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date: 14 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter outlines the quest for women’s equality, empowerment, and human rights through the United Nations from its founding to the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015. It considers the on-going dilemma in this work of whether, and when, to pursue women’s equality through separate entities and through gender mainstreaming. Describing the evolution of the major UN women-specific institutions, conferences, and standard-setting documents, and the critical role of civil society—especially women’s non-governmental organizations—the chapter argues that these have driven this agenda. Finally, it analyses the progress of gender integration and women’s advancement on UN agendas in the areas of development; health and sexual rights; human rights; and peace and security.

Keywords: gender equality, women’s empowerment, non-discrimination, human rights, feminism, Women’s Conference, CEDAW, UN Women, sexual rights, violence against women

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