Agencies of the UN: UN Women

UN Women

Equality for Women is progress for all!

UN Women is the UN organization dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. A global champion for women and girls, the organization was established in 2010 to accelerate progress on
women’s rights worldwide. UN Women’s efforts are based on the fundamental belief that every woman has the right to live a life free from violence, poverty, and discrimination, and that gender equality is a prerequisite to achieving global development.
UN Women stands behind women’s equal participation in all aspects of life, focusing on five priority areas to unlock rapid transformation:
• Increasing women’s participation and leadership;
• Ending violence against women;
• Engaging women in all aspects of peace and security processes;
• Enhancing women’s economic empowerment; and
• Making gender equality central to national development planning and budgeting.

 Gender equality in Cabo Verde - achievements and challenges

In recent times Cabo Verde has made big steps towards gender equality. Great gains and achievements have been reached:
The country adopted a legal and institutional framework that promotes gender equality and that guarantees the equality of men and women before the law. In 2011 the Special Law on Gender Based Violence (GBV) was passed (, defining GBV as a public crime (ex-officio). Further on important planning and evaluation instruments support public institutions, civil society and partners in taking action in the field of gender equlity and the combat to stop violence against women. The promotion of gender sensitive data production helps to identify social injustices linked to unequal power relations between men and women. In addition a systematic approach to engage men in fighting discrimination and preventing violence against women and girls was fostered through the creation of the Laço Branco Network Cabo Verde in 2009.

Since September 2014, the Cabo Verdean Government is led by 11 women and 7 men. Despite the fact that Cabo Verde has reached gender parity in the Government since 2006, this new governmental composition represents a big step for the Island State which for the first time of its existence is led by a majority of women.

Nevertheless the country is far from reaching gender equality.

The gender challenges encountered are mainly related to five domains: i) economic opportunities, ii) political participation, iii) gender stereotypes and social stigmatization,  and iv) gender based violence.

  1. ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITIES: Women’s participation in the economic sector and their access to decent work is still vulnerable and full of disadvantages. The Time Use Survey (2012) shows that women tend to accumulate paid and unpaid work, carrying the weight of a double burden. Their total work load (paid and unpaid) represents 62% of all the work conducted in Cabo Verde (paid and unpaid). The proportion of unemployed women with better educational levels is about 6% higher than men’s and the proportion of women in leadership positions in the private sector is about 35%.
  2. POLITICAL PARTICIPATION: As data proof, Cabo Verdean women are still facing structural barriers to effective and equal political participation, as they do not have the same resources and contacts at their disposal as men do. Despite the high participation of women in the government, the political participation of women in the Parliament (only 20.8 %) and at local levels (only 22%) is still very low.
  3. SOCIAL STIGMATIZATION: Gender stereotypes remain and sexist attitudes and mysogenic practices at community level are responsible for discrimination, hindering Cape Verdean women to fully use their potential to benefit from their capabilities.
  4. GENDER BASED VIOLENCE: Violence against women and girls remains one of the major social problems in Cabo Verde. It has many different and intersecting forms, such as domestic violence, abuse, exploitation, sexual violence and intimate partner violence. Data on the prevalence of domestic violence show that, in 2005, 1 out of 5 women was victim of at least one episode of domestic violence over the last 12 months. The fact, that the proportion of women who seek support is still very small, shows that violence against women and girls is still socially accepted.1 

UN Women Cabo Verde

UN Women has an in country programme presence in Cabo Verde since March 2008 and ensures a gender advisory role to the United Nations Country Team (UNCT). As co-leader of the Human Rights and Gender Interagency Thematic Group, UN Women Cabo Verde shares the National Gender Agenda among the UNCT and mobilizes UN agencies to promote gender equality in the frame of UNDAF and all their activities on the Archipelago.

The main partner of UN Women Cabo Verde is the National Institute for Gender Equality and Equity  (ICIEG).  UN Women supports the ICIEG not only technically and in the mobilization of resources but also in the draft of programmes, activities and reports.  
Also other governamental institutions, as for example the Ministry of Justice and the National Institute for Statistics, work closely together with UN Women and profit from its gender advisory role.

Programming Priorities

Un Women Cabo Verde follows 3 programming priorities:

  1. Cape Verdean women, especially the poorest and most excluded, are economically empowered and benefit from development
  2. Cape Verdean women and girls live a life from violene
  3. Governance and national planning fully reflect accountability for gender equality


News from UN Women Cabo Verde:




1Population based data, from the 2005 Demographic Health Survey (DHS) conducted by INE/Ministry of Health