UNIFEM - United Nation's Development Fund for Women

"It is not acceptable for Women to constitute 70 percent of the world's 1.3 billion absolute poor. Nor is it acceptable for women to work two-thirds of the world's working hours, but earn only one tenth of the world's income and own less than one-tenth of the world's property. Many fundamental changes must be made."

Noeleen Heyzer, Director of UNIFEM
Plenary Address to the Fourth World Conference on Women

UNIFEM's Mission

UNIFEM promotes women's empowerment and gender equality. It works to ensure the participation of women in all levels of development planning and practice, and acts as a catalyst within the UN system, supporting efforts that link the needs and concerns of women to all critical issues on the national, regional and global agendas. UNIFEM focuses its work at the country level within the context of the United Nations Resident Coordinator System . Playing a strong advocacy role, the Fund concentrates on fostering a multilateral policy dialogue on women's empowerment.

Since its creation in 1976 as an innovative and catalytic fund, UNIFEM has supported numerous projects and initiatives throughout the developing world that promote the political, economic, and social empowerment of women. These have ranged from small grassroots enterprises that improved working conditions for women to public education campaigns and the design of new gender-sensitive laws and marketing systems.

UNIFEM is represented at the regional and country level by its 12 Regional Programme Advisors (RPAs). They are the front-line of contact between UNIFEM and its partners and clients. The RPAs develop and oversee UNIFEM's projects in their regions and identify trends and issues affecting women in the region as a basis for new programming directions.