Gender equality and women's empowerment have been part of the international policy framework since the foundation of the UN, starting with the Geneva Conventions on Human Rights. Gender equality and women's rights were subsequently promoted in independent commitments such as CEDAW, Beijing Platform for Action, and the Women, Peace and Security agenda. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development provided additional momentum as Member States made gender equality and the empowerment of women a Sustainable Development Goal (SDG5), and also acknowledged their crucial contribution to progress across all the SDGs. This has been further enhanced by the Secretary - General's reform efforts where gender equality and the empowerment of women are at the core. 

UNODC recognizes that gender equality and women's empowerment is a matter of human rights, a condition for social justice and a fundamental prerequisite for equality, development and peace. Understanding the interrelationship between gender and security threats and crime is vital to the overall effectiveness of any response. Women and men are impacted differently by drugs, crime and terrorism, and have different experiences going through the criminal justice system. They can have different priorities, responsibilities and needs relating to the reduction of crime and the achievement of security and justice. Through its Global Programme on Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, UNODC supports the mainstreaming of gender equality into its normative, operational and research work. One of the key outputs of the Global Programme is the development of the UNOV/UNODC Strategy for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women which ensures that gender equality and the empowerment of women is an integral part of all aspects of the work of UNODC in making the world safer from drugs, crime and terrorism.