Six months after the creation of UN Women (UNW), a special agency for women started by the United Nations, the agency lacks the voluntary funding necessary to complete its 2011-2013 Strategic Plan, to assist countries in achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment.
Initially, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon had set a 500 million dollar target as an annual budget for UNW, but the agency has only received around 80 million dollars.
Stephen Lewis, former deputy executive director of UNICEF and co-founder of AIDS-Free World, stated, “UN Women is being strangled at birth by a coalition of the wealthy. All the misogynist countries, from Pakistan to Sudan, must surely be laughing behind the scenes. They never wanted UN Women and now the western donors are doing the dirty work for them.”
The UNW, formally titled the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, is headed by Michelle Bachelet, the former president of Chile. It was formed by combining the four small entities of the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues, the U.N. Division for the Advancement of Women, the U.N. Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW).
On July 8, UNW released its first major report “Progress of the World’s Women: In Pursuit of Justice,” which found that despite advances in women’s equality, justice is still out of reach for millions of women worldwide. Bachelet described the report as a “call for action,” asking governments, societies and communities to support their battle for justice, which includes the desperately needed financial funding.