International Women’s Day is a global celebration of all women, everywhere. It is a rallying call; both for reflection on lessons learned and for accelerating momentum towards gender equality and the empowerment of every girl and woman.
It is a day to rejoice in the extraordinary acts of women and to stand together, as a united force to advance gender equality around the world.
Gender equality stands at the heart of the 2030 agenda, as a basic human right and a transformational force for more just, inclusive and sustainable development.
Irina Bokova, UNESCO Director-General on International Women's Day 2016
Click here for the Director-General's full message for International Women's Day 2016
A bit of history: International Women’s Day, back to 1975
Since its inception, International Women’s Day has grown into a global celebration of past and present accomplishments of women, and as an opportunity to look ahead to the untapped potential and opportunities for future generations of women.
In 1945, the Charter of the United Nations became the first international agreement to affirm the principal of equality between women and men. With that belief in mind, the UN celebrated its first official International Women's Day in 1975, almost 41 years ago.
During this past year the world came together to agree on Agenda 2030 and the Paris Agreement for climate change. With gender equality at the heart of this agenda, this year's theme for International Women's Day is, “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality."
Events in Paris
- Round Table: "Violent Extremism and Radicalization: Women's role as Victims, Perpetrators and Agents of Change"
- Panel Discussion: "Gender Equality and International Law"
- Round Table: "Women's Rights in Morocco: Between Promises and Effectiveness."
- Art Exhibition: "Women's role in Sustainable Development"
Field Office Activities
- UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning (UIL) launches the new publication "Narrowing the gender gap: empowering women through literacy programmes."
- UNESCO Office in Cairo is launching a series of workshops to promote bioethics and women's rights
- UNESCO Office for Central America in San José and the Latin American Social Sciences Council (CLACSO) organize the "First MOST School for research and public policy for gender equality"
- UNESCO Office in Nairobi inspires girls to embrace science and engineering through scientific camps.
- UNESCO Office in Accra will celebrate IWD with a special programme, "Leaving no woman in Ghana behind"
DID YOU KNOW?
31 million girls of primary school age are not in school (UNESCO, 2013)
35% of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual violence in their lives (UN, 2015)
Nearly two thirds of illiterate people are women, a proportion that has remained unchanged for two decades (UN, 2015)
Less than 4% of CEOs in the world’s largest 500 corporations are women (UN, 2015)
Women account for two thirds of the world's poorest citizens (UNESCO, 2014)
Women are underrepresented in scientific and technological disciplines. Only 29% of the world’s researchers are women (UNESCO, 2014)
Spread the word!
Use the Hashtag #IWD2016 to talk about your experience of International Women's Day 2016.
UNESCO's commitment to Gender Equality
IWD 2016 around the world
UNESCO's IWD previous editions
What is UNESCO doing for Gender Equality in 2016?
- Out of school children data tool
- Global Partnership on Girls’ and Women’s Education
- The UNESCO World Atlas of Gender Equality in Education (2012)
- EFA Global Monitoring Report – Gender Summary
- UNESCO’s Mobile Learning Week 2015 – Leveraging technology to empower women and girls
- Empowering Girls and Women through Literacy and Secondary Education
Communication and Information
- UNESCO’s Global Alliance on Media and Gender (GAMAG)
- Gender Sensitive Indicators for Media
- Gender in UNESCO’s Radio Programmes
- Women Make the News 2016: One Step Forward for Gender Equality in Media
- UN WWAP UNESCO Project for Gender Sensitive Water Monitoring Assessment and Reporting
- Women in Science
- Gender and Disaster Risk Reduction
Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission
- World Heritage and Gender Equality
- Re | Shaping Cultural Policies: Chapter 9 dedicated to, Women as Creators: Gender Equality
- Gender Equality, Heritage and Creativity
- International Fund for Cultural Diversity (IFCD)