International Women's Day 2008: Investing in women and girls
07 March 2008
International Women’s Day is celebrated internationally each year on 8 March. While this date has been celebrated since the early 1900s, the United Nations has observed March 8th as International Women’s Day since 1977 to highlight that active participation, equality and development of women is necessary for securing peace, social progress and human rights; and to acknowledge the contribution of women to the strengthening of international peace and security.
This year’s theme is “Investing in Women and Girls” with a strong focus on country level financing for gender equality. Highlighting this issue, the priority theme of the 52nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), which concluded 7 March 2008, was “Financing for gender equality and the empowerment of women”.
Commission on the Status of Women
The report of the Secretary-General on financing for gender equality and the empowerment of women (E/CN.6/2008/2) guided the work of the Commission. It identifies and discusses key issues in financing for gender equality and the empowerment of women and suggests policy recommendations.
UNAIDS delivered a statement to the CSW to draw attention to the links between gender inequality and increased vulnerability to HIV infection among women and adolescent girls and to call for ensuring greater and more sustainable financing for gender equality.
Read full UNAIDS statement
Unite to end violence against women
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon opened the 52nd session of the CSW on 25 February 2008 by launching a multi-year campaign to end violence against women that will continue until 2015, to coincide with the target date for the Millennium Development Goals.
"Violence against women is an issue that cannot wait. A brief look at the statistics makes it clear. At least one out of every three women is likely to be beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused in her lifetime. No country, no culture, no woman young or old is immune to this scourge
It is a campaign for the women and girls who have the right to live free of violence, today and in the future. It is a campaign to stop the untold cost that violence against women inflicts on all humankind."
- Remarks by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to the Commission on the Status of Women, New York, 25 February 2008.
The campaign aims to mobilize public opinion to ensure that policy makers at the highest level work to prevent and eradicate violence against women and to secure political will and increased resources to combat the problem.
The initiative will harness the existing momentum in the General Assembly and the Security Council to take action against all forms of violence against women, including rape in conflict and post-conflict situations and builds upon decades of work by women activists, women’s groups and other civil society organizations who continue to lead the struggle to expose and counter violence.
Global Coalition on Women and AIDS (GCWA)
To mark International Women's Day, the Global Coalition on Women and AIDS wil feature interviews with selected women who have demonstrated extraordinary success in overcoming challenges in their work on HIV. The theme of the interview series is "Victories of Women in HIV and AIDS" and will highlight how women have transformed the art of possibility into a living example of leadership.
Visit the web site of the GCWA to find out more
Related feature stories
UNAIDS statement to 52nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women
UN action against sexual violence in conflict
Report of the UN Secretary-General on Financing for gender equality and the empowerment of women