UN Women welcomes a landmark action plan to measure gender equality across the UN system


On 13 April a landmark System-wide Action Plan (UN-SWAP) on gender equality and women's empowerment was adopted at a meeting of the United Nations Chief Executives Board for Coordination, to be applied throughout the UN system. For the first time, the UN will have a set of common measures with which to measure progress in its gender-related work, including the mainstreaming of the gender perspective across all its operations.

One key aspect of UN Women's mandate is to guide the system's coordination on gender. The UN-SWAP, as an accountability framework, will allow UN Women to deliver on this. Throughout 2012, the various UN agencies will continue to align their performance indicators on gender equality, along with their policies and work processes.

Speaking at the meeting of the Board, UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet celebrated the groundbreaking launch of the tool, but reiterated the need for its full and fast implementation.

In addition, she called for the development of gender markers and agency-relevant tracking data that can be compared among entities. “We urgently need to build on this and take it a step farther, to mainstreaming gender equality and women's empowerment across the full spectrum of UN activity, she said. “This is not about just ensuring that women and girls are mentioned in policies and programmes alongside “other issues. It is about ensuring that we fully integrate in our work, both the contribution of women, and the impact of what we do on women.

UN Women has been at the helm of the UN-SWAP project since July 2011, during which 50 entities, Secretariat departments and offices have been consulted and eight entities have agreed to pilot it. The Secretary-General, who chaired the Board meeting, has fuelled the process by making women's empowerment one of five priorities during his second term.

Ms. Bachelet also urged that, as a first and critical test, gender equality and women's empowerment is highlighted as a priority in the final outcome document at Rio +20, The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in June 2012, as well as in any agreements on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the post-Millennium Development Goal agenda in 2015. “This is something that UN Women cannot do alone and for which we will need to deliver as one, she said.

UN-SWAP Reporting Cycle

The UN-SWAP reporting period is from 20 December 2012 to 15 February 2013. The reporting tool is available at unswap.unwomen.org.

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Who can I contact for further information?

Aparna Mehrotra
Senior Advisor on Coordination and
Focal Point for Women in the UN System
UN Women
E-mail: aparna.mehrotra[at]unwomen.org

Cynthia Gale
Coordination Associate
UN Coordination Division
UN Women
E-mail: cynthia.gale[at]unwomen.org