United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women

United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women

The United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) was created by the UN General Assembly in 2010 and became operational in January 2011. Gender equality is not only a basic human right, but its achievement has enormous socio-economic ramifications. Empowering women fuels thriving economies, spurring productivity and growth. Yet gender inequalities remain deeply entrenched in every society. Women lack access to decent work and face occupational segregation and gender wage gaps. They are too often denied access to basic education and health care. Women in all parts of the world suffer violence and discrimination. They are under-represented in political and economic decision-making processes. For many years, the UN has faced serious challenges in its efforts to promote gender equality globally, including inadequate funding.  Grounded in the vision of equality enshrined in the UN Charter, UN Women, among other issues, works for the:
•    elimination of discrimination against women and girls;
•    empowerment of women; and
•    achievement of equality between women and men as partners and beneficiaries of development, human rights, humanitarian action and peace and security.


UN-Women is headquartered in New York and in 2014 had 735 staff members organization-wide. UN-Women annual expenditure in 2014 was approximately US$ 270 million.
 

http://www.unwomen.org/about-us/evaluation/
Evaluation Function Snapshot Independence Agenda Setting & Evaluation Planning Quality Assurance Use of Evaluation Joint Evaluation

Evaluation Function

UN Women regularly evaluates its own work to enhance accountability, inform decision-making and contribute to learning on gender equality. The Independent Evaluation Service (IES) provides evidence for a more relevant, effective and efficient UN Women with greater impact on the lives of women and girls it serves.

 

The UN Women Evaluation Strategy 2022-2025 outlines how UN Women will leverage its evaluation function to provide evaluative evidence for greater impact on the lives of the women and girls it serves. It sets out four strategic areas of work:

  • Implementing strategic corporate, regional and country portfolio evaluations
  • Implementing effective decentralized evaluation systems
  • Supporting UN and national stakeholder partnerships on gender-responsive evaluations
  • Strengthening evaluation use

The IES’s mandate comes from its Evaluation Policy. The evaluation policy governs the independent evaluation function of UN Women and applies to all initiatives supported and funds administered by the organization. It is aligned with the norms and standards of the United Nations Evaluation Group (UNEG) but is tailored specifically to the unique mandate and role of UN Women to conduct evaluations responsive to gender equality and women’s rights and to support coordination, coherence and accountability with respect to gender equality and the empowerment of women in the United Nations system. IES reports to the UN Women Executive Director and presents Annual Reports on Evaluation to the Executive Board. The IES also develops a Corporate Evaluation Plan that is approved by the Executive Director and guides IES’s work.


UN Women carries out strategic corporate, country portfolio and regional evaluations, as well as decentralized evaluations. IES leads strategic evaluations with the support of external evaluators, who help to assess the effectiveness, organizational performance and normative and operational coherence of UN Women’s efforts. Decentralized evaluations are conducted by external evaluators and managed by programme offices. They are quality-assured through the Global Evaluation Reports Assessment and Analysis System (GERAAS) and their results are presented at the annual session of the Executive Board.

All evaluations are publicly available on the Global Accountability and Tracking of Evaluation (GATE) system along with their respective management responses. 

IES also develops guidelines and methodologies to mainstream gender equality and human rights perspectives in evaluation, and works with the United Nations Evaluation Group (UNEG) to promote UN System-wide coordination for gender equality

IES works to make UN Women stronger, while engaging the UN System and external partners to advocate for gender responsive evaluation.

Promoting a culture of evaluation within UN Women

In 2022, UN Women's Evaluation Handbook: How to manage gender-responsive evaluation was published. The handbook follows the evaluation process through planning, preparation, conduct, reporting, evaluation, use, and follow-up. For each stage, the handbook has been updated to align with the current UN Women evaluation policy and coverage norms, as well as IES structure, governance, and processes.

In addition to providing up-to-date links to all guidance documents and references (including the 2020 United Nations Evaluation Group ethical guidance for evaluations, disability inclusion, and IES data management for evaluations), the handbook includes references to a rich set of new IES knowledge products.

Promoting coordination on gender-responsive evaluation

UN Women plays a leading role in system-wide coordination and accountability in respect to GEEW.  In the long term, the UN Women evaluation function aims to increase collaboration, efficiency and alignment of the UN system in GRE. UN Women supports UNEG and the UN system to integrate a gender perspective in evaluations in their areas of focus, including by strengthening accountability to gender equality commitments and reporting on the UN-SWAP EPI. Results in this key area of work include: engagement with UNEG, reporting on evaluation through the UN-SWAP EPI, alignment with system-wide evaluation initiatives and joint evaluations, and participating in and coordinating inter-agency networks and regional evaluation groups.

Strengthening national capacities for gender-responsive evaluation

Strengthening national evaluation capacities for gender-responsive M&E systems is guided by national ownership and leadership. To this end, the development of national capacity to demand and supply high-quality GREs is a key contributor to achieving more effective development for women, men, girls and boys. 

