International Women’s Day
International Women’s Day around the world
Date: Wednesday, March 9, 2016
On and around 8 March 2016, women and men are rising up, taking to the streets of their communities to march or raise awareness of women’s rights. In honour of International Women’s Day, myriad events are taking place in more than 60 countries across the globe to rile up support for several UN Women campaigns. From film festivals to marathons, participants emphasized the need to ensure that States are stepping up to their commitments, raising awareness and creating plans and strategies to empower women.
UN Women Jordan, in partnership with the Royal Film Commission, launched the fourth edition of the Women’s Film Week to mark International Women’s Day. Attended by HRH Princess Basma bint Talal, more than 200 people, including various national celebrities, social media activists, ambassadors and representatives from cultural centres took part. The Film Week will run until 12 March, offering a unique opportunity for the Jordanian public to reflect on women’s issues as portrayed through the work of international filmmakers. Also on 8 March, the Jordanian National Commission for Women and UN Women Jordan organized an advocacy event paying tribute to Jordanian female peacekeepers with some 300 participants to highlight the need for the adoption and implementation of a Jordanian National Action Plan on UNSCR 1325.
UN Women Mozambique organized a concert, in partnership with a popular TV show, to end violence against women and girls, attended by over 4,000 people in Ka Mavotas. The concert brought together television personalities, the general public, government representatives, media and students engaged in the UNiTE campaign. An information fair to end violence against women, in collaboration with medical services, was held at a local market where women work. A debate on “Masculinities, Violence Against Women and Girls and the Feminization of HIV/AIDS” was held at the university on 10 March.
To commemorate International Women’s Day in Indonesia, UN Women in partnership with two radio stations—Woman Radio 94.3 FM and RRI Pro 3 88.8 FM—aired a radio talk show on gender equality on 8 and 10 March. Radio listeners were invited to ask questions via Twitter, SMS messages and by phone. Questions from listeners dealt with issues ranging from gender stereotypes in the workplace, unequal pay, challenges for women as leaders and gender equality at home.
In preparation of COP22, the United Nations and Morocco’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation organized a Conference on Gender and Climate Change on 9 March, to mark International Women’s Day. The event gathered over 300 representatives of the Government, international development partners, civil society and academia.
On 9 March, a workshop on “Integrating Gender into Strategic Planning in Line with the SDGs” was held by UN Women at the UN House in Pristina, Kosovo, with the participation of a multi-stakeholder group composed of UN agencies, the EU, national Government and security and civil society organizations. The Regional Women's Lobby for Peace, Security and Justice in Southeast Europe (RWL SEE) also organized the Regional Conference “Kosovo Women Working Together for European Integration,” aiming to create a platform for direct dialogue between women leaders and decision makers from 3 Kosovo minority communities of Gracanica, Novo Brdo and Shtrpce, and women from North and South Mitrovica.
The University of Sao Paulo also launched the campaign “SheAlwaysCan” as part of HeForShe Impact 10x10x10 initiative, to raise awareness about women’s rights and reduce harassment and violence in the campus. Also on International Women’s Day, 10 big Brazilian companies signed the Women’s Empowerment Principles, including Mauricio de Sousa Productions, the largest Brazilian producer of content for children. On International Women’s Day, UN Women Brazil released a Public Service Announcement starring its National Goodwill Ambassador Camila Pitanga. The piece was entitled “I exchange my gift for equality”, referring to material presents that are usually given to women in celebration of International Women’s Day. In the video, Ms. Pitanga called for respect, equal rights, women’s empowerment, racial and gender equality. The video, which ended with the Planet 50:50 logo, has been watched by over 40,000 people on UN Women Brazil’s social media pages and was aired on television. The material was produced by partner agency Propeg. Watch her video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tguS5JEGlsE
Pakistani women and men walked side-by-side in Muzaffarabad, Pakistan-administered Kashmir, in a Purple Balloon Walk, as a call for support to make Planet 50-50 a reality. Nearly 100 people held purple balloons, participating in the 8 March event, including representatives from the Government, civil society, development agencies and the UN.
In Paraguay, the Steering Group for Democratic Parity joined supportive Senators and Members of Parliament on 8 March, to present the Bill for Democratic Parity in the Senate. The bill proposes full access for women to political and public life, through a rethinking of the concept of political power towards an equal, 50–50 participation for women and men in decision-making in all areas of public and political life, without discrimination of any kind.
