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World commemorates International Women’s Day amidst unprecedented global movement for women’s rights

By Haruna Gimba

The 2018 International Women’s Day to be observed on March 8, will put a spotlight on the tireless work of activists who have been central to women’s rights.

The event is coming on the heels of unprecedented global efforts for women’s rights, equality and justice, will put a spotlight on the tireless work of activists who have been central to these extraordinary movements worldwide.

Under this year’s theme, “Time is Now: Rural and Urban Activists Transforming Women’s Lives,” events around the world will capture the vibrant work of activists and their mobilization for change.

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka

Through marches of solidarity, viral social media campaigns, cultural efforts and powerful grassroots organizing, people across the world are galvanizing for a future that is gender equal. While some of these movements have captured the headlines, other efforts persevere far away from the limelight.

Rural and urban activists continue to mobilize, disrupt the status quo, and influence a broad range of policy, legislative and social reforms, from founding projects to end violence at the workplace to providing access to services for ethnic, immigrant and minority women, working every day to leave no one behind.

UN Women Executive Director, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, said: “We know that healthy societies include a wide mix of voices, yet millions of women around the world are being silenced and their potential cramped.

The current solidarity movements have to be a tipping point for accountability; an end to impunity and the cyclical poverty of women in both rural and urban areas. Lively political activism from both men and women must target change for those who need it most”.

Today, gender inequality is rife: 1 in 3 women experience violence in their lifetime; 830 women die every day from preventable pregnancy-related causes; and only 1 in 4 parliamentarians worldwide are women. It will be 2086 before we close the gender pay gap if present trends continue with no action.

Along with a wide range of events across the globe, in New York, prominent speakers, such as activists Mónica Ramírez, Co-founder and President of Alianza Nacional de Campesinas and Marai Larasi, Executive Director of Imkaan, alongside Reese Witherspoon, Academy-award winning actor and activist and Danai Gurira, Tony-nominated playwright, actor and activist, will join Australia Minister for Foreign Affairs, Julie Bishop; President of the UN General Assembly, Miroslav Lajčák; UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, and UN Women Executive Director, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka at the UN HQ commemoration event at the UN General Assembly in New York.

The event will amplify the voices of rural and urban women and activists, and identify ways in which the UN system and partners can support accelerated action towards gender equality and women’s empowerment in both rural and urban settings.

International Women’s Day is an opportunity to stand in solidarity with all those fearless women standing up for gender equality, and spotlight those who often pass unnoticed. Today’s activists are empowering those most likely to be left behind, the majority of whom are women, as UN Women’s latest report, Turning Promises into Action.

About Asmau Ahmad

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