UN chief’s International Women’s Day message:
‘Turn the clock forward on women’s rights’:
Theme: ‘Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow.’
This International Women’s Day, 8 March, join UN Women and the world in coming together under the theme “Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow”, and call for climate action for women, by women.
With the latest data, we now understand the vital link between gender, social equity and climate change, and recognize that without gender equality today, a sustainable future, an equal future, remains out of reach.
The year 2022 is pivotal for achieving gender equality in the context of climate change, and environmental and disaster risk reduction, which are some of the greatest global challenges of the twenty-first century. Without gender equality today, a sustainable future, and an equal future, remains beyond our reach.
Women and girls experience the greatest impacts of the climate crisis as it amplifies existing gender inequalities and puts women’s lives and livelihoods at risk. Across the world, women depend more on, yet have less access to, natural resources, and often bear a disproportionate responsibility for securing food, water, and fuel.
As women and girls bear the burden of climate impacts, they are also essential to leading and driving change in climate adaption, mitigation and solutions. Without the inclusion of half of the world’s population, it is unlikely that solutions for a sustainable planet and a gender equal world tomorrow will be realized.
- Guterres highlighted the contribution that women have made to ending the COVID-19pandemic, hailed the ideas, innovations and activism that are changing our world for the better, and welcomed more women leaders across all walks of life.
- However, as the UN chief pointed out, women and girls have frequently borne the brunt of the consequences of the virus spreading worldwide, which have included girls and women being shut out of schools and workplaces, led to rising poverty and rising violence, and seen women doing the vast majority of the world’s unpaid but essential care work.
- To remedy the situation, Mr. Guterres called for guaranteed quality education for every girl, massive investments in women’s training and decent work, effective action to end gender-based violence, and universal health care.
- Other measures recommended by the UN chief include gender quotas, that could result in the world benefiting from more women leaders.
UN Women is gravely concerned at the intensification of the military offensive in Ukraine and in particular draws attention to its consequences on the lives and livelihoods of Ukraine’s women and girls. We are committed to supporting Ukraine’s people, especially its women and girls, at this time of greatest need.
The current situation jeopardises the safety of all Ukrainians and puts women and girls in particular at increased risk of sexual and gender-based violence, especially those who are refugees or otherwise displaced from their homes. These factors must be taken into account in all efforts to monitor and respond to the situation in Ukraine, so that early warning signs of impact are met with an appropriate and proportionate response. Women’s full and meaningful participation is also vital in improving peace and security processes. In this regard, we recognize the civil society organizations on the ground who are, as ever, our critical partners in the work to amplify the voices of women and girls. The inclusion of women themselves in the decision-making processes and humanitarian response is therefore essential to ensure that their rights are upheld.
The UN Secretary-General has called for an immediate ceasefire, de-escalation of tensions and a firm return to diplomacy and dialogue. He has underlined the multiplying humanitarian needs and the steps he is taking to enhance humanitarian assistance to the people of Ukraine. I urge the international community, as it rallies in support, to keep women and girls at the center and to ensure that the humanitarian assistance planned and provided is gender-responsive.