Empowering women and making gender equality a reality is a core commitment of UNDP. In every country across Asia and the Pacific, pervasive gender inequality remains a barrier to progress, justice and social stability. At UNDP, achieving gender equality is a human rights priority and a development imperative. UNDP recognizes that women’s empowerment and gender equality are cross-cutting issues that lie at the heart of human development.

UNDP in Asia and the Pacific supports regional and national efforts to integrate gender equality and women’s empowerment. UNDP is committed to strengthening the capacity of their national partners in Asia and the Pacific to adopt approaches that advance women’s rights and take full account of the many ways women contribute to development. UNDP strives to ensure that women have increased economic control, strengthened political voice and enhanced legal rights.

To mark International Women’s Day and the 61st Commission on the Status of Women 2017, the UNDP Bangkok Regional Hub launched an online campaign, #Champions4Equality, to galvanize support and momentum around Sustainable Development Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.

Our Stories

Reversal of fortune: From child soldier to entrepreneur

IWD_2016_NepalBindu at the beauty parlor she set up after being trained by UNDP. Photo: Kamal Raj Sigdel/UNDP Nepal

When Bindu first joined the war, she was just 15. It had been at the height of the conflict in 2005 that she and several of her peers had left school to enter the ranks of Maoist rebels. Born into a poor Tharu family in a remote village in Bardiya, the decision had seemed natural to her at the time, even inevitable, given her serious lack of prospects.

The conflict would not last too long, though. Following the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in November 2006, the peace process was formally initiated and the war became a thing of the past.

The transition, of course, brought its share of complexities for Bindu and thousands of her fellow-combatants: they were put under UN-monitored cantonments as part of the peace deal, and offered a choice between taking up a rehabilitation package worth up to $10,200 or being directly integrated into the national army. Out of a total 19,604 combatants registered by the UN, 1,460 opted to be integrated, and most of the rest elected to go home with the package. As a minor, however, Bindu was disqualified from either option. Read more.

Expanding Women's Leadership in Mongolian Politics and Business


 For centuries, Mongolian women have played a central role in their society, holding positions of power ever since the Mongol Empire – hundreds of years before their counterparts in Europe, or elsewhere in Asia.

Today, women remain integral to Mongolia’s economy, society and politics. In the home, they are often breadwinners, as well as caretakers. At work, they are increasingly influential, partly because they are often better educated, with more Mongolian girls completing school than boys. But partly also because their attitudes and those of their families have been changing as well.  

In the recent parliamentary elections, the number of women in Mongolia’s parliament jumped to 17.1 per cent from 14.5 per cent previously, with 13 out of 76 female parliamentarians.

“This brings Mongolia’s female political representation closer to the world and Asia-Pacific averages of 22.9 per cent and 18.8 per cent respectively,” said Beate Trankmann, Resident Representative of,the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Mongolia.  Read more.


Practice Parliaments: Promoting Women in Leadership in the Pacific

UNDP Practice Parliament for Women in Tuvalu_Image1

When I first learned that ‘Practice Parliaments’ would be part and parcel of my gender work in the Pacific, I was decidedly underwhelmed.  I had worked on the promotion of women in politics before, and I could not see how women ‘playing parliament’ could possibly promote gender equality.  I couldn’t see how it might inspire potential women candidates to step forward, and I certainly couldn’t see how it would convince voters - male or female - to look more favourably on women in politics. Read more.

Do gender equitable attitudes signify a shift in violent behaviours?


As we prepare to celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8th, it is an opportunity to reflect on our work to prevent violence against women and girls (VAWG) and some challenges to measure the effects of programmes which contribute directly to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 5.2 and to the achievement of all of the SDGs. Read more.

Reaching Beyond the Glass Ceiling

shoko noda

Halfway through fourth grade, I opened my report card and saw that my teacher had given me a C for ‘behavior’. Understandably, it shocked my parents. I had always gotten top grades in class. I was taken aback too. It was when I got the same grade the following semester, and read my teachers remarks, that the truth dawned on me. My teacher had written: Shoko is finally improving her selection of words, and has started to behave more like a gentle girl. Read more.

Be Tech. Be Innovative. Be Bold.


Across Myanmar, technology is transforming the way people communicate, consume and distribute information and engage with their leaders. But it has not been an easy road. Just four years ago, the cost of a sim card could reach up to 3,000USD – making it all but impossible for the general population to access mobile technology. Read more.

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