After 65 years of advocating to ensure "the inherent dignity and the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family," the United Nations has finally given in to the pressure of advocacy groups and established an agency devoted to equal rights and protection for women across the globe.
The agency is called UN Women.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, said “UN Women will significantly boost UN efforts to promote gender equality, expand opportunity, and tackle discrimination around the globe.”
In its effort to reduce global poverty, the U.N. has four existing funds or programs focused on women's issues, but the results have been unsatisfactory, reports The Nation: "Around the world and inside the UN, women were often sidelined. Globally, countries signed agreements protecting and benefiting women but did not implement or enforce them."
In 2000, the United Nation adopted the Millennium Development Goals. Among the goals are: halving extreme poverty, dramatically reducing the spread of HIV/AIDS, providing education opportunities, and promoting gender equality. The target date for the Millenium Development Goals is 2015.
In June 2010, the U.N. reported advancements in reaching the Millennium Development Goals. Malaria rates have declined, major advancements have been made in getting children into schools, and HIV/AIDS education and treatment have dramatically increased.
However, according to The Nation, the U.N.'s Millennium Development Goals scorecard shows "major indicators specifically on women and girls lagging behind targets in other areas, such as poverty reduction."
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has been in his position since 2007 and says, “I have made gender equality and the empowerment of women one of my top priorities—from working to end the scourge of violence against women, to appointing more women to senior positions, to efforts to reduce maternal mortality rates."
With the establishment of this new agency, and the efforts of advocacy groups such as CARE and Women for Women International—as well as Ban Ki-moon's dedication—equal rights and protection for women is closer than ever.