UN Reform in the 21st century has been motivated by the perceived need for institutional coherence. This was at the heart of UN Secretary- General Kofi Annan’s ambitious program for reform that he pursued throughout his term of office, seeking to ensure greater UN effectiveness through streamlining institutional functions. A significant development in the reform process was the creation in 2010 of the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, known as UN Women. UN Women incorporates the four existing parts of the UN system dealing with women and has been styled as the new UN “gender architecture”. This article considers the implications of this new institutional structure for the situation of women worldwide from the perspective of international law, asking in particular whether institutional reform is matched by normative progress.
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