In Serbia, UN Women organized a public debate, titled, 'What IS(NOT) Women's Job: My Job–My Right', at the EU Information Centre, which drew over 70 participants. The panelists shared their experiences in overcoming gender roles and stereotypes, followed by a discussion on best ways to achieve gender equality. The event was opened by the Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Serbia and President of the Coordination Body for Gender Equality and Deputy Resident Coordinator of the UNCT Serbia. In a street action, UN Women supported the distribution of leaflets on the streets of Belgrade.
Celebrating International Women’s Day, the UN Women Egypt Country Office honoured prominent and accomplished women by presenting their inspirational stories in a panel discussion. Participants (pictured above from left to right) included: Azza Fahmy, Founder and Chairperson of Azza Fahmy, an international brand of hand-crafted jewelry; Mecca Abdel Mawla, Member of the National Council for Women and a well-respected and inspirational figure in her community; Mohamed Mahfouz, renowned journalist and television presenter who moderated the session; Caroline A. Maher, Member of the Egyptian Parliament and the first Arab-African female inducted into the Taekwondo Hall of Fame; and Mariam Naoum, an acclaimed screenwriter who has tackled women’s empowerment issues in her movies.
At the International Women’s Day commemoration event in Colombia, "Por un Planeta 50-50: Mujeres protagonistas de la paz y el desarrollo”, women from the national and regional level engaged in lively dialogue with leaders in the areas of political participation, economic empowerment, women’s movement and communication and media, in order to discuss how to achieve a “Planet 5050 in 2030”. The Presidential Counsellor for Women's Equity was designated as a spokeswoman for HeForShe.
Women users of public transport celebrated International Women’s Day in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, with the inauguration of buses donning UN Women logos and messages from the “Safe Cities Free of Violence against women and girls”. The women-only buses will seek to improve women and girls freedom of movement, in keeping with Sustainable Development Goal 11.
UN Women in Turkmenistan and the Blind and Deaf Society of Turkmenistan (BDST) organized an International Women’s Day event under the slogan “Planet 50-50: Step It Up for Gender Equality”, calling for visible and measurable actions. Participants included people with disabilities, government and civil society.
On 8 March in Santa Cruz, one of the cities with the largest populations in Bolivia, a University Observatory for Gender Equality was formed, an initiative under the framework of the HeForShe Campaign, led by UN Women. At a press conference commemorating Women's Day, the Rectors of 11 private and public universities in city signed the founding document. They presented statistics on the current situation of gender equality in their institutions and pledged to develop policies, research and other mechanisms to further guarantee gender equality in university entities.
From 7-8 March 2016, to mark International Women’s Day, the General Directorate of National Security of Algeria hosted the 5th General Assembly of the Kigali International Conference on the Role of Security Organs in Ending Violence against Women and Girls. The Conference was attended by high-level personalities including: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal and representatives of the Algerian Government, Special Rapporteur on violence against women Dubravka Šimonović, high representatives of the African Union, and the security organs of African Union countries and of United Nations agencies. UN Women, one of the supporting partners of the Conference, was represented by Mohammad Naciri, Regional Director for the Arab States, and Leila Rhiwi, Representative of UN Women Maghreb.
In Panama City, Panama, to mark International Women's Day, the bank Banistmo organized a seminar entitled “Inclusion: everyone's responsibility”. The event was chaired by Aimeé Sentmat de Grimaldo, President of the Bank in the country, who noted that 60 per cent of the vice-presidents, chiefs and directors at Banistmo’s headquarters in Panama are women. Attended by representatives of several international organizations, the Regional Director of UN Women, Luiza Carvalho, also presented UN Women’s "Women’s Empowerment Principles."
Guatemala commemorated International Women’s Day with a high-level event with the Mayan Women Politic Association (MOLOJ), where distinguished indigenous women leaders participated, including Nobel Peace Laureate, Rigoberta Menchú and Otilia Lux de Cotí of the National Council. The Guatemalan media highlighted UN Women’s call for action for a “Planet 50-50 by 2030,” generated public discourse on women’s role and UN Women presented at one of the most important TV channels the country. An inter-generational dialogue—the first of its kind held in a Mayan language with simultaneous translation into Spanish—took place between two indigenous women, Rosalina Tuyuc and Sara Curruchich, with more than 200 people in attendance.
