Girls & Women Series: UNIFEM to Become UN Women in 2011

I am excited to write about girls’ and women’s human rights issues in 2011. I am even more excited about the possibility that I could get some momentum going and help people find ways to take action to advance the cause. Stay tuned for action items in the New Year.

In the meantime, here is one thing you can do: please “Like” the UNIFEM page on facebook. This page will soon be converted into the UN Women page.

The United Nations Development Fund for Women or UNIFEM has provided financial and technical assistance to programs that foster women’s empowerment and gender equality since 1976.  The group 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.

In January 2011, UNIFEM will be merged into UN Women, a composite entity of the UN, along with International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW), Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues (OSAGI), and Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW).

In July 2010, the United Nations General Assembly voted unanimously to “accelerate progress in meeting the needs of women and girls worldwide.” The body is a result of many years of negotiations between UN member states and women’s rights advocates. The body is a part of the UN’s reform agenda seeking to bring together “resources and mandates for greater impact.” The body’s intention is to “accelerate progress in meeting the needs of women and girls worldwide.”

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced at the founding of the movement that he is “grateful to Member States for having taken this major step forward for the world’s women and girls. UN Women will significantly boost UN efforts to promote gender equality, expand opportunity, and tackle discrimination around the globe.”

In September, it was announced that former President of Chile Michelle Bachelet (pictured above) was appointed as head of UN Women. Various countries supported the creation of the body and welcome Bachelet as chief.

Here’s to progress in 2011!

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