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​​​​​OHCHR and women’s human rights and gender equality

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)