The UNDP Gender Equality Strategy (GES) is grounded in the premise that the development objective of equality between men and women, or gender equality, is absolutely indivisible from the UNDP human development goal of real improvements in people’s lives, and in the choices and opportunities open to them. By empowering women to claim their internationally agreed rights in every development sphere, and supporting governments to be both proactive and responsive in advancing the realization of these rights, UNDP will leverage the broadest possible expansion of choice and opportunity for all.
UNDP understands gender equality to be an irreducible condition for inclusive, democratic, violence-free and sustainable development. As such, it is articulated in the updated UNDP Strategic Plan 2008-2011 as an ‘integrating dimension’ of UNDP’s work. The GES describes how integration will take place.
The GES has been prepared at the request of the Administrator in conjunction with the Strategic Plan, and will be read and operationalized in parallel with it. It elaborates how UNDP will work towards the goals defined in the updated Strategic Plan in a manner that supports countries in accelerating their progress towards gender equality as an integral component of human development. The GES will provide in its results framework a broad range of gender-sensitive outcomes and indicators for each result area of the Strategic Plan. Use of this results framework will help UNDP staff plan for and report on gender equality results. As with the Strategic Plan, the GES describes broad areas for action and the results to be achieved at the aggregate or global level. Approaches to reach these macrogoals tailored to local contexts will be provided by country offices as they operationalize the GES.
The GES broadly follows the structure of the Strategic Plan, setting out in Part A the contextual issues of mandate and value that have guided the selection of priorities.In Part B, the substantive content of UNDP’s work on coordination in the UN system and on operationalizing its four Focus Areas is laid out from a gender perspective. Part C outlines the various institutional arrangements that will support the full integration of gender equality considerations into UNDP’s activities.
The terms ‘gender’ and ‘gender equality’ imply concern for both men and women, and the relationships between them. Nevertheless, specific attention to women’s needs and contributions is typically required in order to address the array of gender gaps, unequal policies and discrimination that historically have disadvantaged women and distorted development in all societies. The GES therefore focuses on UNDP’s responsibility to support national capacities to promote the empowerment of women to achieve gender equality that will benefit society as a whole. This does not preclude activities that address men’s specific needs, however, where doing so will contribute to gender equality.
Throughout the strategy document, the terms ‘man’ and ‘woman’ are used inclusively to encompass male and female infants, children and youth, as well as adults.