“We need women’s representation that reflects all women and girls in all their diversity and abilities, and across all cultural, social, economic and political situations. This is the only way we will get real societal change that incorporates women in decision-making as equals and benefits us all." said UN Women’s Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.
International Women’s Day celebrated every year on 8th March in order to reflect on progress made, call for change, and recognise acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities. When women lead, we see positive results. Some of the most efficient and exemplary responses to the COVID-19 pandemic were led by women. At the same time, women, especially young women, are at the forefront of diverse and inclusive movements online and on the streets for social justice, climate change, and equality in all parts of the world.
This year’s International Women’s Day theme is “Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world,” and it celebrates the tremendous efforts by women and girls around the world in shaping a more equal future and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, and highlights the gaps that remain. Women’s full and effective participation and leadership in of all areas of life drives progress for everyone. Yet, women are still underrepresented in public life and decision-making, as revealed in the United Nations Secretary-General’s recent report.
Despite the progress, real change has been agonisingly slow for the majority of women and girls in the world. Nearly 60 percent of women around the world work in the informal economy, earning less, saving less, and at greater risk of falling into poverty. Women are Heads of State or Government in 22 countries, and only 24.9 percent of national parliamentarians are women. At the current rate of progress, gender equality among Heads of Government will take another 130 years. And sadly, women under 30 are less than 1 percent of parliamentarians worldwide.
We, at World Assembly of Youth (WAY), believe that empowerment for women and young girls is vital to the development of communities. We, all together, should mobilise youth and youth leaders to end gender-based violence, and call for economic justice and rights for all. We also want technology and innovation for gender equality and feminist leadership. Collective action and shared ownership for driving gender parity is what makes International Women's Day successful. Let us call upon all stakeholders to be courageous to stand for gender equality and a vision of a world where all women and young girls have equal opportunities and rights.
On International Women’s Day (#IWD2021), join #GenerationEquality and become part of the movement that would advance equality for women and young girls everywhere in the world.