The National Constitution of Timor-Leste guarantees men and women, boys and girls equality of opportunity and equality of access to all rights enshrined under the Constitution. However, the people of Timor-Leste do not always enjoy equal treatment under the customary laws and practices in relation to civil, political, social, economic and cultural rights.

Timor-Leste, as a member of the United Nations system, has ratified the main human rights treaties including the CEDAW Convention (Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women) which requires the Government of Timor-Leste to ensure that all forms of discrimination against women and girls be removed from laws and practices.

The UNMIT Gender Affairs Unit is working to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls by advising on policy and programme issues so that all policies, programmes and activities integrate gender perspectives for the purposes of promoting gender equality. The Gender Affairs Unit supports and collaborates with the United Nations Country Team, NGOs and the Government of Timor-Leste through the Office of the Secretary of state for Promotion of Equality.

The United Nations promotes gender equality through means of a process known as gender mainstreaming. One of the strategies adopted include mobilizing men as partners, especially in relation to violence against women and girls.