NEW DELHI – The Latest on International Women’s Day (all times local):
The head of the U.N. women’s agency says the fight for gender equality by 2030 should take inspiration from slain Honduran environmental activist Berta Caceras and women around the world working to achieve the goal.
UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka began her speech Tuesday to a U.N. event on International Women’s Day on a sombre note: She asked ambassadors, diplomats and activists for a moment of silence in tribute to Caceras, the feminist indigenous leader shot dead five days ago.
She then asked women and the growing number of men supporting gender parity to join together in a stepped-up campaign to achieve the U.N. goal.
Mlambo-Ngucka said the Commission on the Status of Women meeting this month will establish “decisive actions” and milestones to check progress toward gender equality.
On International Women’s Day, the Committee to Protect Journalists is drawing attention to nine female journalists jailed for their work.
The U.S.-based CPJ said Tuesday that the women reported on protests, riots, revelations of official corruption, deplorable living conditions and natural disasters. It says authorities reacted with strip searches, weapons and forgery charges and accusations of sexual misconduct.
Most of the women have been convicted on anti-state charges, but two have not been charged at all despite still being held.
The nine include four freelancers.
A new International Labor Organization report says women still face “significant obstacles” in getting decent jobs and there have been only marginal improvements in the last 20 years.
The report says women’s significant progress in educational achievements since 1995 has not translated into comparable improvements in the workplace.
In many regions, it says women are more likely to lose jobs and remain unemployed, and when they do find work they often have to accept lower quality jobs.
The report was released Tuesday, International Women’s Day. The day carried the theme “Pledge for Parity.”
The report calls for more — and higher quality — jobs for women, universal social protection and redistribution of unpaid care and household work.
The International Criminal Court is calling for greater co-ordination around the world to stop sexual and gender-based crimes.
The Netherlands-based court points out on Tuesday — International Women’s Day — that women bear the brunt of rape, sexual slavery and other sexual violence during armed conflict.
The court says in a news release that it’s committed to holding perpetrators accountable. It notes that its founding treaty, the Rome Statute, includes sexual and gender-based crimes in the definitions of war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.
The court says in the release that it complements national efforts to prosecute such crimes, so “increased co-operation will make efforts on both sides more efficient and effective.”
The president of the U.N. General Assembly is calling for more female diplomats and ambassadors — and perhaps the first-ever female U.N. secretary-general.
Mogens Lykketoft told a U.N. event commemorating International Women’s Day that there must be increased participation of women not just in politics but across society to reach the U.N. goal of gender equality by 2030.
Ban Ki-moon’s term as secretary-general ends on Dec. 31 and some U.N. member states are pushing for a female successor. Three of the seven current candidates to succeed him are women.
Lykketoft called it “a glass ceiling for women for over 70 years.”
She also called for a “head-on” campaign against gender stereotyping, saying violence against women and male control over “the bodies and the futures” of women and girls are unacceptable and must end.
The United Nations’ children’s and populations agencies are announcing an international initiative to end child marriage by 2030.
UNICEF and UNFPA say they have started a program to prevent girls from marrying too young by involving families, communities, governments and young people in their effort. The announcement comes on International Women’s Day.
The initiative focuses on increasing girls’ access to education and health care services, educating parents and communities on the dangers of child marriage, increasing economic support to families and strengthening laws that establish age 18 as the minimum for marriage.
Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, UNFPA’s executive director, says the agency will work with governments to uphold the rights of adolescent girls “so that girls can reach their potential.”
Romanians gave gifts of flowers and dedicated songs and poems to their mothers, wives, girlfriends and colleagues to celebrate International Women’s Day.
Women, some dressed in bright colours, could be seen on a sunny Tuesday in the Romanian capital carrying flowers, and also in Bulgaria where the day is also celebrated.
Elsewhere in Bucharest, some women marked the feminist origins of the day in an outdoor performance outside the National Theater, where they dressed in black. Women brandished a banner saying “March 8 is for fighting.”
A survey published by the Romanian national news agency Agerpres on Tuesday said more than half of Romanians mark the day.
International Women’s Day traces its history to the early 1900s.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is marking International Women’s Day by recalling scenes from his childhood in post-war South Korea.
Ban remembers that as a boy he saw that women going into labour would leave their shoes outside the door and then look back in fear. He says his mother explained that “they are wondering if they will ever step into those shoes again.”
More than half a century later Ban said women still risk death in childbirth.
The U.N. chief said maternal mortality is “one of many preventable perils.”
He also cites girls being subjected to “genital mutilation” and being attacked on the way to school. He also mentions women’s bodies being used “as battlefields in wars” and widows left shunned and impoverished.
Ban said the key to ending these practices is empowering women.
The U.N.’s women’s rights organization has kicked off its inaugural HeForShe Arts Week in celebration of International Women’s Day in New York.
Actors Emma Watson, the UN Women global goodwill ambassador, and Forest Whitaker, a UNESCO special envoy for peace, joined UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka at The Public Theater in Manhattan to announce a week of arts events aimed at initiating a dialogue about gender equality.
Watson says it’s not enough for people to rationally understand the necessity of gender equality. She says, “it’s also about making them feel it in their bones.”
Arts venues around New York City, including ballets, Broadway theatres, museums and galleries, will take part in the initiative.
The U.N. cultural agency says girls are the first to be excluded from education, with more than 63 million out of school in more than 200 countries across the world.
Almost 16 million girls between the ages of 6 and 11 will never get the chance to learn to read or write in primary school compared to about 8 million boys “if current trends continue,” according to a report from UNESCO’s Institute for Statistics released as part of International Women’s Day.
UNESCO says gender disparities remain highest in the Arab States, sub-Saharan Africa and South and West Asia.
The agency says that “across sub-Saharan Africa, 9.5 million girls will never set foot in a classroom compared to 5 million boys.”
Cambodia is one of the few countries where International Women’s Day is a public holiday, and its long-serving leader marked the occasion with a tongue-in-cheek call for protecting men’s rights.
Prime Minister Hun Sen, better known for savaging his political enemies than joking about family life, said many men in Cambodia are oppressed by wives who do not let them go to wedding parties for fear that they would eye prettier women. He said he didn’t think he was being extreme in demanding that an association be set up to promote men’s rights.
However, Hun Sen did not ignore the many problems besetting Cambodia’s women, highlighting unequal pay, fewer educational opportunities and domestic violence.
International Women’s Day typically happens during China’s annual ceremonial legislature. And Chinese state media are fond of marking the day with photo galleries of female journalists covering the legislature — “Beautiful Women Reporters” asking questions, checking their makeup, posing for selfies.
The Communist Party-run People’s Daily said in a front-page editorial that women “can not only help to make homes more pleasant and lively, but also contribute their valuable female perspective and efforts to the progress of the entire society.” The editorial made no mention of leadership roles for women.
Last year, the Chinese government detained five women just before International Women’s Day for planning to hand out fliers denouncing sexual harassment. The women were released 37 days later but remain criminal suspects.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s call for only female lawmakers to address the Indian parliament on International Women’s Day included silence because there weren’t enough women to speak.
Of 543 elected members in the lower house, only 62 are women — or 12 per cent — and not all of them were prepared to address the assembly.
Those who spoke Tuesday talked about allowing women’s entry into Hindu temples and better education for girls. They also demanded renewed effort in passing long-stalled legislation to require that 33 per cent of lawmakers be women.
After all the women who wanted to speak had taken their turns, there was enough time left for the Speaker to ask the men in the house for input on the day’s agenda.