“Countries with more gender equality have better economic growth. Companies with more women leaders perform better. Peace agreements that include women are more durable. Parliaments with more women enact more legislation on key social issues such as health, education, anti-discrimination and child support. The evidence is clear: equality for women means progress for all” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
International Women’s Day is a day to celebrate women, to take stock of the progress that has been made in equality, and to take the time to ask ourselves what more we can do.
The theme for this year’s International Women’s Day celebrations is “Equality For Women Is Progress For All” and it highlights the need for equality and the meaningful representation and participation of women in all aspects of society. It emphasizes how gender equality and the empowerment of women are essential to socio-economic development.
With the 2015 deadline for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) right around the corner, today is also a good opportunity to review the challenges and obstacles that we still face in implementing the MDGs for women and girls.
As we celebrate, MARUAH also asks that we as a society work towards closing the gender gap between men and women in the workplace and at home. We also hope that in 2014, choice becomes a key operative word in decisions on sexuality, decisions on sexual orientation, decisions on pregnancies and in making police reports on rapes. In all these situations, women and girls in particular, must be given the help, counselling and support that they need to make the choices that are right for them and their choices must be respected.
Let 2014 be a year of honouring and respecting women’s choices and of taking proactive steps to achieve equality for women and progress for all.