Progress towards equal power and equal rights for women remains elusive around the world. Globally, discriminatory laws, policies and attitudes remain common and ingrained. In crisis settings, women often bear the brunt of violence, marginalisation, and economic exclusion. Still, women continue to be under-represented in decision-making roles that directly impact their lives, safety, and well-being.
UNDP works towards ensuring that gender justice remains high on the global agenda as it is a vital component of our work and a cross-cutting theme throughout all the portfolios, including Justice, Security and Human Rights. At the global level, UNDP continues strengthening its partnership with UN Women on gender justice, through programming initiatives in more than 10 contexts, joint research studies on the role of women in justice and security sectors as well as building a network of partners. The team continuously supports country offices to achieve gender justice and equality, including through technical, financial and policy support on legal protection, gender-sensitive justice and security sector reforms, development of legal aid services, women’s meaningful inclusion in transitional justice mechanisms and constitutional reforms.
UNDP – UN Women: Gender Justice Partnership
In April 2020, UNDP launched the Gender Justice Partnership through the Global Programme on Strengthening the Rule of Law and Human Rights for Sustaining Peace and Fostering Development, in partnership with UN Women, with funding from the Government of the Netherlands. UNDP and UN Women are working towards increasing access to justice for the most vulnerable women and girls by addressing their immediate needs while working on strengthening the institutional effectiveness and accountability of the judicial system and the legislative framework. The programme seeks to empower women to seek solutions and provide them with quality services throughout their justice journey using a people-centered approach. The purpose of this joint programme is to increase access to justice, security, and respect for human rights in contexts affected by conflict, crisis, and fragility – especially for women, and for vulnerable and marginalized groups.
Achievements within the programme thus far include addressing the legal needs of Palestinian women victims of violence in the workplace whose employment status has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic; and supporting the development of a national roadmap for legislative reform in Ethiopia to address laws that discriminate based on gender. In Uganda, the programme supported 236 women and girls to access essential services to address gender-based violence (GBV), specifically in rural and remote areas. In Lebanon, the project ensured that vulnerable women had access to protection services, including migrant workers and women at risk, such as survivors of GBV due to COVID-19 related circumstances. As a result, 2,065 people received justice-related support in Lebanon.
To reinforce coordinated support, UNDP and UN Women collaborate with multiple other partners, including on the ground, to promote gender justice. These partnerships encompass civil society organizations, women leaders, national justice actors, governmental institutions, and other UN entities. In 2020, nine contexts benefitted from the joint activities aimed at ensuring gender equality and expanding access to justice for women and girls: Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Lebanon, Mali, Nigeria, South Sudan, State of Palestine, Tunisia, Uganda.
One joint global study was launched examining women’s participation in transitional justice processes and another one will soon be launched on women in the judiciary. UNDP and UN Women will continue to take steps to broaden the partnership in order to galvanize the progress in implementing gender justice initiatives together and around the globe.