UN Gender Theme Group

Background information

The UN Theme Group on Gender (GTG) in the RF unites the UN agencies working in the Russian Federation. The Group supports initiatives of the government and civil society aimed at gender equality and empowerment of women. Work of the GTG is based on a number of international documents, including the Millennium Development Goals (MDG), the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the Beijing Platform for Action (BPA) and other documents.

Representatives of UN agencies present in the Russian Federation, including UNDP, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNICEF, UNODC, OHCHR, ILO, IOM, WHO, UNAIDS, UNHCR, the World Bank, the United Nations Information Centre, as well as experts and national partners participate in the work of the Group. The TG is currently chaired by UNHCR.

The current agenda of the TG on Gender was developed based on the internal UN in Russia situation analysis on the implementation of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women by the Russian Federation. It determines successes and pressing issues at the national level with regard to gender development in Russia allowing the Group to advise on developing solutions and implementation mechanisms, as well as to assist in application of a complex gender approach at the national policy level. In 2010 the members of the TG on Gender agreed to include trafficking in human beings component in the programme of the Group.

The Millennium Development Goals (MDG) became the main document consolidating the activities of UN agencies in the Russian Federation with regard to gender equality. To achieve Goal 3 Promote gender equality and empower women the TG on Gender singled out five major tasks, developed 41 gender indicators for their monitoring and outlined major issues and areas of activity in Russia.


11 November 2008 the TG presented the findings of the "Family strategies of university students in contemporary Russia" research. It focused on university students in Russia and their attitudes towards family, the issues of fertility and marriages, state demographic policy, the development of own marital strategies/family behaviours, forming personal values and motivations in realizing life-cycle strategies.

On 22-27 November the TG conducted a study tour to Sweden. The visit organized in collaboration with UNDP’s Nordic Liaison Office and offices within the Swedish government was part of a project that aimed to support the initiatives of the Russian Academy of Public Service under the President of the RF (RAPS) to promote effective governance in accordance with the UN Conventions ratified by Russia. The participants comprised of RAPS senior officials and professors, representatives of the federal and regional Governmental Offices as well as TG representatives.

On the eve of the Second All-Russian Women’s Congress, the UN Interagency Thematic Group on Gender and the “Institute of Social and Gender Policy” Foundation issued a publication “Monitoring Women’s Rights in Russian Federation: Thousand of Women’s Stories” prepared on the basis of the competition of the same name conducted in 2006-2007. It featuring the situation of Russian women in various spheres, such as employment, health related issues, including HIV/AIDS, social role of women, families, etc.

The publication was widely presented by the TG on various occasions. A special event was conducted in Saint-Petersburg on the occasion of the International Women’s Day in 2009 with participation of UN agencies, regional authorities, experts and civil society representatives. The round table entitled ‘Women’s Stories in Today’s Russia: Realities and Prospects’ organized by the UN Office in the Russian Federation in Saint-Petersburg State University focused on gender issues in today’s Russia including the opportunities for women to fulfill their social role. More information is available here

In 2009 the UN agencies in the Russian Federation decided to submit one consolidated confidential country report to CEDAW that can be considered as a great achievement as for the first time the UN representation in the Russian Federation stated its official position in the country considering inputs, experience and expertise of each UN agency in the field of gender. As the report identified, the main need to revive and empower joint intergovernmental mechanisms to develop and promote gender policies and ensure the gender is mainstreamed in governmental activities and overall state policy. That is why the main objective of the UN TG on Gender is to lobby the idea of gender promotion with the Governmental and non-governmental entities, develop and strengthen gender partnership using UN TG as a platform for discussion of gender policies between UN TG and other counterparts. The consolidated report was submitted to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women in August 2009.

