Around the world, women work on unequal terms, a denial of their rights and an impediment to global goals. To overcome the barriers, the Commission on the Status of Women issued a global action plan to empower women at work and in the broader economy. Photos (left to right): UN Women/Pornvit Visitoran, CIAT/Georgina Smith, UN Women/Joe Saade.

Around the world, women work on unequal terms, a denial of their rights and an impediment to global goals. To overcome the barriers, the Commission on the Status of Women issued a global action plan to empower women at work and in the broader economy. Photos (left to right): UN Women/Pornvit Visitoran, CIAT/Georgina Smith, UN Women/Joe Saade.

Setting high standards for women and the world

Women and the sustainable development goals.

International commitments, affirmed by UN Member States, set globally agreed benchmarks that guide actions and progress towards gender equality. Through evidence and advocacy, UN Women supports continued advancement of norms and standards, in line with women’s human rights. We mobilize governments, civil society organizations and others to keep the bar high in forums dedicated to gender equality. In other deliberations and agreements linked to the 2030 Agenda, we work to make sure the spotlight shines fully on gender equality as fundamental to the Sustainable Development Goals and a more inclusive world.

Commission on the Status of Women

As the largest annual UN gathering on gender equality and women’s empowerment, the Commission on the Status of Women in 2017 showcased growing global support for breaking the barriers to gender equality. It sent the world a powerful unified message on the theme of women in the workplace and the broader economy: the right to work and all rights at work must be upheld. Widely diverse participants came from 162 UN Member States, with 89 representatives at the ministerial level. Nearly 4,000 civil society representatives attended from 138 countries.

Commission on the Status of Women in numbers


government officials


representatives of
women’s organizations


Member States

Measures for climate change

For the twenty-second session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 22), the preeminent intergovernmental forum on climate change, UN Women worked with States Parties as they adopted a decision that mandates the development of the first gender action plan for the UNFCCC. The gender action plan covers all areas of work, such as mitigation, adaptation, finance, capacity-building and technology development and transfer. The decision also mandates measures aimed at achieving gender balance in the UNFCCC process, including the continuation of training and awareness-raising for female and male delegates on issues related to gender-responsive climate policy and action.

Migrant domestic workers: Facts everyone should know

Steps for poor countries, cities and migrants

A review of the Istanbul Programme of Action for the Least Developed Countries for the Decade 2011–2020 was a top priority in 2016, given that women and girls in these countries are furthest behind on nearly all elements of empowerment and human well-being. UN Women’s advocacy throughout the process contributed to a Political Declaration containing stronger commitments to end gender inequalities linked to agriculture, climate change, education, public finance and poverty, among a number of key concerns.

International Women’s Day 2017

International Women’s Day occurred on the eve of the Commission on the Status of Women, drawing global attention to the theme of women in the changing world of work. In 53 countries, UN Women helped put women and work at the centre of public debate through marches, panel discussions, cultural events and awards. In New York, Academy Award-winning actor Anne Hathaway debuted as UN Women’s newest Goodwill Ambassador, with a call for affordable childcare and shared parental leave.

Norway actively supported the establishment of UN Women and has been a strong supporter since. UN Women is uniquely positioned to promote gender equality across the entire UN system. It differs from some of the strongly branded UN development agencies in its normative approach. If we are serious about changing the game and the rules, we have to be willing to invest for the long term.

Børge Brende, Norwegian Minister of Foreign Affairs
Ms. Casar Jacobson, FWIS. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown.

Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown

SDG 5: Gender equalityCasar Jacobson is a 31-year-old disability rights activist from Canada and a UN Women Youth Champion. She participated at the Youth CSW61 in March 2017, which UN Women convened for the second year to bring the voices of young women to the intergovernmental arena. To further its work with youth, UN Women in 2016 founded the Global Coalition of Young Women Entrepreneurs for Innovation and Skills Development. Our working group on youth and gender equality has grown to include over 1,000 members from organizations around the world. Ms. Jacobson is working currently with partners on developing non-invasive technology to restore hearing. Her story is related to the SDG 5, which calls for empowering all women and girls, and targets the use of enabling technology to promote the empowerment of women. Her role is also related to SDG 4 on inclusive and equitable education, as well as SDG 8, on access to full and productive employment for all; and SDG 10 on social, economic and political inclusion.

Casar Jacobson: “Technology sees skills before gender and disability”

“When you lose your hearing slowly, you don’t know how much you’re using it until one day you wake up without it. I didn’t realize that I was missing 70 per cent of what was being said. It affected my education, my career and my relationships.

I was born hard of hearing and lost hearing in my right ear over a decade ago. Around five years back, I became completely deaf. I tried hearing aids, but they didn’t work so well. I taught myself to lip-read, but it’s not fool-proof. I remember once I was at a networking event and thought someone had asked me if I wanted a cappuccino. They came back with what looked like coca cola. I was confused and asked, ‘No cappuccino?’ They said, ‘I asked if you wanted a captain and coke.’ I’m not a drinker.

I have missed flights because I couldn’t hear the announcements at airports. It’s everyday things, big and small. People often tell me, ‘You don’t look deaf.’

Today, I call myself a ‘super connector.’ I find individuals who are deaf and hard-of-hearing and connect them to other networks and resources and help them start their own business. Being a Youth Champion has broadened my reach to connect with other women with disabilities and with entrepreneurs. I think technology can be part of the solution for women with disabilities. It can truly empower us, if we can access it. Technology sees skills before gender or disability. I am currently working with partners on non-invasive technology to restore hearing.

My biggest dream is that the world sees us as persons with a different form of communication, a different language, not a disability, so that someone who is deaf or hard-of-hearing can grow up to pursue whatever [career] they want to.”