UN Women UK: Working for women's empowerment and gender equality

Progress for Women Is Progress for All

UN Women UK and its Branches

We are the UK National Committee for UN Women. A Board of 13 trustees, elected each year, is responsible for the strategic direction of our organisation. Our current President is Jan Grasty.

Board members represent UN Women UK at a range of events and maintain good contacts with the Department for International Development and other government agencies. We work in partnership with many other organisations including the United Nations Association, the Royal Commonwealth Society, the National Alliance of Women's Organisations and Soroptimist International to raise awareness of women's issues. There are close links also with the UN Women National Committees in 15 other countries across the world.

We currently have branches in

All branches contribute to the twin goals of awareness raising and fundraising. For details of current activities check the Diary of Events.

We are looking to establish new branches. There is already an active group of members in Gloucestershire and we hope to set up groups in Oxford, Glasgow and Surrey. If you are a UN Women supporter in one of these areas and would like to be more actively involved, contact us at info@unifemuk.org.

Around the Branches

UN Women in Cambridge

What started simply as a conversation between friends over a coffee this summer led to the establishment of the Cambridge Branch in July. We had our launch at an event in St Catharine’s College in October and welcomed the Director of Anti-Slavery International as a guest speaker on women trafficking and prostitution at a meeting in December.

The Branch has an active committee of seven members and a programme of events is being organised for 2009, including a social to celebrate Burns’ Night, a talk on women and micro-economics, and a fundraising garden party. We are a new and relatively small group so would like to encourage as many people as possible to get involved. Although the group that set up the Branch is all women, our events are open to all and we want to encourage men to come along too.

Contact the Cambridge branch

UN Women in Edinburgh

The Branch continues to organise regular fundraising events such as coffee mornings and a 'Sparse Lunch' with special guests speaking on a range of topics. These have recently included the experiences of Palestinian women, the history of the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Last year we hosted a well attended seminar on trafficking and its impact on families and communities with speakers and information stalls from other organisations campaigning on the issue.

Our Branch also participates in UNA events and contributes to the work of the Scottish Women's Convention and the Cross Party Group on International Development in the Scottish Parliament. We recently submitted comments on the new Scottish Government’s international development policy review.

Contact the Edinburgh branch

UN Women in London

The Branch aims to hold several seminars each year with expert speakers as well as organising fundraising activities. Some events are joint ventures with partner organisations. We were very grateful to Janet Cooper of Linklaters for hosting another fundraising conference in November, this time with the theme ‘Women and Work’, which raised over £600 for the UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women. We have also recently organised two events at the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) rooms in the Houses of Parliament. On the first occasion members and guests were able to hear about the progress of UN Women projects the UK Government is funding in six conflict-affected countries when our speaker was Jeremy Stickings from the Department for International Development. The second event was our 2008 AGM with contributions from a panel of UN Women members, including President Zarin Hainsworth, who had attended the 52nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women in New York.

Fundraising events in the past year included a wonderful concert and supper evening at St Mary’s Church Hall in Wimbledon which was organised by a Branch member and raised £400 for the UN Trust Fund. We were also allocated a day to collect donations on the main concourse at Waterloo.

A member of our Branch Committee is continuing to lead the development of an education and training programme which aims to raise awareness of UN Women’s work. She has already presented workshops and lessons at a number of schools across London.

Contact the London branch

UN Women in Northern Ireland

Last autumn the branch organised a major fundraising campaign for UN Women. Local musicians and artists were brought together by branch member and singer songwriter, Inge Haghighi, to create a unique and inspiring CD. This was launched at a concert in Ballyearl, Newtownabbey, in October. Further performances were given in November and as part of International Women’s Day events in March. Well over £3,000 has been raised so far for the UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women. Follow the link on the Home page to purchase a copy of the CD.

Guest speaker at our 2009 AGM was Dr Nazia Lativ, an Investigations and Policy Worker with the NI Human Rights Commission where she leads the work on asylum, immigration and criminal justice issues. At the end of last year the Association of Baha’i Women in Coleraine ran a series of events to publicise the UN campaign to end violence against women and two of these were dedicated to UN Women.

UN Women in Northern Ireland is keen to establish a branch in the Coleraine area, so do get in touch if you are interested.

Read a recent report about NI branch activities here

Contact the Northern Ireland branch

UN Women in Wales

The speaker at our fourth Annual Mena Williams Lecture in May was Dr Anthea Symonds whose presentation was on ‘Finding a Voice and an Audience: Asian-British Women and Cinema’. She spoke about a series of successful Asian-British films of the past two decades which not only portrayed a very different view of Asian women than constructed by British cinema in the past, but were directed by women.

The first event organised by the new branch committee which started work after the 2008 AGM was a very successful fundraising lunch in Bridgend. The after lunch speaker was Rhoda Emlyn Jones, Welsh Woman of the Year 2007, who has been developing services to tackle substance misuse in Cardiff and the Vale of Glamorgan since 1986.

In October 2007 the branch organised a major fundraising event on behalf of UN Women at St David’s Hall in Cardiff. This Musical Extravaganza event showcased Wales-based talent in a wide-ranging programme of music, song and dance and it raised £3,000 for the UN Trust Fund to End Violence Against Women.

Read a recent report about activities in Wales here

Contact the Wales branch

Yorkshire UN Women

In 2008 the Yorkshire branch is continuing to develop its links with local universities. In February we shared a platform at the University of York with the Vice President of the European Parliament, Diana Wallis MEP, to compare what the UN and Europe have done and NOT done for women in their respective forums.

Yorkshire is a small branch and we are very keen to expand our membership and to increase awareness of UN Women in the region. We are particularly interested in involving anyone who wishes to expand their knowledge of women’s issues around the globe. We also welcome links with other groups – formal and informal, large or small – and we can offer speakers from our branch to develop these links.

Contact the Yorkshire branch

UN Women in Gloucestershire

There is an active support group of UN Women members in the Stroud area. They have given presentations about the work of UN Women to a number of women's groups in Gloucestershire and have taken part in local events such as those to mark the International Day of Peace, the UN International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and International Women’s Day.

Contact us if you would like more information about the group.

How you can help:

The projects undertaken by UN Women make a difference to the everyday lives of women around and their families around the world. UN Women needs your support to help fund this work and to raise awareness of the issues affecting women's rights and security.

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A woman washing pots in Mawali

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UN Women UK – United Kingdom National Committee for UN Women

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