15.03.2017 - GENDER

International Women's Day 2017

© UNESCO/C. Alix - Vernissage of the exhibition

For International Women’s Day 2017, UNESCO focused on the topic of women in the art, organizing a series of events to celebrate pioneering women artists and to address the barriers women still face in the art world.

The day started with the vernissage of the 2017 edition of the exhibition for International Women’s Day, organized by the Division for Gender Equality of UNESCO, in collaboration with the Permanent Delegations. Focused on the theme of the creativity of young women in shaping our future, this exhibition gathers the artwork of photographers, painters and sculptors from around the world. The exhibition was opened by the Deputy Director-General of UNESCO, Mr. Getachew Engida, who set the tone of the day by stating that “throughout human history, women have used their creativity in their quest for equality, justice and dignity”.

UNESCO also partnered with the French National Committee of UN Women to organize two events in line with the theme of this year, women in the arts. A panel discussion entitled “The Courage to Create: Gender Equality and the Arts” gathered artists, musicians, filmmakers, cultural entrepreneurs and experts to address the challenges facing women artists, as well as to harness creativity to overcome gender stereotypes and achieve gender equality. The debate, moderated by Audrey Pulvar, renowned French journalist, also included remarks from the French Minister for Families, Children and Women’s Rights, Ms. Laurence Rossignol, senior officials of UNESCO and representatives of the French committee of UN Women. Ms. Saniye Gülser Corat, Director of the Division for Gender Equality, stated: “I am confident that today’s debate will help us recognize the intrinsic power of artistic expression for the empowerment of women and girls […]”.

The day culminated with a concert of young French singer-songwriter Louane and self-described feminist music band called “Her”. These artists are the Ambassadors of the French National Committee of UN Women for the 2017 HeforShe Artsweek campaign, an initiative of UN Women to leverage the arts for gender equality launched in New York in 2016, and renewed this year in seven cities around the world: New York, London, Bangkok, Santiago, Sao Paulo, Panama City and Paris.

Despite the focus of International Women’s Day 2017 being on women in the arts, this March 8 UNESCO celebrated women in many other fields.

The Division for Gender Equality organized, in the framework of International Women’s Day, a  first-of-its-kind two-days meeting with ten UNESCO Chairs in the field of Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment to discuss their contribution to UNESCO’s Gender Equality Action Plan (GEAP II) and Major Programmes (Education, Natural Sciences, Social and Human Sciences, Culture, Information and Communication). The meeting was also the occasion to establish future collaboration mechanisms.

UNESCO launched the 2017 Women Make the News campaign, which aims to improve the representation of women both in newsrooms and in media reporting. The campaign invites editors-in chief, journalists, reporters and bloggers from newspapers on and offline, radio and television, as well as journalism schools, NGOs, intergovernmental bodies and media tech companies to join the initiative by taking part in the Gender Equality Checkup.

CAMPUS UNESCO, an initiative that aims to educate youth about current social, educational and environmental challenges, invited four speakers - Zahia-Dyhia Ziouani, a woman orchestra conductor; Chékéba Hachemi, first Afghani woman diplomat; Florence Al Aswad, independent woman journalist; and Damiano Giampaoli, programme specialist from the Division for Gender Equality of UNESCO – to share their passion and engagement to Gender Equality with youth from High Schools in Paris.

The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO organized an online conference to answer questions and encourage young women to join careers in marine sciences. The webinar gave the floor to three women oceanographers to share their compelling personal and professional narratives with younger generations about working and rising in a mostly male-dominated field.

The UNESCO Prize for Girls’ and Women’s Education was launched, honoring outstanding innovation and contributions to this field by individuals, institutions and organizations.

UNESCO’s Field Offices also celebrated women in their region through social media campaigns, workshops and conferences. Take a look at UNESCO’s International Women’s Day page to learn more about the day.

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