According to information from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco), March 8 has been commemorated for 43 years in order to call for unity towards gender equality and the empowerment of all the girls and women of the world.
In Denmark, 1910, hundreds of participants gathered at the Second International Conference of Socialist Women and decided to organize an annual women’s day with the aim of strengthening their struggle to obtain suffrage.
However, it was not until 1945 that the Charter of the United Nations was installed as the first international agreement to consolidate the principle of equality between women and men.
March 8 has been consolidated as an opportunity to look at the potential of the new generations of women, so this year was selected with the central theme: “Now is the time: rural and urban activists transform the lives of women”.
UN Women explained that this year, International Women’s Day joins an unprecedented global movement for women’s rights, equality and justice.
Sexual harassment, violence and discrimination against women have monopolized the headlines and public discourse, with a growing determination to favor change.
People from all over the world are mobilizing to achieve a future that is more egalitarian, that action has manifested itself in the form of marches and worldwide campaigns, including the #MeToo movement in the United States of America.
Other initiatives that emerged against sexual harassment and violence are #YoTambién in Mexico, Spain and Latin America, among other places, #QuellaVoltaChe in Italy, #BalanceTonPorc in France and #Ana_kaman in the Arab States.
As well as “Ni Una Menos”, a campaign against feminicide that emerged in Argentina; and many other initiatives, addressing issues ranging from equal pay to the political representation of women.
This date is an opportunity to transform this momentum into measures to empower women from all environments, rural and urban, and recognize activists who work tirelessly to reclaim women’s rights and achieve their full potential.
This date also pays attention to the rights and activism of rural women, who make up more than a quarter of the world’s population and the majority of 43% of women in the global agricultural labor force.
These women cultivate the land and plant seeds to feed the nations, guarantee the food security of their communities and generate resilience to the climate.
However, rural women lag behind rural men or urban women, as a consequence of deeply rooted gender inequalities and discrimination.
For example, less than 20% of the people in the world who own land are women, and although the global wage differential between women and men stands at 23%, in rural areas it can reach as high as 40%.
They lack infrastructure and services, decent work and social protection, and are more vulnerable to the effects of climate change.
To realize the promise of the Sustainable Development Goals of not leaving anyone behind, it is necessary to act urgently in rural areas to guarantee an adequate standard of living, without violence or harmful practices.
As well as their access to land and productive assets, food security and nutrition, decent work, education and health, including sexual and reproductive health and their related rights.
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“Rural women and their organizations represent enormous potential, and are currently mobilizing to claim their rights and improve their livelihoods and well-being,” UN Women said.
The agency indicated that they use innovative agricultural methods, create successful businesses and acquire new skills, fight for their legal rights and present themselves as political candidates.
“On March 8, join activists from around the world and UN Women to seize the opportunity, celebrate the achievements, take action and transform the lives of women around the world. NOW is the time,” said the UN body.