on campus. It contributes to the development of intersectional approaches for addressing sexual harassment as it manifests in the lives of women with disabilities.
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The digital revolution brings immense potential to improve social and economic outcomes for women. Yet, it also poses the risk of perpetuating existing patterns of gender inequality. This report begins by outlining a conceptual framework for understanding the mutual shaping relationship between gender and technology. It then focuses on three areas to identify opportunities and risks in the digital revolution: education, work, and social/welfare services.
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Across the world, the care of children continues to be primarily provided by women and girls, and such a burden constrains their ability to participate equally in employment and social and political life, and to earn an income commensurate with that of men. The goal of this research is to measure and value women’s contribution to the economy through their unpaid care and domestic work responsibilities in the Republic of Serbia.
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In this paper, we propose a conceptual framework to discuss two interrelated realms: backsliding on gender equality policies and the emerging political space for feminist responses to this backsliding. We illustrate our framework with empirical observations from three Central and Eastern European countries: Croatia, Hungary, and Poland. We aim to contribute to an understanding of the gendered aspects of de-democratization and the functioning of illiberal democracies.
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This guidance note highlights the emerging impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on women migrant workers, focusing on the key challenges and risks they face. It makes recommendations in the context of the economic and social response and recovery packages that governments are putting forward, supported by examples of existing good practices from around the world.
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This publication focuses on training as preventive intervention. It discusses current thinking on what makes training effective and presents a new framework for standards. Transformative work involves building a values-based approach to sexual harassment and an audit/culture check to establish the shape of harassment therein, with training that links these two. Training must fit the specific context, be conducted by experts in gender inequality, and be conducted face to face.
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This paper examines how the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development has been integrated into the national debate on gender equality in Ecuador. It identifies which policies from the Agenda have been taken into account and which have been rejected. It also examines how the actors involved in clarifying the scope of these policies—women’s movements, sexual diversity organizations, public officials, and UN agencies—have coordinated their activities with the Agenda.
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To monitor progress on efforts to eliminate violence against women (VAW), quality, standardized data are needed. Administrative data can provide vital information to understand the issue, and to inform policy and programmes to present and respond to VAW. This background paper synthesizes current information on key issues and ongoing debates on the collection and use of VAW administrative data collected and managed by authorities and different types of service providers.
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This paper examines the case for investing in free universal childcare services in North Macedonia in order to reduce gender inequality in employment, labour market activity and earnings; promote higher human capital through greater enrolment of children in early childhood learning and development; and ensure equal access to all children in formal childcare as to foster the life chances and well-being of young children.
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This paper concerns the implications of migration within Central America for family life. Focusing on the case of Costa Rica and Nicaragua, it shows how Nicaraguan families develop strategies based on a history of informal and flexible caregiving. While these informal strategies allow families to navigate the challenges migration and family separation entail, they also contribute to continued vulnerability and reinforce the gendered burdens of caregiving within transnational families.
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This discussion paper begins by presenting an overview of the latest research on cash transfers, gender protection, and empowerment outcomes. It continues by discussing some of the programme design features to consider when seeking to improve gender outcomes. Finally, the paper concludes with a set of research questions that can help shape future research and practice in this area.