International Women’s Day 2012

The UN theme for International Women's Day 2012, celebrated annually on 8 March, is “Empower Rural Women - End Hunger and Poverty.

Executive Director Michelle Bachelet in Morocco during IWD 2012

  • Remarks of Michelle Bachelet,Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women at the National Conference “Morocco on the Path towards Equality: Legal and Institutional Advances for Gender Equitable Public Policies, 8 March 2012, Rabat, Morocco. Read more.
  • View photos of Michelle Bachelet in Morocco.
  • Ms. Bachelet urges women's equal participation in all spheres of life as fundamental to democracy and justice. Read press release.

IWD Observances and Events

  • UN Headquarters: The official observance for IWD 2012 took place at UN Headquarters, New York, on 7 March 2012, with opening remarks from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and a video message from UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet. (Read related press release)
  • Afghanistan: On International Women's Day, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and UN Women urged the Government of Afghanistan to fully and promptly implement the law on Elimination of Violence against Women. Read more.
  • Egypt: A program of music and discussion at the Cairo Opera House will gather more than one thousand people, including advocates, artists and global leaders, to celebrate the strength and diversity of women this coming weekend. The event will also launch a song by best-selling female artist, Angham, dedicated to Egyptian women. Read more.
  • West Africa: Film screenings, forums and festival atmospheres mark International Women's Day in West Africa, many dedicated to the strength and importance of rural African women. These include a street parade in Liberia, a gala dinner in Cote d'Ivoire, and concerts and seminars in Ghana. The Government of Senegal will recognize UN Women's Fund for Gender Equality, while hosting an open forum on rural women and an exhibition of their products. Read more.
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina: UN Women has created an online and social media campaign to transmit empowering images of Bosnian women. Visit the campaign's website or Facebook page to meet the six powerful female role models, from a competitive swimmer to an enologist (a wine expert) and entrepreneur, and learn about their achievements, aspirations and challenges.
  • Haiti: UN Women and other UN agencies have supported a national forum organized by the Ministry of Women Affairs and Women's Rights (MCFDF) in support of rural women's voices, and engaged in activities to celebrate the potential of female youth. These have included the production of a comic strip for girls, and arranging for female UN staff to visit schools and talk about their professional journeys. Read more.
  • Kosovo: Government officials have discussed programs aimed at rural women, outlined plans for future projects and pledged their commitment to the cause of empowering rural women, at a multi-stakeholder roundtable. Read more.
  • Macedonia:For the third year in row, UN Women has organized a four-day event in Skopje, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, to raise awareness of women's rights and gender equality issues in partnership with the City of Skopje, the Institute for Gender Studies at the University of Skopje, and the University of Audio-visual Arts. Read more.
  • Nigeria: UN Women staff have arranged for an outreach programme to inspire young students at a local secondary school. This has involved bringing female professionals from various fields of work, among them doctors, engineers and communication technology experts, to speak about their careers. The program aimed to widen the horizons of young girls, while compelling them to explore and understand various career paths, and make sound decisions about their future education. Read more.
  • Serbia: More than 200 participants from the corporate sector have joined a conference on business principles and practices for women's empowerment, supported by UN Women and the UN Global Compact. The conference was addressed by the President of Serbia, along with high level ambassadors and UN staff, and 10 CEOs publicly declared their commitment to implanting the Principles.
  • For more information on UN system observances for IWD 2012 and related events, please visit UN Womenwatch and follow us on Twitter via @UN_Women and #IWD
  • #AskUNWomen Twitter Chat on the Empowerment of Rural Women, 8 March, 10am EST. Join the conversation here or on Twitter at #AskUNWomen

IWD Messages

UN Women Executive Director Michelle BacheletMessage from UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet Today on International Women's Day, let us reaffirm our commitment to women's rights and move forward with courage and determination. Let us defend human rights, the inherent dignity and worth of the human person, and the equal rights of men and women. read more » [Arabic | Chinese | French | Russian | Spanish ]
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moonMessage from UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon On this International Women's Day, I urge Governments, civil society and the private sector to commit to gender equality and the empowerment of women - as a fundamental human right and a force for the benefit of all. read more » [ Arabic | Chinese | French | Russian | Spanish ]

About International Women's Day

International Women's Day was commemorated for the first time on 19 March 1911 in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland, following its establishment during the Socialist International meeting the prior year. More than one million women and men attended rallies on that first commemoration. In 1975, during International Women's Year, the United Nations began celebrating 8 March as International Women's Day. Two years later, in December 1977, the General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming a United Nations Day for Women's Rights and International Peace to be observed on any day of the year by Member States, in accordance with their historical and national traditions.

Related Videos

UN Observance of International Women's Day 2012, 7 March 2012Video Message from UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet