This year’s theme for International Women’s Day, celebrated all over the world today (8 March) is: “A promise is a promise: Time for action to end violence against women.”
Commemorations under way across th world are focusing on ending violence against women, which affects up to 7 in 10 women. It occurs in multiple forms in all countries and settings. It impacts women and their communities, hampering development, and also costing countries billions of dollars annually in healthcare costs and lost productivity.
UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet stresses that discrimination and violence against women and girls have no place in the 21st century. “Enough is enough”, she says in a message of both outrage and hope that discrimination and violence must end.
To celebrate International Women's Day, the UN is launching its first ever song “One Woman” - a rallying cry to inspires listeners to join the drive for women's rights and gender equality. This musical celebration of women worldwide features 25 artists from across the globe. It reminds us that together, we can overcome violence and discrimination: "We Shall Shine!"
And now a bit of history:
The United Nations began celebrating International Women’s Day (IWD) on 8 March during International Women’s Year 1975. 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.
International Women’s Day first emerged from the activities of labour movements at the turn of the twentieth century in North America and across Europe. Since those early years, International Women’s Day has assumed a new global dimension for women in developed and developing countries alike. The growing international women’s movement, which has been strengthened by four global United Nations women’s conferences, has helped make the commemoration a rallying point to build support for women’s rights and participation in the political and economic arenas.
Increasingly, International Women’s Day is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities.