The United Nations began celebrating International Women’s Day (IWD) on 8 March during International Women’s Year 1975. Two years later, in December 1977, the General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming a United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace to be observed on any day of the year by Member States, in accordance with their historical and national traditions.
International Women’s Day first emerged from the activities of labour movements at the turn of the twentieth century in North America and across Europe. Since those early years, International Women’s Day has assumed a new global dimension for women in developed and developing countries alike. The growing international women’s movement, which has been strengthened by four global United Nations women’s conferences, has helped make the commemoration a rallying point to build support for women’s rights and participation in the political and economic arenas.
Increasingly, International Women’s Day 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 theme for International Women’s Day, 8 March, is “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow".
Advancing gender equality in the context of the climate crisis and disaster risk reduction is one of the greatest global challenges of the 21st century.
Women are increasingly being recognized as more vulnerable to climate change impacts than men, as they constitute the majority of the world’s poor and are more dependent on the natural resources which climate change threatens the most.
At the same time, women and girls are effective and powerful leaders and change-makers for climate adaptation and mitigation. They are involved in sustainability initiatives around the world, and their participation and leadership results in more effective climate action.
Continuing to examine the opportunities, as well as the constraints, to empower women and girls to have a voice and be equal players in decision-making related to climate change and sustainability is essential for sustainable development and greater gender equality. Without gender equality today, a sustainable future, and an equal future, remains beyond our reach.
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In 2015, countries agreed on the need for comprehensive financing for development; adopted a new sustainable development agenda; and charted a universal and legally binding global agreement on climate change. Concluding a negotiating process that has spanned more than two years and featured the unprecedented participation of civil society, on 2 August 2015, governments united behind an ambitious agenda that features 17 new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets that aim to end poverty, combat inequalities and promote prosperity while protecting the environment by 2030.
The new agenda is an action plan for people, planet, prosperity, peace and partnership. It will foster peaceful, just and inclusive societies and require the participation of all countries, stakeholders and people. The ambitious agenda seeks to end poverty by 2030 and promote shared economic prosperity, social development and environmental protection for all countries. The new agenda is based on 17 goals, including a stand-alone goal on gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls as well as gender-sensitive targets in other goals.
Women have a critical role to play in all of the SDGs, with many targets specifically recognizing women’s equality and empowerment as both the objective, and as part of the solution. Goal 5 is known as the stand-alone gender goal because it is dedicated to achieving these ends.
Deep legal and legislative changes are needed to ensure women’s rights around the world. While a record 143 countries guaranteed equality between men and women in their Constitutions by 2014, another 52 had not taken this step. In many nations, gender discrimination is still woven through legal and social norms.
Stark gender disparities remain in economic and political realms. While there has been some progress over the decades, on average women in the labour market still earn 24 per cent less than men globally. Worldwide, only 23 per cent of all national parliamentarians were female.
Meanwhile, violence against women is a pandemic affecting all countries, even those that have made laudable progress in other areas. Worldwide, 35 per cent of women have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence.
Women have a right to equality in all areas. It must be embedded across legal systems, upheld in both laws and legal practices, including proactive measures such as quotas. Since all areas of life relate to gender equality, efforts must be made to cut the roots of gender discrimination wherever they appear.
For the details on SDG 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls, click here.
Source : UN Women - International Women's Day
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