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Global Women’s Leadership Project 

Penn Law’s Global Women’s Leadership Project (GWLP) provides research for UNESCO and UN Women in support of their work on women, peace and justice and women’s human rights. 

Mission Statement

Global citizens like you know that fairness and equality start with empowering women and girls.” - Justin Trudeau

Under the distinguished leadership of UN Under Secretary General and Executive Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka (former Vice President of South Africa), and Irina Bokova, the Secretary General of UNESCO (the leading female candidate for UN Secretary General in 2016), Penn Law launches the Global Women’s Leadership Project. The Project, the first of its kind, is distinctive in its unique vision: to bolster the primacy of SDG Goal 5 C’s target on gender equality law reform through research support for UN Women’s and UNESCO’s work on gender- based justice sector reform.  

Founded on the spirit of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of 2015, Penn Law’s Global Women’s Leadership Project strives to provide research support to UNESCO’s gender – related work on peace and justice and UN Women’s work in women’s human rights, specifically relating to legal reform, and the elimination of discrimination in justice systems. Adopted by 193 countries, The SDG’s is the crowning achievement of the global development agenda and one of the most ambitious platforms of action. Goal 5 is inextricably interlinked to all 17 SDG goals and recognizes that gender equality and ending all forms of discrimination against women and girls everywhere is linked to sustainable development and security.

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 around the world.  In 2007, UNESCO designated Gender Equality as one of its two Global Priorities. Gender equality is central to UNESCO’s overarching objectives of peace and sustainable development.

Working with Student Fellows, Penn Law’s Global Women’s Leadership Project’s research will build on the Beijing Platform of Action, the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and its intersectional treaties, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (2015).  Further, taken together, the UN Security Council’s eight resolutions 1325 (2000); 1820 (2009); 1888 (2009); 1889 (2010); 1960 (2011); 2106 (2013); 2122 (2013); and 2242 (2015) provide landmark guarantees to promote and protect the rights of women in conflict and post- conflict under the rubric of the Women Peace and Security Agenda. Penn Law’s Global Women’s Leadership Project will convene important global leaders on critical conversations and build a single umbrella of research on one of the key targets of Goal 5 of the SDGs, the adoption and strengthening of sound policies and enforceable legislation on gender equality. 



Distinguished Advisors 

Irina Bokova
Secretary-General, UNESCO

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Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka
Executive Director, UN Women