International Women’s Day 2018: The Time is Now

“This International Women’s Day, UN Women celebrates the rural and urban activists who have transformed the lives of women around the world. From grassroots campaigns to global movements, women’s activism over the decades has paved the way for women’s rights and a more equal future. On March 8, join UN Women to reflect on progress made, to stand up for change, and to celebrate the ordinary and extraordinary women who have changed the world through their words and actions. The time is now.”

International Women’s Day commemorates the movement for women’s rights, and was originally called International Working Women’s Day. The earliest observance of a Women’s Day was in New York in 1909, organized by the Socialist Party of America. Over the years, various countries observed a similar day at different times, many in conjunction with strikes, rallies, and other protests in support of increased rights and better conditions for women.

The United Nations began celebrating in International Women’s Day in 1975, International Women’s Year. In 1977, the United Nations General Assembly invited member states to proclaim March 8 as the UN Day for women’s rights and world peace. Many countries currently treat it as an official national holiday with many others (including the U.S.) celebrating it unofficially.

#TimeIsNow: A Message from UN Women’s Executive Director on International Women’s Day 2018. In her message for International Women’s Day on March 8, UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka draws attention to the work of rural and urban activists who have fought for women’s rights and gender equality.

The UN Secretary-General said, in his message on International Women’s Day, “Achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls is the unfinished business of our time, and the greatest human rights challenge in our world.” He went on to say, “Let me be clear: this is not a favour to women. Gender equality is a human rights issue, but it is also in all our interests: men and boys, women and girls. Gender inequality and discrimination against women harms us all.” Read his full statement here.

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