Today marks International Women's Day. A chance to celebrate women's empowerment, reflect on the ongoing struggle for gender equality, and focus on the current challenges and opportunities facing future generations of women today.
International Women’s Day comes at a time when just half of working-age women are in the labour force, compared to 77 percent of men. Women are also more likely to be in low or unwaged jobs and over 130 million girls are not in school at all.
The UN's theme for this year is: "The Time is Now: Rural and urban activists transforming women’s lives”. The UN is using the Day to draw attention to the rights and activism of rural women, who constitute over one quarter of the world population, and are being left behind in every measure of development.
In his statement today the UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, stated that “achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls is the unfinished business of our time, and the greatest human rights challenge in our world”. He went on to reaffirm his commitment to working with countries across the world to “prevent and address sexual exploitation and abuse by staff in peacekeeping missions, and to support victims”.
UNA-UK recently launched its Mission Justice campaign which establishes the idea that sexual violence by UN Peacekeepers is a crime that requires a criminal response. Find out more information and pledge your support.
Thousands of activities will be taking place today and throughout the month to mark the economic, political and social achievements of women across the world. UNA-UK's London & Southeast Region will be holding an event on the UN's Women, Peace and Security agenda and its role in tackling violence against women and girls. Find out more.
For more on our work, take a look at UNA-UK's latest magazine which promotes a feminist foreign policy, and examines opportunities for the UN and the UK in particular.
Photo: UN photo. Congolese Women Rejoice after Signing of Peace Accord in Goma