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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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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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This working paper provides a basis to review the barriers, risks, and opportunities related to gender and the accessibility and utilization of digital finance, and to help identify pathways that could be leveraged for potential impactful investment returns for women.
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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 study addresses the percolation and domestication of the United Nations’ “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – Transforming our World” in Germany with a view to understanding its impact on domestic gender equality policies. Concentrating on federal-level policymaking, the main finding of the study is that the 2030 Agenda and SDG 5 have, as of yet, not had a discernible impact on domestic gender equality struggles.
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This discussion paper provides an updated analysis of gendered economic inequality in high- and middle-income countries. A review of the literature demonstrates that such an analysis needs to explicitly recognize that gender, poverty, and (economic) inequality are intrinsically linked. It was produced for UN Women’s flagship report, Progress of the World’s Women 2019”, and also released as part of the UN Women discussion paper series.
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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 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.
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This discussion paper reviews the extensive literature on sanitation to show that inadequate access to this basic service prevents the realization of a range of human rights and of gender equality. This paper was featured at an event on Emerging Issues in Gender and WASH held during the 60th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women in 2016.
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The paper introduces a four-dimensional approach to substantive equality and how it can be used to evaluate the impact of social and economic policies on women to determine how to make the economy 'work for women' and advance gender equality. This paper was produced for UN Women's flagship report Progress of the World's Women 2015-2016 and is released as part of the UN Women discussion paper series.
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The UN Women discussion paper series is an initiative led by the Research and Data Section of UN Women, to provide grounded, fresh and robust perspectives on some of the contemporary challenges to achieving gender equality and women’s rights, and offer insights into policy innovations that are making a difference in women’s lives.