UN Women Officially Launched

24 February 2011: The launch event for UN Women, titled "Honouring the Past – Envisioning the Future for Women and Girls," was hosted by Michelle Bachelet, Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director, UN Women, on 24 February 2011, in New York, US. Bachelet drew attention to the connection between women's empowerment and national growth and food security.

The new body, formally known as the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), was officially established by the UN General Assembly (UNGA) in July 2010 and combines four previous UN bodies dealing with women's issues.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the new entity as a "powerful new agent" for progress on gender equality and women's empowerment, and noted that gender equality should be "our shared legacy" in the 21st century.

Bachelet stressed the present moment of great potential and change for women and the need to seize that opportunity. She noted that where women have access to education, jobs, land and other assets, national growth and stability are enhanced and child nutrition and food security are improved.

Bachelet recalled that UN Women's mandate will focus on five areas: expanding women's voice, leadership and participation; ending violence against women; strengthening women's full participation in conflict resolution and peace processes; enhancing women's economic empowerment; and ensuring gender priorities are reflected in national plans and budgets, including capacity to support reporting to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW). UN Women will operate with an annual budget of at least US$500 million.

The event was emceed by Juju Chang, news anchor of ABC's Good Morning America, with other distinguished speakers and performers. [Statement by Michelle Bachelet] [Statement by UN Secretary-General] [Webcast of the Event] [UN Women Website]