Gender Equality Glossary

The UN Women Training Centre’s Glossary is an online tool that provides concepts and definitions with gender perspective structured according to the thematic areas of UN Women. It includes gender concepts as well as international conferences, agendas, initiatives and partnerships related to gender equality.

The glossary is also available in Spanish and in French.



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M

Masculinity

A gender perspective, or way of analyzing the impact of gender on people's opportunities, social roles and interactions, allows us to see that there is pressure on men and boys to perform and conform to specific roles. Thus, the term masculinity refers to the social meaning of manhood, which is constructed and defined socially, historically and politically, rather than being biologically driven. There are many socially constructed definitions for being a man and these can change over time and from place to place. The term relates to perceived notions and ideals about how men should or are expected to behave in a given setting. Masculinities are not just about men; women perform and produce the meaning and practices of the masculine as well.

Source: UNICEF, UNFPA, UNDP, UN Women. “Gender Equality, UN Coherence and You”.

Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)

Set for the year 2015, the MDGs are an agreed set of goals designed to respond to the world's main development challenges and to the calls of civil society. The MDGs represent a global partnership that grew out of the commitments and targets established at the world summits of the 1990s. The eight MDGs seek to promote poverty reduction, education, maternal health and gender equality and aim at combating child mortality, AIDS and other diseases. As 2015 approaches, consultations are underway to establish the Post-2015 Development Framework or Agenda, which will succeed the MDGs. 

Multiple discrimination

Concept used to describe the complexity of discrimination implicating more than one ground, also known as “additive,” “accumulative,” “compound,” “intersectional,” “complex bias” or “multi-dimensional inequalities.” Though the terminology may seem confusing, it tends to describe two situations: (1) situation where an individual is faced with more than one form of grounds-based discrimination (i.e. sex plus disability discrimination, or gender plus sexual orientation). In such circumstances, all women and all persons with disabilities (both male and female) are potentially subject to the discrimination. (2) Situation where discrimination affects only those who are members of more than one group (i.e. only women with disabilities and not men with disabilities), also known as intersectional discrimination. 

Regarding discrimination against women, CEDAW General Recommendation no. 25 recognizes the following: “Certain groups of women, in addition to suffering from discrimination directed against them as women, may also suffer from multiple forms of discrimination based on additional grounds such as race, ethnic or religious identity, disability, age, class, caste or other factors. Such discrimination may affect these groups of women primarily, or to a different degree or in different ways than men. States parties may need to take specific temporary special measures to eliminate such multiple forms of discrimination against women and its compounded negative impact on them.”

Sources:
Sheppard, Colleen. 2011. Multiple Discrimination in the World of Work, Working Paper no. 66. International Labour Organization: Geneva.

Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, General recommendation No. 25 on temporary special measures, article 4, paragraph 1.