International Women’s Day. March 2017

Photo: Adam da Cruz

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Media Releases

  1. 17 February 2017

    PARLIAMENTARIANS COME TOGETHER IN SUPPORT OF GENDER EQUALITY FOR INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY LAUNCH AT PARLIAMENT HOUSE.

    We were delighted to see Parliamentarians, Departmental Secretaries, representatives of civil society and military leaders gather together in support of gender equality at yesterday’s Parliamentary Breakfast held at Parliament House.

    The event was an opportunity to celebrate the new four-year Partnership Framework Agreement between the Australian Government and UN Women, that aims to build on the shared and longstanding commitment to advance women’s empowerment and gender equality in the Indo-Pacific region and globally. The event also marked the launch of International Women’s Day 2017 celebrations across Australia.

    This year’s IWD theme – economic and political empowerment is central to making gains in international development and security. While the percentage of women represented in parliaments around the world has doubled in the last twenty years, today, just 23% of parliamentarians are women. In terms of earnings, globally, women earn 24% less than men.

    It was fantastic that our country leaders joined together to discuss the importance of gender equality, not just for women but for everyone. We know that when you empower a woman, you unlock opportunities not just for one woman, but for her children, for her family, whole communities – and entire nations.

    If we are to make significant strides on the road to gender equality, we must all play a part and show our support for women’s empowerment.

    This International Women’s Day (IWD), show your support for gender equality by attending an IWD event in your hometown, or host your own #myiwdbrekkie.

    International Women’s Day is an opportunity to unite, network and mobilise funds to foster meaningful change. Join us in support and celebration this March.

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  2. 16 February 2017

    PRIME MINISTER, OPPOSITION LEADER AND GREENS LEADER SUPPORT INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY AT PARLIAMENTARY BREAKFAST

    THE HON. MALCOM TURNBULL, PRIME MINISTER, THE HON. BILL SHORTEN, LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION AND SENATOR RICHARD DI NATALE, LEADER OF THE AUSTRALIAN GREENS TODAY HOST THE AUSTRALIAN LAUNCH OF INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY.

    Parliamentarians, Departmental Secretaries, representatives of civil society and military leaders are gathered together for UN Women National Committee Australia’s Parliamentary Breakfast held at Parliament House this morning. The event marks the launch of International Women’s Day 2017 celebrations across Australia.

    Australia has a long history of supporting International Women’s Day. Central to that, is the partnership between UN Women National Committee Australia, and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, who supports IWD events in many capital cities to put a spotlight on the achievements of women in our region.

    This International Women’s Day (IWD) will mark an important milestone: the Australian Government and UN Women recently signed a new four-year Partnership Framework Agreement, to build on the shared and longstanding commitment to advance women’s empowerment and gender equality in the Indo-Pacific region and globally.

    This year’s IWD theme is women’s economic and political empowerment. This is central to making gains in international development and security. While the percentage of women represented in parliaments around the world has doubled in the last twenty years, today, just 23% of parliamentarians are women. In terms of earnings, globally, women earn 24% less than men.

    UN Women is working hard in our region to ensure that women are well-represented around decision-making tables, at every level, in every sector; and that they have access to land, finance, business skills and training, to access safe and decent work, for equal pay.

    “When women are represented in decision-making at all levels, policies reflect the needs of all facets of society. When women have unrestricted access to decent work, economies grow. I look forward to hearing more about our leaders’ continued commitment to economic and political empowerment. We’ve made a lot of progress, here in Australia and more broadly, in our region, and together, we can accelerate change and work towards our shared global goal of gender equality by 2030.” said Executive Director of UN Women National Committee Australia, Janelle Weissman.

     

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  3. 6 February 2017

    Statement by UN Women on the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation

    While there has been an overall decline in the prevalence of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) across countries, this progress is likely to be offset by rapid population growth in countries where FGM occurs, unless efforts to eliminate the practice are renewed in light of recent research, and urgently stepped up.

    A 2016 report of the UN Secretary-General shows the single largest factor influencing the continuation of female genital mutilation to be the desire for social acceptance and avoidance of social stigma. The social norms, customs and values that condone FGM are multi-faceted, vary across countries and even between communities, and can change over time. This presents a powerful and complex challenge for all those engaged in the effort to end FGM.

    The importance of education to address negative social norms has been demonstrated in Egypt, where the reduction in the risk of girls undergoing FGM has been linked both to the educational attainment of their mothers, as well as of other women in their communities.

