Press statement

UNAIDS Secretariat launches Gender Action Plan 2018–2023

GENEVA, 5 June 2018—UNAIDS has launched its new Gender Action Plan for 2018–2023. The plan builds on the progress achieved under the 2013–2018 plan, which provided a framework to advance gender equality and empower women across the UNAIDS Secretariat.

Some 54% of UNAIDS staff are women and the UNAIDS Secretariat has achieved gender parity among staff at the P4 level (middle management) and above. The highest rise in women in leadership positions has been among UNAIDS country directors—in 2018, women accounted for 48% of UNAIDS country directors, up from 23% in 2013. UNAIDS has also developed a unique Women’s Leadership Programme and a Mentoring Programme for Women.

“The Gender Action Plan goes beyond parity—It’s about empowerment and it’s about rights,” said Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS. “Staff are the greatest resource of the United Nations and I commit to ensuring the resources, the programmes and the support to empower all UNAIDS staff to improve the lives of people living with and affected by HIV.”

UNAIDS has performed consistently well within the United Nations System-Wide Action Plan on Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women and is recognized as the only United Nations entity to have achieved full compliance with all 15 performance indicators.

The new plan seeks to build on this progress, while establishing new and more ambitious targets. “The UNAIDS Gender Action Plan is a tool for change,” said Gunilla Carlsson, Deputy Executive Director of UNAIDS. “A tool to help create a workplace that maximizes the positive power of equality and diversity, where women and men are empowered to pursue a fulfilling career, free of discrimination and harassment of any kind. I am proud to launch it as part of the UNAIDS five-point plan to prevent and address all forms of harassment within UNAIDS.”

The UNAIDS Gender Action Plan sets out four targets:

  • Target 1: 50:50 gender parity across all staff levels and categories.
  • Target 2: 100% of staff at all levels set a work and learning objective on gender.
  • Target 3: 100% of eligible UNAIDS female staff to participate in the UNAIDS Women’s Leadership Programme and 100% of eligible UNAIDS staff to participate in the Mentoring Programme for Women.
  • Target 4: 100% compliance with the United Nations System-Wide Action Plan on Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women 2.0 framework.

To reach these targets and achieve an organizational culture that fully upholds gender equality and diversity, the UNAIDS Secretariat will be carrying out regular and transparent reporting to all staff on the progress and challenges, while also reporting to its Programme Coordinating Board.

A Challenge Group will be created, composed of staff from across the organization, which will be tasked with pushing progress forward and holding UNAIDS’ leadership accountable for the successful implementation of the plan.

Through the implementation of the Gender Action Plan 2018–2023, UNAIDS will continue to lead the way in accelerating gender equality and empowering every staff member to live up to their full potential.



The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) leads and inspires the world to achieve its shared vision of zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths. UNAIDS unites the efforts of 11 UN organizations—UNHCR, UNICEF, WFP, UNDP, UNFPA, UNODC, UN Women, ILO, UNESCO, WHO and the World Bank—and works closely with global and national partners towards ending the AIDS epidemic by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals. Learn more at and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.


Sophie Barton-Knott
tel. +41 22 791 1697

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