By Christine Mangale (LOWC) and Elizabeth C. H. Lee (WCC-UNLO)

After many years of advocating for the Gender entity, finally “UN Women” is born!   On Friday July 2, 2010, the General Assembly voted unanimously to create a dynamic new entity — the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, to be known as UN Women. Its work will be framed by the Beijing Platform for Action and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

The new body will merge four of the world body’s agencies and offices focusing on gender equality: UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), the Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW), and the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues, and the UN International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (UN-INSTRAW).

One of the main goals of UN Women will be to support the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) and other inter-governmental bodies in devising policies.  The new body will also aim to help Member States implement standards, provide technical and financial support to countries which request it, and forge partnerships with civil society. UN Women is also mandated to monitor and hold the UN accountable in its own system-wide progress in gender main-streaming and gender equality.

“Grounded on the vision of equality enshrined in the UN Charter, UN Women will work for the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women and girls, the empowerment of women, and the achievement of equality between women and men as partners and beneficiaries of development, human rights, humanitarian action and peace and security,” the UN Women’s website notes.

Set to be based in New York, UN Women will be headed by an Under-Secretary-General, to be appointed by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. It will start operating in January 2011.

Key to the success of the new gender entity will be sufficient funding along with political will and leadership displayed by UN Member States and the Secretariat.

Member States who are currently drafting the ECOSOC resolution “Mainstreaming a gender perspective into all policies and programmes in the United Nations system” have another the opportunity to show their commitment and political will in advancing gender justice.

You can read more at the new UN Women website http://www.unwomen.org/