The campaign was launched to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the historic fourth world conference on women in Beijing that drew an unprecedented 17,000 participants.
During the past two decades, much progress has been made in women's legal rights, educational achievements, and participation in public life.
But much still remains to be done to address gender wage gaps and unequal opportunities, low representation of women in leadership in public office and the private sector and child marriage, the UN said in a release.
A year of activities around the world will aim to mobilise governments and citizens alike to picture a world where gender equality is a reality and to join a global conversation on empowering women to empower humanity, the release said.
"The Beijing platform for action is an unfulfilled promise to women and girls," UN Women executive director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said.
"Our goal is straightforward - renewed commitment, strengthened action and increased resources to realise gender equality, women's empowerment and the human rights of women and girls," she said.
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