Women and Gender Equality

collage of women leaders

Every day, through our actions, and in the way we lead, talk, question and act, we challenge norms, transform habits, change laws, take action and inspire others to create a world without gender-based discrimination. We are Generation Equality rising. In the throes of a global pandemic, how we act now matters more than ever. This International Women’s Day and as world leaders and activists prepare for the 2021 Generation Equality Forum, a global gathering to invest and innovate for gender equality, we are mobilizing to bring change. Join us.

Throughout history and around the world, women have always displayed exemplary leadership. Yet on this day, despite women’s increased engagement in public decision-making roles, equality is far off.

women planting trees

Women in Wakhan National Park supporting reforestation efforts. The forests close to the villages will decrease pressure on grazing areas in wildlife habitats. Globally, women are stepping to the fore against wildlife crime and corruption. Through positions they occupy in all walks of life – as influencers in their communities, frontline defenders and wildlife managers, government decision-makers, legislators, scientists, and business leaders - women are working to protect wildlife for the benefit of ecosystems, economies and people. 

Peruvian woman at fruit stand

Sometimes, that support comes from changing people's minds. Flavia Buitrón belongs to an organization of Quechua women in Peru that raises awareness of indigenous women's issues. The pandemic has laid bare many painful truths, not least how tough and isolating the road is when we go through difficult times alone. We’ve seen how working in solidarity is the way to reach where we are heading faster. This International Women’s Day, on 8 March, we celebrate the women supporting other women, even when their own burdens are great and growing. When women uplift other women, we all rise.

women in colorful dresses standing outdoors

Measured purely by numbers and ratios, the picture of women’s and girls’ leadership globally is grim indeed. At the same time, women are not waiting for the doors to open. This exhibit features 13 extraordinary women leaders fighting for gender equality, whose words and stories inspired others to join “Generation Equality.” It presents women leading by example to change the places of power, end violence, stop climate change, and open opportunities for all women and girls. The exhibit is organized by UN Women in connection with International Women’s Day, 8 March.

A woman works in an engine.

IMO and partner have launched the Women in Maritime Survey to examine the distribution of women working in the maritime sector, from support roles to executive level positions. 

Illustration of women carrying a banner that reads Generation Equality

Women of the world want and deserve an equal future free from stigma, stereotypes and violence; a future that’s sustainable, peaceful, with equal rights and opportunities for all. UN Women advocates to include women at every table where decisions are being made. This year, the theme for International Women’s Day (8 March), “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world,” celebrates the tremendous efforts by women and girls around the world in shaping a more equal future and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and highlights the gaps that remain.

One of two women wearing facemasks and face shields, holds up her hands up together as in prayer.

Women stand at the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis, as health care workers, caregivers, innovators, community organizers and as some of the most exemplary and effective national leaders in combating the pandemic. The crisis has highlighted both the centrality of their contributions and the disproportionate burdens that women carry. In this year’s International Women’s Day, we recognize and celebrate the tremendous efforts by women and girls around the world in shaping a more equal future and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Woman standing at her doorway holds up a full bag.

Saúde das Manas (“Sisters’ Health”) project, a UNFPA partnership, aims is to strengthen the quality of reproductive health care in Brazil. The local health system provides services in COVID-19 times by setting up telemedicine offices at seven health-care clinics (called basic health units in Brazil). The clinics will provide online consultations with specialists in gynaecology and obstetrics. Before the telemedicine offices open, patients who require a more specialized consultation travel more than 100 kilometres away, mostly by boat.

The portraits of the five winners and the logo of the Prize.

UNESCO and the L'Oréal Foundation honoured five women researchers in the fields of astrophysics, mathematics, chemistry and informatics as part of the 23rd International Prize for Women in Science.  UNESCO’s global study on gender equality in scientific research, shows that although the number of women in scientific research has risen to one in three, women remain a minority. Every year women write as many scientific articles as men, but their chances of appearing in prestigious journals are lower, as are their seats on national science academies around the world.

Despite a shortage of skills in technological fields that are driving the Fourth Industrial Revolution, women still only account for 28% of engineering graduates and 40% of graduates in computer science and informatics, according to the forthcoming UNESCO Science Report whose chapter on gender in

Portrait of three women in traditional dress.

Reformed cutters protect the next generation from female genital mutilation in Kenya

How to support survivors of gender-based violence (GBV) in fragile and conflict-affected regions where health facilities are scarce and often out of capacity? In this video, 2018 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Dr.

collage of four women scientists

It will soon be a year since WHO declared COVID-19 to be a pandemic. By now, every corner of the world has felt the devastating impact of the pandemic, and women and girls in science are on the front lines of response. They are healthcare workers and innovators. They are researching vaccines and pioneering treatments. They are leading us toward a safer world, and inspiring the next generation of girls to be forces of good in science and tech. This 11 February, we’re celebrating International Day of Women and Girls in Science by highlighting just some of the women and girls around the world who have made tremendous contributions during the ongoing crisis.