MESSAGE OF THE DIRECTOR-GENERAL
ON THE OCCASION OF INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY
Paris, March 6 (No.2001-34)
- UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura has issued a message on the
occasion of International Women’s Day (March 8).
Here is the full text of the
“As we enter the 21st
century, I am sorry to have to be writing this message.
“I should not need to.
“Violence afflicting women
and abuse, especially against women and children, are still prevalent. A broad
range of suffering and humiliation, spanning from family and peer violence to
international/global trafficking of human beings, forced prostitution, slavery
and violence associated with armed conflict and war, is still present in all our
societies. We even witness - and condemn - the denial of even the most basic
human rights to women in some parts of the world under misguided regimes.
“Rampant poverty and denial
of human rights is one of the root causes of violence; indeed, poverty itself is
a form of violence. And the victims of poverty, as we know, are above all women
and children. Our most urgent task therefore is to help eradicate poverty
through bold policies which lift the poor, and especially poverty-stricken women
and girls, through education, decent work and sustainable livelihood, a more
equitable sharing of resources, full access to information and to communication
technologies and, underlying all this, through the uncompromising respect of
their fundamental human rights. This agenda is a tall one and we must mobilise
all our energies, capacities and resources to succeed.
“Five years after the Beijing
Conference, we need to state again, loud and clear, that there can be no
sustainable development, neither locally nor globally, if the intellectual
capacities, creative potential, practical resourcefulness and leadership
abilities of more than half of the world’s population are ignored or
“I salute individuals and
organisations who are providing leadership and inspiration on the path to gender
equality. Their contribution has been seminal in many areas - science, culture,
education and communication - and represents both an inspiration and a mandate
for us all to do better - and to do better without delay.”
UNESCO and the International
Federation of Journalists (IFJ) have launched the operation Women Make the
News 2001 for International Women’s Day. For more information: www.unesco.org/march8