07.03.2011 - UNESCOPRESS

UNESCO celebrates International Women’s Day

The plight of millions of school-age girls living in the world’s conflict and post conflict zones will be highlighted at the Paris launch of UNESCO’s Education for All Global Monitoring Report, which will take place at the Organization’s Headquarters on 8 March, marking International Women’s Day.

UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova will launch the French edition of the report, “The hidden crisis: Armed conflict and education” at the opening of an international conference on Equal Access to Education, Training and Science and Technology, which will bring together a number of high-level panelists from around the world.

 “The Report shows how rape and other sexual violence have been widely used as a war tactic in many countries,” the Director-General said. “Insecurity and fear associated with sexual violence keep young girls, in particular, out of school. International Women’s Day provides an opportunity to highlight this outrage and to mobilise our forces against it.”

The Report calls for an end to the culture of impunity surrounding sexual violence, with strengthened monitoring of human rights violations affecting education, a more rigorous application of existing international law and the creation of an International Commission on Rape and Sexual Violence, backed by the International Criminal Court

The launch and conference will kick off a series of UNESCO events and initiatives to celebrate International Women’s Day.

The 2011 edition of Women Make the News, a global initiative aimed at promoting gender equality in the media, will also start on International Women’s Day.  The theme for this year, Media and Information Literacy and Gender, aims to improve understanding about gender perspectives in the media and information systems.

A special issue of UNESCO’s Courier magazine will also be published to mark the occasion. Speaking for the Voiceless: Five Women in Action features interviews with Michaelle Jean (Haiti), Sana Ben Achour (Tunisia), Aminetou Mint El Moctar (Mauritania), Sultana Kamal (Bangladesh) and Monica Gonzalez Mujica (Chile).

Artistic exhibitions will be held at UNESCO’s headquarters for the day, with women artists from Brazil, Egypt, Gabon, Lebanon, Thailand and USA. Several cultural events are also scheduled including a musical evening with two international artists: Kareyce Fotso (Cameroon) and Geta Burlacu (Moldova) on 8 March.

On 9 March, UNESCO will host a Round Table on Women’s Empowerment – Social, Educational and Cultural Leadership, organized in collaboration with Thailand (Room IV).

International Women’s Day was first honoured one hundred years ago in a handful of European countries. Every year on 8 March, UNESCO celebrates International Women’s Day by hosting a flagship programme, consisting of round-tables, conferences, exhibitions and cultural events that highlight issues relating to the empowerment of women and the promotion of gender equality.

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