Global multi-stakeholder partnerships help develop and shape national evaluation capacity development initiatives that are always country-led processes. Within the framework of the 2030 Agenda and under a partnership umbrella, UN Women provides targeted technical advice and capacity development on GRE to support accountability in meeting gender equality commitments for the implementation of the SDGs. The IES efforts respond to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which calls for effective, inclusive and transparent national M&E systems that help countries maximize progress in implementation and promote accountability to citizens. The Evaluation Strategy is also closely linked to the recently endorsed UN resolution Capacity Building for the Evaluation of Development Activities at the Country Level (A/RES/69/237) and the Global Evaluation Agenda 2016-2020, which addresses the priorities for evaluation during the first five years of implementing the SDGs. 

IES engages in partnerships to leverage support to increase GRE for the SDGs. It supports national GRE capacity development through EvalGender+ and EvalPartners and strategically use its role as co-chair of EvalGender+ to advocate for gender-responsive national evaluation systems. At the institutional and individual level, through trainings and workshops, UN Women  works on the capacity and commitment of decision-makers and of different government and non-government actors to demand and use GRE. 

 

Snapshot

 

Our four strategic areas of work are:

  • Implementing strategic corporate, regional and country portfolio evaluations
  • Implementing effective decentralized evaluation systems
  • Supporting UN and national stakeholder partnerships on gender-responsive evaluations
  • Strengthening evaluation use

 

Human Resources (2023)

Role

Female

Male

Director of Independent Evaluation and Interna Audit Services

1

-

Chief of Evaluation 

1

1

Headquarters personnel

5

1

Regional and Country-level personnel

4

2

Support staff

2

-

 

Evaluations produced by decentralized units in 2022
42 evaluations—led by Headquarters or regional and country offices—were completed in 2022.

Evaluations presented to the Executive Board in 2023

IES presented its 1) Corporate evaluation of UN-Women’s support to women’s economic empowerment by advancing gender-responsive laws, frameworks, policies and partnerships; and 2) Corporate evaluation of UN-Women’s work in the area of Governance and Participation in Public Life to the Executive Board during its 2023 Annual Session.

Country portfolio evaluations

Country portfolio evaluations aim to provide an in-depth assessment of UN-Women’s support and contributions to development effectiveness with respect to gender equality and the empowerment of women at the country level. IES-led country portfolio evaluations offer insights and lessons beyond the evaluations conducted for individual programmes and projects and are designed to assess and understand the broader impact of the Entity’s work, while informing the development of future planning and strategies.

Evaluation expenditure of central unit (2022)
US$ 3,800,044   

See UN Women Highlights 2021-2022 for more on UN Women’s Annual Report (2022) and vision for a gender equal world.

Key resources

Independence

The Independent Evaluation Service of UN Women Independent Evaluation and Internal Audit Services (IEAS) reports directly to the Executive Director, who is responsible for ensuring the independence of UN Women's evaluation function and for reporting on evaluation to the Executive Board. 

The Director, IEAS has functional and operational independence. The Director has the authority to initiate, carry out and report on any action considered necessary to fulfil the IEAS mandate. The Director is responsible for the timely compliance with the appropriate reporting and disclosure requirements under the Evaluation Policy for Evaluation Reports and the decision made by the Executive Board 2012/10 for Internal Audit Reports.

 

Agenda Setting & Evaluation Planning

IES contributes to the oversight of UN Women’s work through its programme of evaluations, notably its series of strategic evaluations. These provide impartial, independent overviews of key areas of UN Women’s work with a view to promoting accountability, learning and performance improvement. The reports of these evaluations are all published, contributing to UN Women’s transparency and accountability as well as to global knowledge.

The Corporate Evaluation Plan, which was approved by the Executive Director and presented to the Executive Board, outlines the corporate evaluations to be managed by the Independent Evaluation Office in the period 2022–2025. The purpose of the plan is to provide a coherent framework within which useful evaluation evidence is generated systematically on the relevance, effectiveness, efficiency and, as far as possible, impact and sustainability, of work under the UN Women Strategic Plan 2022-2025. The eventual goal of these evaluations is to support UN Women’s mission and help the organization better achieve gender equality and women empowerment.

IES prepares an annual Global Evaluation Plan to track and monitor the implementation status of planned evaluations through integrated Monitoring, Evaluation and Research Plans (MERPs) developed by business units and validated by the Regional Evaluation Specialists. IES also conducts a mid-year review of the Global Evaluation Plan in close consultation with Country and Regional Offices to make adjustments to the planned activities as necessary.  

Eight key parameters are considered in selecting corporate and decentralized evaluations, to ensure evaluative coverage at the appropriate level of UN Women's key areas of work and its organizational performance: 

  1. Relevance of the subject
  2. Significant investment
  3. Feasibility for implementing evaluation
  4. Demands for accountability from stakeholders
  5. Visibility and/or risk associated with the intervention
  6. Potential for replication and scale up
  7. Knowledge gap and potential for joint or UNDAF evaluation 

For external, decentralized evaluations, a minimum of one-third of the office portfolio must be evaluated, with priority given to significant investments, and programmes/projects equal to or exceeding 33% of the overall country programme requiring evaluation. If this is not the case, it is mandatory to evaluate (clustered or individually) several programmes/projects that together equal at least 33% of the overall country portfolio. Evaluation is also mandatory when a commitment has been made to key stakeholders (e.g., donors, Members States, beneficiaries), for all strategic pilot initiatives that are designed for replication and scale. Also, mid-term programme/project evaluations are conducted to inform country-level evaluations.

