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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 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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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 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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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 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.
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This discussion paper on cultural change needed to end sexual harassment offers inputs on training, victim-focused work, rational reporting and collective ownership. It recognizes the work of the global women’s movements that put the issue in the spotlight, the women who led the international clamour for recognition of their voices and accountability for all perpetrators.
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This discussion paper identifies some of the most prevalent custody and child maintenance regimes in cases of divorce, dissolution of a civil union, and separation of parents, and examines them with an emphasis on their impact on women’s rights and gender equality.
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This publication intends to support policy makers, employers, and activists by sharing UN Women’s work on this topic and offering new guidance on policy and practice on sexual harassment.
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This paper aims to give a broad overview of marriage and relationship recognition by exploring the extent to which the legal institution of marriage in western jurisdictions has changed to reflect gender equality. It draws on key illustrative examples, including the gendered division of labour, division of assets on divorce, the introduction of same-sex marriage, as well as examples from the expanding “menu” of relationship recognition.
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This paper investigates how women’s right to live free from violence operates in the context of insecure immigration status. It identifies a tension between human rights and immigration control that is present in theory, policy frameworks, and migrant women’s lived experiences. It contends that this tension has led to a proliferation of rights’ statuses for migrant women who are exposed to intimate partner violence.
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This discussion paper examines the impacts of shifting policies in relation to family reunification and internal dispersal on the experiences of female Syrian asylum seekers in Germany. It sheds light on how female Syrian asylum seekers and recognized refugees have coped with diverse challenges before arriving, during long-lasting separations, after subsequent reunifications in Germany, or after arriving alone.
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This paper examines the interplay between the obligations related to the ‘family’ that States have assumed through various human rights treaties adopted over the decades, and the recent commitments undertaken under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
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This paper puts forward a ‘gendered pathways approach’, as a conceptual framework for addressing the interactions, tensions and trade-offs between different dimensions of gender equality and of sustainability. It was produced for UN Women's flagship report the World Survey on the Role of Women in Development 2014: Gender and Sustainable Development. It is now also released as part of the UN Women discussion paper series.