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Events: International Women's Day 2012

International Women's Day 2012: Empower Rural Women — End Poverty and Hunger (Official UN Observance for IWD 2012)

10:00-12:00, Eastern Standard Time, 7 March, Conference Room 4, North Lawn Building, United Nations Headquarters, New York
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Archived Webcast (UN Webcast).


  • H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General, United Nations
  • H.E. Marjon V. Kamara, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Liberia to the United Nations and Chairperson the 56th session of the Commission of the Status of Women
  • H.E. Mr. Mutlaq Al-Qahtani, Chef de Cabinet, Office of the President of the General Assembly of the United Nations (on behalf of the PGA)
  • Video message: Ms. Michelle Bachelet, Under Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women

Panel Discussion

  • Ms. Mishkat Al Moumin, Former Minister of Environment in Iraq and Founder and Director of the NGO Women and the Environment
  • Ms. Anne Itto, Former Caretaker Minister of Agriculture and Forestry and the current Deputy Secretary General of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) in the Republic of South Sudan
  • Ms. Marina Fe Balmori Durano, Research Coordinator for Political Economy of Globalization, Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN), Manila, Philippines
  • Ms. Mirian Masaquiza, Secretariat of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.
  • Ms. Yelena Kudryavtseva, UN Women Sub Regional Office for Eastern Europe and Central Asia

Closing Remarks

  • Ms. Lakshmi Puri, Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Executive Director, UN Women


  • Ms. Femi Oke, International broadcaster and a correspondent for WNYC Radio's national syndicated news show The Takeaway

Related IWD Events Worldwide

Monday, 27 February

56th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women

27 February-9 March 2012, United Nations Headquarters, New York
[All Events]

The 56th session of the Commission on the Status of Women convenes from 27 February to 9 March 2012 at United Nations headquarters. It focuses on the theme of empowerment of rural women and their role in poverty and hunger eradication, sustainable development and current challenges.

Read more: Full List of Events| Side Events (First week, 27 February-2 March) | Side Events (Second week, 5-9 March) 

Monday, 5 March

Quilt Exhibition: Women are the Fabric

5 March-30 April, United Nations Headquarters, New York
[Event Page]

A new exhibition of quilts in the lobby of the United Nations, with a special opening on International Women's Day, is a tribute to the enduring strength of women and a plea for the support and protection they need to take care of themselves and their communities.

Women are the Fabric displays 20 quilts embedded with powerful messages and appeals for action. Some are cries of pain from women who have directly experienced sexual violence and massacres. Several express anger at the impact of war on women. One depicts the magic of a rainforest threatened by oil exploration. Together they convey the strength of women working together on shared concerns. Read more »

Thursday, 8 March

UNDP Facebook Chat: How Can We Empower Rural Women to End Extreme Poverty?

9:00-10:00, Eastern Standard Time, 8 March, Online
[Event Page]

UNDP Facebook Chat IWD 2012








Empowering Young Rural Women — Inspiring Futures

9:30-11:30 a.m., Central European Time, 8 March, Italian Conference Room, IFAD, Rome, Italy
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Note: This event will be webcast live at http://webcasting.ifad.org/iwd2012

This year IFAD hosts the celebration of International Women's Day on behalf of all three Rome-based United Nations agencies (FAO, IFAD and WFP).

The event will highlight the many obstacles faced by adolescent girls and young women in rural areas as well as the great potential of rural girls and women to become powerful agents of change. The event will begin with a welcome from Mr Kanayo F. Nwanze, President of IFAD, Mr José Graziano da Silva, Director-General, FAO and Ms Sheila Sisulu, Deputy Executive Director, WFP, plus a video message from Oliver DeShutter, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food. Ertharin Cousin, US Ambassador to the UN agencies in Rome, and Angie Motshekga, South Africa's Minister of Basic Education, will join a panel discussion on empowering young rural women. The panel will be followed by a look at practical experiences from IFAD, FAO and WFP field projects that are empowering adolescent girls and rural women in rural areas. Read more »


#AskUNWomen Twitter Chat: The Empowerment of Rural Women

10:00-11:00, Eastern Standard Time, 8 March, Online
[Event Page]

UN Women Twitter Chat IWD 2012


ILO High-level Panel Debate: Empower Rural Women — End Hunger and Poverty

12:30-14:30, Central European Time, 8 March, ILO Headquarters, Geneva, Switzerland
[Event Page]

Each year on 8 March, ILO celebrates International Women's Day with an event honouring women of courage and conviction, from different aspects of the world of work.

In 2012, the theme for ILO's celebration is "Empower rural women – end hunger and poverty". ILO will use this day to celebrate the contribution rural women are making to rural economies and to their families and the communities they live in. A high-level panel debate opened to the public will take place on 8 March from 12:30 to 14:30 at the ILO headquarters in Geneva.

Prior to ILO Director-General Mr Juan Somavia's opening remarks, Ms Jane Hodges, Director, Bureau for Gender Equality, will introduce distinguished panelists:

  • Ms. Sue Longley, Coordinator for Agriculture, International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers' Association (IUF);
  • Ms. Zodwa F. Mabuza, Chief Executive Officer of Federation of Swaziland Employers and Chamber of Commerce; and
  • Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, Minister of Labour and Social Security, Barbados

After the panelists debate, a question-and-answer session will take place.

Read more: English | French | Spanish


OHCHR Interactive Panel: Capitalizing on Women's Potential in Times of Crisis

18:00-20:00, Central European Time, 8 March, Human Rights and Alliance of Civilizations Room, Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland
[Event Page]

On the occasion of International Women's Day 2012, some of the world's leading human rights activists, politicians and thinkers will gather to reflect on the impact of the global financial, food and climate crisis on women and the role women play in promoting peace and human rights. While women are often the first to suffer when basic human rights are threatened, given the chance, they can be powerful agents for change for a better world. A high-profile panel discussion, hosted by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, will take place on Thursday 8 March 2012 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland. Following a "talk-show" format, the High Commissioner will ask panellists questions on the impact of the current crisis on women and how capitalizing on their potential can lead to more sustainable and just societies. Read more »