Created in 1946, in the context of World War II, UNICEF now operates in 191 countries to "to overcome the obstacles that poverty, violence, disease and discrimination place in a child’s path."  The institute operationalizes its work through country programmes and national committees. It engages at the policy level, influencing decision-makers and guiding policy; and at the ground level, assisting with the realization of programmatic work; and bridging these levels through research and analysis. UNICEF promotes and provides for childhood heath and education, fosters communication and cooperation for development, provides assistance during humanitarian emergencies, and provides supplies and logistics in all of these fields. 
Situated in a Human Rights Framework, UNICEF focuses on gender equality as one of its main areas of work. As such, "UNICEF recognizes the fulfillment of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women(CEDAW) as integral to the fulfillment of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), both of which provide the framework for UNICEF’s mandate and mission." 
Within UNICEF, the Gender and Development (GAD) Unit works to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls through gender mainstreaming. To this end, the GAD Unit develops guidelines and training materials that are used to increase the capacity of UNICEF-assisted programmes to integrate a gender perspective into all areas of work. A network of gender focal points in regional and country offices coordinate with the GAD to promote gender issues and awareness at the national and local levels. Furthermore, UNICEF serves as a member of the Inter Agency Network on Women and Gender Equality (INAGWE) and actively participates in the areas of HIV/AIDS, the Millennium Development Goals, humanitarian assistance, and peace and security.