International Women’s Day 2014: Equality for Women is Progress for All

08 Mar 2014

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“All of us benefit when women and girls – your mothers, sisters, friends and colleagues -- can reach their full potential.” - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

Celebrated annually on 8 March, the 2014 theme for International Women’s Day was: “Equality for women is progress for all”.

The theme emphasized how gender equality, empowerment of women, women’s full enjoyment of human rights and the eradication of poverty are essential to economic and social development. It also stressed the vital role of women as agents of development. 

With the 2015 deadline to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) around the corner, International Women’s Day was also an opportunity to review the challenges and achievements in the MDG implementation for women and girls, as the Commission on the Status of Women will be doing from 10 to 21 March 2014.

About International Women's Day


The United Nations began celebrating International Women’s Day (IWD) on 8 March during International Women’s Year 1975. Two years later, in December 1977, the General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming a United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace to be observed on any day of the year by Member States, in accordance with their historical and national traditions.

International Women’s Day first emerged from the activities of labour movements at the turn of the twentieth century in North America and across Europe. Since those early years, International Women’s Day has assumed a new global dimension for women in developed and developing countries alike. The growing international women’s movement, which has been strengthened by four global United Nations women’s conferences, has helped make the commemoration a rallying point to build support for women’s rights and participation in the political and economic arenas.

Increasingly, International Women’s Day 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.

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Statement by UNDP Administrator Helen Clark

This year’s International Women’s Day theme – Equality for Women is Progress for All – states a simple truth.  No country will reach its full potential if its female citizens do not enjoy full equality.  As the 2015 end date of the Millennium Development Goals nears, and as discussion on the next global development agenda intensifies, there is strong momentum for achieving development with equity, including by eradicating gender inequality and empowering women and girls.

Message by UN Secretary-General Message Ban Ki-moon

On International Women’s Day, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urges everyone to work for women’s rights, empowerment and gender equality to eliminate poverty and promote sustainable development

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