Frequently asked questions
1. Is UN Women subsidized by the United Nations regular budget or by UNDP?
In accordance with United Nations General Assembly Resolution 64/289, the resources necessary to service the normative intergovernmental processes are funded from the United Nations (UN) regular budget (approximately 2 per cent of total budget) while those required to service the operational intergovernmental processes and operational activities at all levels are funded from voluntary contributions (approximately 98 per cent of total budget).
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) does not provide funding to UN Women: UN Women is an independent entity. UN Women does outsource certain administrative services to UNDP.
Additionally, UN Women partners with many other UN organizations for joint programming in support of activities aimed at effectively and efficiently achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and other international commitments arising from UN conferences, summits, conventions, and human rights instruments.
2. Why do Member States contribute to the core budget of UN Women?
The UN Secretary-General, Mr. António Guterres, stated that achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls is the unfinished business of our time, and the greatest human rights challenge in our world. Core contributions sustain and advance UN Women’s work to systematically integrate and achieve all three parts of its mandate. They are the primary drivers of the work on establishing international norms and standards, implementing programmes on the ground and coordinating actions to achieve gender equality across the United Nations.
3. Why are core contributions to UN Women—in general—relatively small in comparison to other UN agencies?
Gender equality and the empowerment of women are not products that can be shipped, warehoused, and distributed. They are long-term sociocultural and behavioural processes that change over longer periods of time and require strong financial commitments in order to see results and impact. Although many decision-makers have now come to this understanding, not all have acted accordingly and strengthened funding to UN Women.
UN Women was established during dire financial and economic times (2010), which resulted in reductions in contributions from donors to UN organizations across the board and shrinking Official Development Assistance budgets in general, leaving little room for budget increases for UN Women, although some donors have started to contribute at the double-digit level (above USD 10 million).
The low baseline of the old UN institutions dedicated to gender (before UN Women’s establishment in 2010) caused a certain bureaucratic inertia. It also allowed donors to double or triple their financial support without making a substantial increase in absolute figures. Generally speaking, political support has only been modestly and partly translated into financial support.
4. Why is UN Women widening and deepening its donor base?
UN Women’s Strategic Plan 2018–2021 outlines priorities and provides strategic direction, tools, and estimated resources to achieve significant results in alignment with the 2030 Development Agenda. For the first two years of the Strategic Plan, UN Women projected, as endorsed by its Executive Board, voluntary contributions totalling USD 880 million (USD 440 per year). In 2019, UN Women received a total of USD 510.56 million, surpassing integrated budget projections. This included USD 143 million in regular resources and USD 357.43 million in other resources. Member States provided 76 per cent of the total voluntary contributions.
UN Women has an active campaign to widen and deepen its donor base to decrease reliance on a small number of donors and increase the predictability of resources. This will help to improve results on the ground and ensure implementation of UN Women’s mandate to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment. Widening the donor base also helps expand political support and raise awareness about UN Women’s mandate across a broader constituency.
UN Women will continue to work directly with all donors, encouraging them to enhance their contribution and engage all Member States across the spectrum—from traditional donors to emerging donor countries and programme countries—to find means whereby all can contribute to the common objective, whether through symbolic contributions, or by increasing the predictability of funding through multi-year pledges. Finally, UN Women will continue to strengthen and expand partnerships with foundations and the private sector tapping into their multinational presence through collaboration at the country, regional, and global levels.
5. Why do Member States provide supplementary funding through earmarked non-core contributions and Trust Funds?
Based on regional interests and priority areas for development assistance, Member States may choose to provide supplementary funding to non-core resources. Also known as earmarked or other resources, these contributions to UN Women from any donor are for specific programmes or themes, provided those programmes are consistent with the regulations, policies, and strategic plans of UN Women.
Non-core resources include funds provided in co-financing arrangements for specific programmes, including flagship programmes, as well as funding for the two funds managed and administered by UN Women: the Fund for Gender Equality and the UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women.
6. How does the contribution process work?
Regular resources (core)
UN Women recognizes revenue when written confirmation is received from a resource partner (donor). Pledges shall be dated in the same year as the financial year of UN Women.
Additionally, Member States may choose to announce their contributions during UN Women’s Executive Board session, which typically holds three main meetings a year: a first regular session in January, an annual session in June, and a second regular session in September. Member States may also announce their contributions during the United Nations Pledging Conference for Development Activities, which is held annually in November.
Other resources (non-core)
Contributions can be made to a specific project, theme, programme, or management purpose in line with the priorities outlined in the Strategic Plan. This includes contributions towards Flagship Programme Initiatives, Strategic Notes at regional or country level as well as the Fund for Gender Equality and the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women.
If you have questions regarding the contribution process, please contact:
- Abigail Neville, abigail.neville[at]unwomen.org
- Xiaoman Zhang, xiaoman.zhang[at]unwomen.org
7. How can individuals, corporations or foundations make a contribution to UN Women?
Individual supporters are critical for donating much-needed funding for UN Women’s programmes that help women in need worldwide, and as advocates who help us to advance women’s rights. UN Women is seeking to change to world for women and girls through the voices and donation of million people.
You can make a difference. You can be that game-changer. There are three ways you can get involved:
FIRST, Take Action. Help us change attitudes, behaviours and knowledge by promoting the gender equality and women’s empowerment agenda. Reach out and join our National Committees and help us mobilize advocates and supporters for women’s rights and promote feminist policies.
SECOND, Speak Out. Take a Stand. Help us amplify our advocacy messaging on priority issues affecting women. Learn more in our “Progress of the world’s women” report, a series on women’s rights since 2000, which seeks to spur changes in laws, policies and programmes, creating an enabling environment for women and girls to realize their rights.
THIRD, Make a Donation. Every donation, no matter how small, can make a big difference. We are grateful for every gift. You can make even more of a difference with a smaller amount every month, supporting long-term projects and helping women and girls wherever and whenever that help is needed most.
Each month, your
- $10 could help train 1 advocate to champion women’s rights and work with community leaders and governments in Zimbabwe, Afghanistan and El Salvador.
- $15 could help provide financial and business training for 1 woman in Peru to create a sustainable enterprise.
- $25 could help provide a dignity kit with basic necessities for a displaced woman or girl in Syria and neighbouring countries.
- $50 could help support a woman living in a safe house in Ethiopia, that offers health care, legal services, job training and other forms of assistance to survivors of violence.
- $100 could help teach 7 rural women in Somalia to read and write.
- $200 could help provide vocational job training to help two women in rural India break gender barriers.
There are three ways you can donate:
Online donations are processed through a secure server, so your personal information is protected.
You can write a cheque or international money order payable to UN Women. Please mail your donation to:
Attn: Resource Mobilization
220 E 42nd Street, 18th Floor
New York, NY 10017
If you live in the United States and would like to make a tax-deductible donation, please send your donation to
UN Women USNC
1050 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 500
Washington, DC 20036
To learn more how your contributions can make a huge impact, please view our 2019–2020 annual report.
A gift in your will or living trust
Leaving a gift in your will or living trust to UN Women will transform women’s lives and help build a better world. By including a bequest to UN Women in your will or living trust, you are ensuring that our necessary work around the world will continue for future generations of girls.
To learn more about the power of your legacy, contact donation[at]unwomen.org for additional information.
Planning giving innovations
There are other innovative ways to give, such as beneficiary designations, charitable gift annuities, and real estate. Contact donation[at]unwomen.org and ask us about innovative ways to support us to empower women around the world.