UN Women, grounded in the vision of equality enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, works for the elimination of discrimination against women and girls; the empowerment of women; and the achievement of equality between women and men as partners and beneficiaries of development, human rights, humanitarian action and peace and security.

The UN’s commitment to achieving system-wide gender parity is underpinned by a strong legislative and institutional framework which has been consistently developed and strengthened since the founding of the United Nations in 1945. This framework includes the Charter of the United Nations (1945), the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) (1979), Resolutions of the General Assembly, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action (1995).

The Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action of 1995 set forth governments’ commitments to enhance women’s rights. Paragraph 193 of this Platform specifically outlines actions to be taken by the UN, including establishing a goal of 50:50 gender balance for UN staff at the professional levels and above by 2000. Prior to this, the UN General Assembly had adopted a number of resolutions targeting the increased representation of women within the UN system. In 1989, the General Assembly resolution 44/185 set the target of an “overall participation rate of 30 per cent of the total by 1990”.  This was subsequently increased to 35 per cent for overall participation and 25 per cent at the D-1 level and above by 1995; and thereafter in 1998 adjusted to target 50/50 gender balance across all posts by the year 2000. Today, the goal of 50:50 gender parity applies to all categories of UN staff posts, regardless of the type or duration of appointment, the source of funding, or staff rules under which the appointment is made. Yet, progress towards these targets has been slow and uneven across the UN Development System and regionally. 

The adoption of the Agenda 2030 in September 2015 can however be described as having constituted a critical milestone in efforts to advance accountability towards the advancement of gender equality and the empowerment of women (GEWE) globally - and within the UN Development System. In addition to the inclusion of a stand-alone Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) on gender equality i.e. SDG 5 which aims to “ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life”, eleven of the other 17 SDGs also contain gender-related targets, thereby providing a stronger, more integrated imperative for the global community to its frame efforts to address GEWE– within broader development initiatives.  In line with this, the Quadrennial Comprehensive Policy Review (2016-2020) adopted subsequent to the SDGs,[1] called for all entities of the UN to promote GEWE by enhancing gender mainstreaming, through the full implementation of the System-wide Action Plan on GEWE as well as the UN Country Team performance indicators for GEWE (the  gender scorecard), in particular with regard to gender-responsive performance management and strategic planning, the collection and use of sex-disaggregated data, reporting and resource tracking, to assist in mainstreaming gender equality in the preparation of the United Nations Development Assistance Framework, or equivalent planning framework.[2]

In terms of the representation of women in leadership, UN Member states stressed the need to ensure equal and fair distribution based on gender balance and on as wide a geographical basis as possible”[3]. Paragraph 73 of the QCPR (2016) went on to state that UN entities were to continue efforts “to achieve gender balance in appointments within the United Nations system at the global, regional and country levels for positions that affect operational activities for development, including appointments to resident coordinator and other high-level posts, with due regard to the representation of women from programme countries, in particular developing countries, while keeping in mind the principle of equitable geographic representation”[4].  In line with this and following the biennial report of the UN Secretary-General António Guterres on the “Improvement of the Status of Women in the UN system” of 27 July 2017, a System-wide Strategy on Gender Parity was launched on 13 September 2017 by the UN Secretary-General to support the realisation of this goal.

Besides the UNSG commitment to improve women’s status, one of the areas where UNCT fail to meet minimum expectations is on gender parity as per countries Joint UNCT SWAP GSC report, which call for targeted interventions to improve the situation.  

In recognition of the challenges many women working in the UN face in their efforts to advance their careers, UN Women seeks to undertake advocacy-related initiatives, to support the career advancement efforts of women in 3 categories:

  • General Services – to advance to professional staff categories;
  • NOC/P3 level -to advance to NOD/P4 level and above;
  • Transitions from P5 level and above.

Purpose and objectives of the consultancy

UN Women East and Southern Africa is keen on informing the gender parity strategy of the Secretary-General. To inform these efforts, UN Women wishes to undertake a comprehensive analysis of the status of women in the United Nations System in Nairobi following a comprehensive review undertaken in 2017. The scope of this analysis will be informed by the UN Women report titled: “Status of Women in the United Nations System” published in 2017. The analysis will also refer to other relevant studies and/or reports that have been undertaken by other UN institutions.

The consultant will be reporting to the Knowledge Management and Research Specialist, and will be supported by the Strategic Coordination Specialist, who will be the point of contact on the contract and payment issues.

[1] To define UN support to Member States in the implementation of the Agenda 2030.