Bhutan marked International Women’s Day, with the Government, UN partners and civil society at an event in the Phuentsholing district, on 8 March 2016. Her Majesty the Queen Mother, Gyalyum Sangay Choden Wangchuck, attended the event, interacting with the more than 500 school students on issues pertaining to violence against women, gender equality and HIV/AIDS prevention. A series of events were organized in all 20 districts of Bhutan by the RENEW Volunteer Network, which has 2,700 volunteers working to prevent violence and support survivors.
To begin International Women’s Day celebrations in Thailand, women civil society members held up “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up” banners and marched one-kilometre from the Democracy Monument to Thammasat University. The activists, young and seasoned, were calling for “50:50 for women and men’s participation in decision making at all levels.” Women were vocally demanded the government to make concrete commitments to achieve gender targets in the Sustainable Development Goals. Also in commemoration of International Women’s Day 2016, UN Women and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) jointly organized a dialogue in Bangkok to discuss the challenges, gaps and opportunities to advance gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) under the global theme, “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality.”
In Mexico, UN Women commemorated International Women’s Day by inaugurating 50 women-only buses, known as Athena. with an initiative in support of the Safe Cities programme, the Mayor of Mexico city, Miguel Angel Mancera, and Ana Guezmes, Representative of UN Women in Mexico, participated in the event.
Palestinians of all ages and walks of life gathered in Ramallah to hear inspiring stories from Palestinian women politicians, entrepreneurs, sports women and women artists. Organized by UN Women and the British Consulate General of Jerusalem at the occasion of the “International Women’s Day, Celebrating Palestinian Women” event was attended by a crowd of about 200 Palestinians, in Al Kasabah Theatre in Ramallah, State of Palestine.
As part of the commemoration of International Women's Day, the three branches of government of El Salvador signed the "Pact for Gender Equality", an initiative of the Salvadoran Institute for the Development of Women (ISDEMU), in which UN Women Representative in El Salvador Ana Elena Badilla participated. The Pact comes in response to the call by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, at the Summit on Sustainable Development, for any and all leaders to make tangible commitments to gender equality.
UN Women Mali organized a public gathering to mark International Women’s Day on 8 March, with over 3,000 people in attendance, at the Palais de la Culture in the capital, Bamako. The Government of Mali, along with development partners, civil society organizations and citizens signed on to take action—at personal, professional and institutional levels—to achieve a Planet 50-50, by supporting women’s economic empowerment, women’s full participation in all decision-making and in the peace process in Mali. UN Women also participated in TV and radio programmes to advocate for gender equality throughout the months of February and March, and published advertisements in newspapers to generate public awareness.
Albania marked the International Day with a host of events, including marches, theatre, painting exhibitions and more. The Youth Center Vlora, in cooperation with local government and civil society, organized a public event on the main DzIsmail Qemalidz Boulevard in Vlora. A football match between boys and girls was also held. In Selenica, southern Albania, students, teachers and municipal representatives marched to the city centre.
Following Jamaica’s general elections held in late February, UN Women and UNDP presented key challenges facing women in leadership positions during an event for International Women’s Day. Despite obstacles, the newly-elected Government is committed to increasing women in leadership roles, and has already sworn in three women ministers: the first woman Minister of Foreign Affairs Senator Kamina Johnson Smith; Minister of Entertainment, Sport, Culture and Gender Issues Olivia Grange; and Attorney General Marlene Malahoo Forte. The new Government took office on 7 March.
On International Women’s Day, UN Women Ethiopia participated in an event with Ethiopian Airlines where CEO Tewolde Gebremariam linked the inclusion of more women to the airline’s success. While embracing his new role as a HeForShe Champion, Mr. Gebremariam committed to providing equal opportunities for women at Ethiopian Airlines within the next five to 10 years. In closing remarks, Mr. Gebremariam, thanked UN Women and the HeForShe Movement for their efforts in advancing women’s empowerment in Ethiopia saying “Women are more than 50 per cent of the population. Gender equality is not a matter of choice.”
In New York City, UN Women and Step It Up messaging were projected on the iconic Flatiron building, while the Empire State Building was lit in magenta, the signature colour of UN Women’s HeForShe campaign. Other events in New York included: the official UN commemoration; a conversation with Emma Watson and Forest Whitaker to launch HeForShe Arts week; bell-ringing events at Nasdaq and the New York Stock Exchange as well as in 35 cities around the world; and more.
