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American Women: Resources from the Serial & Government Publications Collections

United Nations Resources

By far the most heavily used of the international organization collections is the depository set of United Nations material. The United Nations has a variety of programs that highlight women's issues, promote human rights and gender equality, and monitor women's involvement in economic and social issues around the world. Official UN records, reports, studies, and statistical compendia include a wealth of information about American women, placing them and U.S. policies toward women's issues within a larger context. Because the collection dates to the founding of the United Nations and includes all of its member countries, it is quite feasible to do longitudinal, comparative studies on women's health, education, employment, and human rights.

The following websites, provided by the United Nations, are focused on women's issues, rights, and global work.

The following documents related publications related to women's issues are available from the United Nations:

American women have been involved in the United Nations since its founding.

  • Eleanor Roosevelt was the first chairperson of the UN Commission on Human Rights
  • Jeane Kirkpatrick was named ambassador to the United Nations from 1981 to 1985
  • Madeleine Albright served from 1993 to 1997.

Public statements by these and other American women who have spoken before the UN General Assembly and UN agencies attest to their power and influence in world affairs—and all are documented in the proceedings, press releases, and voting records of the institution.

The United Nations's policy toward women is represented in its many and varied agencies and programs that monitor women worldwide: UNICEF, the Women's Development Fund, the Commission on the Status of Women, and the International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women.

The United Nations has sponsored international conferences on women, such as the conference that took place in Beijing, as well as the United Nations Decade of Women (1976-85). The UN General Assembly has convened special sessions regarding women. For example, in June 2000, "Women 2000: Gender Equality, Development, and Peace for the Twenty-first Century." Beginning in 1970 within its own bureaucracy, the United Nations promoted balance and equality for women in the workforce. Enduring UN conventions, such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), are supported and promoted by Americans.

Like U.S. government publications, the UN material represented in the Library of Congress Online Catalog does not reflect all the official materials received by the Library. Available online, in paper or microfiche, UN material includes documents arranged by UN document number, official records produced by the major UN bodies (General Assembly, Security Council, Economic and Social Council, Trusteeship Council), and serial publications.

Reference material in the Newspaper and Current Periodical Room provides a gateway to the division's (and the Library's) UN collection. Women figure prominently in these indexes. The United Nations produces print and online indexes to its publications and documents. Together with reference sources produced by private publishers, these indexes offer the best ways to access the wealth of UN material available to researchers.

Subscription Databases

The subscription resources marked with a padlock are available to researchers on-site at the Library of Congress. If you are unable to visit the Library, you may be able to access these resources through your local public or academic library.

Print Materials

For help in finding UN documents and publications, general indexes with a variety of formats and coverage exist. General indexes in paper format are available in the Newspaper and Current Periodical Reading Room

The following titles link to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Links to additional online content are included when available.