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Everything you need to know about International Women’s Day

07/03 13:36 CET

Everything you need to know about International Women’s Day

"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"

WHAT IS IT?

International Women’s Day is celebrated around the world. One website for the day says: “Celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women.

“Yet let’s also be aware progress has slowed in many places across the world, so urgent action is needed to accelerate gender parity. Leaders across the world are pledging to take action as champions of gender parity.”

The UN Women website says: “The 2016 theme for International Women’s Day is ‘Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality’. The United Nations observance on 8 March will reflect on how to accelerate the 2030 Agenda, building momentum for the effective implementation of the new Sustainable Development Goals.

“It will equally 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.”

The UN adds: “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.”


WHAT ARE WE CELEBRATING?

Each year there is a new theme and this year it’s gender parity.

The International Women’s Day website says: “Worldwide, women continue to contribute to social, economic, cultural and political achievement. And we have much to celebrate today. But progress towards gender parity has slowed in many places.

“The World Economic Forum predicted in 2014 that it would take until 2095 to achieve global gender parity. Then one year later in 2015, they estimated that a slowdown in the already glacial pace of progress meant the gender gap would not close entirely until 2133.

“So how do we want to celebrate International Women’s Day 2016? We say by Pledging For Parity! Everyone – men and women – can pledge to take a concrete step to help achieve gender parity more quickly – whether to help women and girls achieve their ambitions, call for gender-balanced leadership, respect and value difference, develop more inclusive and flexible cultures or root out workplace bias.

The website adds: “Each of us can be a leader within our own spheres of influence and commit to take pragmatic action to accelerate gender parity. Commit to take action to accelerate gender parity

“Globally, with individuals pledging to move from talk to purposeful action – and with men and women joining forces – we can collectively help women advance equal to their numbers and realize the limitless potential they offer economies the world over. We have urgent work to do. Are you ready to accelerate gender parity?

Just one example of action on the issue can be found here at the HeForShe initiative.

The World Economic Forum issued a gender gap report.

And click here for more information.


KEY GENDER EQUALITY DATA

- Only 22% of world parliamentarians are women. It doubled between 1995 en 2015

- Only 50% of women of working age in the world actually work. For men it is 75%

- Women earn 24% less then men worldwide

- Out of the 500 companies listed by Fortune magazine in 2014, only 25 women (5%) are CEOs. There was only one woman in 1998

- Almost all developing countries have reached gender parity in primary schools.

- Literacy has risen from 76% in 1990 to 85% in 2013 worldwide, but women account for 60% of all illiterate people in the world

- Women’s presence in the media: 17% in 1995; 24% in 2010

- In 2000 resolution 1325 of the UN Security Council recognises that wars have different consequences on men and women, emphasising the importance of having women involved in peace talks

- Between 1992-2011 only 9% of negotiators participating in peace talks were women

- One in every three women is the victim of physical or sexual violence worldwide, most of which is carried out by an intimate partner

(Source: The United Nations)



HISTORY OF WOMEN’S DAY

The UN began celebrating International Women’s Day on 8 March during International Women’s Year in 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.

Key dates:

- 1909: Women’s Day in the US celebrated by the American Socialist Party on the last Sunday of February

- 1910: The International Socialist Women’s conference decides on an international women’s day

- 1911: Celebrated for the first time on 19 March

- 1913-14: International women’s day by Russian women against war on the last Sunday of February. Women also gathered in Europe as a show of support on 8 March

- 1917: New strike from Russian women on 8 March asking for “peace and bread”

- 1945: Women’s Day is celebrated in all socialist countries from this year onwards, in the spirit of Mother’s Day

- 1975: The UN decides to celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8 during International Women’s Year


EVENTS AROUND THE WORLD

- The official UN commemoration will take place at the UN Secretariat in New York City from 10 a.m, with a series of musical performances and two panel discussions. The first will reflect on what a gender-equal planet means and how to achieve it by 2030 by joining the efforts of the United Nations, governments, civil society and the private sector. For the second panel, entitled ‘The Push for Parity’, panelists will probe the progress made in achieving gender equality in the UN system, examine the challenges remaining and unpack how to mainstream gender perspectives.

Other kinds of events happening … to name just a few!

- Deputy Executive Director Lakshmi Puri will ring the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange in New York at 9 a.m on March 8

- Friendly hockey match between men’s and women’s teams in Tanzania (March 5)

- March and cycling rally in New Delhi in India (March 6)

- Festival with live music and dance performances in Gaza (March 8)


SOCIAL MEDIA NETWORKS

Twitter hashtags:

#IWD2016

#PledgeForParity

@UN_Women

Click here for other accounts and links.

Women in history.

UN resources.

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