Celebrated annually on 8 March, the 2014 theme for International Women’s Day is: “Equality for women is progress for all”.
This year, International Women’s Day was commemorated at UN headquarters in New York on 7 March, on the eve of the 58th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women, (10-21 March). See invitation.
Participants included: Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General; John W. Ashe, President of the 68th session of the UN General Assembly; Hillary Rodham Clinton, Former United States Secretary of State, U.S. Senator; Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women; and Andrea Nunez, Vice President of the World YWCA Board, among other dignitaries.
Speeches and messages
- Speech by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the UN commemoration (7 March 2014)
- Message by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [also available in Spanish, French]
- Speech by UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka at the UN commemoration (7 March 2014)
- Message of UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka [also available in Spanish, French, Arabic, Chinese, Russian]. Watch her video message:
#HeforShe campaign UN Women also launched #HeforShe – a new equality branding campaign, in which men all over the world are being encouraged to speak out against the inequalities faced by women and girls. Check it out!
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.