By UN Women’s first anniversary at the start of 2012, we could look back on a year of accomplishment. It was a year of rapid progress but also challenges, both those inherent in the creation of a new organization, and those taking place in the outside world. UN Women rose to these demands, leveraging results in line with our Strategic Plan. As detailed in this Annual Report, we expanded country programmes, backed the evolution of international gender equality standards, and championed women’s empowerment across the UN system. Two events dominated global debates in 2011—the movement for democracy that swept across the Arab world, and persistent economic and financial crises. During the Arab Spring, women called for democracy and justice, only to confront the threatened erosion of their rights. Economic instability continued to undercut women’s employment prospects, but recognition grew that women’s labour market participation reignites economic growth and is essential to faster and more equitable recovery.