By March 15, 2016 Read More →

International Women’s Day Observance

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

United Nations Headquarters


IWD banner

International Women’s Day celebrations at the United Nations HQ in New York, aimed at mobilizing people around the world to call for a Planet 50-50 by 2030, are in accordance with the theme  “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality”.

One purpose of this theme is to focus on new commitments under UN Women’s Step It Up initiative, and other existing commitments on gender equality, women’s empowerment and women’s human rights.

It was to a packed hall, on Tuesday, March 8 that prominent speakers from governments, the United Nations, businesses and civil society, including youth groups, settled in to celebrate this memorable event.  UN Women Executive Director, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, and Pamela Falk of CBS News, moderated  the session.

paricipants at IWD

A video of a vibrant song by young artist, Tannille Amor, entitled ‘I am a girl’, opened the proceedings with joy, and the spirit of upliftment! you can listen to the song here: click here

There were two panels, the first half focused on partnerships to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, while the second panel was a lively discussion on how to increase the number of women staff within the UN system, how to advance women’s empowerment and overcome barriers to change.

The Secretary General shared some of the changes that took place during his time at the UN stating there can only be real success when there is planet 50-50. Those changes included men stepping up to help women develop their strengths and women being placed at high positions at the UN.

The other speakers also shared a number of motivational points:

  • “gender equality acts as a catalyst, so it should be taken seriously.”
  • “there is a need for a framework for international agreements on gender equality.”
  • “leave no one behind, leave  no government or UN Agencies behind as no country has achieved gender equality.”
  • “a need to look at obstacles such as why is there a resistance or refusal to agree to gender equality.”
  • “a need for zero tolerance for multi-dimensional violence to men and women.”
  • “create opportunities, education and raise awareness in society on what can be done to implement the SDGs.”
  • “culture and criminal justice are all out-of-sync. This is one main cause for unequal rights for women and girls.”

Questions for the UN to ask themselves:

  1. why aren’t more women applying for jobs at the UN?
  2. what can be done about the environment and culture to help women to strive?
  3. does the culture in the UN need to change?

The personal stories of Monica Singh, acid attack survivor, and Fatima Ptacek,  child actress – the current voice of Dora in Nickelodeon animated television series, moved the entire hall and brought even more enthusiasm and vigor to make things happen.

Monica Singh (UN Photo, Ryan Brown)

Monica Singh (UN Photo, Ryan Brown)

Fatima Ptacek

Fatima Ptacek

Celebrated soprano Renée Fleming, one of the most acclaimed singers of our times, performed at the close of the first panel and Broadway singers brought the celebrations to a grand closure.

Braodway singers (UN Photo Ryan Brown)?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

Braodway singers (UN Photo Ryan Brown)

In conclusion, there is a lot that needs to be done to bring about Planet 50-50 by 2030 and it involves everyone. It is the responsibility of each one of us, and every little thing we do will go a long way to making it happen.  Women have the resilience and internal power to make the difference. Each of us can achieve whatever we set our hearts on.  Just as long as we keep in touch with our true selves..

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Posted in: Women

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