    We have witnessed how the powerful personal testimony and advocacy of activists such as Jaha Dukureh in The Gambia can bring increased understanding of the issues to local communities and amplify the voices of a growing movement calling upon leaders to put an end to this practice.

    The collection and analysis of data is crucial to better tailor our interventions in light of the specific factors associated with the practice globally.  Further research is needed in areas outside Africa, as FGM is also prevalent in Latin America, South-East Asia and areas of the Middle East, as well as now being present in the United States and United Kingdom. We must pay greater attention to the risks associated with migration and the greater movement between borders. Women and girls are still extremely vulnerable, even in countries which are not traditionally associated with the practice of FGM, if families on the move maintain the practice.

    Increasing numbers of countries have extraterritorial legislation for their citizens practising female genital mutilations in other jurisdictions, and hold those who practice to account. In The Gambia, the adoption of legislation has created an enabling environment for the Gambia Committee on Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children to support those who have carried out FGM to acquire skills to find alternative livelihoods. It has also empowered women to take an active role in protecting other women and girls and increased community awareness of FGM’s harmful impacts.

    Legal structures, however, are only part of the solution; they must be complemented by multiple prevention strategies, for example mobilizing communities, and influencing social norm change, and engaging those who can bring about those changes, such as men and boys, civil society and faith-based leaders. In Somalia, the Y-PEER network has helped mobilize young people, including young men to discuss sensitive issues, such as female genital mutilation.

    FGM is inextricably linked with other forms of gender inequality, such as violence against women and girls, and other harmful practices such as child, early and forced marriages. To accelerate progress towards ending FGM, we are working with governments, local administrations and civil society partners to address the root causes that perpetuate unequal power relations between women and men, and also with sister agencies, such as UNICEF and UNFPA, on their long-standing campaigns. Together, we must keep this issue at the forefront of the human rights agenda.

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  4. 18 December 2016

    UN Women Statement for International Migrants Day

    On International Migrants Day, UN Women reaffirms its commitment to work with partners to ensure that migration remains a matter of choice, with respect for the rights, and guaranteed safe passage and arrival for all migrants, especially women and girls, seeking a better future.

    18 December, 2016
     

    Throughout history, women and men have left their homes in search of safety, opportunity and better lives. Today, there are more than 244 million migrants in the world, and almost half are women. With large movements of refugees and migrants garnering international attention as never before, it is critical that the global community comes together with unified and gender-responsive solutions that address both the opportunities and challenges that migration presents.

    Migrants bring new ideas and innovations to both host and home countries, and can significantly boost economies. According to recent estimates, migrants contributed 9.4 per cent of global GDP, a value of US$6.7 trillion in 2015. Migrants can also help to even out population disparities around the world, for instance, through young workers migrating to countries with aging populations and declining birth rates. Nearly two-thirds of migrants are filling vital employment gaps in destination countries.

    Yet too often migrants, particularly women and girls, remain invisible. Many migrant women are considered “irregular”, because their journey was outside official immigration regulations and under precarious conditions. They may take on informal jobs, such as care and domestic work, which are essential to the functioning of the economy, yet tend to be low-paid, receive little or no legal protection, healthcare coverage or other benefits, and are often carried out in unsafe conditions. Domestic work, in particular, is hard to regulate, making access to visas and official protection difficult for migrant women and leaving them at further risk of physical and sexual violence at the hands of unscrupulous agencies, recruiters or employers.

    The United Nations is working together to meet these challenges. In 2016, UN Women was honoured to chair the Global Migration Group, which aims to better coordinate UN efforts on migration and to leverage the benefits of migration for development. In September, UN Member States adopted the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, which recognizes the positive economic and social contributions of migrants, and commits to addressing the challenges faced by migrants, as well as those faced by source, transit and destination countries. The New York Declaration also underlines the need for promoting and protecting the rights of migrant women and girls at all stages of migration.

    The Declaration is a critical step towards the adoption of a global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration in 2018. This global compact is expected to become a dynamic vehicle for migration governance, which sees migrants, including women and girls, as agents of change with valuable skills, powerful voices and the potential for leadership. To do so, it will be important to include commitments to reduce irregular migration and to promote the inclusion of migrants and their access to services and protections. At a time when anti-immigrant sentiments are on the rise across the world, it will be vital that the global compact contains critical commitments to combat racism, xenophobia, discrimination and intolerance.

    Today, on International Migrants Day, UN Women reaffirms its commitment to work with partners to ensure that migration remains a matter of choice, with respect for the rights, and guaranteed safe passage and arrival for all migrants, especially women and girls, seeking a better future.

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