After months of hard work by the U.S. and an array of partners and allies, we at the U.S. Mission to the UN are enthusiastic to report that on Friday, July 2, the UN General Assembly voted to pass a resolution creating UN Women.
This new agency is charged with strengthening gender equality and empowering women around the world. While the UN has long stressed the importance of gender equality and the empowerment of women, over the years this work has been carried out though several different offices and mandates. UN Women combines the mandates and work of four UN offices and funds in order to give one streamlined, powerful voice to UN efforts to advance the status and lives of women globally. UN Women will hold the UN system accountable for improving gender mainstreaming and carrying out operational activities around the world.
Furthermore, the Under-Secretary General who heads up UN Women will have a seat on Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s core policy team, thus giving women's issues the status and weight that they deserve in the UN system -- from economic empowerment and increased women's participation in political processes to protection of women and girls from violence and discrimination. The agency is expected to become operational on January 1, 2011.
Women around the world should have high expectations of this vital new agency. We look forward to partnering with UN Women in our shared efforts to ensure these expectations are fulfilled.
Jennifer Simon is a Senior Advisor to Ambassador Susan Rice, and her representative on the White House Council on Women and Girls