Empowering women

Supporting advancement of women

Enabling women's full and equal participation in all aspects of local and global development. Actively support women's involvement in decision-making structures and an unlimited range of societal roles.


In the preparatory meetings for the Cairo Population Conference (1994), every single government spoke of the importance of empowering women and of having women in the decision-making process.

A long-term objective of the United Nations has been to improve the lives of women and to empower women to have greater control over their lives. Several conferences during the UN-sponsored International Women's Decade set an agenda for the advancement of women and women's rights for the rest of the century. The UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW) have supported programmes and projects to improve the quality of life for women in over 100 countries. They include credit and training, access to new food-production technologies and marketing opportunities, and other means of promoting women's work.

At a Habitat Commission workshop in 1997, East African women shared their experiences in reclaiming their homes and communities from crisis circumstances. "In the Sudan, first we learned to bury our dead". "It used to be men's work, but almost 50% of the population are now widows". The men also used to do the ploughing; now this is done by women, working in groups of ten. The women have also learned to put roofs on housed and dig wells. "Marginalization and hardship can strengthen women". In Zimbabwe, at the close of the war, women needed homes fro their families. They realized they would have to take this responsibility themselves. They designed their own houses, starting with the kitchen, innovated a "cement" floor using maize, and pooled money for kitchen utensils. Knowing that shelter is not enough, they have gone on to lobby for education, basic infrastructure and to women's representation in government.


Women are half the population of the world, half the population of every country. Because women are the only ones who become pregnant and bear children, population policy must be dealt with by them.


Society Women
Type Classification:
C: Cross-sectoral strategies
Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 5: Gender Equality