Our Work on Gender

NEW RELEASE – The UNU Gender Atlas

The UNU Gender Atlas is an overview of the United Nations University’s work on gender equality, highlighting the thematic and geographic scope across the 2030 Agenda and underscoring the importance of mainstreaming gender as part of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. The report is available for download now.

5 March 2014. El Fasher: UNAMID Gender Officer, Magda Abdallah Ibrahim Ahmed meets with some members of the Um Sheger Women Charity Society in the market in El Fasher, North Darfur. The members of this organization, which is part of the Women Network Association, make and sell traditional pottery.
Magda works in UNAMID since 2008 providing skills-based training and basic rights education to local stakeholders including government institutions, local leaders, Women’s Union and IDP communities. Her initiatives also seek to bring men and women to common ground, advancing the inclusion of women in local male-dominated decision-making processes.
Photo: IUNAMID / Albert Gonzalez Farran, Creative Commons  BY-NC-ND 2.0
Photo: UN Photo/Albert González Farran

Mainstreaming Gender in UNU’s Research

The United Nations University is committed to implementing the UN’s policy on gender mainstreaming. UNU has been an active participant in the UN System-wide Action Plan on Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-SWAP; an accountability framework designed to accelerate gender mainstreaming throughout the UN system) since 2015 and actively works to meet the UN-SWAP 2.0 indicators that came into effect in 2018.

In the design, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of its research projects and other activities, UNU strives to ensure that appropriate consideration is given to:

  • the concerns, capacities, contributions, and needs of ― and consequences for ― both women and men
  • practices that facilitate gender mainstreaming
  • equitable participation by women and men
  • the intended (or likely) impact on gender equality
  • gender-relevant lessons learned

UNU has made significant efforts to incorporate gender considerations in its research and capacity building activities; 83% of ongoing projects, including 96% of new projects launched in 2020, consider gender in some aspect of their design and implementation. All UNU institutes consider gender in their ongoing projects.

The most common focus is on raising community awareness of gender issues, as well as ensuring equality of participation, not only among project researchers, partners, and participants, but also in the selection of participants for training programmes and capacity building activities.

Raising community awareness of gender issues is another critical feature of UNU projects. UNU has conducted a substantial amount of research on gender issues within both the policymaking and academic spheres, covering the breadth of the Sustainable Development Goals as well as the design and implementation of development policies and practices.

Featured Publications

Visit UNU Collections for more gender-related publications.

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Research Projects


Recent progress in narrowing gender gaps in education, health, and political representation has not been matched by similar improvements in labour market outcomes for women. This project examines the nature of women’s work in developing countries and considers policy paths towards productive, properly remunerated jobs for women that provide a route to socio-economic empowerment.


The UN is well-placed to provide gender and health leadership, harnessing unrivalled geographical reach and scope of operation, as well as vast data on implementing gender mainstreaming in health programmes. This project draws on realist and practice-based learning approaches to understand what works in gender mainstreaming, for whom, in what circumstances, in what respects, and why in six UN agencies working on global health. 


This project is developing and engaging a vibrant network of policymakers, academics, and implementers working in gender and global health to consolidating and generate policy-relevant evidence on effective interventions and best practices for integrating gender in health programming.


Migration has been a long-standing adaptation measure in various marginal and vulnerable communities, and it is often linked to water and climate events. This project, in Congo Basin communities is focusing on women and girls to identify gender-specific climate adaptation and conflict resolution options.