For information on UNA activities for International Women’s Day 2017, visit here.
By Laura Nguyen, UNA-USA Youth Engagement Intern
Women are strong.
They are powerful.
They can do anything and everything.
But if women can do anything and everything, why does gender inequality exist?
The United Nations has celebrated International Women’s Day (IWD) since March 8, 1975. Each year, we celebrate the inspiring and courageous work women around the world are doing to secure women’s rights and shape more tolerant and equitable societies.
We honor Malala Yousafzai, who defied the Taliban in Pakistan and demanded that girls be allowed to receive an education. We recognize Tsai Ing-wen as Taiwan’s first elected female president. We commend Marie Curie for being the first women to win two Nobel Peace Prizes in physics and chemistry. International Women’s Day is also a day to reflect on the work that still remains and the thousands of oppressed women whose voices go unheard. Despite large strides towards advancing gender parity in the last century, many women are still not able to freely vote, drive, or obtain a quality education.
At the United Nations this year, the 2016 theme for International Women’s Day is “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality.” On March 8, women (and men!) around the world will reflect on how to accelerate the 2030 Agenda, building momentum for the effective implementation of the new Sustainable Development Goals. The day will focus on new commitments under UN Women’s Step It Up initiative and other existing commitments on gender equality, women’s empowerment, and women’s human rights.
Some key targets of the 2030 Agenda related to gender equality include:
- By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and Goal-4 effective learning outcomes.
- By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and preprimary education so that they are ready for primary education.
- End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere.
- Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation.
- Eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation.
Around the world, women are standing up to advocate for their rights. They refuse to be voiceless, because now—more than ever— women are starting conversations in their community, state, and nation about advancing gender parity. Women are making their mark and fighting for their right to vote, work, drive, and even take public office. That is why it is important to empower women and equip them with the skills, knowledge, and attitude to make a difference. They are (or will become) the leading innovators, policymakers, executive heads, and more. Limits should not be placed on women because when the sky is the limit, women will set their course for uncharted galaxies and make their own universe. On International Women’s Day this year, remember…
Girls become women,
Women become leaders,
Leaders become voices,
Voices become action,
Actions become answers,
And answers become solutions.
What you can do on March 8th to celebrate International Women’s Day:
- Find an International Women’s Day 2016 event nearest to you here.
- Host a seminar with prominent female leaders who are making a difference in your community towards gender parity and advancing women’s rights.
- Give a yellow flower to a girl or women. Yellow flowers are given to women as a token of appreciation on International Women’s Day.
- Share why International Women’s Day is important to you on your social media using #InternationalWomensDay2016.
- Pledge for gender equality and progress here because we can’t do this alone!
Click here for more project ideas for International Women’s Day, and don’t forget to let GenUN know how you decide to celebrate!