Women's institutions in the United Nations and women's movements worldwide have worked together to change the status of women in the world. The change in the status of women has been associated with other major changes, in democracy, literacy, birth rates, and international security. Scholars and activists interested in international organizations have taken note of the UN's system's efforts to improve the status and condition of women and to secure women's rights worldwide. In the process, there has been a shift from looking just at women to looking at the gender implications of all policies. An overview on the United Nations institutional gender architecture, however, is long overdue. This book focuses on the evolution of the United Nations gender architecture. UN organizations under the rubric of women or gender committed to overcoming discrimination and to encouraging women's empowerment have been and remain modest, some might say marginal, to the larger complex organization and structure of the UN system.
In spite of being on the UN agenda almost from the beginning, women's issues have been treated as unexceptional, almost mundane in their scope within and impact on the institutional UN.