UN Secretary-General issues reports underscoring status of women globally


Six reports prepared by UN Women will be examined by the Third Committee of the General Assembly, during three days of discussion on gender equality issues starting on 11 October. UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka will present the reports and discuss with Member State representatives.

The reports cover the following issues:

An update on the work of UN Women since its establishment in July 2010 highlights its progress despite severe resource constraints.

The sixth report is on Measures taken and progress achieved in follow-up to the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the outcome of the twenty-third special session of the General Assembly, and shows progress in the inclusion of gender perspectives in the work of intergovernmental bodies [see infographic]. Reiterating that the primary responsibility for the realization of gender equality and women’s empowerment rests with Governments, it identifies persistent gaps and challenges. It notes that achievements are evident in social or economic areas; however, a gender perspective is seldom reflected in areas such as disarmament and international security, legal matters, political issues or administration and budgets. The report stresses the need to mainstream a gender perspective into all issues under consideration by intergovernmental bodies and in the post-2015 development framework.

The Secretary-General’s Report on Violence against women migrant workers details how States have taken national, regional and global action to tackle violence and discrimination against women migrant workers; however, it concludes that gaps persist in implementing global agreements which protect women from discrimination and violence. It stresses the urgent need for targeted measures to specifically tackle discrimination and violence against women migrant workers. It urges States to ratify and implement international instruments, ensure that national laws protect women migrant workers and that legislation and judicial processes are in place to guarantee their access to justice. It also stresses the need for coherence between migration, labour and anti trafficking policies as well as continued education, awareness-raising and other violence prevention efforts directed at migrant women. 

The Report on Measures taken and progress achieved in the promotion of women and political participation highlights successful legislation, capacity-building and public sensitization campaigns. Nevertheless, it finds that gender-based discrimination, stereotypes and traditional roles, unfavourable legal frameworks, lack of financial resources, lack of support by political parties and male incumbency persist. These impede women’s full and equal participation in political life. The report recommends more concerted action and stronger political commitment to ensure women’s equal participation in political and public life. Among other recommendations, it calls on States to adopt comprehensive strategies that address specific barriers to women’s participation at all levels of decision-making, including quotas, political finance reforms and other incentives to increase the number of women candidates. 

The annual discussion in the General Assembly provides a key opportunity to bring greater attention to gender equality, identify areas where more concentrated work is needed, and accordingly commit to further action and initiatives. Based on the discussion and the recommendations contained in the reports, Member States are expected to negotiate a number of resolutions to be adopted in late December.