In November 2009 UN TG and the Commission on gender and demographic policies of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation co-chaired the round table devoted to the annual “16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence” Campaign and to 30-year anniversary of CEDAW involving local and international NGOs, academic experts and state officials. The event also aimed to draw public attention to the Anti-Violence Campaign and to demonstrate global solidarity in addressing major concerns for women including in the RF. The UN report on CEDAW implementation by the Russian Federation and overview of “16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence” Campaign presented by UN TG helped identify problem areas which were largely supported by the participants who acknowledged the achievements but singled out the growing incidents of domestic violence as a major challenge. Opportunities for collaborative approaches were shared. Several participants indicated the need to re-establish the state framework for the promotion of women and developing an updated national gender strategy (more information is available here

The “16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence” Campaign is actively commemorated by the UN agencies in the RF on an annual basis, and in 2011 it consisted of a number of events including the Round Table “16 Days to Counter Violence against Women in the Russian Federation”  which took place on 25 November 2011 in the Central House of Journalists. The Round Table was organized by OHCHR Moscow and supported by UN Women Moscow, UN Gender Theme Group, National Center to Counter Violence “Anna”, Union of Journalists of Russia. Within the Campaign’s framework, the Working Group on Social Issues which was established under the UNHCR auspices will organise a relevant meeting with participation of state bodies and civil society, with specific focus on refugee women and girls, on December 6 2011.

Furthermore, as noted earlier, UN TG actively cooperates with UNIFEM Regional Office for CIS (www.unifemcis.org) based in Almaty, Kazakhstan, including the area of combating violence against women, particularly under the aegis of the UN Secretary-General Campaign “Unit to End Violence Against Women”. (For more information please see www.saynotoviolence.org)

Throughout this period, the Theme group continued its dialogue with government and civil society including NGOs focusing on gender issues by creating a regular venue for exchange of information and experience. Following its advocacy efforts for the re-establishment of the relevant government Gender Equality mechanisms, it is with enthusiasm and appreciation that the Theme group notes, and commends, the decision to create a Coordination Council on Gender Issues which serves as an advisory body under the Ministry of Health and Social Development and is aimed at providing analysis towards gender equality in Russia, elaboration of related measures and implementation of international obligations, engagement of NGOs and other stakeholders.


As a result of cooperation with the Government of the Russian Federation, the TG published a report ‘Gender Analysis and Gender Budget: Instruments for Economic Development’. It was presented by Ms. L.N. Glebova, Deputy Minister of Healthcare and Social Development of the Russian Federation, at the 6th European conference of ministers on gender equality issues Human Rights and Economic Problems in Europe: Gender Equality that took place on 8-9 June 2006 in Stockholm, Sweden.

In 2006, the TG on Gender together with the Foundation “Institute of Social and Gender Policy” implemented a Joint Programme ‘Thousand Illustrations and Women Stories. Proposals on improvement of women status in Russia’. The main goal of the project was to draw attention of the public to socially significant problems of women, including discrimination in the sphere of employment, the growing conflict of professional and mother’s roles, outcome of commercialization of social services for women and children, women’s poverty. Almost 160 proposals from different regions of the Russian Federation were received. The Steering Committee selected 15 projects in such priority areas as women’s poverty, motherhood and maternal health, social status and equal rights and opportunities for women, employment and entrepreneurship.

Prior to 2006:

The TG on Gender provided assistance in carrying out regional gender analysis initiated by UNDP in 1999. An analysis of gender issues of indigenous peoples of the North was conducted. Its major provisions and conclusions were included in the report “Gender Equality and Extension of Women’s Rights in Russia in the context of the UN Millennium Development Goals” published in 2005.

The following reports were prepared by national experts upon the TG requests: (1) “Equal Access to Political Institutions by both sexes” by Svetlana Aivazova; (2) “Gender Equality and Extension of Women Rights in Russia Within Millennium Development Goals in the Russian Federation” by Sergei Roshchin. Download full version of the Report (PDF file 2Mb)

The work of the TG also focused on gender budgeting. With the financial and technical support of UNIFEM a new social technology of gender budgeting was developed in Russia. All analytical materials prepared in the framework of the UNIFEM project are available at the Women and Society website, in section Gender Aspects of Reforms in Russia