[2] Paragraph 13

[3]  In this regard the UN General Assembly recalled its resolutions 46/232 of 2 March 1992 and 51/241 of 31 July 1997, adopted without a vote, which contain the principles that the highest standards of efficiency, competence and integrity are the paramount considerations in the recruitment and performance of international civil servants and that, as a general rule, there should be no monopoly on senior posts in the United Nations system by nationals of any State or group of States. Paragraph 72.

[4] UN General Assembly Resolution 70/133 adopted in December 2015. Additionally, the QCPR (2016) called for “a more open, transparent and merit-based management and recruitment process for the resident coordinator system that fosters gender balance… particular by ensuring a more diverse array of candidates, and to provide appropriate training accordingly” . 

Duties and Responsibilities

Under the overall guidance of the UN Women Knowledge Management and Research Specialist for ESARO and with the support and cooperation of participating agencies, funds and programs in the UN Nairobi Duty station, the Consultant will undertake the following:

Conduct a refreshed survey on gender parity in the UN system in Nairobi:

  • Disaggregated by sex, in each of the UN agencies in Nairobi;
  • By level (national or international, respectively) - by entity (agency/program/fund) i.e. disaggregated by the operational remit of the UN entity i.e. the country, regional and/or global;
  • Include data on separation reasons from individual UN entities - by level, contract type, duration of service, age of separation.

Following the survey, to compile a survey report and present the findings with a comparative analysis of UN entities - including a trend analysis (the consultant will refer to the structure and presentation of the UN Women report (2018) to guide them);

Review and document individual UN entities’ organisational arrangements for the design, implementation and/or monitoring of GEWE policies and practices- including a conducive organisational culture which is facilitative of the advancement of women:

  • This includes to review and document individual UN entities’ organisational policies and/or programs or interventions undertaken to facilitate the increased recruitment, retention, talent management and career progression of women, including from General Services to professional categories;
  • Additionally, the Consultant should map out and document organisational policies and/or programs including temporary special measures to promote the increased representation of women in managerial and leadership positions;
  • Thirdly the Consultant should review, and document mechanisms put in place by different UN entities to support increased recruitment, capacity building and career progression for women within the UN system;
  • Review services and facilities, institutional arrangements that reduce women’s work burden such as day care, breast feeding rooms, flexible working arrangements, breast-feeding time and other family-friendly work policies and arrangements etc.

To survey the (reported) incidence of sexual harassment, exploitation and abuse claims – at UN entity level, and identify ways this has impacted gender parity.

Women safety audit for UNON – is the compound safe for women in terms of prevention of violence against women – availability of information on EVAW, support for survivors, reporting mechanisms which guarantee privacy and safety and job-security, facilities that are well-lit, security, etc. Do the facilities allow women to work safely even after hours?

To identify ‘good practices’ in promoting and achieving gender parity and recommendations for individual entities to implement. As part of this effort, the consultant will undertake a desk review of the relevant reports/studies/research undertaken by UN entities globally, which are relevant to understanding the trends revealed by the analysis- and possible solutions.

To develop a presentation of the key findings of the gender parity analysis – and related information within the report, to be used in sharing the findings of the same for advocacy purposes.


Core Values: 

  • Respect for Diversity 
  • Integrity 
  • Professionalism 

Core Competencies: 

  • Awareness and Sensitivity Regarding Gender Issues 
  • Accountability 
  • Creative Problem Solving 
  • Effective Communication 
  • Inclusive Collaboration 
  • Stakeholder Engagement 
  • Leading by Example 

Please visit this link for more information on UN Women’s Core Values and Competencies: 


  • Strong familiarity with the UN Development System;
  • Knowledge of the UN reform agenda, and in particular the agenda to promote gender balance within the UN Development System is desirable;
  • Strong planning, goal-setting and prioritization skills
  • Excellent analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Excellent facilitation and communication skills
  • Ability to work well with diverse actors/individuals;
  • Strong report writing- and presentation skills;
  • Excellent working knowledge of Microsoft Office suite

Required Skills and Experience

Education and Certification:

• Master in research, Law, gender/women’s studies and development, social sciences and/or a related field is required.

• A first-level university degree in combination with two additional years of qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree.

• A [project/programme management] certification would be an added advantage.


  • Seven years of demonstrable work experience in designing research projects, in collecting, organizing, managing, collating and analyzing high volumes of data;
  • Strong technical research and analytical skills, including experience in the use of quantitative and qualitative research methods;
  • Experience and/or knowledge on gender equality, women’s rights with a specific emphasis on advancing women’s leadership, is desirable;
  • Experience with the UN or other international agencies will be an advantage
  • Excellent analytical skills with strong drive for results and capacity to work independently.
  • Excellent English communication and writing skills;


  • Fluency in English is required.

Personal CV or P11 (P11 can be downloaded from: )

A cover letter (maximum length: 1 page)