South Africa

Gender and Women's Empowerment


Gender equality, centered on human rights, is both a development goal on its own and a critical factor for achieving sustainable development. It underlies one of the guiding principles of the 2030 Agenda for Development – the concept of 'leaving no one behind'. 


UNDP supports partners to eliminate gender inequalities through targeted, gender-focused programmes and by working to ensure that all development efforts take into account the experiences, needs, and contributions of women. By removing structural barriers to gender equality and promoting women’s participation in the decisions that affect their lives, success in eradicating poverty and inequality, building resilience to disasters, climate change, and conflict, and driving sustainable development can be achieved.

UNDP believes that the gender inequalities and discriminatory attitudes and practices that hold women back must be confronted and eliminated, if we are to leave no one behind. In these efforts, UNDP works with governments and key UN partners, including UN Women, UNFPA, and UNICEF, as well as with civil society organizations, foundations, academia and the private sector.

To assist South Africa’s realization of the constitutional value, UNDP supports the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals 2030 and development aligned with other gender equality initiatives like Beijing Declaration (1995), Convention on all Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW, 1979), and National Strategic Plan for Gender-Based Violence and Femicide (2019).


Gender Inequality Index (2019)


Female share of employment in senior and middle management


Proportion of seats held by women in national parliaments


Firms with female top management


Women Business and the Law Index Score

Gender Mainstreaming in Programmes

We promote an integrated approach that tackles the connected issues of multidimensional poverty, inequality and exclusion, and sustainability, while enhancing knowledge, skills and production technologies with focus on youth and women empowerment as pathways to reducing poverty and inequalities. Our goal is to strengthen capacities and provide an enabling environment for access to opportunities, focusing on women, youth, people with disabilities, and other marginalised groups – in ways that are sustainable from economic, social and environmental standpoints

We support the peacebuilding, social cohesion, promote the rule of law and access to justice, citizen security and human rights. We assist governments in strengthening their public institutions, promote gender responsive policy and budgeting, help countries reduce corruption and support inclusive and equitable participation to ensure that no one is left behind.

The support to the South African on climate change and disaster resilience is shaped by three important global agreements: the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, the Sendai Framework on Disaster Risk Reduction, and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. UNDP works with countries to help them reduce greenhouse gases, advance a long-term goal of zero-carbon development, and adopt nature-based solution to increase livelihood especially for women and vulnerable groups.


  • UNDP South Africa, together with the Department of Higher Education and Training, implemented a project ‘Automotive Training and Re-Skilling in the Post-COVID Economic Recovery for Vulnerable Youth and Women in South Africa,’
  • UNDP South Africa and 22 on Sloane awarded USD$5k seed grant each to 10 female entrepreneurs affected by civil unrests to support their recovery.
  • Together with the Department for Sport Arts and Culture, UNDP supported the University of Venda in hosting a seminar on Gender Based Violence to prevent GBV on campus, culminating in the signing of the GBV Prevention Pledge.

  • UNDP also supported University of Venda in conducting an anti-GBV sports campaign.