Activists Raise Concern Over UN Women's 'Little' Budget

Michelle Bachelet, executive director of U.N. Women, holds up a card with the organization's logo. Photo by: Paulo Filgueiras / UN

Funding constraints could prevent U.N. Women from fulfilling its broad mandate of promoting women’s rights and gender equality worldwide, some activists and supporters of the agency have warned.

U.N. Women, which was created through a merger of several gender-focused U.N. agencies, began its formal operations this year with a starting budget of $500 million. Some women’s rights activists have expressed concern that this budget would limit the agency’s reach.

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“We are not satisfied with $500 million and we do not think it is enough,” said Daniela Rosche, policy advisor at Oxfam Novib, as quoted by Voice of America. “We know that working at the country level and given the ambition, hopes and expectations of U.N. Women, $500 million is really little money.”

She added that gender equality has traditionally been underfunded even given the increasing recognition of its importance to global development efforts.

“It would be a shame if it didn’t have the resources that everyone agrees women’s rights and gender equality need for progress,” Rosche said.

The World Bank has estimated that meeting the U.N. Millennium Development Goal on gender equality by 2015 would cost some $83 billion, VOA notes.

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As former senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributed to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean, and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.