International Women's Day 2014: Message from the UNON Director-General

I am pleased to join you in observing this year’s International Women's Day (IWD), which is being commemorated on Saturday, 8 March.  The 2014 theme for the Day is “Equality for women is progress for all”.

The new millennium has witnessed significant progress towards gender equality and the empowerment of women. However, much remains to be achieved. The countless acts of courage carried out by women and their determination to make positive change have made extraordinary contributions to our communities and countries. But let us take a brief moment to imagine how much further ahead our societies, and the world at large, would be if all women were given equal opportunity and allowed to reach their full potential.

This year, as noted by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his message for IWD 2014, the UN is focused on “highlighting the importance of achieving equality for women and girls not simply because it is a matter of fairness and fundamental human rights, but because progress in so many other areas depends on it.”  

In Nairobi, the UN is coordinating its support for IWD events through the Joint Programme on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment (JP GEWE). Some events are planned in the UNON compound, which I encourage you to participate in. There will be a Multi-generational Dialogue around the theme: "Securing equal rights and opportunities for Kenyan women and girls through the MDGs: Gains, losses and opportunities" on 6 March 2014, from 9.30 a.m. to 12 p.m., in Conference Room 1. The event will bring together over 200 university students and leading practitioners and researchers from the gender sector.

Thereafter, a Photo Exhibition of Kenyan women and men’s perceptions of gender equality will be launched at the UNON main lobby, at 12.30 p.m on 6 March, by the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Kenya, Ms. Nardos Bekele-Thomas. The photo exhibition will be on display until 7 March.

As we celebrate International Women’s Day 2014, let us recommit ourselves, as the United Nations community in Kenya, to do our utmost to advance gender equality, in our Host Country, in the region and around the globe, together as women and men -- because equality for women is progress for all.

Happy International Women’s Day,

Sahle-Work Zewde