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​​​​​Women’s Human Rights and Gender Equality

"Patriarchy works to exclude us. We must push back, in solidarity and sisterhood with other women, and with all those affected by discrimination and oppression."

Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, International Women’s Day, 8 March 2021

About gender equality and the human rights of women and LGBTI persons

Gender equality is at the very heart of human rights and United Nations values. Equality and non-discrimination are fundamental principles of the United Nations Charter, adopted by world leaders in 1945.

Yet millions of women and LGBTI persons around the world continue to experience discrimination in the enjoyment of civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights.

Moreover, many women, including transgender, gender diverse and intersex women, face compounded forms of discrimination—due to factors such as their age, race, ethnicity, disability, or socio-economic status—in addition to gender-based discrimination.

Effectively ensuring full enjoyment of human rights by women, girls, men, boys and people of diverse gender identities requires, first, a comprehensive understanding of the social structures, social norms and stereotyping, and power relations that frame not only laws and politics but also the economy, social dynamics, family life and community life.

Our work on gender equality and the human rights of women and LGBTI persons

UN Human Rights is committed to working with States, national human rights institutions (NHRIs), civil society, and other stakeholders worldwide to:

  • Reform discriminatory laws and policies which allow gender-based discrimination and bring them in line with the international human rights law;
  • Transform discriminatory social norms and harmful gender stereotypes into more equal social structures and power relations for all genders;
  • Eliminate gender-based violence;
  • Guarantee theenjoyment of sexual and reproductive health and rights by all;
  • Protect and expand the civic space of women human rights defenders and feminist movements;
  • Facilitate equal participation of women, men and people of diverse gender identities in civil, political, economic, social and cultural life; and
  • Ensure gender equality within the UN Human Rights Office and the United Nations.

Key documents

Guidance on COVID and women’s rights and the rights of LGBTI people (2020)

Information series on sexual and reproductive health and rights (2020)

Latest reports, publications and resources

Strategic Litigation for Gender-based Violence: Experiences from Latin America (2021) - English | Español

Human rights and civic space in the UN system supporting women human rights defenders (5-pager) (2021)

On the Frontlines: Defending Rights in the Time of COVID, Africa region (2020)

Good practices and challenges to respecting, protecting and fulfilling all human rights in the elimination of preventable maternal mortality and morbidity - Follow-up report (2020)

Realizing Women’s Rights to Land and Other Productive Resources, 2nd edition (2020), co-produced by UN Human Rights and UN Women

Gender Stereotyping and the Judiciary: A Workshop Guide (2020)

View all reports | View all publications and resources

Latest news


Videos

#RightToABetterWorld documentary video series (November 2020):

Episode 1 of 4: Comprehensive sexuality education

Episode 2 of 4: Contraception

Episode 3 of 4: Maternal mortality and morbidity

Episode 4 of 4: Violence against women