Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown

Newsroom Archive: Aug 2017

  1. 29 August 2017

    UN Women’s Position on Marriage Equality

    UN Women National Committee Australia’s Position on Marriage Equality Postal Survey

    As an organisation advocating for gender equality, we stand firmly behind the full human rights of all lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LBGTI) people.

    UN Women National Committee Australia encourages all Australians to use their voice and vote in the upcoming Marriage Equality Postal Survey. We urge all Australians, regardless of their opinion, to act with civility, respect and kindness throughout the campaign.

    UN Women’s position on Marriage Equality

    UN Women stands for human rights of all LGBTI people. Violations of the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people undermines the shared international goal of gender equality. Addressing and ending such violations is part of the fulfilment of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’s promise to leave no one behind.[1]

    In order to make sure no one is left behind we must make sure no one is left out. Those who are furthest behind, most vulnerable and least supported are our priority. Action to end discrimination and exclusion on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is therefore a natural aspect of planning to implement the 2030 Agenda, as homophobia and transphobia are still all too common and result in violence and exclusion from social services and decision-making.[2]

    UN Women is committed to working closely through and with inter-agency mechanisms, UN Country Teams, civil society partners and others to contribute to the empowerment and realization of LGBTI people’s rights.

    UN Women condemns the widespread forms of discrimination, exclusion and violence against the LGBTI community across the world. We call for the protection of individuals from discrimination and violence, for the repeal of discriminatory laws, and for individual rights to be addressed as an integral part of the path forward to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment.[3]

    UN Women stands with the LGBTI community and calls for equal rights for all people regardless of sexual orientation or gender expression.


    Further Resources:

    UN Free and Equal: ‘The Price of Exclusion’:
    UN Free and Equal: ‘Why we fight’:
    UN Women: A Tale of Discrimination and Love in Cambodia:
    UN Women Executive Director’s 2017 Statement on the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia:
    UN Joint Statement on Ending Violence and Discrimination Against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex People:
    UN Joint Op-ed: ‘Equal Rights Begin at Home’:


    [1] 2017 IDAHOT Statement, available:

    [2] 2016 IDAHOT Statement, available:

    [3] 2016 IDAHOT Statement, available:

  2. 19 August 2017

    UN Women statement for World Humanitarian Day

    Every year World Humanitarian Day is a tribute to the humanitarian workers who risk their lives in the service of millions of women, men, boys and girls caught up in crisis. UN Women is proud of our staff, and the staff of our partners, who are working across the world in humanitarian crises; both protracted, such as those around Syria or Lake Chad, and more sudden, such as the landslides and rains currently affecting Sierra Leone.

    This year we are focusing on the issue of civilians trapped in situations of conflict. UN Women fully supports the UN’s #NotATarget campaign, and we demand again, as mandated by international humanitarian law, that civilians not be a target of armed conflict. They should not pay the price of warring parties whose interests are not theirs. Yet we know the reality is that it is indeed civilians who are often the primary targets of today’s wars, and that this is the single largest driver of humanitarian crises.

    These violations of international humanitarian law have generated a global protection crisis. The impact on civilians is devastating, with bombs and rockets destroying schools, hospitals, markets and places of worship. Children are pulled from the rubble of their homes. Every day, young girls are increasingly exposed to early and forced marriage and young boys are forcibly recruited into armed groups. Sexual and gender-based violence continue to shatter lives and undermine community cohesion.

    This is particularly true for women and girls. Some sixty per cent of preventable maternal deaths take place in conflict, displacement or natural disaster settings; girls are two and a half times more likely to be out of school in conflict countries; and a reported one in five refugee or displaced women experience sexual violence, with the actual numbers potentially much higher. Crises also dramatically increase the number of women who support their families alone: in Yemen, the proportion of female-headed households has jumped from nine to thirty per cent during the current crisis. By any metric, gender equality must be an urgent priority in humanitarian action. But we are not there yet. In 2014 only four per cent of projects in UN inter-agency appeals were targeted at women and girls, and just one per cent of funding to fragile states went to women’s groups or women’s ministries.

    Women and girls represent our greatest untapped resource in humanitarian response. Women are the leaders in their families, communities and societies who drive effective responses to crisis. When supported to play this leadership role, they are the true humanitarian actors, protecting children, the sick, the elderly and other vulnerable groups far more effectively than any international organization can. And it is women and girls who have insights into what is needed and what works, which must inform effective humanitarian response.

    On World Humanitarian Day, we must come together to change the status quo—for women and girls, and for all civilians caught up in crises.

  3. 11 August 2017

    Peace and Stability Has to be Built With Youth

    Statement by UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka for International Youth Day 2017

    On International Youth Day we celebrate young people’s critical role as both drivers and beneficiaries of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This year, under the theme of “Youth Building Peace”, we focus especially on young people’s influence on preventing conflict and sustaining peace.

    Despite increased recognition of youth’s role since the adoption of Security Council resolution 2250 in 2015, peace and security interventions tend to prioritize young men, and to rely on gender stereotypes: young men are perceived as potential ‘spoilers’ of peace processes, and young women as ‘victims’. Women, peace and security advocates have worked to defy and undo these stereotypes and to promote the recognition of women as powerful agents of peace in the prevention and resolution of conflict and peacebuilding processes.

    In Kyrgyzstan, 15-year-old Diana Ruslan Kyzy is part of a group of young people partnering with civil society organizations to lead local peacebuilding initiatives; María Alejandra Martínez, the daughter of FARC-EP fighters in Colombia, helped found Aliarte, a network of young people which uses art and participation to prevent youth involvement in Colombia’s armed conflict; and in Haiti, 25-year-old Sophia Pierre-Antoine of the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA), recently participated in the first regional consultation for Youth, Peace and Security in Panama City, which brought together 63 youth leaders to discuss issues that impact youth and to advance their role in building a peaceful world. They are just a few of the many young women and girls around the world working to create and sustain peace in their communities.

    Their stories illustrate the complex reality of adolescent girls’ and young women’s roles in conflict and post-conflict contexts. As UN Security Council resolution 1325 and its subsequent resolutions highlight, women—including young women—play diverse roles in peace and security contexts. They manage multiple layers of disadvantage and violence stemming from patriarchal norms and rigid cultural and traditional mores.

    Adolescent girls and young women face double discrimination that stems from both their gender and their age. As a result, they can be overlooked in peace and security efforts; they do not fit into many male-dominated youth-focused peacebuilding and prevention programmes, and are too young for many women-targeted peacebuilding interventions.

    But this does not mean that they are not significant and active agents of peace.

    In recent years, we have worked to strengthen young women’s participation in policy discussions, consultations and regional or country-level programmes. We recognize the need for gender-sensitive and age-sensitive analysis that can be translated into responsive policy and programming so that we appropriately address the differentiated experiences and roles of young women and men, hear their voices and ensure their needs are met.

    The Global Study on Women, Peace & Security (2015) highlighted that peace processes inclusive of civil society have a greater chance of success, while societies with higher gender equality markers were proven to be more stable and less at risk of conflict. The same logic of inclusive processes and agency extends to the youth, peace and security agenda.

    Peace and stability cannot be built without young women and men, and it cannot be built for them—it has to be built with them.

Empower women today.