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International Women’s Day 2024: “Invest in women: Accelerate progress”

The theme chosen by the United Nations for International Women’s Day 2024, ‘Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress,’ encapsulates the essence of empowerment and progress. It underscores the imperative of investing in women’s potential, not merely as a moral obligation but as a strategic imperative for societal advancement.

By recognizing and harnessing the talents and capabilities of women, we pave the way for accelerated progress and inclusive growth. Moreover, the theme resonates strongly with the ongoing global efforts to address economic disparities and empower women as agents of change.

Gender equality is central to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations (UN) – and a perennial item on the Secretary-General's annual priority list.

SDG5 calls for the world to "Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls" by 2030.

Empowering women can boost economies and help the peace process, but it needs to happen faster!
António Guterres, Secretary-general of the United Nations


Campaign Theme: "Inspire Inclusion"

Complementing the overarching theme is the campaign theme for International Women’s Day 2024: ‘Inspire Inclusion.’ This theme emphasizes the transformative power of inclusion in fostering gender equality and social cohesion. It calls upon individuals, organizations, and governments to champion diversity and create environments that embrace and celebrate differences.

By fostering inclusive societies and workplaces, we not only empower women but also lay the foundation for a more equitable and prosperous future for all.

What is the state of gender parity globally?

UN Women and the UN's Department of Economic and Social Affairs jointly publish an annual update on the progress towards SDG5.

 In the latest – Progress on the Sustainable Development Goals: The gender snapshot 2023 – they reveal there's an "alarming" $360 billion annual deficit in spending on gender-equality measures.

The world is facing many crises, ranging from geopolitical conflicts to soaring poverty levels and the escalating impacts of climate change. These challenges can only be addressed by solutions that empower women. By investing in women, we can spark change and speed the transition towards a healthier, safer, and more equal world for all.

If current trends continue, more than 342 million women and girls could be living in extreme poverty by 2030. To ensure women’s needs and priorities are considered, governments must prioritize gender-responsive financing and increase public spending on essential services and social protection.

 Policymakers must also value, recognize, and account for the vital contribution women make to economies worldwide through paid and unpaid care work. Women spend around three times more time on unpaid care work than men and if these activities were assigned a monetary value they would account for more than 40 percent of GDP.

The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Index 2023 found that, although the global parity score has recovered to pre-pandemic levels, "the overall rate of change has slowed down significantly".

The index benchmarks 146 countries across four key dimensions (Economic Participation and Opportunity, Educational Attainment, Health and Survival, and Political Empowerment) and tracks progress toward closing gender gaps over time.

Of the four gaps tracked, Political Empowerment remains the largest, with only 22.1% closed – a 0.1 percentage point increase in 2022.

According to UNESCO Institute for Statistics data, less than 30% of the world’s researchers are women. UNESCO chief Audrey Azoulay observed that “even today, in the 21st century, women and girls are being sidelined in science-related fields due to their gender.” Scientific research is one of the most important vectors in the development process of the knowledge society and a driving force for development.

Regarding the Sustainability Strategy of IOC “fostering gender equality and strengthening women`s empowerment in and through sport is also at the core of the mission of IOC.”

What is International Women’s Day and when did it start?

It began life as National Women’s Day in the United States back in February 1909. The following year, at the second International Conference of Working Women in Copenhagen, Denmark, women’s rights activist Clara Zetkin called for an International Women’s Day to give women a greater voice to further their demands for equal rights.

 It was unanimously approved by the female attendees from 17 countries, including Finland’s first three women MPs. International Women’s Day was marked for the first time in March 1911 – and the date was fixed as 8 March 1913. The UN celebrated it for the first time in 1975 and in 1996 it announced its first annual theme: "Celebrating the Past, Planning for the Future".



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