The recommended minimum level of investment in evaluation is 2-3 percent of the total plan/programme budget. 

Quality Assurance

 

IES maintains an evaluation quality assurance mechanism to improve and continuously enhance the quality and credibility of UN Women’s corporate and decentralized evaluations and of the evaluation function overall. IES has established the Global Evaluation Reports Assessment and Analysis System (GERAAS), which is an organization-wide system to assess the quality of evaluation reports produced by UN Women. In addition to providing the UN Women Executive Board and management with independent assessments, the GERAAS offers a platform for executive feedback and detailed analysis and recommendations to improve the quality of evaluative evidence and evaluation oversight functions. The GERAAS aligns with UNEG evaluation report standards, specific standards relevant to UN Women, as well as the UN-SWAP Evaluation Performance Indicator criteria developed by UNEG. All final evaluations produced by UN Women are also assessed by an external independent reviewer.

 

 

 

Use of Evaluation

 

Once completed, all UN Women evaluation reports are made publicly available in the online GATE system. A management response for each evaluation is one of the key steps of the evaluation process. The management response helps to enhance accountability, transparency and learning by encouraging UN-Women to reflect on the evaluation recommendations and identify areas for improvement. In this regard, UN-Women offices are expected to complete and upload management responses in the GATE system within six weeks of finalization of any evaluation report. IES monitors the implementation of recommendations and reports on progress made in UN Women’s Annual Report to the Executive Board. Additionally, IES presents a biannual meta-analysis of recent evaluations conducted to promote evaluation use, particularly for decentralized evaluations.

To enhance use of corporate evaluations, IES launched Transform: a magazine for gender-responsive evaluation. The magazine was designed to highlight good practices and lessons learned when working towards gender equality. IES also manages a social media presence on Twitter (@unwomenEval), and regularly hosts webinars and publishes management briefs as a way of effectively communicating evidence and knowledge gained from evaluation.

Furthermore, UN Women’s global virtual evaluation community of practice continues to serve as a platform for exchange and information-sharing among UN-Women personnel. The network has surpassed 200 members globally.

Joint Evaluation

 

UN Women's formation and mandate is in direct response to Member States’ request to further the UN reform agenda for system-wide coherence in Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment (GEWE), which address system-wide gaps, including inadequate coordination and coherence, lack of accountability, and lack of authority on GEWE. UN Women has an essential role in supporting the evaluation of progress on the implementation of the UN system's commitments on GEWE, and specifically the implementation of the CEB's System-Wide Policy on GEWE.


IES contributes to coherence on gender equality evaluation in the UN system by coordinating the reporting on the UN System-Wide Action Plan on Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women Evaluation Performance Indicator (UN-SWAP EPI), providing a repository of gender-related evaluations, fostering joint evaluations and ensuring the inclusion of a gender equality perspective in the work of the United Nations Evaluation Group (UNEG). In its role as secretariat for the UN-SWAP EPI, UN-Women reviews annual submissions and provided support on the application of technical guidance to all reporting entities. UN-Women also prepares an annual report on progress and best practices for improving gender mainstreaming in evaluations.

IES personnel are also actively involved in UNEG strategic objective areas of work and IES continues in its role as co-convenor the Gender Equality, Disability and Human Rights working group. The working group contributes to developing and promoting common methodologies, guidance and approaches in UNEG norms and standards related to gender equality, disability inclusion and human rights. 

Regional Evaluation Specialists also actively engage in regional professional evaluation networks. For example, UN-Women led the UN Network for Evaluation in Sub-Saharan Africa working group responsible for providing technical support to UNSCDF evaluations. In the Asia and the Pacific region, UN-Women also contributed to the United Nations Evaluation Development Group for Asia and the Pacific (UNEDAP) training programme, "Unravelling the potential of evaluation", focusing on managing high-quality evaluations. UN-Women continued to co-lead the UN Evaluation Network in Latin America and the Caribbean to promote quality coordination and technical support for UN evaluations across the region.  

UNEG Members

Cyuma Mbayiha

UN Women

Ekaterina Dorodnykh

Evaluation Data Specialist, UN Women

Florencia Tateossian

Evaluation Specialist, UN Women

Inga Sniukaite

Chief, Evaluation Office , UN Women

Isabel Suarez

Evaluation Specialist, UN Women

Kay Lau

UN Women

Lisa Sutton

Director, UN Women

Michael Francis Craft

Evaluation Officer, UN Women

Inspection and Evaluation Division

Qi Song

UN Women

Ross Tanner

UN Women

Sabrina Evangelista

Evaluation Specialist, UN Women

Soo Yeon Kim

UN Women

Tara Kaul

UN Women

Fact Sheet

Assessment