To mark International Women’s Day, UN Women and young gender equality champions joined gender activists and civil society organizations in a march organized by the UNiTE movement to draw public attention to the situation of women in the Kyrgyz Republic and call all everyone to “Step it Up” by taking concrete actions to advance gender equality.
UN Women in Cameroon joined over 26,000 women and men at a traditional march-past ceremony at the Yaounde 20th May Boulevard to commemorate the International Women’s Day under the theme “Gender equality and the empowerment of women: meeting the challenges and overcoming the obstacles” and the umbrella framework of “Planet 50-50 by 2030, Step It Up for Gender Equality”. Participants came from all works of life, and marched with banners, calling for gender equality and women’s empowerment in Cameroon. Leading up to IWD, the UN system in Cameroon organized a UN4U educational outreach event on 7 March, at the Siantou University Institute in Yaounde to promote respect for gender equality. The Minister of Women’s Empowerment and the Family, Ambassador of Japan to Cameroon and UN Women Representative visited the Gado-Badzere refugee camp, and a UN Women programme for refugee women and girls. They also inaugurated a call Centre for supporting survivors of gender-based violence and awarded certificates to 150 police officers who were trained on how to effectively protect women and children.
Ahead of International Women’s Day, at the presidential palace in Central African Republic on 7 March, interim President Catherine Samba-Panza spoke with a large crowd of school girls and young women studying in the country’s colleges and universities, about this year’s theme “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step it up for gender equality” and the importance of involving girls and boys alike. On 8 March, the interim President joined UN Women’s Representative in CAR in welcoming dignitaries at the Omnisports Stadium, where they heard speeches and watched a traditional dance performance.
UN Women, the Police Cadet Academy, Thailand Institute of Justice and the Embassy of Sweden came together to organize the Youth Dialogue on Gender Equality with Police Cadets in Nakorn Pathom, Thailand on 7 March. The dialogue aimed to support the HeForShe and SpeakUpSpeakOut Campaigns. Future police officers have the potential to build an equal and tolerant world that is not characterized by harmful gender stereotypes that hinder the dreams and opportunities of both sexes. UN Women has partnered with the Royal Thai Police and the Office of the Attorney General in training police cadets and police investigative officers to protect women, end violence against women and implement the Domestic Violence Law. Since 2012, UN Women has helped train 555 police officers.
On 7 March in South Africa, in the lead-up to International Women’s Day, UN Women, in partnership with UNFPA, the Swedish Embassy and the Commission for Gender Equality hosted a panel discussion on ending violence against women, attended by 60 guests, including diplomats, activists and development agencies. In support of International Women's Day, Barclays Africa hosted a “Women in Conversation” panel discussion at their offices in Johannesburg, attended by close to 100 people. The panel was introduced by Senior eNews Channel Africa News Anchor Iman Rapetti, and included Mizinga Melu, Chief Executive Officer; Lele Modise, General Counsel, Corporate Investment Banking; Yasmin Masithela, Head of Compliance; Sam Wilkins, Chief of Staff from the Barclays Africa Group, as well as Themba Kalua, Representative, UN Women South Africa. Panelists discussed their personal stories and debated practical, innovative interventions to benefit their communities, families, children and themselves.
Nigeria marked International Women’s Day with the theme “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality” with a wide range of activities. A week-long live radio discussion and phone-in programme on Nigeria Info (95.1 FM) from 7–11 March highlighted gender issues. UN Women mobilized guest discussants and also participated in the programme. The Federal Ministry of Women’s Affairs and Social Development, in collaboration with UN Women, UNHRC and the European Union also convened a National Stakeholders Consultative Forum on 8 March in Abuja, with 569 stakeholders who made policy and programmatic recommendations for the advancement of gender equality and women’s empowerment in Nigeria. In Lagos, IWD was marked with the launch of the global partnership between MasterCard and UN Women, and a session with the Nigeria Stock Exchange to identify key issues and policy options for achieving Sustainable Development Goal 5.
UN Women under One UN Tanzania, with UNCG hosted a friendly match between the men's and women's national hockey team to mark International Women’s Day, focusing on gender equality on the field, especially as it is an Olympic year and the women's team will be playing at the regional level in the second week of March 2016. UN Women Tanzania also held a panel discussion on Women's Economic Empowerment, with emphasis on the lack of access to formal financing and banking, with UN IAGG, DPG GE and the National Economic Empowerment Commission.
