International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women

In 1975 the World Conference of the International Women’s Year held in Mexico City, recommended the creation of a research and training institute dedicated to the advancement of women. The following year (1976), the United Nations Economic and Social Council created the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women (INSTRAW). In 1979, the ECOSOC recommended that INSTRAW be located in a developing country and in 1983, INSTRAW’s headquarters were established in the Dominican Republic. Since its inception INSTRAW, in collaboration with governments, civil society and the United Nations System, has carried out research and training activities on different topics at national, regional and international levels. For example, the Institute has contributed significantly to the elaboration of conceptual frameworks and methodologies for measuring and valuing women’s household production and include such contributions into the system of national accounts. The Institute has conducted research on topics related to women’s access to resources such as credit and water in Africa, Asia and Latin America; and on women’s political participation at national, regional and international levels. INSTRAW highlights the gender perspective as being the essential element in the analysis and implementation of programmes and projects aimed at achieving sustainable development. INSTRAW in consultation with civil society, governments and the United Nations system has identified emerging and crucial themes for the integration of women into development. Studies promoted by INSTRAW have shown the effects of globalization in processes such as migration, the impact of structural adjustment policies on women’s access to work, health and education, and violence against older women. Themes related to human rights, gender-based violence and the role of women in processes of peace have also been approached through different research projects. INSTRAW has promoted an interactive dialogue between civil society and governments through the creation of networks and the continual dissemination of gender-related information. It has facilitated dialogue between different stakeholders through on-line discussions on specific topics such as the use of ICTs and the empowerment of women, and men’s roles in ending gender-based violence. INSTRAW has also maintained a database containing entries of documents and studies, human resources, projects, training events, gender-related websites, among others.

Research Activities

Over the years, INSTRAW has carried out extensive research programmes through which it has been able to identify crucial themes related to gender equality and the advancement of women, indicate new and emerging trends and needs, and determine the existing gaps in order to promote further research and new studies. Research conducted by INSTRAW has facilitated the generation and dissemination of key gender-related information, which has been used in the elaboration of development policies, programmes and projects. Moreover, INSTRAW has acted as a catalyst encouraging other agents, civil society and academic groups to continue with research and in-depth reviews of themes related to gender equality and the advancement of women.


INSTRAW’s mandates derive from United Nations resolutions and decisions. To view these documents, visit: Official Documents. These mandates have been the basis for the development of the Institute’s Strategic Framework for the 2004-2007 period. • INSTRAW is the only United Nations Institute devoted to serve as a vehicle at the international level to promote and undertake research and training programmes to contribute to the advancement of women and gender equality worldwide. • By stimulating and assisting the efforts of intergovernmental, governmental and non-governmental organizations, INSTRAW plays a critical role in advancing the global agenda of gender equality, development and peace. • In 1999, the Institute received an additional mandate to carry out its activities through the utilization of new information and communication technologies (ICTs). As a result, INSTRAW developed a new operational methodology for the production, management and dissemination of gender-related knowledge and information.


As a major catalyst in gender initiatives, INSTRAW promotes applied research on gender, facilitates information sharing, and supports capacity building through networking mechanisms such as GAINS and multi-stakeholder partnerships with UN agencies, governments, academia and civil society.


• INSTRAW has prepared a Strategic Framework that features the following objectives. • Applied research: Conduct research on existing gender-responsive policies to assess the implementation/gaps; promote the application of lessons learned and the replication of best practices, and feed back into local, regional and global policies. • Information sharing and dissemination: Develop effective management of gender-related knowledge to support governments and civil society in their efforts to mainstream gender in policies and programmes. • INSTRAW’s institutional development: shape a sustainable institution that is sound, innovative and applies good governance. • Address new and emerging issues through Capacity building on gender mainstreaming based on lessons learned from applied research and knowledge management.