International Women's Day 2014
The official United Nations theme for International Women's Day 2014 is "Equality for women is progress for all."
Celebrated by women's rights activists across the world annually on 8 March, International Women's Day (IWD) has been marked by the UN since 1975.
IWD is traditionally marked with a message from the UN Secretary-General as well as with statements and events from across the UN system. This page highlights UN system and inter-governmental observances, events and related links for the Day as they are released.
UN Women Executive Director to brief press on eve of International Women's Day and the 58th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women. Read more »
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Official UN Observance at UN Headquarters, New York
12:00–13:00, Eastern Standard Time, 7 March, Trusteeship Council Chamber, United Nations, New York
The UN will commemorate IWD on 7 March at its headquarters in New York. The event will be webcast at http://webtv.un.org/.
- H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon Secretary-General of the United Nations
- H.E. Mr. John W. Ashe President of the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly
- H.E. Ms. Hillary Rodham Clinton Former United States Secretary of State, U.S. Senator
- Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women
- Ms. Andrea Nunez Vice President of the World YWCA Board
Moderator: Ms. Isha Sesay, Anchor, CNN International
International Women's Day Messages
Message from Ban Ki-moon, 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 next year's deadline and craft an agenda for the years beyond 2015.
Important gains have been made in access to primary education for girls and political representation by women. But progress remains far too slow and uneven. Read more »
Message from Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Under-Secretary-General and UN Women Executive Director
Today we join the people of the world in celebration of the progress made for women's rights, women's empowerment and gender equality. We also acknowledge that progress has been slow, uneven and in some cases women and girls face new and more complex challenges.
International Women's Day is therefore also a day to recommit ourselves to working harder for gender equality, together as women, men, youth and leaders of nations, communities, religion and commerce.
If we act decisively, with the knowledge that empowering women and girls and supporting their full participation can help solve the greatest challenges of the 21st century, we will find lasting solutions to many of the problems we face in our world. Major challenges such as poverty, inequality, violence against women and girls, and insecurity will be addressed substantially.
Women spend the majority of their income on the well-being of their children and family. Raising women's labour force participation increases economic growth. By ending women's poverty, we will sustainably and significantly reduce extreme poverty worldwide. Read more »
International Labour Organization (ILO)
Message from Guy Ryder, Director-General of ILO
"We join our efforts with all who are striving for gender equality"
It is opportune to take stock of the situation with respect to women's status and gender equality in the world of work.
The available information paints a mixed picture.
There has been notable progress in the area of national legislation with most countries having incorporated the principles of equality and non-discrimination. Many governments have adopted active labour market policies to tackle discrimination against women and a growing number of employers' and workers' organizations are implementing initiatives on equal opportunity and treatment. A number of individual women have managed to advance and to break through the glass ceiling.
At the same time, stubborn and often profound gaps persist. Progress in increasing women's labour market participation has been uneven according to our 2014 Global Employment Trends Report. In developed economies, women are expected to benefit less from the timid recovery projected in the medium-term – their unemployment rates will only gradually decline to 8.2 per cent in 2018, whereas for men it is projected to drop to 7.6 per cent. In North Africa women's labour market participation rates in 2013 were barely 25 per cent, and in the Middle East not even 20 per cent. Read more»
International Organization for Migration (IOM)
Op-ed from Ambassador William Lacy Swing, Director-General of IOM
Women Migrants Must Not Be Left Behind
ONE of the most significant recent trends in migration has been the rise in the number of women using dangerous migration routes previously mainly used by men.
More and more women, fleeing hardship, violence, war and poverty, are now taking the same desperate risks as men in search of a better life for themselves and their children. This is desperation migration.
While many women travel with their families, IOM is seeing an increasing number of women migrating on their own to an unknown, unpredictable of often dangerous future. Woman and children migrants die all the time at sea, crossing deserts and other dangerous routes. What has changed?
There are many factors pushing women to migrate. They include discrimination in the job market and social prejudices against single mothers or widows in their country of origin. But poverty is almost always the strongest driving force that causes migrant women to leave. Read more: English | French | Spanish
Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS)
Message from Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS
We know well that it is our mothers, wives, sisters and daughters who make it happen. Women around the world are running countries, businesses and raising children. In the AIDS response, it is more likely to be women who care for the sick. It is women who care for their families and communities and it is women who look after the most vulnerable in society.
"Women make it happen, but it doesn't always happen for women." Women face many forms of discrimination.
It is also women who suffer violence at the hands of their partners, are more likely to become infected with HIV and are marginalized in many societies. One out of three women is physically or sexually abused by a partner in her lifetime. Every hour, 50 young women are newly infected with HIV. Half of all people living with HIV in low- and middle-income countries are women––and new HIV infections among women are on the rise in Eastern Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East and North Africa. Read more »
UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)
Message from Monique Barbut, Executive Secretary of the UNCCD
The equality and resilience of women means progress for all. Progress in our economic productivity, the well-being of our families and our resilience to global environmental challenges, including land degradation and climate change.
A majority of the women, however, lack the right to own or manage agricultural land. They farm abandoned, marginal or communal land, or land owned by others. But they are smart investors. As they have no stake on such land, they will fell trees for charcoal, without replanting. They will cultivate the land, often by the cheapest, yet most damaging land practices.
More than half of the land under agriculture is moderately or severely degraded. Deforestation for agriculture and charcoal production are the lead drivers. Every year, we lose 24 billion tons of fertile soil through erosion. Every year, we lose 12 million hectares to desertification and drought. For every hectare lost to desertification and drought, we lose the possibility to produce 1.6 tons of grain and to store the carbon emissions warming the Earth. Read more (pdf) »
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
Message from Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO
International Women's Day has been celebrated by the United Nations on 8 March since 1975 – this is a moment when we review past achievements and look ahead to the challenges that remain, as well as to untapped potential and opportunities.
This stocktaking is all the more important today, as we approach the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Conference and the deadline for the Millennium Development Goals and as we shape a new global sustainable development agenda to follow 2015. In moving forward, we must ensure that women's empowerment and gender equality stand at the heart of all of our work to craft a better future. Read more (pdf) »