International Women’s Day (March 8) and Beijing+20 (March 9-20)

International Women’s Day is this Sunday, March 8!  This year’s observance will highlight the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, an historic document that was signed by 189 members of the United Nations in 1995.

The Beijing Platform focuses on 12 critical areas of concern, including health, economics, education, violence against women, and human rights.  The declaration envisions a world where women and young girls can freely exercise choices, such as participating in politics, getting quality education, having sustainable income, and living in a society free of discrimination and violence.

This year’s International Women’s Day is also the beginning of UN Women’s Beijing+20 Campaign, which will be explored at the 59th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (March 9-20).  This event will celebrate the progress of women’s rights in the last 20 years, as well as review and assess remaining challenges in the implementation of the Beijing Platform.  For example, more women and girls today than at any previous point in time serve in political offices, are protected by laws against gender-based violence, and live under constitutions guaranteeing gender equality.  However, women earn less than men, a third of women suffer physical or sexual violence in their lifetimes, and an average of 800 women die in childbirth each day.

The Beijing+20 Campaign opens new opportunities to reconnect, regenerate commitment, charge up political will, and mobilize the public.  While the promises of the Beijing Platform are ambitious, they are within reach with each new generation of active and motivated individuals and groups!

UN Women’s executive director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka is calling countries to “step it up” this International Women’s Day for gender equality.  You can find out more information about this year’s International Women’s Day events by visiting www.unwomen.org.

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