Think equal, build smart, & innovate for change.

Today, March 8, 2019 is UN International Women’s Day. This is a time to reflect on progress made, to call for change and to celebrate acts of courage and determination by ordinary women who have played an extraordinary role in the history of their countries and communities. 

For 2019 the focus is on the many new and innovative ways in which we can advance gender equality. The need for empowerment of women, particularly in the areas of social protection systems, access to public services and sustainable infrastructure is discussed very successfully in the UN video report below.

Innovation and technology provide unprecedented opportunities, yet trends indicate a growing gender digital divide and women are under-represented in the field of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and design. It prevents them from developing and influencing gender-responsive innovations to achieve transformative gains for society. From mobile banking to artificial intelligence and the internet of things, it is vital that women’s ideas and experiences equally influence the design and implementation of the innovations that shape our future societies.

2030 & The World Sustainable Development Goals

The achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals requires transformative shifts, integrated approaches and new solutions, particularly when it comes to advancing gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.

Echoing the priority theme of the sixty-third session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, in 2019 the world can look to industry leaders, game-changing start-ups, social entrepreneurs, gender equality activists, and women innovators to examine the ways in which innovation can remove barriers and accelerate progress for gender equality, encourage investment in gender-responsive social systems, and build services and infrastructure that meet the needs of women and girls. 

Gender equality and the Sustainable Development Goals

International Women’s Day is also an opportunity to consider the wider  2030 Agenda, building momentum for the effective implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.

In particular:

  • Goal number 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
  • Goal number 4: Ensure inclusive and quality education for all and promote lifelong learning. 

Some key targets of the 2030 Agenda

  • By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys complete free, equitable and quality primary and secondary education leading to relevant and Goal-4 effective learning outcomes.
  • By 2030, ensure that all girls and boys have access to quality early childhood development, care and preprimary education so that they are ready for primary education.
  • End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere.
  • Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation.
  • Eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation.
Women of the World Unite!

The first international ‘Women’s Day’ was in 1910. Later that decade International Women’s Day also became a mechanism for protesting World War 1.

As part of the peace movement, Russian women observed their first International Women’s Day on the last Sunday in February. Elsewhere in Europe, on or around 8 March of the following year, women held rallies either to protest the war or to express solidarity with other activists.

Later the Charter of the United Nations, signed in 1945, was the first international agreement to affirm the principle of equality between women and men. Since then, the UN has helped create a historic legacy of internationally-agreed strategies, standards, programmes and goals to advance the status of women worldwide.