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UN Women UK visit: latest updates

Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell and the head of UN Women Michelle Bachelet will hold talks in London today on the organisation’s progress since it started work in January.

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“I want to thank the United Kingdom for putting women and girls at the heart of development assistance, which will no doubt have far reaching benefits for women, their families and communities across the globe.”

At the end of her first official trip to Britain, Michelle Bachelet spoke of a shared vision to empower women everywhere:

My meeting with Mr Andrew Mitchell was particularly encouraging. UN Women will continue working closely with the UK to make gender equality a reality worldwide”.

Listen to Ms. Bachelet talk about the priorities and challenges for UN Women in the latest podcast from our Speaker Series, or click here to download the MP3 file.

17 May 2011

Michelle Bachelet answers your questions on women and development

Last week, we asked you to put forward your questions for Michelle Bachelet and the direction of UN Women. See her video responses below or watch on YouTube.


Videos: Michelle Bachelet answers your questions

16 May 2011

Michelle Bachelet and Andrew Mitchell join up to focus on women

Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell and the head of UN Women Michelle Bachelet will hold talks in London today on the organisation’s progress since it started work in January

Andrew Mitchell and Ms Bachelet will discuss the once in a lifetime opportunity held by UN Women to turn around the lives of women across the developing world who continually carry the largest burden of poverty.

Key items up for discussion will be:

  • How UN Women will work within the UN system, the World Bank, and the international community to prioritise girls’ and women’s poverty.
  • How best to work with international agencies such as the European Commission to improve their results focus to ensure they have a positive impact on girls’ and women’s lives.
  • How they can encourage more organisations to develop innovative projects to transform the lives of girls and women, including tackling violence against them by increasing their access to justice and working with boys and men to change their attitudes.

Andrew Mitchell said: “A girl in South Sudan is more likely to die in child birth than to complete primary school. No fact could more eloquently underline why the UN and the British Government has placed girls and women at the forefront of our development commitment to tackle global poverty.

“UN Women is in a unique position to make life better for women across the developing world by creating partnerships in order to encourage international organisations to change the way they work.

“Michele Bachelet has the skills and authority to make this happen. I look forward to a strong focus on results from the outset and the publication of their strategic plan in June.”

Michelle Bachelet, the Head of UN Women said: “Think of how much more we can do once women are fully empowered as active agents of change and progress within their societies.

“Historically, we are at a point of great potential and change for women. Now we must seize that opportunity.

“Gender equality is not only a basic human right, but as business, economic and development experts now agree, empowering women fuels economies and social progress.”

The journey of women’s rights 1911-2011. Video: UN Women

Ms Bachelet will also meet with Theresa May, Home Secretary, Alan Duncan, Minister of State for International Development and Lynne Featherstone, the Parliamentary Undersecretary for Equalities and the UK’s International violence against women champion.

The British Government has conducted its own extensive root and branch reviews of all the aid given to countries and international organisations.

The Multilateral Aid Review found that the UN and multilateral organisations must do more to tackle girls’ and women’s poverty.

The Department for International Development announced in December that it would put women at the centre of its work, committing to saving the lives of at least 50,000 women in childbirth and 250,000 newborns. 

In March it announced that we will help 10 million women to access justice through the courts, police and legal assistance in order to have treatment and advice on physical and sexual violence.

UN Women began work on 1 January and brings together four UN organisations that previously worked on gender issues. The UK was at the forefront of the international effort to establish UN Women as a single, powerful agency to tackle gender inequality.

There is strong evidence that shows that investing in girls and women makes sound economic sense and is critical to achieving all the Millennium Development Goals.

Read the full press release.

Updates to this page

Published 19 May 2011