On 6 March, a "Bus Journey on Gender Equality” was co-organized by UN Women, UNDP, the Embassies of Canada and Belgium and the Viet Nam Volunteer Centre, during which young students in Viet Nam shared their thoughts and visions on gender issues and how gender equality could be achieved by 2030. Also on 6 March, an exhibition on "Stories of Resilience: Women living with disasters,” was organized by the Viet Nam Women’s Union and UN Women, with the support of the Government of Luxembourg, featuring stories of women living with disasters and climate change. UN Women organized a comic and cartoon contest “Gender Equality: Picture It” which ran from the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women 25 November 2015 until International Women’s Day on 8 March 2016 and received 116 drawing submissions from all over Viet Nam. And on 4 March, UN Women in collaboration with Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA) also organized a national policy dialogue on gender equality and Sustainable Development Goals which brought together over 100 participants.
Ahead of International Women’s Day on 8 March, UN Women Office for India, Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka organized a ‘Step It Up’ walk for gender equality at Raahgiri at Connaught Place in New Delhi. Despite the rain, hundreds of people—activists, youth, students and visitors who had converged on the traffic-free zone in central Delhi joined the walk. The call to Step It Up for Gender Equality resounded throughout the march, drawing the attention of other visitors who also joined in. Walkers carried banners with messages that called for equal pay for equal work, an end to violence against women and ‘Safe Cities’ for women and girls. “This amazing chanting of ‘Step It Up for Planet 50-50’ was about young people sending a message to everyone everywhere, asking for an end to gender inequality by 2030,” said Planet 50-50 champion and youth advocate Saket Mani, who participated in the walk.
To prepare for International Women’s Day, members of different UN agencies and other organizations in Nairobi, Kenya participated in a 5 Km Pre-Run on 6 March. UN Women Kenya Country Director Zebib Kavuma and the United Nations Office in Nairobi Director General Sahle-Work Zewde flagged the run.
In Georgia, UN Women in partnership with the Noosfera Foundation hosted a documentary film festival “Woman in Focus” from 4 to 6 March for International Women’s Day. The films presented during the festival were mostly directed by female film directors from a variety of countries, including Denmark, Georgia, Israel, Poland and Belgium and focused on women’s and girls’ lives and rights.
Ahead of International Women’s Day, UN Women’s country office in Timor-Leste, in collaboration with the NGO Asosiasaun Mane Kontra Violensia, and Dili Cycling Community, organized a cycling event on 5 March to raise awareness for gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals. The event in Dili was attended by more than 150 cyclists from various nationalities and ages. Participants wore t-shirts calling for “Planet 50-50 by 2030”.
In Kazakhstan, UN Women organized a press conference on Women and the SDGs and Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step it Up for Gender Equality, on 4 March. The UN Women Multi-Country Office and a prominent Kazakhstani cinema critic Oleg Boretskiy jointly organized a film screening of Iron Jawed Angels in Almaty, Kazakhstan, which was followed by a vivid discussion. The film focuses on the American women's suffrage movement during the 1910s. A series of events were held at the Suleiman Demirel University, including a debate tournament on Kazakhstan’s gender policy, a HeForShe flash mob by students, and a concert, attended by over 400 people.
The Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) in Pakistan began celebrating International Women’s Day (IWD) on 4 March. The celebration embraced UN Women’s theme Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality, while focusing on women and girls impacted by disasters and emergencies. In his message, Neil Buhne, UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator in Pakistan, said: “A good humanitarian response to a crisis save lives and enables recovery; however, too often, that same response leaves women worse off. This is because humanitarian agencies mainly work with traditional communities leaders—almost always men—who rarely give voice to the needs of women… If there is to be sustainable and human development, it is crucial that humanitarian agencies help give women a louder voice.”
Leading up to International Women’s Day, UN Women Uruguay supported an event on body confidence and self-image, “I Dove Me” on 1 March, and participated in the 2nd edition of the Vital Voices event on young women’s leadership with 50 mentors and 100 young women. On 7 March, UN Women spoke at an event whereAmnesty International Uruguay presented two regional reports on violence against human rights defenders and on sexual and reproductive rights. On 8 March, the bicameral women's caucus organized a press conference to present its work regarding the extension of the women’s quota bill. On 9 March, the Undersecretary of Foreign Affairs, José Luis Cancela, signed on to the HeforShe campaign.