Why Women's Day?
Why dedicate a day
exclusively to the celebration of the world's women?
The United Nations General Assembly, composed of delegates from every Member
State, celebrates International Women's Day to recognize that peace and
social progress require the active participation and equality of women, and
to acknowledge the contribution of women to international peace and
For the women of the world, the Day is an occasion to review how far they
have come in their struggle for equality, peace and development.
You might think that women's equality benefits mostly women, but every
one-percentile growth in female secondary schooling results in a 0.3 percent
growth in the economy. Yet girls are often kept from receiving education in
the poorest countries that would best benefit from the economic growth.
Until the men and women work together to secure the rights and full
potential of women, lasting solutions to the world's most serious social,
economic and political problems are unlikely to be found.
In recent decades, much progress has been made. On a worldwide level,
women's access to education and proper health care has increased; their
participation in the paid labor force has grown; and legislation that
promises equal opportunities for women and respect for their human rights
has been adopted in many countries. The world now has an ever- growing
number of women participating in society as policy-makers.
However, nowhere in the world can women claim to have all the same rights
and opportunities as men.
The majority of the world's 1.3 billion absolute poor are women.
On average, women receive between 30 and 40 per cent less pay than men earn
for the same work.
And everywhere, women continue to be victims of violence, with rape and
domestic violence listed as significant causes of disability and death among
women of reproductive age worldwide.