When we celebrate the International Women’s Day (IWD) this year we shine the brightest light on the vast majority of women - especially in developing countries that live and work in rural areas and whose empowerment is about bringing the farthest left behind to the forefront of being the prime beneficiaries and drivers of sustainable development, peace and security, human rights and humanitarian action.
Information and communication technologies have the potential to open up new worlds of ideas and the media - television, newspapers, advertising, blogs, social networks, film – is increasingly omnipresent in the lives of many of us. In line with one of the major themes of this year’s Commission on the Status of Women, UNESCO is assessing how the media and ICTs shape the lives of women.
In the next seven days two of the biggest events that drive the women’s equality agenda will energize all well-meaning people of the world. The first on 8 March the International Women’s Day will assert renewed energy for women’s activism for peace, rights and development.
March 8, 2018 International Women’s Day offers another opportunity to reflect on the progress made towards gender equality and women’s political rights.
Women’s role in the workplace is at the heart the International Women’s Day commemoration. Even though it first celebrated a demonstration by women workers in New York in 1857, it was the killing of nearly 150 young women workers in a sweatshop, engulfed by a massive fire in just 20 minutes, which marked the modern celebration of International Women’s Day
, in New York’s Triangle Shirtwaist Factory on 25 March 1911.
Since its explosion onto the social media landscape at the end of 2017, the #metoo movement has continued to gain global traction. Initially centred on powerful Hollywood women breaking decades of silence about sexual abuse and harassment in the industry, the conversation soon spread across global regions and sectors, from #YoTambien
in the Spanish-speaking world to #balancetonporc
in French. From China
in Arabic. From national governments
to international development
, the stories are grim, and their pervasiveness has been jarring.
Adelaida Marca, an Aymaran indigenous woman who produces premium oregano in Socoroma, in the foothills of the Andes in the far north of Chile, embodies the recovery of heirloom seeds, and is a representative of a workforce that supports thousands of people and of a future marked by greater gender equality.
International Women's Day is a call to celebrate the extraordinary achievements of women and a reminder that globally, we are a long way from achieving gender equality.
Although Bangladesh has made remarkable recent strides like building green factories and meeting stringent safety standards, garment workers here are still paid one of the lowest minimum wages in the world.
In the last year, a women’s rights tidal wave flooded the world: over 4 million people marched in the first “Women’s March” in January 2017
, and over a million marched a year later
, from Washington DC to New York, from Sydney to Osaka, and from Rome to Nairobi.
In Zimbabwe, the bulk of rural communities and urban poor still get their energy supplies from the forests, leading to deforestation and land degradation.
Rekha Rajagopalan, a 26-year-old schoolteacher, migrated to the Indian capital city of New Delhi from southern Chennai in 2015 after her marriage. The reason was simple. Rekha's husband and his family were based in Delhi, so like millions of other married Indian women, she left her maternal home to relocate to a new city with her new family.
It’s nearing 4:30 p.m. on a foggy day, but there seems to be no great hurry amongst the workers to wind up their day in a factory producing high-end designer bags. Located in the Export Processing Zone (EPZ) of Nilphamari, a northern district 40 kilometers from the divisional headquarters of Rangpur in Bangladesh, the area is known for creating job opportunities for the local population.
If there is one political principle that has been constant throughout the history of human civilization it is the fact that land is power. This is something that is particularly true, and often painfully so, for women who farm in Africa.
Last year was an annus horribilis
for 52-year-old Newton Gunathileka. A paddy smallholder from Sri Lanka’s northwestern Puttalam District, 2017 saw Gunathileka abandon his two acres of paddy for the first time in over three and half decades, leaving his family almost destitute.
A few years ago, someone shared a video with me that deeply impacted me. It was called "The Girl Effect". In three minutes, the video demonstrates the fate of millions of girls and teenagers around the world.
Lack of diet diversity is viewed as the major cause of micronutrient malnutrition in Sub-Saharan Africa. Imbalanced diets resulting from consumption of mainly high carbohydrate based-diets also contribute to productivity losses and reduced educational attainment and income. Consequently, micronutrient malnutrition is currently the most critical for food and nutritional security problem as most diets are often deficient in essential vitamins and minerals. In Tanzania, for example, most rural and urban households consume mainly staples as their main food, which are high in carbohydrates, but low in micronutrients and vitamins. Staple food items increase energy availability but do not improve nutritional outcomes if not consumed together with micro-nutrient rich foods.
At an event held on October 29 at the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) Gender Awards 2017, five countries were honored for impressive achievements in gender equality and women’s empowerment despite harsh conditions and numerous daunting situational and societal obstacles. The five countries are Bangladesh, Mozambique, Colombia, Morocco, and Mauritania. The IFAD supported projects in these countries have ambitious goals for a more egalitarian future. To date these projects have successfully provided women with decision-making opportunities, skill training, and increased autonomy through the development of their own livelihoods.
“There are new challenges to all states: among them, the real threat to multilateralism... South-South and triangular cooperation can contribute to a new multilateralism and drive the revitalisation of the global partnership for sustainable development.”
Jahhavi Kshsarter pulls out on to the Western Express Highway, careful to avoid the swarm of cars, lorries and motorbikes zipping past. She is one of 65 women employed by an all-female taxi company in Mumbai.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the declaration of 17 October as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty by the United Nations General Assembly. Under the theme “Answering the Call of October 17 to end poverty: A path toward peaceful and inclusive societies,” this year’s commemoration reminds us of the importance of equality, dignity, solidarity and equal voice in the fight to end poverty everywhere.