The Preamble to the UN Charter denotes that full equality and equal rights for men and women alike is something the United Nations shall work for.
Commission on the Status of Women (CSW)
The Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) was established by ECOSOC in 1946. The Commission has the prime responsibility within the United Nations of improving the conditions of women.
The Commission works to promote the advancement of women worldwide by
- setting global standards
- evaluating progress on gender equality
- preparing recommendations and reports to ECOSOC.
The Commission consists of 45 members elected on a regional basis for a period of four years. They meet for an annual session for two weeks.
Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW)
For the purpose of monitoring progress made in the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) has been established.
The Committee reports to ECOSOC, the General Assembly and the Commission on the Status of Women.
Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences
A Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences from the Human Rights Council is entrusted with the task to:
- seek and receive information on this issue
- recommend measures and report to the Council.
The Rapporteur was appointed in 1994 by the Commission on Human Rights.
In July 2010 the General Assembly unanimously adopted a resolution (A/RES/64/289) to set up UN Women (UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women). The new body was established to strengthen the role of the UN in advancing the situation for women and girls, giving them a powerful voice.
UN Women consolidated four former UN bodies on women:
- UNIFEM - UN Development Fund for Women
- DAW - The Division for the Advancement of Women
- OSAGI - The Office fo the Special Advisor on Gender Issues and the Advancement of Women
- INSTRAW - The International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women.
DAW, UNIFEM and INSTRAW
Since 1946, women's status has been included in the work of the UN.The Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW) within the UN Secretariat used to be the administrative centre for the work of the Commission on the status of women.
United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) was created at the beginning of the United Nations Decade for Women, 1975-1985. Its aim was to provide direct support for development projects for women.
The United Nations International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW) was an international institute for research and training programs for women. INSTRAW was established by the United Nations in 1976.
From 2011, DAW, UNIFEM and INSTRAW (as well as OSAGI) were incorporated into UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women - UN Women.
More on UN and Women and Sustainable development
- ECOSOC. Poverty Eradiction. Inequality.
- Handbook for Legislation on Violence Against Women
- The Human Development Report by UNDP contains gender-related indexes.
- Sustainable Development Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
- For documentation on UN Women, see DagDok: UN Women.
More on UN and Women's rights
Since 1950, around 50 conventions relating to women's status have been drawn up, several by the Commission on the status of women:
- United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women in Swedish and in English.
- International Instruments and Treaty Bodies. Information on legal instruments and other relevant international standards of particular importance to women's human rights and gender equality, including CEDAW and other treaty bodies.
The official documents from the UN Conferences on Women:
- World Conference on the International Women's Year (1975 : Mexico City). The report is issued as document E/CONF.66/34.
- World Conference of the United Nations Decade for Women (1980 : Copenhagen) The report is issued as document A/CONF.94/35. and Corrigendum.
- World Conference to Review and Appraise the Achievements of the United Nations Decade for Women: Equality, Development and Peace (1985 : Nairobi) and the Nairobi Forward-looking Strategies for the Advancement of Women. The report is issued as document A/CONF.116/28/Rev.1.
- United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women : Action for Equality, Development and Peace (1995 : Beijing). The report is issued as document A/CONF.177/20/Rev.1.
The General Assembly organized a special session to appraise and review the results of the Fourth World Conference on Women in June 2000:
- Beijing +5. Women 2000: Gender, Equality, Development and Peace for the 21st Century - 23rd Special Session of the General Assembly, 5-9 June 2000.
The Swedish Foreign Ministry has after each conference published summaries of information about the positions of Sweden, as well as translations of the final documents in the series Aktstycken, published by the Swedish Foreign Ministry.
- The United Nations and the Advancement of Women, 1945-1996 documents the UN's substantial work on women's issues during 50 years. Included are more than 150 documents on women's rights.
Key UN documents
- UN Charter in Swedish | in English
- UN System Chart
- Yearbook of the United Nations
- Universal Declaration of Human Rights in Swedish | in English
- Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action
- Statue of the International Court of Justice
UN documents and publications in catalogues and databases
- United Nations Digital Library offers UN documents and open access publications, UN voting data and speeches, UN maps, Content in 6+ languages. Replaces the traditional online catalogue UNBISnet.
- UN iLibrary UN publications online covering different topics.
- ODS full-text UN documents published from 1993 onward and scanned documents published between 1946 and 1993 in the official languages of the UN.
- Daily list of documents (ODS). Documents published for the day, with full text links, can be found in the United Nations full text database ODS.
- UNBIS Thesaurus a multilingual database of the controlled vocabulary used to describe UN documents.
- Index to proceedings is an annual bibliographic guide to the proceedings and documentation of the major UN organs. The index includes:
- a list of all documents
- a comprehensive subject index
- an index to speeches
- a voting chart of resolutions
- United Nations Documents Index (United Nations Digital Library) References to all documents by subject area are published. A collection of indexes is held by the Dag Hammarskjöld and Law Library, Uppsala, and the Libraries at UN Headquarters in New York and Geneva.