Annual Report of the Fund for Gender Equality of UN Women

08 - 12 - 2015


Fundación Angélica Fuentes

As advocates across the globe continue to voice their concerns about the pervasive gender gaps and UN member states rally around new development goals, today more than ever, civil society emerges as a fundamental agent of change to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Despite government commitments to international gender equality agreements, change has not trickled down to women’s and girls’ lives with the hoped-for speed and effectiveness. As UN Women’s Progress of the World’s Women 2015–2016 report demonstrates, formal equality has not translated into substantial equality for women in the most marginalized groups.

Alongside its extensive collaboration with governments, UN Women acknowledges the critical role of civil society organizations (CSOs) in bridging such gender gaps. Women’s organizations enable women and girls, many of whom face multiple levels of discrimination, to be seen and heard as leaders and change-makers in their communities and societies; and to gain recognition for their significant contributions to economies as formal and informal workers. They galvanize advocacy and propose gender-sensitive law and policy reforms, and they occupy a unique position from which to hold duty bearers accountable for gender-responsive delivery on services.

In line with that vision, the Fund for Gender Equality (FGE) is UN Women’s global grant-making mechanism dedicated to support civil society-led programming for women’s political and economic empowerment.

Our first illustrated report captures the progress of 67 active grantee programmes in 2014, highlighting key results, lessons from grantees and significant stories of change. For example, rural women in Ethiopia have supported each other through savings groups to start income-generating activities. Thanks to new legislation, domestic workers in Argentina and Chile are receiving minimum wages. Migrant workers in Viet Nam are benefiting from social protection services. Rural and refugee women in Lebanon are gaining skills that enabled them to open new businesses. Female candidates in Georgia have successfully run for office, and local authorities in Zimbabwe are now equipped to plan government budgets in a gender-responsive manner.

The post-2015 era represents a crucial opportunity to position gender equality at the top of development priorities. Through the FGE, UN Women is ready to place women’s organizations at the forefront of efforts to implement and monitor the new Sustainable Development Goals, starting with the launch of a new grant-making cycle exclusively devoted to this endeavour.

However, a collective effort will be needed to ensure that the existing transformational potential on the ground is matched with adequate funding to make it a reality – out of a demand of $532 million value applications received this year, less than 2 per cent will be met. The Fund is eager to expand its partnerships and donor base from both the public and private sectors to garner support for women-led CSOs and help amplify their voice and influence. We count on your support!

Elisa Fernández

Chief, UN Women’s Fund for Gender Equality

Read the full Report here