In 1975, the United Nations began observing International Women’s Day – an occasion to celebrate women’s achievement – and in 1977, officially recognized it in a resolution calling for United Nations Day for Women and International Peace.
This year’s theme is “Women in Leadership: Achieving an Equal Future in a COVID-19 World.” We have seen the heroic efforts of women stepping up to battle a global pandemic, from managing the health crisis response to handling professional and personal responsibilities, including children’s remote learning. And when women lead, communities are better and stronger, more equitable and more just.
UNFPA Nepal is working at the federal, provincial and local levels to fulfill the mandate that every pregnancy is wanted, every child birth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled. There is the family planning outreach worker ensuring women’s access to contraception is uninterrupted in COVID-19 times. There is the midwife putting her health at risk to ease a baby’s entrance into the world.
There is the counselor or shelter worker aiding a gender-based violence survivor and a life skills trainer educating girls to avoid child marriage, impressing upon them their right to bodily autonomy that will inform the decisions they make for themselves going forward. Those girls are our future leaders. The day marks the achievements of women, among them the help that allows other women to achieve, too.
In addition to promoting women's health care in particular sexual and reproductive health, UNFPA advocates for gender equality and ending violence against women and girls and harmful practices at all levels. UNFPA also spreads messages about gender equality in a variety of settings, including humanitarian crises.
Every day, women and girls are driving change and progress around the world. International Women’s Day is an opportunity for all of us to take stock, celebrate their accomplishments and to look ahead to the untapped potential and opportunities for future generations of women.