International Women’s Day 2018

Time is Now: Rural and urban activists transforming women's lives

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Time is Now: Rural and Urban Activists Transforming Women’s Lives

In her message for International Women’s Day on March 8, UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka draws attention to the work of rural and urban activists who have fought for women’s rights and gender equality. Read the full message►

See the UN Secretary-General’s Message on International Women’s Day ►

The theme for International Women’s Day, 8 March, is “Time is Now: Rural and urban activists transforming women’s lives”.

This year, International Women’s Day comes on the heels of unprecedented global movement for women’s rights, equality and justice. This has taken the form of global marches and campaigns, including #MeToo and #TimesUp in the United States of America and their counterparts in other countries, on issues ranging from sexual harassment and femicide to equal pay and women’s political representation.

Echoing the priority theme of the upcoming 62nd session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, International Women’s Day will also draw attention to the rights and activism of rural women, who make up over a quarter of the world population, and are being left behind in every measure of development.

Join us to transform the momentum into action, to empower women in all settings, rural and urban, and to celebrate the activists who are working relentlessly to claim women’s rights and realize their full potential.

The #TimeisNow.


International Women’s Day 2018 – Observance at UN headquartersJoin us for the United Nations Observance of International Women’s Day, to be held on 8 March 2018 in the Trusteeship Council Chamber, UN Headquarters, New York. Speakers will include UN Secretary-General, UN Women Executive Director, Reese Witherspoon, Academy Award–winning actor and activist, Danai Gurira, Tony-nominated playwright, actor and activist, and civil society representatives. RSVP ►


International Women's Day around the world

#IWD2018 - International Women's Day Around the World

Video: International Women’s Day 2018: The time is now

This International Women’s Day, UN Women celebrates the rural and urban activists who have transformed the lives of women around the world. From grassroots campaigns to global movements, women’s activism over the decades has paved the way for women’s rights and a more equal future.

Top Stories

In the words of Jaha Dukureh: “We are at a tipping point in the movement to end FGM”
Jaha Dukureh, UN Women Regional Goodwill Ambassador for Africa, is an outspoken activist leading the movement to end Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and child marriage. Her story starts when she was only one week old, when she went through FGM. At the age of 15, she was forced to get married. Hers is a story of fierce determination to end the practice of FGM and child marriage, so that no girl has to go through what she did. Read more►

In the words of Ana Vasileva: “We are talking the talk and walking the walk”
Meet Ana Vasileva, one of the activists at the forefront of the sexual harassment campaign in Macedonia, echoing the global #MeToo and #TimesUp movements. She became instantly famous—or infamous—after she published a blog post about rape culture and sexism in her country. Today, together with other feminists, she is leading the movement to wipe out social tolerance for violence against women. Read more►

Sunita Kashyap. Photo: UN Women/Deepak Malik

In the words of Sunita Kashyap: “We believe in trade, not aid”
Before Sunita Kashyap founded Umang, a rural women’s organization, she farmed with her husband, but her work wasn’t perceived to be of equal value. Today, as part of Umang, 3,000 women farmers in India are making and selling their own produce. They are farmers, entrepreneurs, auditors and accountants of their self-help groups. Read more ►

Women in Brazil march for women's rights. Photo: UN Women/Bruno Spada

Eight ways you can be a women’s rights advocate today, and every day
Right now women and men around the world are part of an unprecedented movement for women’s rights, equality and justice. From global marches to social media campaigns like #MeToo, women are raising their voices in unison, calling out sexual harassment, organizing for unequal pay and women’s political representation. Join us to celebrate women’s rights activists everywhere, embrace your inner activist and empower the women in your life. Read more►

Charo Minas-Rojas. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown

From where I stand: Afro-descendent women of Colombia rise for justice
“I grew up in an afro-descendent community in Cali, Colombia, surrounded by strong and capable women. Yet, the men in their lives dictated what was right or wrong…” Following the historic peace agreement which ended the more than 50-year conflict between the Government of Colombia and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Charo Mina-Rojas advocates for justice and equality for Colombia’s afro-descendent women. Read more►


Timeline: Women of the world, unite!

Timeline: Women of the world, unite!
A single moment can spark a revolution, collective actions can transform laws, creative expression can change attitudes and an invention can alter the course of history. It’s these threads that weave together to propel the women’s movement — even in the face of obstacles. Discover how some of these strands, big and small, have shaped your lives, and the rights and lives of women and girls worldwide. See more ►


Rural women from around the world

Photo essay: Rural women, human rights
Without rural women and girls, rural communities and urban economies would not function. Yet women and girls are among the people most likely to be poor, to lack access to assets, education, health care and other essential services, and to be hit hardest by climate change. On almost every measure of development, rural women, because of gender inequalities and discrimination, fare worse than rural men or urban women. See more ►

MEN/WOMEN: WAGE SCALE  I am looking for an ambitious person, who does not waste time taking care of the kids and ironing.

Gender equality through the cartoonists’ lens
UN Women and Cartooning for Peace, a non-profit international network of 162 editorial cartoonists from 59 different countries, have joined forces in a collaboration for International Women’s Day and the 62nd session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women (CSW62). See more ►


Learn the facts: Rural women and girls

Learn the facts: Rural women and girls
Rural women ensure food security for their communities, build climate resilience and strengthen economies. Yet, gender inequalities, such as discriminatory laws and social norms, combined with a fast-changing economic, technological and environmental landscape restrict their full potential, leaving them far behind men and their urban counterparts. View infographic►

Join the conversation for International Women’s Day, #TimeIsNow #IWD2018!

  • Main hashtags: #IWD2018, #TimeIsNow (English), #DíadelaMujer, #AhoraEsElMomento (Spanish), #JourneeDesFemmes (French)
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  • Main Twitter accounts: @UN_Women (English), @ONUMujeres (Spanish), @ONUFemmes (French)
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See our coverage of International Women’s Day 2017
See our coverage of International Women’s Day 2016
See our coverage of International Women’s Day 2015
See our coverage of International Women’s Day 2014
See our coverage of International Women’s Day 2013
See our coverage of International Women’s Day 2012