In July 2010, the United Nations General Assembly created UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. In doing so, UN Member States took an historic step in accelerating the Organization’s goals on gender equality and the empowerment of women. The creation of UN Women came about as part of the UN reform agenda, bringing together resources and mandates for greater impact. It merges and builds on the important work of four previously distinct parts of the UN system, which focused exclusively on gender equality and women’s empowerment:

  • Division for the Advancement of Women (DAW)
  • International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW)
  • Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and Advancement of Women (OSAGI)
  • United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM)
  • The main roles of UN Women are:

  • To support inter-governmental bodies, such as the Commission on the Legal and Social Status of Women, in their formulation of policies, global standards and norms;
  • To help Member States to implement these standards, standing ready to provide suitable technical and financial support to those countries that request it, and to forge effective partnerships with civil society; and
  • To lead UN system’s work on gender equality as well as promote accountability.
  • Over many decades, the UN has made significant progress in advancing gender equality, including through landmark agreements such as the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). Gender equality is not only a basic human right, but its achievement has enormous socio-economic ramifications. Empowering women fuels thriving economies, spurring productivity and growth.

    Yet gender inequalities remain deeply entrenched in every society. Women lack access to decent work and face occupational segregation and gender wage gaps. They are too often denied access to basic education and health care. Women in all parts of the world suffer violence and discrimination. They are under-represented in political and economic decision-making processes. For many years, the UN has faced serious challenges in its efforts to promote gender equality globally, including inadequate funding and no single recognized driving force to direct UN activities on gender equality issues. UN Women was created to address these difficulties. It will be a dynamic and strong champion for women and girls, providing them with a powerful voice at the global, regional and local levels.

    In Honduras:

    UN Women focuses their work in three concrete areas:

    Promote a life free from gender violence against women: to contribute to this objective, UN Women Honduras focuses the efforts in streaming access to justice to women victims / survivors of violence, support advocacy actions before government institutions to face violations of women’s human rights, launch awareness raising campaigns and social mobilization to promote cultural change that will pave the way to its eradication, implement the Secure Cities model, strengthen women organizations / networks at community level so that from their empowerment they are the ones managing the VAW prevention and care initiatives, generate data to facilitate decision-making based on evidence.

    Gender-responsive Governance, Planning and Budgeting: Plans, policies, institutions and national budgets are some of the measures that aid the Honduran Government to begin to translate commitments into concrete progress in favour of women and gender equality. However, frequently this commitments overlook measures that will guarantee that public services respond to the needs and priorities of women.

    These governance dimensions seen through a gender equality lens mean that the traditional focus of neutrality towards gender must be left behind. This implies an exhaustive evaluation of gender gaps and ways destined to eliminate them. The changes that promote gender equality need to have the necessary funds to back them up, and have regular monitoring to evaluate progress gained in reducing gender discrimination.

    UN Women works in a cross-sectional way with those issues of governance that are more apt to accelerate change towards gender equality. We help build bridges between the national development strategies and the plans favourable to gender equality. We support capacity building of public officers in how to integrate gender equality measures in their plans and budgets, with the objective of reforming public institutions. Furthermore, we defend proper and transparent public funding of gender equality, including the adoption of gender responsive budgets that will channel adequate funding to men and women. Commitment with gender equality promotes the strengthening of capacities to influence the adoption of public decisions and make governments accountable.

    Mainstreaming a gender perspective throughout the United Nations System:

    When different parts of a multi-lateral system act together they can maximize results and have a more efficient use of resources. UN Women leads and coordinates the UN System general efforts to support full compliance of women’s rights and opportunities. The UN General Assembly has urged all the UN System’s agencies to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment in their mandates and guarantee that commitments made on paper are translated to achievements in the field. To be successful in this objectives, UN Women helps strengthen the effective actions of UN Honduras reinforcing capacities to ensure that gender equality is a key issue of policies and programs, looking for more funding, guiding and implementing joint development programs. Moreover, we support measures that will permit accountability over acquired commitments with women and we play an important role to increase knowledge about women’s conditions in the United Nations.

    In 2014 UN Women implements three specific programs / projects:

    Program for financing gender equality 2012 -2015 (F4GE) its goal is increase accountability for gender equality financing with the objective of increasing the volume and effective use of Official Development Assistance (ODA) and domestic resources to implement national commitments aimed to achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment. In this program’s framework efforts are directed to three objectives:

    1. Contribute to strengthen national, sectoral and local action plans for gender equality in order to align the objectives, financing and implementation with the national planning and budgeting processes.

    2. Strengthen the capacity and accountability of national governments for the implementation of their gender equality commitments and guide the priorities of women in the national planning, budget systems and programming.

    3. Strengthen the capacity and accountability of donors and counterparts in the aid coordinating mechanisms to achieve the commitments towards gender equality in stable and fragile countries.

    Among the counterparts of this programs we highlight the Presidential Directorate of Strategic Planning, Budgeting and Public Investment; the Sectoral Cabinet on Development and Social Inclusion, Finance Secretariat (SEFIN), National Institute for Women (INAM), Sectoral level institutions (Labor and Social Security Secretariat STSS, Development and Social Inclusion Secretariat SEDIS, Secretariat of Education SE), UN Agencies like FAO, WFP; civil society organizations and international cooperation like TROCAIRE, ASONOG, Association of Women Defenders of Life (AMDV), Citizen Commission of Solidarity Women (CCMS), women’s regional and municipal networks.

    Project “Safe Cities for Women – Tegucigalpa” (2013 – 2015). The project’s objective is by strengthening their right to exercise an active citizenship and the promotion of a culture of peace and economic development with equality reduce violence against women and girls in public and private spaces within the communities of Villanueva and Nueva Suyapa, Honduras. The expected results are:

    Result 1: To inform debates on the issue build on the knowledge of the population regarding the relationship between urban violence and gender.

    Result 2: Gender violence is included in the agendas of decision-takers from civil society organizations and government.

    Result 3: Urban Development Plans are drafted with a gender perspective and active participation of women’s organizations, civil society and local authorities.

    Result 4: Women’s organizations and networks have the ability to influence local governments in order to include gender perspective into safety related public policies.

    The strategies set in place to achieve this will be: Alliances and Networking, Incidence and Communications, and Capacity strengthening.

    The beneficiaries of this Project will be 300 women from Villanueva and Nueva Suyapa.

    Counterparts of this Project are: Grass-roots women’s groups, Mayor’s Office of the Central District and national authorities, national authorities like the Security Secretariat, Justice and Human Rights Secretariat, Women’s National Institute (INAM), Especial Prosecutor’s Office for Women, Family Counseling Offices, among others. These will be the key institutions in positioning women’s proposals in the municipal and national public agenda outlined in the safety agenda.

    III. The gender component of the Project “Support to Strengthen Democratic Governance in Honduras: Promoting Coexistence and Citizen Safety in Municipalities with high incidence of violence” (2013 – 2015) the objective is improve social coexistence conditions and citizen safety in municipalities with high incidence of violence, through the implementation of public policies that will strengthen municipal conflict mediation, promote citizen participation, empowerment of women and a culture of peace. The concrete expected result is women’s municipal offices strengthened in La Ceiba, Choloma, Tela, San Pedro Sula and Central District, and the achievement of two outputs:

    1) Strengthening Women's Municipal Offices in order to articulate gender-based violence prevention strategies in the municipalities of La Ceiba, Tela, Choloma and San Pedro Sula.

    2) Grants program to support women's organizations promoting work articulated with the Women's Offices in the municipalities of La Ceiba, Tela, Choloma and San Pedro Sula.