UN Women Leader Named

Oct 29, 2010

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has appointed Michelle Bachelet, the first female elected president of Chile, to head UN Women – the new global agency created to advance women’s rights.

Bachelet told reporters in New York last month that the body’s creation is “a huge opportunity to significantly accelerate all the efforts that the UN system has made in order to achieve better conditions for women.”


The UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) was established in July by the UN General Assembly to oversee all of the world body’s programs aimed at promoting women’s rights and women’s full participation in global affairs. UN Women will help member states implement standards, provide technical and financial support to countries that request it and forge partnerships with civil society. Within the UN, it will hold the world body accountable for its own commitments on gender equality.


“We now need to move forward or otherwise UN priorities such as addressing the high level of violence and discrimination faced by women and girls” will not succeed, Bachelet warned. Another goal she intends to focus on is reducing maternal mortality by 2015, one of the targets of the Millennium Development Goals.


“I look forward… to [making] UN Women the strong champion for women’s rights and equal opportunity for all women and girls [that] women and girls deserve.”


While president of Chile, Bachelet was instrumental in pushing for a stronger network of social protections for Chile’s poorest citizens, and advocating for laws that address violence against women.


UN Women is the merger of the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), the Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW), the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues (OSAGI), and the UN International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (UN-INSTRAW). It officially begins work on January 1, 2011. 

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