Media Advisory: International Women’s Day, 8 March 2021

Theme: Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world


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(New York, 1 March) – This year’s International Women’s Day (8 March) comes as the world continues to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and its staggering impacts on women – from being pushed into poverty, to loss of jobs as the informal economy shrinks, to an alarming spike in domestic violence and the unpaid care burden— and will highlight the pressing need for the 2021 Generation Equality Forum. The Forum, which will take place virtually from 29 to 31 March in Mexico and in France in June, will catalyze urgent investments, policies and programmes to accelerate global gender equality.

The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us something undeniable: diversity in leadership makes a difference, and the pandemic response in countries led by women has captured the headlines. Yet, research on the theme of this year’s International Women’s Day, “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world”, reveals that only three countries in the world have 50 per cent or more women in parliament. Globally 119 countries have never had a woman leader as a Head of State or Government. At the current rate of progress, gender parity will not be reached in parliaments before 2063, in ministerial positions before 2077 and in the highest positions of power before 2150.

The Generation Equality Forum, which is organized by UN Women and co-hosted by the governments of Mexico and France, in conjunction with youth and civil society, will be a major opportunity to cement women’s rights and leadership as we recover from COVID-19. The Action Coalitions, which have been shaping the Generation Equality agenda, will announce bold new implementation agendas on women’s rights, while the #ActForEqual campaign to be launched on International Women’s Day, will create a groundswell of awareness and action on gender equality in the run-up to the Forum.

Members of the Media are invited to attend the following events:

International Women’s Day official UN commemoration: ‘Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world on the way to the Generation Equality Forum’

8 March 2021, 10 a.m. to 12.30 p.m (EST)

The UN’s official commemoration event will be held virtually this year. The event will gather powerful voices from around the globe to discuss women in leadership and how to achieve an equal future in a COVID-19 world on the way to the Generation Equality Forum.

The Observance will be hosted by Sophia Pierre Antoine, Prevention of Sexual Exploitation and Abuse (PSEA) Officer at International Organization for Migration (IOM) HQ and Former Board Co-Chair of FRIDA Young Feminist Fund.

Participants will include:

  • António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations
  • Katrín Jakobsdóttir, Prime Minister of Iceland
  • Volkan Bozkir, President of the UN General Assembly
  • Mher Margaryan, Chair of the 65th Session of the Commission of the Status of Women
  • Elizabeth Gómez Alcorta, Minister of Women, Gender and Diversity of Argentina
  • Élisabeth Moreno, Minister for Gender Equality, Diversity and Equal Opportunities of France
  • Representative from the Government of Mexico
  • Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Women Executive Director
  • Filippo Grandi, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees
  • Eddie Ndopu, moderator, SDG and Disability Rights Advocate
  • Xiye Bastida, Climate Justice Activist
  • Aya Chebbi, Former African Union Youth Envoy
  • Eva Longoria, Golden Globe-nominated and SAG Award-winning actress and philanthropist
  • Zoneziwoh Mbondgulo-Wondieh, Member of the Generation Equality Forum Civil Society Advisory Group
  • Chamathya Fernando and Jane Dorothy Anika, Members of the Generation Equality Forum Youth Task Force

The event will also feature musical performances by Angelica Hale, the Pihcintu Chorus, and Broadway Singers.

The event is open to the public and will be webcast live on UN Women and UN Web TV. For any questions contact[at]

Ring the Bell for Gender Equality Events at Stock Exchange

When: 1 March, opening/ closing bells
8 March, Conference on Women in Leadership Achieving an Equal Future in a  COVID-19 World in collaboration with Nasdaq and New York City Fintech Women. Register here.

For the seventh consecutive year, stock Eexchanges around the world plan will demonstrate their support for women’s rights and gender equality on International Women’s Day . The bell ringing events will start on Monday, 1 March at Nasdaq opening bell and can be viewed on Livestream and Facebook Live, and will continue to ring for gender equality over the next two weeks.

The Ring the Bell for Gender Equality is a partnership between UN Women, IFC, Sustainable Stock Exchanges (SSE) Initiative, UN Global Compact, the World Federation of Exchanges and Women in ETFs, to raise awareness about the business case for women’s economic empowerment, and the opportunities for the private sector to advance gender equality and sustainable development.

For more information, editorial content and assets on International Women’s Day 2021:


SOCIAL MEDIA: Join the online conversation on Twitter using the hashtags #IWD2021, #GenerationEquality, #ActforEqual, #internationalwomensday, and by following @UN_Women.

For interviews with senior UN Women officials and speakers at the events, contact[at]