Note: UNIFEM has been dissolved and incorporated into the newly established UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women). For more information, please read About UN Women. (The following information is for historical reference.)

UNIFEM (part of UN Women) is the women's fund at the United Nations, dedicated to advancing women’s rights and achieving gender equality. It provides financial and technical assistance to innovative programmes and strategies that foster women's empowerment. UNIFEM works on the premise that it is the fundamental right of every woman to live a life free from discrimination and violence, and that gender equality is essential to achieving development and to building just societies.

Established in 1976, UNIFEM has touched the lives of women and girls around the world. UNIFEM maintains strong ties to both women’s organizations and governments, linking them with the UN system to join national and international political action, and to create momentum for change.

UNIFEM focuses its activities on one overarching goal: to support the implementation at the national level of existing international commitments to advance gender equality. In support of this goal, UNIFEM works in the following thematic areas:

  • enhancing women’s economic security and rights,
  • ending violence against women,
  • reducing the prevalence of HIV and AIDS among women and girls, and
  • advancing gender justice in democratic governance in stable and fragile states.

Active in all regions and at different levels, UNIFEM works with countries to formulate and implement laws and policies to eliminate discrimination and promote gender equality in such areas as land and inheritance rights, decent work for women, and ending violence against women. UNIFEM also aims to transform institutions to make them more accountable to gender equality and women’s rights, to strengthen the capacity and voice of women’s rights advocates, and to change harmful and discriminatory practices in society.

Two international agreements frame UNIFEM's work: the Beijing Platform for Action resulting from the Fourth World Conference on Women in 1995, and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), known as the women's bill of rights. The spirit of these agreements has been affirmed by the Millennium Declaration and the eight Millennium Development Goals for 2015, combating poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy and gender inequality, and building partnerships for development. In addition, UN Security Council resolutions 1325 (2000) on women, peace and security, and 1820 (2008) on sexual violence in conflict are crucial references for UNIFEM’s work in support of women in conflict and post-conflict situations.

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