The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)

Gender equality at UNOPS

UNOPS is fully committed to advancing equality between men and women. Gender equality is central to the protection of human rights and is a critical condition for sustainable and inclusive development.

UNOPS is actively involved in the United Nations System-Wide Action Plan for gender quality and women's empowerment network (UN SWAP), which assigns common performance standards for the gender-related work of all UN entities.

Since 2013, UNOPS has accelerated its efforts to promote gender equality, creating a network of 30 gender focal points, spread across 25 country offices and nine partnership offices. The role of these focal points is to facilitate the organization of gender activities at both the project and office levels, and raise awareness among UNOPS personnel. In 2014, this network actively supported the launch of UNOPS first participative gender assessment, which helped determine the level of awareness and capacity of UNOPS personnel on gender-related issues.

UNOPS new strategic plan, and subsequent gender work plan, embraces gender equality as a two-fold goal: 1) integrating gender considerations in projects to better the lives of both men and women in the countries where we operate; and 2) improving the gender balance of our personnel and nurturing a more gender-sensitive work environment.

At the project level, UNOPS has developed a gender toolkit to help project managers, developers and teams incorporate gender into all aspects of project activities. It provides concrete guidance on how to better take into account the needs of women, men, girls and boys while implementing our projects.

On the occasion of the 2014 International Women's Day, UNOPS also took an active part in the She Builds campaign, together with DevEx and other development actors, highlighting UNOPS work on promoting gender equality. In recent projects, UNOPS contributed to primary school enrollment among girls in South Sudan, through a project that helped cut dropout rates by 39 percent in two states. UNOPS has also helped create economic opportunities for women in rural areas of northern Afghanistan by involving them in construction works aimed at improving access to essential services. In Myanmar, UNOPS supported gender-sensitive poverty and hunger-reduction efforts, where both men and women from local communities were tasked with identifying agricultural needs and challenges, and were also provided with hands-on training.

We recognize that diversity in the workforce is an asset that can help us better address our partner's needs and challenges. As such, UNOPS strives to improve the gender balance of its workforce and increase the number of female professionals applying to positions in its three focus areas of procurement, infrastructure and project management. UNOPS reaches out to qualified female professionals by organizing women-oriented career events and posting international vacancy announcements in online groups for women's professional networks. Watch this video to learn more about gender and diversity in the UNOPS workplace. In May 2014, UNOPS also launched the Emerging Leaders Programme, which provides high-potential UNOPS professionals with mentoring and training for future leadership positions, including mentorships to empower women in the organization.

Sustaining these mobilization efforts is a top priority at UNOPS and one that will continue to guide our activities.

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