International Women’s Day is annually held on March 8 to celebrate women’s achievements throughout history and across nations. It is also known as the United Nations (UN) Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace. It is a time to reflect on progress made¸ to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.
The offical UN theme for International Women’s Day 2014 is “Equality for women is progress for all.”
The first International Women’s Day was held in 1911. Thousands of events occur to mark the economic¸ political and social achievements of women. Organisations¸ governments¸ charities¸ educational institutions¸ women’s groups¸ corporations and the media celebrate the day.
Some groups select their own International Women’s Day theme¸ specific to their local context. For example¸ the European Parliament’s 2013 theme was “Women’s response to the crisis” and their 2012 theme “Equal pay for work of equal value”.
The United Nations declares an annual theme:
– 2013: A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women
– 2012: Empower Rural Women – End Hunger and Poverty
– 2011: Equal access to education¸ training and science and technology
– 2010: Equal rights¸ equal opportunities: Progress for all
– 2009: Women and men united to end violence against women and girls
– 2008: Investing in Women and Girls
– 2007: Ending Impunity for Violence against Women and Girls
– 2006: Women in decision-making
– 2005: Gender Equality Beyond 2005: Building a More Secure Future
– 2004: Women and HIV/AIDS
– 2003: Gender Equality and the Millennium Development Goals
– 2002: Afghan Women Today: Realities and Opportunities
– 2001: Women and Peace: Women Managing Conflicts
– 2000: Women Uniting for Peace
– 1999: World Free of Violence against Women
– 1998: Women and Human Rights
– 1997: Women at the Peace Table
– 1996: Celebrating the Past¸ Planning for the Future
– 1975: United Nations recognizes International Women’s Day
Message from Ban Ki-moon¸ the UN Secretary-General:
“This International Women’s Day¸ we are highlighting the importance of achieving equality for women and girls not simply because it is a matter of fairness and fundamental human rights¸ but because progress in so many other areas depends on it.
Countries with more gender equality have better economic growth. Companies with more women leaders perform better. Peace agreements that include women are more durable. Parliaments with more women enact more legislation on key social issues such as health¸ education¸ anti-discrimination and child support.
The evidence is clear: equality for women means progress for all.
This simple truth must be central as we work to accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goals by ne