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International Women's Day

International Women's Day8 March 2014 -- Today marks the 103rd International Women's Day, which was observed for the first time in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland in 1911. The Day recognises that securing peace, social progress and the full enjoyment of human rights requires the active participation, equality and development of women. It also acknowledges the contribution of women to the strengthening of international peace and security. For the women of the world, the Day's symbolism has a wider meaning. It is an opportunity to unite, network and mobilise for meaningful change. It is also an occasion to review how far they have come in their struggle for equality, peace and development.  

This year’s International Women’s Day coincides with the focus on ending violence against women at the UN Commission on the Status of Women -- the annual gathering where countries agree on frameworks to address critical issues related to gender equality and women’s rights. One of the greatest challenges of our times, violence against women and girls affects up to seven in ten women worldwide. Occurring in multiple forms in all countries and settings, it impacts women and their communities, hampering development, and also costing countries billions of dollars annually in healthcare costs and lost productivity.

Sources: United Nations, UN Women

Selected Learning Materials

Claiming Rights, Claiming Justice: A Guidebook on Women Human Rights Defenders 
This guidebook is written primarily for female human rights defenders. It outlines a conceptual framework for women’s human rights activism, pointing to the intersection of multiple factors (age, disability, race, ethnicity, caste, class, national origin, sexual orientation) that can contribute to women’s oppression.

Gender and Rights: A Resource Guide
This resource guide explains how, why and under what circumstances rights-based approaches (RBAs) can add to gender equality, and how gender and development (GAD) theory and practice can contribute to rights-based approaches.

Gender, HIV and Human Rights: A Training Manual
This manual aims to help trainers enhance their understanding of the gender dimensions of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Primer on Women's Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
This resource serves as an advocacy tool for engagement with the monitoring bodies of the Convention on the Elimination of All Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) to more explicitly recognise the implementation of economic, social and cultural rights as a strategy to increase women's equality.

International and regional standards on women's human rights:

International Labour Organisation Convention (No.100) concerning Equal Remuneration for Men and Women Workers for Work of Equal Value (1951)

Convention on the Political Rights of Women (1952)

Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (1967)

Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) (1979)

Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (1999)

Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (2003)

Useful Links

Commission on the Status of Women

International Women's Day website

UN Women

UNiTE to End Violence against Women (UN Secretary-General's campaign)

WomenWatch: UN Information and Resources on Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women

Links to organisations and resources advocating gender equality and women's human rights 



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Related e-learning courses

Gender-based Violence

Gender and Human Rights (Foundation Course)

Gender Mainstreaming

Gender and Humanitarian Action

Monitoring Women's Rights

Women, Peace and Security

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Related resources

International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (25 November)

Millennium Development Goals

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